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Comparative Analysis: Overview

Guide to support comparative essay writing.

What is a Comparative Analysis?

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These can be:

  • positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
  • theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
  • figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
  • texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth)
  • events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)

Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast. [source]


How to write a comparative essay: River Valleys (30 minutes)
Even though this video is about Ancient History, the process that the teacher takes the students through is quite good.

Compare/Contrast Essay (10 minutes)
A quick guide on how to write a comparision/contrast essay. Visual demonstration.

Graphic Organisers


Terminology and Words