Essay Papers Writing Online

Tips and strategies for crafting a well-structured and insightful comparative essay.

Writing a comparative essay

When it comes to crafting a compelling comparative essay, it is crucial to navigate through the complexities of comparing and contrasting different subjects. This essay type challenges writers to critically analyze multiple perspectives, revealing both similarities and differences. By employing a systematic and meticulous approach, you can unlock the secrets behind writing a remarkable comparative essay. This step-by-step guide will provide you with the essential tools and techniques to create a well-structured, engaging, and thought-provoking piece of written work.

Exploring the art of comparison

The key to crafting an outstanding comparative essay lies in the art of comparison. This process involves analyzing and contrasting different aspects of the subjects under discussion, shedding light on their similarities and differences. By employing various literary devices and techniques, such as symbolism, imagery, and rhetorical devices, you can effectively convey your ideas and arguments to the reader. Additionally, diving deep into the historical, cultural, and social contexts of the subjects will provide you with invaluable insights, enriching your analysis and elevating the overall quality of your essay.

Structuring your essay for clarity and coherence

A well-structured essay is essential for clear communication and coherent flow of ideas. Begin your comparative essay with a compelling introduction that captures the reader’s attention and introduces the main subjects of comparison. Following this, dedicate separate paragraphs to each aspect or theme you wish to compare, ensuring you provide detailed evidence and analysis to support your arguments. Finally, conclude your essay by summarizing your main points and offering a balanced perspective, leaving the reader with a lasting impression.

Understanding the task requirements

Before beginning your comparative essay, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the assignment prompt. The instructions provided by your instructor or professor will give you insights into the specific criteria and expectations for your essay. By comprehending the task requirements, you can ensure that you stay focused and meet all the necessary criteria.

The assignment prompt may include details about the topic, the scope of the comparison, and any specific texts, sources, or themes that need to be addressed. It is crucial to read the prompt carefully and identify keywords or phrases that highlight the main objectives of the assignment. Understanding these key elements will help you define the boundaries of your essay and guide your research and analysis.

In addition to content requirements, the assignment prompt may also provide instructions regarding the format, structure, and length of the essay. Pay attention to any guidelines regarding the organization of your essay, such as whether to use a point-by-point or block method of comparison. Understanding the formatting expectations will ensure that your essay is well-structured and coherent.

By understanding the assignment prompt, you can begin your comparative essay with a clear direction and purpose. It allows you to select and analyze relevant material while adhering to the specific requirements set by your instructor. Taking the time to grasp the assignment prompt will ultimately lead to a more successful and cohesive essay.

Choose a clear and concise thesis

Choose a clear and concise thesis

One of the most crucial steps in writing a comparative essay is selecting a clear and concise thesis statement. Your thesis statement serves as the main argument of your essay, guiding the reader through your points of comparison and analysis. It should be a well-defined statement that clearly states your position and sets the tone for the rest of your essay.

When choosing your thesis, it is important to consider the specific topic or prompt of your essay. Take the time to analyze the similarities and differences between the subjects or texts you are comparing and think about the main point you want to make. Your thesis should reflect this main point and provide a roadmap for your essay.

A clear and concise thesis statement not only helps you stay focused on your argument, but it also helps your readers understand the purpose of your essay. By clearly stating your position and guiding your readers through your points of comparison, you can ensure that your essay is well-organized and persuasive.

By taking the time to choose a clear and concise thesis statement, you can set yourself up for success in writing a strong comparative essay. Your thesis will not only guide your writing process but also provide a solid foundation for your analysis and interpretation of the subjects or texts you are comparing.

Conduct thorough research on both subjects

In order to write a compelling comparative essay, it is essential to conduct comprehensive research on both subjects being compared. By thoroughly investigating each subject, you will be able to identify their similarities, differences, and unique characteristics. This research is crucial for developing a well-informed and insightful analysis of the subjects, ensuring that your essay is both informative and engaging.

Start by gathering relevant information from a variety of credible sources, including books, journals, scholarly articles, and reputable websites. Take detailed notes as you explore each subject, making note of key concepts, important facts, and pertinent examples. This will help you build a solid foundation of knowledge about each subject and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of their respective contexts.

Furthermore, it is important to consider different perspectives and interpretations of each subject. Engage with a diverse range of sources that offer varying viewpoints, as this will enable you to develop a more nuanced understanding of the subjects and their significance. By evaluating different arguments and opinions, you will be able to construct a well-rounded comparative analysis that takes into account multiple perspectives.

Additionally, be sure to identify any potential biases or limitations in your sources and strive to include a balanced representation of information. This will help you present a fair and objective comparison of the subjects, allowing readers to form their own opinions based on the evidence you provide.

Ultimately, conducting thorough research on both subjects is essential for writing a successful comparative essay. By immersing yourself in the relevant literature and critically analyzing different viewpoints, you will be able to develop an in-depth understanding of the subjects and present a compelling analysis that highlights their similarities and differences. Through this detailed research process, you will be able to craft an informative and engaging essay that showcases your analytical skills and knowledge of the subjects at hand.

Outline your essay before writing

Before diving into the writing process, it is crucial to create an outline for your comparative essay. An outline serves as a roadmap that guides you throughout the essay, helping you organize and structure your thoughts in a logical and coherent manner.

When creating an outline, start by identifying the main points or themes that you want to compare and contrast in your essay. These can be specific elements or aspects of the subject matter that you find interesting or relevant. Once you have identified the main points, organize them in a logical order, considering the flow of your essay.

Next, break down each main point into subpoints or supporting evidence. These subpoints should provide more specific details that help to support your main points and strengthen your overall argument. Consider using examples, data, or evidence from reliable sources to support your claims and make your essay more persuasive.

As you create your outline, remember to maintain a clear and parallel structure. This means that each main point and subpoint should be phrased in a consistent manner. Use headings, subheadings, or formatting techniques such as numbering or bullet points to clearly delineate the different levels within your outline.

Furthermore, while creating your outline, be flexible and open to changes. It is common for your ideas and arguments to evolve as you research and analyze your subject matter more deeply. As a result, you may need to revise or reorganize your outline to accommodate any new insights or findings.

Finally, the outline should serve as a visual representation of your essay’s structure. It should provide you with a clear overview of the content and organization of your essay, making the writing process smoother and more efficient.

Use effective language and transitions

When writing a comparative essay, it is important to use effective language and transitions which can enhance the clarity and coherence of your arguments. By carefully choosing your words and utilizing proper transitions, you can create a seamless flow between your ideas and help your readers easily follow your train of thought.

One of the key aspects of using effective language is to be concise and direct in your writing. Instead of using excessive jargon or complex sentences, try to convey your ideas in a straightforward and understandable manner. This will not only make your essay more accessible to a wider range of readers but also make your arguments more convincing and persuasive.

In addition to using concise language, it is also crucial to use strong and persuasive words to express your ideas. By using words that convey a sense of certainty and confidence, you can make your arguments more compelling. For example, instead of saying “there might be a correlation between the two variables”, you can say “there is a clear correlation between the two variables”. This simple change in language can greatly enhance the impact of your arguments and make your essay more persuasive.

Furthermore, the effective use of transitions is essential for creating a cohesive and well-structured essay. Transitions act as bridges between different ideas and help readers understand the connection between them. By using transitional words and phrases such as “however”, “in contrast”, “similarly”, and “on the other hand”, you can clearly indicate the relationship between different points in your essay. These transitions will not only make your essay more coherent but also help your readers navigate through your arguments more easily.

In conclusion, using effective language and transitions is crucial for writing a successful comparative essay. By employing concise and direct language, as well as strong and persuasive words, you can make your arguments more persuasive. Additionally, by utilizing appropriate transitions, you can create a seamless flow between your ideas and enhance the overall coherence of your essay.

Provide evidence and examples to support your comparisons

When writing a comparative essay, it is essential to provide evidence and examples to back up your comparisons. This will help strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing. Without adequate evidence and examples, your comparisons may seem unsubstantiated and lack impact.

One way to provide evidence is to reference authoritative sources. Citing scholarly articles, books, or reputable websites can lend credibility to your arguments. These sources can provide factual information, expert opinions, or statistical data that support your comparisons. Be sure to properly cite these sources in your essay to avoid plagiarism.

In addition to using external sources, you can also rely on examples from the texts or materials that you are comparing. These examples can be specific quotes, scenes, or events that illustrate the similarities or differences between the subjects of your essay. By including these examples, you give your readers concrete evidence to consider and analyze.

When selecting evidence and examples, it is important to choose ones that are relevant and significant to your comparisons. This means that they should directly relate to the aspects or criteria that you are examining in your essay. Avoid including irrelevant or peripheral information that does not contribute to your main argument.

Furthermore, it is crucial to analyze and explain the evidence and examples you provide. Simply presenting them without any commentary or analysis will leave your comparisons feeling incomplete. Take the time to explain how the evidence supports your comparisons and what it reveals about the subjects being compared. This will help your readers understand the significance of your comparisons and the broader implications they may have.

In conclusion, providing evidence and examples is crucial when writing a comparative essay. By referencing authoritative sources and using examples from the texts or materials being compared, you can strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing. Remember to choose relevant and significant evidence, and to analyze and explain the evidence and examples you provide. These steps will help ensure that your comparisons are well-supported and persuasive.

Revise and edit your essay for clarity and coherence

Revise and edit your essay for clarity and coherence

Once you have completed a rough draft of your comparative essay, it’s important to dedicate time to revise and edit your work. This step is crucial in ensuring that your essay is clear and coherent, allowing your ideas to flow smoothly and making it easier for your readers to understand the points you are trying to convey.

During the revision process, focus on refining your essay’s structure and organization. Ensure that your introduction effectively introduces the topic and provides a clear thesis statement. Check that each paragraph is logically connected to the ones before and after it, using appropriate transitions to guide your readers through your comparison.

In addition to structure, pay attention to the clarity of your language and the coherence of your arguments. Use clear and concise sentences to express your ideas, avoiding unnecessary jargon or overly complex language. Make sure that your points are supported with evidence and examples, and that your analysis is thorough and well-reasoned.

As you revise, consider the overall flow and organization of your essay. Does each paragraph contribute to your central argument? Are there any parts that could be rearranged or omitted for clarity? Take the time to read your essay aloud or have someone else read it to you to identify any areas where the writing may be confusing or unclear.

