As a student, you will encounter many different types of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison-contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways that certain things or ideas are similar to and/or different from one another. By writing such essays, you are being encouraged to do the following:
- Make connections between texts or ideas.
- Engage in critical thinking.
- Go beyond describing or summarizing.
When reflecting on similarities and differences, you can gain a better understanding of the items you are comparing–their relationship to each other and what is most important about them.
During the next five weeks, you will write and revise a five-paragraph comparison-contrast essay that incorporates at least three peer-reviewed academic sources. Note: The term five-paragraph essay may or may not have exactly five paragraphs. Likely it will have more. The term refers to a form of short essay based around an introduction, approximately three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion Each week, you must submit a different phase of your writing to complete the essay. You will be working on this same topic ALL five weeks.
Select a topic from the following list:
- A comparison or contrast of the representation a male or female Disney character from the past and one male or female character from a more current movie. Focusing on an analysis of how gender roles and/or stereotypes or ethnic (racial) stereotypes have changed or not is a way to make this topic academic. OR you could write a persuasive essay arguing whether or not Disney movies (from both, one or either time period) are suitable for children.
- Choose one controversial issue. Examples voter ID laws, raising the minimum wage, trade policies, healthcare, prison reform or the electoral college. The ONLY off-limit issues are gun safety/control laws, abortion, capital punishment, legalization of marijuana, or assisted suicide as most of the time, these issues are based on morals and/or there is simply no way to do justice to those topics in abalanced way for an essay this short. Plus, often there is nothing “new” to say. Compare/contrast two stances on that issue. Either write an informative analysis essay or you can choose to write a persuasive essay that includes which stance you determine is more workable, moral and/or feasible. If you choose to do an informative analysis essay, you will point out strengths and weaknesses of BOTH stances. I will supply a list of controversial national issues to help you find a topic. Look for the list in the discussion area of THIS assignment.
- Watch one one-hour television news/commentary show on MSNBC and one one-hour show on Fox News on the SAME evening. Compare/contrast the content, tone and types of guests on each show. Focusing on media bias would be one way to make this topic academic. Another way would be to focus on what your observation of the two programs tell you about the existing political division in the United States.
- Choose any country in the western world (a country IN Europe) and the United States. Compare and/or contrast ONE government policy (or lack thereof) that helps families in the two countries. Polices to choose from would include but are not limited to parental leave, healthcare, early childhood education, guranteed childcare help, paid vaction/paid sick leave, or pay equity. This essay can be done as an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each country’s policies OR write a persuasive essay arguing whether or not the United States should consider adopting a similar or the same policy as exists in the other country.
- Compare/contrast the Autocratic (authoritarian) vs democratic (participative) leadership style. Then take the current president-elect and compare/contrast his leadership style to ONE of those two leadership styles based on either your observation of him in speeches or any information you can dig up. Then in the next part of the essay, argue what kind of leader he will likely be once he becomes president. You could also end your essay with recommendation(s) for the new president- elec or recommendation(s) for citizens.
- Compare/contrast the Transactional vs Transformational leadership styles. Then take the current president-elect and compare/contrast his leadership style to ONE of those two leadership styles based on either your observation of him in speeches or any information you can dig up and argue what kind of leader he will likely be once he becomes president. You could also end your essay with recommendation(s) for the new president elect.
- Choose two of the following communications styles and contrast and/or compare them: Assertive, Aggressive, Passive-aggressive, Submissive, Manipulative. Compare and/or contrast those two communication styles. Then analyze the current president elect’s communication style based on watching him in speeches or rallies or any information you can dig up about him in order to identify which of the two communication style he exhibits. Then argue what kind of effect he might have on the American public once he becomes president. You could also end your essay with recommendation(s) for the new president-elect.
After choosing a topic:
Experiment with some of the prewriting methods found in Ch. 2 of Wordsmith and other methods introduced by the instructor to explore the topic you have chosen.
What to turn in (Turn in the whole assignment on ONE document).
First, write an explanation of your topic and why you chose it. Explain whether or not you plan to do a persusasive essay or an analysis essay (You can change the approach later, if you want).
Next, turn in your 3 examples of prewriting chosen from those in Ch. 2 of Wordsmith and/or other ones we discuss in Week One or that you know of showing that you have begun to explore, to think about and to write about your topic.
Write an answer to the following question in at least 50 words: Which method of pre-writing did you find most helpful and why?
Edit and proofread your assignment before submitting it to your instructor.
Format your assignment according to APA guidelines.