Finally, pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. A polished and error-free essay indicates attention to detail and professionalism. Proofread your essay carefully, using online tools or asking a friend or colleague to review it for you. Correct any mistakes you find, ensuring that your essay is flawless and well-presented.

By revising and editing your essay for clarity and coherence, you can elevate the quality of your writing and enhance your ability to communicate your ideas effectively. Take the time to carefully review and refine your work, and you will be rewarded with a well-crafted comparative essay that engages and informs your readers.

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Comparative Law Research Guide: Getting Started

  • Getting Started
  • Introductory Materials
  • Treatises & Books
  • Finding Articles
  • Finding Constitutional Texts
  • Finding Legislation
  • Finding Cases
  • Finding News Articles

What is comparative law?

Looking for a database.

This is an alphabetical list of FSU databases useful for researching legal issues dealing with comparative constitutional law.

On campus & off campus access w/ID

Writing a Paper?

  • Choose a Paper Topic
  • Do a Pre-Emption Check
  • Avoid Plagiarism
  • Cite Correctly

Narrow  your topic on which you can write a 20-30 page paper. Select a topic that addresses an international law question that is of  interest  to you and also is  original and  topical .

To find ideas for your topic, go to the following sources with an international perspective.

  • Read or search through  newspapers and magazines ,  newsletters , or  blogs
  • Skim the tables of contents of newly-released law reviews and law journals  and the Current Index to Legal Periodicals . 

Once you've chosen a paper topic you'll need to review the legal literatute for a pre-emption check to be sure that another legal scholar has not already covered your topic.

Use these sources in a pre-emption check:

  • articles-in-progress
  • newly-published articles
  • law review articles
  • blogs and websites
  • Citing Responsibly: A Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Principles of Paraphrasing Online Tutorial
  • FSU Law Research Center Plagiarism Guide
  • Advanced Citation Guide for Scholarly Writing
  • YouTube Bluebooking Series

Beginning Research?

  • Background Info
  • Country by Country Guide to Foreign Law Research
  • Globalex Comparative Law Guides
  • International and Foreign Law Research
  • Researching Comparative Law 2017
  • BBC Country Profiles
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Political Database of the Americas
  • Rule of Law Index


how to write a comparative law essay


  • American Society of Comparative Law
  • British Institute of International and Comparative Law
  • European Society for Comparative Legal History
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  • Last Updated: May 17, 2024 3:56 PM
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Faculty Scholarship

How to do comparative constitutional law.

For Mark Tushnet, you can’t leave out politics

H arvard Law School Professor Mark Tushnet is the rare scholar who has made huge contributions to a number of different fields. He was an active participant in the Critical Legal Studies movement of the 1980s; he has been a leading contributor to both academic and public debates on the U.S. Constitution; and he is one of the founders—along with HLS colleague Vicki Jackson, the Laurence H. Tribe Professor of Constitutional Law—of the modern field of comparative constitutional law. And inevitably, he has been able to connect these fields and ways of thinking about law and constitutional government, as few other scholars have been willing or able to do.

Our own experience of Mark has been as a comparative constitutional scholar, and mentor in the field. For one of us (Dixon), this began when Mark sat on her S.J.D. defense committee at Harvard; for the other (Landau), it began when Mark served as a formal mentor in the HLS Climenko program. But ever since, he has been an invaluable sounding board on all manner of things comparative constitutional: He has read almost everything we have written, provided incisive yet constructive criticism and given invaluable guidance on the direction of our careers. We know countless former HLS students of his and comparative colleagues who have had the same experience: He is undoubtedly one of the most generous readers of colleagues’ work anywhere in the world.

Mark has used comparative constitutional law to unsettle what we think defines a legitimate or well-functioning constitutional system.

More than anything, however, Mark has served as a model for us and other scholars of our generation—U.S.-trained constitutionalists with a strong interest in the law-politics relationship and a comparative interest and bent—for how to do comparative constitutional law.

Mark has made important contributions to nearly every area of the field. To give readers a sense of his prolific contributions just to comparative constitutional law, he is a leading contributor to the forms of judicial review, to the interpretation and structure of rights via proportionality and horizontality, to the enforcement of socioeconomic rights, to theories of constituent power and constitutional change, to the varieties of constitutionalism, including nondemocratic constitutionalism, and to comparative methodology, among other areas! He currently has an important ongoing project on independent accountability institutions. His casebook with Vicki Jackson is a standard reference point for all scholars, and emblematic of his influence. But more than anything, his work has helped lend credibility to the field, helped to grow it and to make it mainstream.

What is striking about so much of his work is how he connects comparative constitutional law to constitutional politics—and the insights of the Critical Legal Studies movement. One of the overarching ideas in Mark’s work is that we should think more about finding political solutions, and less about legal solutions, to the constitutional problems we face. We should be more skeptical of courts, and of constitutional design more generally. Related to that is a second point: We should be a lot less secure in the normative presuppositions we’re making about what a legal order should look like.

In important ways, these points are also deeply comparative; Mark has used comparative constitutional law to unsettle what we think defines a legitimate or well-functioning constitutional system, or to show that things we think are inevitable in reality are not.

His well-known project on “weak-form review” is a great example. In a terrific book and several articles, he looks at countries such as Britain and Canada, where the legislature and executive can reject constitutional rulings by the judiciary, or contexts such as South Africa, where the judiciary often issues remedies that defer to political actors. Mark argues that as compared with “strong-form” judicial interpretations and remedies we are more familiar with from the United States, this “weak-form review” may do a better job of squaring rights-enforcement with politics and democratic deliberation. These ideas have been especially influential for both of us, expanding the way we think about the enforcement of rights, especially new forms of rights like socioeconomic rights.

So too, in a very different way, these concerns are the motivations for Mark’s current project on independent accountability institutions such as ombudspersons and anti-corruption commissions, which in some sense he conceptualizes as alternatives to courts for dealing with areas where democracy might be expected not to work well, or at least not to self-police. The core idea is that you create other institutions, with some independence, but perhaps less independence than you give courts.

The use of comparative analysis to express skepticism about judicial power, constitutional design, and the status quo of liberal democracy, by opening up the range of possibilities, is squarely in the best traditions of comparativism, and it continues to be much needed.

At the same time, these concerns also reflect Mark’s experience and expertise in U.S. law. And they often read differently outside the U.S., since other systems have different ways of engaging with judicial power. One of us (Landau) remembers being in a judge’s chambers in the Constitutional Court in Bogota, where they were planning to invite Mark to an event. But then one of the clerks turned to Landau, momentarily alarmed, and asked, “But what about this book ‘Taking the Constitution Away from the Courts’?” The idea seemed too radical, indeed dangerous, for a system just beginning to establish judicial review.

The degree to which global audiences seek to situate Mark’s ideas with their own quite different legal contexts is a testament to the scope of Mark’s reach and his influence on the field. They may not want to “take the constitution away from the courts,” but they almost always want to consider what Mark’s ideas say about the scope and practice of judicial review—or, for that matter, federalism, constitutional change, or constitutional design—in their own systems.

Mark may be retiring from HLS, but it will be a long time before comparative scholars are willing to let him retire from the field—his voice is too generous, and too important and insightful, for us to miss out on.

Rosalind Dixon LL.M. ’04 S.J.D. ’08 is a professor at the University of New South Wales (Australia) Faculty of Law. David Landau ’04 is a professor at Florida State University College of Law.

Read other faculty tributes

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Comparative Law

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3 The Comparative Method

  • Published: February 2019
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This chapter examines the methods used in comparative law. Today, functional comparison is considered the classic form of comparative law. The vast majority of comparative studies follow this method and the quality of any given comparative law study is often judged according to its principles. According to Zweigert and Kötz, the fundamental principle of comparative law is functionalism, according to which only law which fulfills the same function can be compared. At its core, this straightforward approach provides an exemplary description of the essential components of any individual comparison between two developed legal systems. However, attacks on the functional method has been increasing for decades. The chapter then describes these critiques and the alternatives they propose.

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Comparative Essay

Barbara P

How to Write a Comparative Essay – A Complete Guide

10 min read

Comparative Essay

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Comparative essay is a common assignment for school and college students. Many students are not aware of the complexities of crafting a strong comparative essay. 

If you too are struggling with this, don't worry!

In this blog, you will get a complete writing guide for comparative essay writing. From structuring formats to creative topics, this guide has it all.

So, keep reading!

Arrow Down

  • 1. What is a Comparative Essay?
  • 2. Comparative Essay Structure
  • 3. How to Start a Comparative Essay?
  • 4. How to Write a Comparative Essay?
  • 5. Comparative Essay Examples
  • 6. Comparative Essay Topics
  • 7. Tips for Writing A Good Comparative Essay
  • 8. Transition Words For Comparative Essays

What is a Comparative Essay?

A comparative essay is a type of essay in which an essay writer compares at least two or more items. The author compares two subjects with the same relation in terms of similarities and differences depending on the assignment.

The main purpose of the comparative essay is to:

  • Highlight the similarities and differences in a systematic manner.
  • Provide great clarity of the subject to the readers.
  • Analyze two things and describe their advantages and drawbacks.

A comparative essay is also known as compare and contrast essay or a comparison essay. It analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both. The Venn diagram is the best tool for writing a paper about the comparison between two subjects.  

Moreover, a comparative analysis essay discusses the similarities and differences of themes, items, events, views, places, concepts, etc. For example, you can compare two different novels (e.g., The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Red Badge of Courage).

However, a comparative essay is not limited to specific topics. It covers almost every topic or subject with some relation.

Comparative Essay Structure

A good comparative essay is based on how well you structure your essay. It helps the reader to understand your essay better. 

The structure is more important than what you write. This is because it is necessary to organize your essay so that the reader can easily go through the comparisons made in an essay.

The following are the two main methods in which you can organize your comparative essay.

Point-by-Point Method 

The point-by-point or alternating method provides a detailed overview of the items that you are comparing. In this method, organize items in terms of similarities and differences.

This method makes the writing phase easy for the writer to handle two completely different essay subjects. It is highly recommended where some depth and detail are required.

Below given is the structure of the point-by-point method. 

Block Method 

The block method is the easiest as compared to the point-by-point method. In this method, you divide the information in terms of parameters. It means that the first paragraph compares the first subject and all their items, then the second one compares the second, and so on.

However, make sure that you write the subject in the same order. This method is best for lengthy essays and complicated subjects.

Here is the structure of the block method. 

Therefore, keep these methods in mind and choose the one according to the chosen subject.

Mixed Paragraphs Method

In this method, one paragraph explains one aspect of the subject. As a writer, you will handle one point at a time and one by one. This method is quite beneficial as it allows you to give equal weightage to each subject and help the readers identify the point of comparison easily.

How to Start a Comparative Essay?

Here, we have gathered some steps that you should follow to start a well-written comparative essay.  

Choose a Topic

The foremost step in writing a comparative essay is to choose a suitable topic.

Choose a topic or theme that is interesting to write about and appeals to the reader. 

An interesting essay topic motivates the reader to know about the subject. Also, try to avoid complicated topics for your comparative essay. 

Develop a List of Similarities and Differences 

Create a list of similarities and differences between two subjects that you want to include in the essay. Moreover, this list helps you decide the basis of your comparison by constructing your initial plan. 

Evaluate the list and establish your argument and thesis statement .

Establish the Basis for Comparison 

The basis for comparison is the ground for you to compare the subjects. In most cases, it is assigned to you, so check your assignment or prompt.

Furthermore, the main goal of the comparison essay is to inform the reader of something interesting. It means that your subject must be unique to make your argument interesting.  

Do the Research 

In this step, you have to gather information for your subject. If your comparative essay is about social issues, historical events, or science-related topics, you must do in-depth research.    

However, make sure that you gather data from credible sources and cite them properly in the essay.

Create an Outline

An essay outline serves as a roadmap for your essay, organizing key elements into a structured format.

With your topic, list of comparisons, basis for comparison, and research in hand, the next step is to create a comprehensive outline. 

Here is a standard comparative essay outline:

How to Write a Comparative Essay?

Now that you have the basic information organized in an outline, you can get started on the writing process. 

Here are the essential parts of a comparative essay: 

Comparative Essay Introduction 

Start off by grabbing your reader's attention in the introduction . Use something catchy, like a quote, question, or interesting fact about your subjects. 

Then, give a quick background so your reader knows what's going on. 

The most important part is your thesis statement, where you state the main argument , the basis for comparison, and why the comparison is significant.

This is what a typical thesis statement for a comparative essay looks like:

Comparative Essay Body Paragraphs 

The body paragraphs are where you really get into the details of your subjects. Each paragraph should focus on one thing you're comparing.

Start by talking about the first point of comparison. Then, go on to the next points. Make sure to talk about two to three differences to give a good picture.

After that, switch gears and talk about the things they have in common. Just like you discussed three differences, try to cover three similarities. 

This way, your essay stays balanced and fair. This approach helps your reader understand both the ways your subjects are different and the ways they are similar. Keep it simple and clear for a strong essay.

Comparative Essay Conclusion

In your conclusion , bring together the key insights from your analysis to create a strong and impactful closing.

Consider the broader context or implications of the subjects' differences and similarities. What do these insights reveal about the broader themes or ideas you're exploring?

Discuss the broader implications of these findings and restate your thesis. Avoid introducing new information and end with a thought-provoking statement that leaves a lasting impression.

Below is the detailed comparative essay template format for you to understand better.

Comparative Essay Format

Comparative Essay Examples

Have a look at these comparative essay examples pdf to get an idea of the perfect essay.

Comparative Essay on Summer and Winter

Comparative Essay on Books vs. Movies

Comparative Essay Sample

Comparative Essay Thesis Example

Comparative Essay on Football vs Cricket

Comparative Essay on Pet and Wild Animals

Comparative Essay Topics

Comparative essay topics are not very difficult or complex. Check this list of essay topics and pick the one that you want to write about.

  • How do education and employment compare?
  • Living in a big city or staying in a village.
  • The school principal or college dean.
  • New Year vs. Christmas celebration.
  • Dried Fruit vs. Fresh. Which is better?
  • Similarities between philosophy and religion.
  • British colonization and Spanish colonization.
  • Nuclear power for peace or war?
  • Bacteria or viruses.
  • Fast food vs. homemade food.

Tips for Writing A Good Comparative Essay

Writing a compelling comparative essay requires thoughtful consideration and strategic planning. Here are some valuable tips to enhance the quality of your comparative essay:

  • Clearly define what you're comparing, like themes or characters.
  • Plan your essay structure using methods like point-by-point or block paragraphs.
  • Craft an introduction that introduces subjects and states your purpose.
  • Ensure an equal discussion of both similarities and differences.
  • Use linking words for seamless transitions between paragraphs.
  • Gather credible information for depth and authenticity.
  • Use clear and simple language, avoiding unnecessary jargon.
  • Dedicate each paragraph to a specific point of comparison.
  • Summarize key points, restate the thesis, and emphasize significance.
  • Thoroughly check for clarity, coherence, and correct any errors.

Transition Words For Comparative Essays

Transition words are crucial for guiding your reader through the comparative analysis. They help establish connections between ideas and ensure a smooth flow in your essay. 

Here are some transition words and phrases to improve the flow of your comparative essay:

Transition Words for Similarities

  • Correspondingly
  • In the same vein
  • In like manner
  • In a similar fashion
  • In tandem with

Transition Words for Differences

  • On the contrary
  • In contrast
  • Nevertheless
  • In spite of
  • Notwithstanding
  • On the flip side
  • In contradistinction

Check out this blog listing more transition words that you can use to enhance your essay’s coherence!

In conclusion, now that you have the important steps and helpful tips to write a good comparative essay, you can start working on your own essay. 

However, if you find it tough to begin, you can always hire our college paper writing service .

Our skilled writers can handle any type of essay or assignment you need. So, don't wait—place your order now and make your academic journey easier!

Frequently Asked Question

How long is a comparative essay.

FAQ Icon

A comparative essay is 4-5 pages long, but it depends on your chosen idea and topic.

How do you end a comparative essay?

Here are some tips that will help you to end the comparative essay.

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Wrap up the entire essay
  • Highlight the main points

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Barbara P

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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What is a comparative essay?

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare

  • 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.

Make sure you know the basis for comparison

The assignment sheet may say exactly what you need to compare, or it may ask you to come up with a basis for comparison yourself.

  • Provided by the essay question: The essay question may ask that you consider the figure of the gentleman in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall . The basis for comparison will be the figure of the gentleman.
  • Developed by you: The question may simply ask that you compare the two novels. If so, you will need to develop a basis for comparison, that is, a theme, concern, or device common to both works from which you can draw similarities and differences.

Develop a list of similarities and differences

Once you know your basis for comparison, think critically about the similarities and differences between the items you are comparing, and compile a list of them.

For example, you might decide that in Great Expectations , being a true gentleman is not a matter of manners or position but morality, whereas in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall , being a true gentleman is not about luxury and self-indulgence but hard work and productivity.

The list you have generated is not yet your outline for the essay, but it should provide you with enough similarities and differences to construct an initial plan.

Develop a thesis based on the relative weight of similarities and differences

Once you have listed similarities and differences, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences or vice versa. Create a thesis statement that reflects their relative weights. A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are examples of the two main cases:

While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs.
Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time.

Come up with a structure for your essay

Note that the French and Russian revolutions (A and B) may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration. To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.

When do I use the block method? The block method is particularly useful in the following cases:

  • You are unable to find points about A and B that are closely related to each other.
  • Your ideas about B build upon or extend your ideas about A.
  • You are comparing three or more subjects as opposed to the traditional two.

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4.1: Introduction to Comparison and Contrast Essay

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The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. Comparison and contrast is simply telling how two things are alike or different. The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both. The thesis should focus on comparing, contrasting, or both.

Key Elements of the Compare and Contrast:

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Objectives: By the end of this unit, you will be able to

  • Identify compare & contrast relationships in model essays
  • Construct clearly formulated thesis statements that show compare & contrast relationships
  • Use pre-writing techniques to brainstorm and organize ideas showing a comparison and/or contrast
  • Construct an outline for a five-paragraph compare & contrast essay
  • Write a five-paragraph compare & contrast essay
  • Use a variety of vocabulary and language structures that express compare & contrast essay relationships

Example Thesis: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Graphic Showing Organization for Comparison Contrast Essay

Sample Paragraph:

Organic grown tomatoes purchased at the farmers’ market are very different from tomatoes that are grown conventionally. To begin with, although tomatoes from both sources will mostly be red, the tomatoes at the farmers’ market are a brighter red than those at a grocery store. That doesn’t mean they are shinier—in fact, grocery store tomatoes are often shinier since they have been waxed. You are likely to see great size variation in tomatoes at the farmers’ market, with tomatoes ranging from only a couple of inches across to eight inches across. By contrast, the tomatoes in a grocery store will be fairly uniform in size. All the visual differences are interesting, but the most important difference is the taste. The farmers’ market tomatoes will be bursting with flavor from ripening on the vine in their own time. However, the grocery store tomatoes are often close to being flavorless. In conclusion, the differences in organic and conventionally grown tomatoes are obvious in color, size and taste.

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Comparative Essay

Pdf download, what is a comparative essay .

A comparative essay usually requires you to complete these three tasks: 

  • Compare and contrast at least two items. 
  • Why does the comparison matter? 
  • What does the comparison suggest about the items? 
  • Sometimes your assignment guidelines will provide a basis for a comparison that sets the criteria. 

Even though your professor may call it a “comparison”, it is usually expected that you will discuss both the similarities and the differences between the items. 

How to Write a Comparative Essay 

1. pick a basis for your comparison.

You need a specific basis for your comparison. Without one, there will be too much information to research. 

Your assignment guidelines may already include a scope of focus for you to write about. If not, your basis should be an idea, category, or theme that applies to each of the items you are comparing. To get started, you may need to complete some preliminary research about your topics or speak with your professor to understand the assignment expectations.

2. Identify the Similarities and Differences. 

Gather information about the items that you will be comparing. You’ll need to identify the similarities and differences for each of the items. 

Remember, your end goal is NOT to list out the similarities and differences between the items. You need to move beyond basic identification to explaining the significance of the similarities and differences. 

Writing Tip: Use a graphic organizer to collect the similarities and differences. 

Try using a Venn diagram or a chart to organize your ideas. 

Venn diagram. Section a - points unique to a. Section AB - points unique to A & B. Section B - points unique to B.

3. Develop a Thesis Statement

Create a thesis statement based on the results of your comparison. Remember, your thesis needs to be arguable and appropriate for your course. 

Create an arguable thesis 

Go beyond the identification of similarities and differences by explaining their significance. Explain why this comparison matters. Your thesis will become arguable once you add in this portion. 

For instance, you might have compared two islands with similar goat overpopulation for a science course. It’s useful to set the context of these islands and the interventions that people used to deal with the goat overpopulation, but your thesis is not arguable if you only state facts. Adjust your thesis to explain why the similarities and differences matter. For instance, you might explain how the differences in the intervention impacted the ecosystem and the island populations. Depending on your assignment guidelines, you could make suggestions about a future intervention that could be effective in handling goat overpopulation on islands. 

Try these strategies for creating an arguable thesis: 

  • Cause and Effect : Identify how the differences and similarities lead to an outcome. For instance, you might discuss how the two different endings in Great Expectations affect how readers understand Pip’s relationship with Estella.  
  • Degree of Similarity or Difference : Are there more similarities or more differences between the items you’re comparing? You can create a thesis based on the degree of similarity or difference, but it can become descriptive if you don’t explain why the comparison matters. For example, you could write about the characteristics of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. Both characters have similar challenges in their early lives, but the paths they choose lead to different outcomes. 

4. Structure your essay 

There are two basic structures that are typically used for comparative essays. 

Point-by-point method 

The point-by-point method alternates between the items. In this style, you pick a common point of comparison and describe the first item and then the second item. Here is an example of a point-by-point method essay outline.


Introductory material: Describe the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the key characters in the comparison. 

Thesis: Although Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy are both pure-blood wizards, their interactions with other magical creatures reveal the different values in their socialization. 

Body 1: Discrimination towards House Elves 

  • Ron’s opinion of House Elves and their role in the wizarding world 
  • Draco’s opinion of House Elves and their role in the wizarding world 
  • Comment upon the origin in the differences in opinion and how the opinions changed through socialization 

Body 2: Discrimination towards Giants 

  • Ron’s perception of Hagrid 
  • Draco’s perception of Hagrid 


  • Explain why this comparison between Ron and Draco matters 

Block Method 

The block method identifies themes to compare and describes all your items together. Here is an example of an essay method outline.

Introductory material : Describe the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the key characters in the comparison. 

Thesis : Although Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy are both pure-blood wizards, their interactions with other magical creatures reveal the different values in their socialization. 

Block A: Ron Weasley – Discrimination towards magical creatures 

  • Ron’s social context and how he learns about the magical hierarchy 
  • How Ron discriminates against other magical creatures 

Block B: Draco Malfoy – Discrimination towards magical creatures 

  • Draco’s social context and how he learns about the magical hierarchy  
  • How Draco discriminates against other magical creatures 
  • Analysis – significance of the similarities and differences between Ron and Draco 
  • Why this comparison matters 

More resources for comparative essays 

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  • Comparative Analysis

What It Is and Why It's Useful

Comparative analysis asks writers to make an argument about the relationship between two or more texts. Beyond that, there's a lot of variation, but three overarching kinds of comparative analysis stand out:

  • Coordinate (A ↔ B): In this kind of analysis, two (or more) texts are being read against each other in terms of a shared element, e.g., a memoir and a novel, both by Jesmyn Ward; two sets of data for the same experiment; a few op-ed responses to the same event; two YA books written in Chicago in the 2000s; a film adaption of a play; etc. 
  • Subordinate (A  → B) or (B → A ): Using a theoretical text (as a "lens") to explain a case study or work of art (e.g., how Anthony Jack's The Privileged Poor can help explain divergent experiences among students at elite four-year private colleges who are coming from similar socio-economic backgrounds) or using a work of art or case study (i.e., as a "test" of) a theory's usefulness or limitations (e.g., using coverage of recent incidents of gun violence or legislation un the U.S. to confirm or question the currency of Carol Anderson's The Second ).
  • Hybrid [A  → (B ↔ C)] or [(B ↔ C) → A] , i.e., using coordinate and subordinate analysis together. For example, using Jack to compare or contrast the experiences of students at elite four-year institutions with students at state universities and/or community colleges; or looking at gun culture in other countries and/or other timeframes to contextualize or generalize Anderson's main points about the role of the Second Amendment in U.S. history.

"In the wild," these three kinds of comparative analysis represent increasingly complex—and scholarly—modes of comparison. Students can of course compare two poems in terms of imagery or two data sets in terms of methods, but in each case the analysis will eventually be richer if the students have had a chance to encounter other people's ideas about how imagery or methods work. At that point, we're getting into a hybrid kind of reading (or even into research essays), especially if we start introducing different approaches to imagery or methods that are themselves being compared along with a couple (or few) poems or data sets.

Why It's Useful

In the context of a particular course, each kind of comparative analysis has its place and can be a useful step up from single-source analysis. Intellectually, comparative analysis helps overcome the "n of 1" problem that can face single-source analysis. That is, a writer drawing broad conclusions about the influence of the Iranian New Wave based on one film is relying entirely—and almost certainly too much—on that film to support those findings. In the context of even just one more film, though, the analysis is suddenly more likely to arrive at one of the best features of any comparative approach: both films will be more richly experienced than they would have been in isolation, and the themes or questions in terms of which they're being explored (here the general question of the influence of the Iranian New Wave) will arrive at conclusions that are less at-risk of oversimplification.

For scholars working in comparative fields or through comparative approaches, these features of comparative analysis animate their work. To borrow from a stock example in Western epistemology, our concept of "green" isn't based on a single encounter with something we intuit or are told is "green." Not at all. Our concept of "green" is derived from a complex set of experiences of what others say is green or what's labeled green or what seems to be something that's neither blue nor yellow but kind of both, etc. Comparative analysis essays offer us the chance to engage with that process—even if only enough to help us see where a more in-depth exploration with a higher and/or more diverse "n" might lead—and in that sense, from the standpoint of the subject matter students are exploring through writing as well the complexity of the genre of writing they're using to explore it—comparative analysis forms a bridge of sorts between single-source analysis and research essays.

Typical learning objectives for single-sources essays: formulate analytical questions and an arguable thesis, establish stakes of an argument, summarize sources accurately, choose evidence effectively, analyze evidence effectively, define key terms, organize argument logically, acknowledge and respond to counterargument, cite sources properly, and present ideas in clear prose.

Common types of comparative analysis essays and related types: two works in the same genre, two works from the same period (but in different places or in different cultures), a work adapted into a different genre or medium, two theories treating the same topic; a theory and a case study or other object, etc.

How to Teach It: Framing + Practice

Framing multi-source writing assignments (comparative analysis, research essays, multi-modal projects) is likely to overlap a great deal with "Why It's Useful" (see above), because the range of reasons why we might use these kinds of writing in academic or non-academic settings is itself the reason why they so often appear later in courses. In many courses, they're the best vehicles for exploring the complex questions that arise once we've been introduced to the course's main themes, core content, leading protagonists, and central debates.

For comparative analysis in particular, it's helpful to frame assignment's process and how it will help students successfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls presented by the genre. Ideally, this will mean students have time to identify what each text seems to be doing, take note of apparent points of connection between different texts, and start to imagine how those points of connection (or the absence thereof)

  • complicates or upends their own expectations or assumptions about the texts
  • complicates or refutes the expectations or assumptions about the texts presented by a scholar
  • confirms and/or nuances expectations and assumptions they themselves hold or scholars have presented
  • presents entirely unforeseen ways of understanding the texts

—and all with implications for the texts themselves or for the axes along which the comparative analysis took place. If students know that this is where their ideas will be heading, they'll be ready to develop those ideas and engage with the challenges that comparative analysis presents in terms of structure (See "Tips" and "Common Pitfalls" below for more on these elements of framing).

Like single-source analyses, comparative essays have several moving parts, and giving students practice here means adapting the sample sequence laid out at the " Formative Writing Assignments " page. Three areas that have already been mentioned above are worth noting:

  • Gathering evidence : Depending on what your assignment is asking students to compare (or in terms of what), students will benefit greatly from structured opportunities to create inventories or data sets of the motifs, examples, trajectories, etc., shared (or not shared) by the texts they'll be comparing. See the sample exercises below for a basic example of what this might look like.
  • Why it Matters: Moving beyond "x is like y but also different" or even "x is more like y than we might think at first" is what moves an essay from being "compare/contrast" to being a comparative analysis . It's also a move that can be hard to make and that will often evolve over the course of an assignment. A great way to get feedback from students about where they're at on this front? Ask them to start considering early on why their argument "matters" to different kinds of imagined audiences (while they're just gathering evidence) and again as they develop their thesis and again as they're drafting their essays. ( Cover letters , for example, are a great place to ask writers to imagine how a reader might be affected by reading an their argument.)
  • Structure: Having two texts on stage at the same time can suddenly feel a lot more complicated for any writer who's used to having just one at a time. Giving students a sense of what the most common patterns (AAA / BBB, ABABAB, etc.) are likely to be can help them imagine, even if provisionally, how their argument might unfold over a series of pages. See "Tips" and "Common Pitfalls" below for more information on this front.

Sample Exercises and Links to Other Resources

  • Common Pitfalls
  • Advice on Timing
  • Try to keep students from thinking of a proposed thesis as a commitment. Instead, help them see it as more of a hypothesis that has emerged out of readings and discussion and analytical questions and that they'll now test through an experiment, namely, writing their essay. When students see writing as part of the process of inquiry—rather than just the result—and when that process is committed to acknowledging and adapting itself to evidence, it makes writing assignments more scientific, more ethical, and more authentic. 
  • Have students create an inventory of touch points between the two texts early in the process.
  • Ask students to make the case—early on and at points throughout the process—for the significance of the claim they're making about the relationship between the texts they're comparing.
  • For coordinate kinds of comparative analysis, a common pitfall is tied to thesis and evidence. Basically, it's a thesis that tells the reader that there are "similarities and differences" between two texts, without telling the reader why it matters that these two texts have or don't have these particular features in common. This kind of thesis is stuck at the level of description or positivism, and it's not uncommon when a writer is grappling with the complexity that can in fact accompany the "taking inventory" stage of comparative analysis. The solution is to make the "taking inventory" stage part of the process of the assignment. When this stage comes before students have formulated a thesis, that formulation is then able to emerge out of a comparative data set, rather than the data set emerging in terms of their thesis (which can lead to confirmation bias, or frequency illusion, or—just for the sake of streamlining the process of gathering evidence—cherry picking). 
  • For subordinate kinds of comparative analysis , a common pitfall is tied to how much weight is given to each source. Having students apply a theory (in a "lens" essay) or weigh the pros and cons of a theory against case studies (in a "test a theory") essay can be a great way to help them explore the assumptions, implications, and real-world usefulness of theoretical approaches. The pitfall of these approaches is that they can quickly lead to the same biases we saw here above. Making sure that students know they should engage with counterevidence and counterargument, and that "lens" / "test a theory" approaches often balance each other out in any real-world application of theory is a good way to get out in front of this pitfall.
  • For any kind of comparative analysis, a common pitfall is structure. Every comparative analysis asks writers to move back and forth between texts, and that can pose a number of challenges, including: what pattern the back and forth should follow and how to use transitions and other signposting to make sure readers can follow the overarching argument as the back and forth is taking place. Here's some advice from an experienced writing instructor to students about how to think about these considerations:

a quick note on STRUCTURE

     Most of us have encountered the question of whether to adopt what we might term the “A→A→A→B→B→B” structure or the “A→B→A→B→A→B” structure.  Do we make all of our points about text A before moving on to text B?  Or do we go back and forth between A and B as the essay proceeds?  As always, the answers to our questions about structure depend on our goals in the essay as a whole.  In a “similarities in spite of differences” essay, for instance, readers will need to encounter the differences between A and B before we offer them the similarities (A d →B d →A s →B s ).  If, rather than subordinating differences to similarities you are subordinating text A to text B (using A as a point of comparison that reveals B’s originality, say), you may be well served by the “A→A→A→B→B→B” structure.  

     Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how many “A→B” moves you have in you.  Is each one identical?  If so, you may wish to make the transition from A to B only once (“A→A→A→B→B→B”), because if each “A→B” move is identical, the “A→B→A→B→A→B” structure will appear to involve nothing more than directionless oscillation and repetition.  If each is increasingly complex, however—if each AB pair yields a new and progressively more complex idea about your subject—you may be well served by the “A→B→A→B→A→B” structure, because in this case it will be visible to readers as a progressively developing argument.

As we discussed in "Advice on Timing" at the page on single-source analysis, that timeline itself roughly follows the "Sample Sequence of Formative Assignments for a 'Typical' Essay" outlined under " Formative Writing Assignments, " and it spans about 5–6 steps or 2–4 weeks. 

Comparative analysis assignments have a lot of the same DNA as single-source essays, but they potentially bring more reading into play and ask students to engage in more complicated acts of analysis and synthesis during the drafting stages. With that in mind, closer to 4 weeks is probably a good baseline for many single-source analysis assignments. For sections that meet once per week, the timeline will either probably need to expand—ideally—a little past the 4-week side of things, or some of the steps will need to be combined or done asynchronously.

What It Can Build Up To

Comparative analyses can build up to other kinds of writing in a number of ways. For example:

  • They can build toward other kinds of comparative analysis, e.g., student can be asked to choose an additional source to complicate their conclusions from a previous analysis, or they can be asked to revisit an analysis using a different axis of comparison, such as race instead of class. (These approaches are akin to moving from a coordinate or subordinate analysis to more of a hybrid approach.)
  • They can scaffold up to research essays, which in many instances are an extension of a "hybrid comparative analysis."
  • Like single-source analysis, in a course where students will take a "deep dive" into a source or topic for their capstone, they can allow students to "try on" a theoretical approach or genre or time period to see if it's indeed something they want to research more fully.
  • DIY Guides for Analytical Writing Assignments

For Teaching Fellows & Teaching Assistants

  • Types of Assignments
  • Unpacking the Elements of Writing Prompts
  • Formative Writing Assignments
  • Single-Source Analysis
  • Research Essays
  • Multi-Modal or Creative Projects
  • Giving Feedback to Students

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Writing a law school research paper or law review note

  • Books and articles

Examples of student papers

The three documents listed below were written by 2Ls for the Indiana International & Comparative Law Review. If you are writing for a seminar or an independent study, your parameters might be a little different, but these serve as good examples of general expectations for what can satisfy the advanced writing requirement.  

  • Ancient Water Law in a Modern Crisis: An Analysis of Australian Water Law Reform in the United States Context
  • Seizing the Initiative on Sexual Assault in the United States Military: The Way Forward
  • Striking a Balance: Extending Minimum Rights to U.S. Gig Economy Workers Based on E.U. Directive 2019/1153 on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions
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How to write a comparative essay

A step-by-step guide with instructions, outlines, and samples

Writing a great comparative essay means highlighting the similarities and differences between two things in a systematic manner. Start by choosing the parameters (items) to compare, write an outline, and fill in the details for each section. Make sure to have an introduction and conclusion.

The comparative essay is one form of document that you will probably be expected to write at some point over the course of your college career. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a thorough overview of the comparative essay. Specific things that will be addressed include:

Purpose of the comparative essay

Explanation of comparative models, how to analyze subjects, elements of a good comparative essay, how to write a great comparative essay.

  • Samples/examples
  • Best practices and advice
  • Additional information

By the end of this article, you should feel more confident about your own knowledge of what a comparative essay is and the best ways to go about writing one (if you haven't decided to buy a comparative essay from Ultius ).

How to write a comparative essay

The fundamental purpose of a comparative essay is to elaborate the similarities and differences between two things in a systematic manner.

An effective comparative essay will leave the reader with much greater clarity about the natures and properties of the things that have been compared.

This could potentially serve as a basis for making a decision in favor of one or the other thing.

A comparative essay is different from, for example, an argumentative essay in that the comparative essay does not make a case for either of the two things under comparison. Rather, the point is to simply set up the comparison so that the reader will have as much information about the two things as possible.

Why are comparative essays important?

The comparative essay is an important form of document because when you have to make a decision or choose a side in an argument, you will want to know as much as possible about the two options under consideration—and a good comparative essay on the subject can bring out both the similarities and the differences between the options, thereby clarifying the stakes at play.

For example, a comparative essay could address the similarities and differences between any of the following pairs:

  • The Republican Party and the Democratic Party
  • Christianity and Marxism
  • The Big Bang and creationism
  • The Light or Dark side of the Force from Star Wars
  • The revolutionary and the reformist perspectives on social change

By developing a comparative essay on any of these pairs, you can not only understand each item of under comparison is a more thorough way, you can also get closer to figuring out which item you prefer.

For example, a solid comparative essay on revolution vs. reformism could not only help you understand what each of these items entails, it can also help you figure out whether you would rather be a revolutionary or a reformist. Likewise, if you only have time to binge watch one show, then a comparative essay could help you figure out whether you would prefer to go with Game of Thrones or Westworld .

When writing a comparative essay, there are several models you can use in order to ensure that you set up your comparison as effectively as possible.

Venn diagram

The Venn diagram is a classic, and surely, you're familiar with it. This is the model of two overlapping circles, where each circle belongs to one item of comparison: features shared by both items (similarities) go in the overlapping middle zone, whereas features that are not shared go in the outer areas. For example, here is a Venn diagram that compares humans against gorillas.

Venn diagram comparing humans and gorillas.

When using the Venn diagram model, it is important to note that the differences must be symmetrical. In other words, every difference you list on one side of the comparison must be matched by a difference on the other side.

For example, if you were comparing Apple and Amazon, then for the parameter of "founder," you can list "Steve Jobs" in one circle and "Jeff Bezos" in the other. But it wouldn't make sense if you just listed one or the other: you must list something for each of the items of comparisons under the selected parameter of comparison.

In the Venn diagram above, the first parameter is "language," so for humans it is listed that we have a capacity of language, whereas for gorillas it is listed that they do not.

You don't need to worry about this kind of symmetry when it comes to the similarities, since you will list the same thing for both items of comparison (which means you only have to list it once, in the overlapping zone). In the example, above, the fact that both humans and gorillas are mammals is thus listed just once in the middle.

The dialectical method

The dialectical method is important within the discipline of philosophy, and it has been used to great effect by thinkers such as Socrates and Hegel and Kierkegaard.

This involves holding two ideas or items in tension with each other, to better clarify not only the ideas themselves but also the dynamic relationship that exist between the ideas. The first idea is called the thesis , and the second idea is called the antithesis .

For example, Romanticism could be dialectically compared against the Enlightenment that came before it, because Romanticism was in some ways a rejection of the previous worldview.

Need help?  Essay writing services from Ultius can help you produce a great sample compare and contrast essay.

So, by setting up a comparison between Romanticism and the Enlightenment, it becomes possible to see both the continuities (or similarities) between the one and the other, as well as the contradictions (or differences) between them.

Berlin, Isaiah. The Roots of Romanticism . Princeton: Princeton U P, 2013. Print.

From the table above, it is clear that we are able to understand both Romanticism and the Enlightenment better if we set them up in terms of dialectical contrast.

Clearly, they are different in some important ways (logic vs. passion, for example), but we can also see that they are in continuity with each other (both happened in Western Europe and responded to previous developments). This comparison also leads one to wonder about whether it would be possible to make a synthesis that takes the best from both the thesis and the antithesis

A good comparative essay can lead one to ask such questions and pursue such lines of inquiry.

To analyze your subjects for a comparative essay, you need to identify clear parameters, or axes, in terms of which your two selected items can be compared. For example, in the table above, Romanticism and the Enlightenment were compared along the axis of " epistemology ". But that axis won't be relevant to all subjects.

Your job when preparing to write a comparative essay is to identify the specific axes that are relevant for the items that you are comparing. Why is the comparison interesting, and what insights are you trying produce? The answers to those questions will determine how you decide to frame your comparison.

For example, we could compare the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) against the Democratic Party in terms of the axis of membership. This would reveal that the DSA has far fewer registered members than does the Democratic Party.

We could also compare them on the axis of healthcare policy, where it may be found that the DSA and the Democratic Party agree about the importance of universal coverage. When we look at the axis of economics, though, we may find that the DSA is much more radical in its proposals than the Democratic Party.

The problem of identifying relevance

In principle, any one thing in the world could be compared with any other thing in the world. For example, you could compare your shoe with the moon, and conclude that one similarity is that they both exist within the Milky Way galaxy.

But this would be a meaningless point (even if it may make for some interesting poetry). It is important for you to figure out what exactly you are trying to determine through your comparative essay. What is your purpose for writing it?

This will help you choose two items where setting up a dialectical contrast between them will produce actual insight, and it will also help you to choose the proper parameters by which to compare those items.

For example, suppose that you are running a business, and there are two expansion options open in front of you. It would be logical for you to compare and contrast these options, since this will help ensure that you are making your decision with as much knowledge and insight as possible.

Business associates meeting around a laptop.

Likewise, one parameter that you are sure to consider is: which option will make your business the most money? If you pick parameters that are meaningless, then you will obtain no real insight that can help you make the important decision.

Using a rubric

Once you have identified both the two items of comparison and the axes along which they will be compared, you can proceed to analyze the items by applying the axes in the form of a table or rubric.

This is what has been done, for example, in the tables that have been developed above in this article. In the left-most column, list the parameters you have selected in order to compare your items. Then, in the top-most row, list the items.

Then go ahead and list the relevant details for each parameter for each of the two items. This will produce a table where you can see how each item measures up against the other for each parameter.

The important thing is to be systematic when you are making your comparison: it should not seem random or arbitrary. Thus, it is important to carefully select both the items and the parameters for comparison, and then to proceed to address each item/parameter combo in turn.

There are several elements that are a part of any good comparative essay.

Effective selection of items

A strong comparative essay has well-chosen items for comparison, with the comparison producing actual insights of value through the juxtaposition of the two items. If the items appear to be chosen for no apparent reason, or if the comparison does not in fact produce insight, then the comparative essay would be quite weak (or at any rate pointless).

The comparative essay is not meant to make an argument in favor of one thing or another, but it is meant to produce knowledge and insight about the two things under comparison. In order to compare and contrast items in an effective way, the two items must be different enough from each other, but they should also not be so different that it just feels absurd to even compare them at all.

Effective selection of parameters of comparison

A good comparative essay not only includes well-selected items of comparison, it also includes well-selected parameters of comparison. Between any two selected items, you could theoretically make an endless number of comparisons.

But a good comparative essay identifies parameters of comparative in terms of salience , or the reasons why anyone would be interested in the comparison in the first place. This can be difficult, because in principle, any comparison could be interesting, depending on the audience of the comparative essay and the intended purpose of the essay.

Twelve sided die displaying the zodiac

For example, one could use the parameter of zodiac sign to compare Romantic artists against Enlightenment artists.

This could be very interesting to people who are very serious about the zodiac, but it would probably seem ridiculous to just about everyone else.

But if you were writing for an audience of zodiac fanatics, then this comparison could actually be a success.

So, there is no parameter of comparison that is "inherently" bad. Rather, the point is to find parameters that highlight specific salient aspects of the selected items.

For example, when comparing Romanticism against the Enlightenment, core values would be a solid parameter of comparison, because that will surely help produce insights about how worldviews changed from the one paradigm to another.

Strong organizational structure

If you want your comparative essay to be a success, then it absolutely must have strong organizational structure . This is because an effective comparison must be easy for your reader to follow. It can't just jump all over the place at random, which not only be confusing but could also result in the reader forgetting what the point of the comparison was in the first place.

In general, there are two ways in which you can organize your comparative essay. In the first format, each of the parameters would be considered in the section for similarities and the section for differences.

In the first format the comparative essay is organized in terms of similarities and differences, whereas in the second format the essay is organized in terms of parameters of comparison.

One version of the comparative essay compares the similarities and differences between subjects

In the second format, both similarities and differences would be considered within each of the parameter sections.

The second version of the comparative essay compares the parameters of both the similarities and differences

Both these are formats are good, and a strong comparative essay could be built around either one.

The important thing is to have a clear system and to not make your comparisons random.

There needs to be an organizational structure that your reader can easily follow.

There are steps you can follow in order to ensure that your comparative essay has all the elements that will be required in order to make it great.

Ask yourself about your intention

If you have selected two items for your comparative essay, then you should start by asking yourself why you selected those two items. What is it about the two items that made you think it would be a good idea to compare them? (Or if you were assigned the two items, then why do you think those items were selected by your professor?)

The point here is that the items selected for a comparative essay are non-random. They are selected because that specific comparison should be able to yield interesting insights (unlike research papers ).

For example, if you are writing a comparative essay on the dogs vs. cats, then are you writing this from the perspective of evolutionary biology? Or are you perhaps writing it in order to inform potential pet owners who are debating whether they want a dog or a cat?

The purpose of your essay will determine what parameters you will select in order to compare your two items. This means that you should have an intended audience in mind, and you should also have specific questions you would like to know more about.

In short, in order to develop effective parameters for your comparative essay, you have to ask yourself why you are writing it and who would be interested in the insights produced by the essay. This can help ensure you select both appropriate items and appropriate parameters for comparison.

Develop a structural outline

It is very important that you do not just jump into your comparative essay and start writing it without a plan. That is a recipe for disaster, and the comparisons will almost certainly turn out random and confusing. Rather, you should begin with a solid outline .

A good outline will do three main things:

  • 1. Identify the selected items of comparison in the introduction/thesis
  • 2. Utilize one of the two organizational formats described above
  • 3. Provide a roadmap for how you intend to systematically follow through on the comparison

For example, here is how an outline could look for a comparative essay on Romanticism vs. the Enlightenment.

Sample outline of a comparative essay about Romanticism and the Enlightenment

In this sample outline, the format that is used dedicates a paragraph to each of three parameters of comparison, and both similarities and differences are addressed for each of those parameters.

This is the kind of logical flow that you will need to have in order for your comparative essay to turn out great.

Write in a systematic way

A comparative essay is not a place to get too creative with your writing, whether in terms of organization or in terms of style.

Rather, you should focus on simply carrying out your comparison, point-by-point and in a way that is easy for your reader to follow. This can get a little tedious, so if that is a problem for you, then you should make sure that you set aside enough time to work on your comparative essay little by little.

For example, if your essay has three parameters, then you could write a section on the first parameter today, the second parameter tomorrow, and the third parameter the next day.

The important thing is for you to ensure that you consider each of your two selected items in terms of each of your selected parameters. This needs to be done in a smooth and logical manner, such that your reader knows where you are in the comparison. There should be no jumping around, and there should be no departure from the basic format or structure.

Example comparative (compare/contrast) essay

Best practices/tips.

We have now arrived at the end of this guide, and you should have a much better idea of what makes a comparative essay successful and how you can go about writing one. It may be helpful to now summarize some of the main points that have been addressed here.

Let's address five main points.

1. Ensure that you select appropriate items for comparison

The two items that will be compared in your comparative essay should be carefully selected. The items should have some shared features and be in the same "class" of items, but they should also have substantial differences to which you are trying to call attention. If the items are too similar, then there would be no point in the comparison, but if they are too different, that can also make the comparison meaningless.

2. Select effective parameters of comparison

Your comparative essay shouldn't compare anything and everything between your two items; rather, the parameters should be specifically selected to highlight specific, salient similarities and differences. In order to determine what parameters would be effective, you have to ask yourself why you are writing your comparative essay and what sort of insights you intend to produce about the items being compared.

3. Use tools and models in an effective way

The Venn diagram is one tool that can be very helpful in conceptualizing your comparative essay, especially if you are a more visual kind of learner. Tables, rubrics, and outlines will also work to help ensure that you are developing a strong backbone of logic and systematic reasoning for your comparative essay. These and other tools may even help you reconsider your initial choices of items and parameters, if you realize that significant insights are not being produced.

4. Choose an organizational format, and stick with it

There are two main ways in which to structure an effective comparative essay, which have been described above. You can dedicate one section to similarities and one section to differences; or, you can dedicate a section to each of the parameters of comparison. This second option is usually more effective, especially if you are new to comparative essays. But either way, it is crucial that you stick to your chosen format and do not jump around and confuse the reader.

5. Seek assistance if you need it

If you are still uncertain about how to write a successful comparative essay, then Ultius is here to help. Our writer help section has many tools like this one available on various types of essays; we have a huge writer help section that contains all sorts of information on pretty much any writing-related questions you may have; and we also have elite professional writers who can produce a sample comparative essay for you on any subject of your choosing. We are here for you, and if you have any further questions about how to write a comparative essay, then you should feel free to reach out.

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How to Write a Comparative Essay

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,684,416 times.

Perhaps you have been assigned a comparative essay in class, or need to write a comprehensive comparative report for work. In order to write a stellar comparative essay, you have to start off by picking two subjects that have enough similarities and differences to be compared in a meaningful way, such as two sports teams or two systems of government. Once you have that, then you have to find at least two or three points of comparison and use research, facts, and well-organized paragraphs to impress and captivate your readers. Writing the comparative essay is an important skill that you will use many times throughout your scholastic career.

Comparative Essay Outline and Example

how to write a comparative law essay

How to Develop the Essay Content

Step 1 Analyze the question or essay prompt carefully.

  • Many comparative essay assignments will signal their purpose by using words such as "compare," "contrast," "similarities," and "differences" in the language of the prompt.
  • Also see whether there are any limits placed on your topic.

Step 2 Understand the type of comparison essay you are being asked to write.

  • The assignment will generally ask guiding questions if you are expected to incorporate comparison as part of a larger assignment. For example: "Choose a particular idea or theme, such as love, beauty, death, or time, and consider how two different Renaissance poets approach this idea." This sentence asks you to compare two poets, but it also asks how the poets approach the point of comparison. In other words, you will need to make an evaluative or analytical argument about those approaches.
  • If you're unclear on what the essay prompt is asking you to do, talk with your instructor. It's much better to clarify questions up front than discover you've written the entire essay incorrectly.

Step 3 List similarities and differences between the items you are comparing.

  • The best place to start is to write a list of things that the items you are comparing have in common as well as differences between them. [3] X Research source

Step 4 Evaluate your list to find your argument.

  • You may want to develop a system such as highlighting different types of similarities in different colors, or use different colours if you are using an electronic device.
  • For example, if you are comparing two novels, you may want to highlight similarities in characters in pink, settings in blue, and themes or messages in green.

Step 5 Establish the basis for your comparison.

  • The basis for your comparison may be assigned to you. Be sure to check your assignment or prompt.
  • A basis for comparison may have to do with a theme, characteristics, or details about two different things. [7] X Research source
  • A basis for comparison may also be known as the “grounds” for comparison or a frame of reference.
  • Keep in mind that comparing 2 things that are too similar makes it hard to write an effective paper. The goal of a comparison paper is to draw interesting parallels and help the reader realize something interesting about our world. This means your subjects must be different enough to make your argument interesting.

Step 6 Research your subjects of comparison.

  • Research may not be required or appropriate for your particular assignment. If your comparative essay is not meant to include research, you should avoid including it.
  • A comparative essay about historical events, social issues, or science-related topics are more likely to require research, while a comparison of two works of literature are less likely to require research.
  • Be sure to cite any research data properly according to the discipline in which you are writing (eg, MLA, APA, or Chicago format).

Step 7 Develop a thesis statement.

  • Your thesis needs to make a claim about your subjects that you will then defend in your essay. It's good for this claim to be a bit controversial or up for interpretation, as this allows you to build a good argument.

How to Organize the Content

Step 1 Outline your comparison.

  • Use a traditional outline form if you would like to, but even a simple list of bulleted points in the order that you plan to present them would help.
  • You can also write down your main points on sticky notes (or type them, print them, and then cut them out) so that you can arrange and rearrange them before deciding on a final order.

Step 2 Use a mixed paragraphs method.

  • The advantages of this structure are that it continually keeps the comparison in the mind of the reader and forces you, the writer, to pay equal attention to each side of the argument.
  • This method is especially recommended for lengthy essays or complicated subjects where both the writer and reader can easily become lost. For Example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X / Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 2: Stylishness of vehicle X / Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X / Safety rating of vehicle Y

Step 3 Alternate the subjects in each paragraph.

  • The advantages of this structure are that it allows you to discuss points in greater detail and makes it less jarring to tackle two topics that radically different.
  • This method is especially recommended for essays where some depth and detail are required. For example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y

Step 4 Cover one subject at a time thoroughly.

  • This method is by far the most dangerous, as your comparison can become both one-sided and difficult for the reader to follow.
  • This method is only recommended for short essays with simplistic subjects that the reader can easily remember as (s)he goes along. For example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y

How to Write the Essay

Step 1 Write your essay out of order.

  • Body paragraphs first . Work through all that information you've been compiling and see what kind of story it tells you. Only when you've worked with your data will you know what the larger point of the paper is.
  • Conclusion second . Now that you've done all the heavy lifting, the point of your essay should be fresh in your mind. Strike while the iron’s hot. Start your conclusion with a restatement of your thesis.
  • Intro last . Open your introduction with a "hook" to grab the reader's attention. Since you've already written your essay, choose a hook that reflects what you will talk about, whether it's a quote, statistic, factoid, rhetorical question, or anecdote. Then, write 1-2 sentences about your topic, narrowing down to your thesis statement, which completes your introduction.

Step 2 Write the body paragraphs.

  • Organize your paragraphs using one of the approaches listed in the "Organizing the Content" part below. Once you have defined your points of comparison, choose the structure for the body paragraphs (where your comparisons go) that makes the most sense for your data. To work out all the organizational kinks, it’s recommended that you write an outline as a placeholder.
  • Be very careful not to address different aspects of each subject. Comparing the color of one thing to the size of another does nothing to help the reader understand how they stack up. [15] X Research source

Step 3 Write the conclusion...

  • Be aware that your various comparisons won’t necessarily lend themselves to an obvious conclusion, especially because people value things differently. If necessary, make the parameters of your argument more specific. (Ex. “Though X is more stylish and powerful, Y’s top safety ratings make it a more appropriate family vehicle .”)
  • When you have two radically different topics, it sometimes helps to point out one similarity they have before concluding. (i.e. "Although X and Y don't seem to have anything in common, in actuality, they both ....”)

Step 4 Write the introduction...

  • Even the best writers know editing is important to produce a good piece. Your essay will not be your best effort unless you revise it.
  • If possible, find a friend to look over the essay, as he or she may find problems that you missed.
  • It sometimes helps to increase or decrease the font size while editing to change the visual layout of the paper. Looking at the same thing for too long makes your brain fill in what it expects instead of what it sees, leaving you more likely to overlook errors.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

  • The title and introduction really catch the reader's attention and make them read the essay. Make sure you know how to write a catchy essay title . Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 1
  • Quotes should be used sparingly and must thoroughly complement the point they are being used to exemplify/justify. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 2
  • The key principle to remember in a comparative paragraph or essay is that you must clarify precisely what you are comparing and keep that comparison alive throughout the essay. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2

how to write a comparative law essay

  • Avoid vague language such as "people," "stuff," "things," etc. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • Avoid, at all costs, the conclusion that the two subjects are "similar, yet different." This commonly found conclusion weakens any comparative essay, because it essentially says nothing about the comparison. Most things are "similar, yet different" in some way. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • Some believe that an "unbalanced" comparison - that is, when the essay focuses predominantly on one of the two issues, and gives less importance to the other - is weaker, and that writers should strive for 50/50 treatment of the texts or issues being examined. Others, however, value emphasis in the essay that reflects the particular demands of the essay's purpose or thesis. One text may simply provide context, or historical/artistic/political reference for the main text, and therefore need not occupy half of the essay's discussion or analysis. A "weak" essay in this context would strive to treat unequal texts equally, rather than strive to appropriately apportion space to the relevant text. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Beware of the "Frying Pan Conclusion" in which you simply recount everything that was said in the main body of the essay. While your conclusion should include a simple summary of your argument, it should also emphatically state the point in a new and convincing way, one which the reader will remember clearly. If you can see a way forward from a problem or dilemma, include that as well. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

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About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a comparative essay, start by writing an introduction that introduces the 2 subjects you'll be comparing. You should also include your thesis statement in the introduction, which should state what you've concluded based on your comparisons. Next, write the body of your essay so that each paragraph focuses on one point of comparison between your subjects. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and draws a larger conclusion about the two things you compared. To learn how to do research for your essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Comprehensive Criminal Law Essay? A Complete Guide

Criminal law is all about setting the rules and regulations for society related to what’s legally allowed and what’s not. Students pursuing this study mainly focus on various legislative approaches set for the criminal world. But when it comes to writing a criminal law essay, it gets tricky because it demands you to work on its legal rules and analyse them carefully. Students mostly find it extremely tough due to no room for a mistake there.

The following are some important statistics related to criminal law:

  • The market size of legal services in 2024 is $786.51 billion , which will grow by a CAGR of 4.52%, reaching 08 billion during 2024-2029.
  • The market size of crime risk reports was USD 6 billion in 2023 , which will grow to 10.12 billion by 2024 , with a CAGR of 17.7%.

Coming back towards criminal law essay writing, even the most intelligent students sometimes get lower grades in such tasks. It mostly happens due to a lack of knowledge and skills and not getting enough guidance from the instructors. In such cases, getting assistance from expert essay writers is preferable. They have the best essay writing skills, which is crucial for criminal law and morality essays to ensure 100% success.

In this step-by-step guide, we will discuss writing a perfect criminal law essay and also explore its topics and trending questions.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Criminal Law Essay Writing

Wondering how to write a criminal law essay? Follow the steps given below for a complete guide on your essay writing:

Just like the initial preparations that we often do before a function, essay writing also demands prewriting preparations. It is the phase in which students spend select their topic of research and make a proper plan to write their essays. However, you need to carefully select a topic of your choice for your criminal law essay. Right after selecting your essay topic, you should start doing research on it to cover this topic from every aspect. It will help you to fully understand your topic which will help you in the writing phase.

After that, make a proper structure for your essay and write a first draft of it. Then, give proper time for its editing and proofreading phase for success. You should also explore some strong and weak points of your topic to add more value to your essay. By following all these prewriting steps, you will be ready to start moving towards the actual essay writing.

Criminal Law Essay Structure

Just like any other law essay, criminal law also demands a complete focus on the basic essay structure to cover all the necessary criminal law essay questions and answers. For proper structure and formatting, you should consult your institute for the guidelines. A common structure that we often use for essay writing consists of the following parts:

  • Abstract (if needed)


  • Three or more body paragraphs
  • Analysis of your sources
  • Conclusions
  • Reference page

Start with Research and Analysis

Every masterpiece comes from extensive research on the topic. So, if you are serious about getting the best grades in your criminal law essay, you need to spend more time on this research phase to have a thorough understanding of the topic. In this journey, you should follow all the relevant books, literature, news, articles, journals, case laws and legal documents. Along with it, don’t forget to note down important points side by side related to your topic that you may need later.

After compiling all the data, you should examine the information for further investigation. You should find something crazy for your topic, like legal hearings, relevant case studies and arguments. Critically look at this available data from different aspects and note down all the advantages and disadvantages given in it.

Compose Your Essay Perfectly

For essay writing, you should look at the structure we have discussed above. The first step was writing a title page that mostly consisted of your name, essay topic, submission date, level of education and the name of your institute. After that, if your teachers require you to write an abstract, you should summarise the whole essay in one page for it. Then, the actual part of essay writing begins with an introduction that ends at the conclusion part.

To properly structure your criminal law essay, you should strictly follow these guidelines:

It is the actual beginning of your essay that focuses on the purpose of your study. First of all, introduce your topic of discussion, discuss the questions you will cover and then state your aims for this study. You should clearly add your thesis statement to clarify your main points of study here.

Your introduction should not be boring or confusing because it is the part that will attract your readers and encourage them to read it till the end. So, make the start of your criminal law essay engaging as much as you can.

Background Data

Here, you should add the research data relevant to your topic, such as background knowledge of the laws, case law, and legal precepts. This part shows that you have done enough research and know everything about your topic. So, to express your knowledge, you should understand it first and then state and prove your arguments with the already existing data.

Main Body Section

This is the middle part of your criminal law essay, which mostly consists of 3 or more paragraphs, typically depending on your topic and essay length. Make short and purposeful paragraphs here to concentrate on a different facet of the subject every time.

Also, provide a coherent and logical presentation of your points backed up by research-based data. During this whole process, you should keep focussing on creating a logical flow among all these paragraphs.

Analysis and Discussion

To properly discuss your topic, you should critically analyse all the legal points and arguments made in the essay’s main body. Analyse the advantages and disadvantages of each argument and discuss them as neutral. Your one-sided response will ruin your whole criminal law essay, so avoid doing such acts. Instead, you should discuss everything clearly to ensure your success in it.

It is the last writing phase where you should summarise the whole essay in a few words. It is not the abstract where we only present a summary. No, a good conclusion also includes a thesis statement and also highlights the main results of your essay. But at this point, you should avoid adding any new information because it will leave a negative impact. Furthermore, always prefer to focus on the importance of your results and also discuss the recommendations for further research here.

Add Proper References

Just like any other type of academic writing, criminal law essays also have some data from the existing knowledge that needs proper citations. You may have added a few points as proof of your answers. If you write them without giving credit to their actual authors, it will lead you towards plagiarism. Instead of doing this crime, we prefer to add references to all the data borrowed from others.

It will not only help you to avoid plagiarism but also adds more value and credibility to your criminal law essay. To add these references, you should use your institute’s citation style that your instructors have provided. It may include Chicago, MLA, APA, Harvard or any other. Furthermore, you should be consistent throughout this phase and use the same style for all the references used.

Go Through Editing and Proofreading

After finishing your first draft, give yourself some rest to ease your brain and nerves. After that, start revising and editing your criminal law essay with a fresh mind. You should read aloud to point out mistakes in your writing. To edit and proofread it well, you should mainly focus on removing all the typos, grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. Also, make sure that you have properly followed your institute’s writing, citation and formatting styles.

For this purpose, you can also seek law essay writing help from a legal resource, as they have years of experience in this field. They have all the expertise to write and edit your essay excellently and ensure your top grades through their work.

Top 8 Criminal Law Essay Topics

We understand that finding the right topic becomes difficult for law students especially when they working on their criminal law essay. So, to ease your burden, we have come up with a list of unique but trending topics in this field. The following are the top 8 criminal justice essay topics:

  • Criminal Justice System Racism Issues
  • Exploring the Role of Voluntary and Involuntary Actions in Criminal Law
  • The Controversy Surrounding Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Comparing Key Differences and Implications for Civil Cases and Criminal Law
  • Delving into the Intersection of Morality and the Law in Criminal Justice Research
  • Understanding the Law Enforcement and Ramifications for Unlawful Killing
  • Analysing the Ethical, Legal, and Practical Considerations for the Death Penalty
  • Exploring the Purpose of Criminal Law Protection

Criminal Law Essay Examples

The following is an example taken from research about criminal law essay writing. Robin Antony Duff from the University of Stirling is its author:

How to Answer a Criminal Law Essay Question?

As a law student, you must understand the basics behind criminal law and should have the essay-writing skills needed to solve the required questions. So, do you have a question to answer in your criminal law essay? Follow the following simplest guide on how to answer such questions:

  • First of all, you should read the assigned essay topic or question many times to understand what you have asked.
  • If there are some facts or stats given, read and try to understand them.
  • You should mainly focus on the legal issue that your question is talking about.
  • Think about or even write some relevant laws that you know about such criminal issues discussed in the given question.
  • After that, you should list and analyse the important facts related to that particular legal problem.
  • Match the law to the facts and analyse what the outcome would be based on this combination.
  • In case you don’t understand what to do, you can seek guidance from UK-based essay writing services .

What is Criminal Law, and What is its Role?

Criminal law covers a wide range of legal matters, from minor offences to serious crimes like murder and fraud. American Public University defines criminal law as behaviours that threaten people’s safety and well-being. Within criminal law, there are various types of crimes, such as murder, theft, drug offences, and fraud, each with its own penalties.

The goal of criminal law is to keep society safe from harm caused by criminal acts. It is meant to stop individuals from doing crimes by punishing criminals for these false acts. It also helps to change their behaviours for an overall positive impact on society.

What is the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Law Essays?

  • Civil law: Civil law deals with the common disputes happening between two people or companies. In this type, the victim needs to compensate the affected ones. For example, Landlord issues, property disputes, divorce, and personal injury all come under civil law.
  • Criminal law: This is the branch of law that deals with the crimes or criminal offences that are committed against the whole population or society. As a result, those criminals get legal punishments from law establishment. For example, incarceration, fines and the death penalty in some major cases.

Bottom Line

We all are aware of the fact that criminal law plays a vital role in our society to upload various laws. When law students get to write on such an important topic, they mostly get poor grades in these criminal law essays.

So, we thought to provide you with a comprehensive guide about this essay writing that no one has discussed before. It will help you to simplify your essay writing process and make it more interesting. By following these expert tips and step-by-step guide, you will be all set on a journey towards success.


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  1. Tips for writing a comparative essay: step-by-step guide

    Brainstorm your ideas and gather evidence: Before crafting your thesis, spend time brainstorming and gathering evidence for your points of comparison. This will help you formulate a strong, well-supported argument. 2. Make a claim: Your thesis statement should make a claim or take a position on the topic of your essay.

  2. Comparative Law Research Guide: Getting Started

    Comparative law is a method of legal study comparing legal systems with each other. As the world has become smaller through the effects of globalization, scholarship in comparative law has also expanded. This guide contains helpful resources that will aid students in researching their scholarly paper topic on comparative law.

  3. How to Do Comparative Law

    1. Comparative law involves drawing explicit comparisons, and most non-comparative foreign law writing could be strengthened by being made explicitly comparative. The first clause of this principle may seem to verge on tautology, but it is amazing how much writing about foreign law is not explicitly.

  4. PDF Introduction to the Comparative Method

    best accomplish these goals through my general comparative law course. Accordingly, this essay will explore my pedagogical approach to comparative law. I have taught comparative law at the University of Florida College of Law for fourteen years. For the past five, I have used my own selected and edited texts

  5. The Methodology of Comparative Law

    My proposal for comparative methodology consists of these steps: Rule 1 consists of acquiring the skills of a comparativist. That skill calls for immersion in the culture under review, linguistic knowledge, and the application of neutral, objective, and evaluative skills. Rule 2 will apply comparative skill to evaluate the external law ...

  6. PDF The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law

    Comparative Law. We can only claim to understand another legal system when we know the cultural and social context that surrounds the positive law in which lawyers are trained. To avoid ethnocentricity and superficiality, we must go beyond judicial decisions, doctrinal writings, and the black-letter law of codes and statutes, and probe the ...

  7. PDF 1 Comparing law: practice and theory

    One reason why viewing comparative law as disciplined practice may be useful, is because it obviates the need to formulate a definitive answer to the perennial question of whether there is such a thing as the com-parative method,4 or to the equally controversial question of whether there is anything more to comparative law than mere ...

  8. How to Do Comparative Constitutional Law?

    The use of comparative analysis to express skepticism about judicial power, constitutional design, and the status quo of liberal democracy, by opening up the range of possibilities, is squarely in the best traditions of comparativism, and it continues to be much needed. At the same time, these concerns also reflect Mark's experience and ...

  9. The Comparative Method

    This chapter examines the methods used in comparative law. Today, functional comparison is considered the classic form of comparative law. The vast majority of comparative studies follow this method and the quality of any given comparative law study is often judged according to its principles. According to Zweigert and Kötz, the fundamental ...

  10. Comparative Essay

    The foremost step in writing a comparative essay is to choose a suitable topic. Choose a topic or theme that is interesting to write about and appeals to the reader. An interesting essay topic motivates the reader to know about the subject. Also, try to avoid complicated topics for your comparative essay. Develop a List of Similarities and ...

  11. Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

    Making effective comparisons. As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place. For example, you might contrast French ...

  12. The Comparative Essay

    A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare. 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)

  13. 4.1: Introduction to Comparison and Contrast Essay

    The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. Comparison and contrast is simply telling how two things are alike or different. The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both.

  14. Comparative law essay

    A civil law judge cannot compliment or modify the law through their interpretation; the power is restricted to the applied text of law. 11 Common law judges also have to abide by statute and stick to precedent but when issues arise there is greater scope to modify the law.

  15. Comparative Essay

    How to Write a Comparative Essay. 1. Pick a basis for your comparison. You need a specific basis for your comparison. Without one, there will be too much information to research. Your assignment guidelines may already include a scope of focus for you to write about. If not, your basis should be an idea, category, or theme that applies to each ...

  16. Comparative Analysis

    Comparative analyses can build up to other kinds of writing in a number of ways. For example: They can build toward other kinds of comparative analysis, e.g., student can be asked to choose an additional source to complicate their conclusions from a previous analysis, or they can be asked to revisit an analysis using a different axis of comparison, such as race instead of class.

  17. Writing a law school research paper or law review note

    The three documents listed below were written by 2Ls for the Indiana International & Comparative Law Review. If you are writing for a seminar or an independent study, your parameters might be a little different, but these serve as good examples of general expectations for what can satisfy the advanced writing requirement.

  18. How To Write A Comparative Essay

    Writing a great comparative essay means highlighting the similarities and differences between two things in a systematic manner. Start by choosing the parameters (items) to compare, write an outline, and fill in the details for each section. Make sure to have an introduction and conclusion. The comparative essay is one form of document that you ...

  19. PDF OMPARISONS Making Comparisons

    Comparative Essay Sometimes you have to take the ideas and concepts of comparison and channel them into a fully developed essay. In sociology, for instance, you might have to write a paper that compares your generation to an earlier one. This is an example of a comparative essay. You should treat a comparative essay just like any other

  20. How to Write a Comparative Essay (with Pictures)

    2. Use a mixed paragraphs method. Address both halves of the comparison in each paragraph. This means that the first paragraph will compare the first aspect of each subject, the second will compare the second, and so on, making sure to always address the subjects in the same order.

  21. Comparative Legal Studies

    When one is comparing different legal systems, one is striving to discover these differences. It can be said that the basic methodological principle of all comparative law is that of functionality.From this basic principle stem all the other rules which determine the choice of laws to compare.

  22. Traditionally Comparative Law Essay

    Traditionally Comparative Law Essay. The scope of comparative law has been extensive. While traditionally comparative law is concerned with comparing laws of different countries, it is now widely acknowledged that the comparative method can be applied in different ways to different levels, forms, stages or aspects of regulation with a view to ...

  23. How to Write a Comprehensive Criminal Law Essay? A Complete Guide

    Coming back towards criminal law essay writing, even the most intelligent students sometimes get lower grades in such tasks. It mostly happens due to a lack of knowledge and skills and not getting enough guidance from the instructors. In such cases, getting assistance from expert essay writers is preferable. They have the best essay writing ...

  24. Announcing the 2024 Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual

    Prof (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer 1976-2019; taken at NUJS, Kolkata circa 2009. Celebrating our founder Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer's 48th birth anniversary, SpicyIP is thrilled to announce the 2024 edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law! As many would know, his intellectual passion and incessant curiosity continues to inspire and motivate the…