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Sep 21, Organize the literature review into sections that present themes or Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e.g. on Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established?.

These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare. 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. 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.

Basics of Thesis Statements

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.

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. If your thesis statement deals with, say, political corruption, and says that "U. Senators are far more corrupt today than they were a century ago, but over similar issues," your essay will discuss similarities in objects of corruption -- graft, kickbacks -- and how they have not changed, but you will then discuss the different degrees of corruption between historical periods.

NROC Developmental English Foundations

Notice that the compare and contrast elements of your thesis, separated by "but," allow for this. Outside comparison and contrast shows one thing to be different from another thing. Again, your thesis provides focus and argues two separate elements: "Harvard's law department, as expensive as Yale's, is nevertheless a superior program. You can blend outside elements with time elements also; one to compare, one to contrast. Compare and contrast perception thesis statements examine a given reality against the way it is perceived.

Again, the focus of the thesis determines not only what elements are compared and contrasted, but the depth and breadth of the essay the thesis will produce. You need to keep these methods of organization in mind as you plan how to arrange the information you have gathered in an outline. An outline is a written plan that serves as a skeleton for the paragraphs you write. When you write, your goal is not only to complete an assignment but also to write for a specific purpose—perhaps to inform, to explain, to persuade, or a combination of these purposes.

Your purpose for writing should always be in the back of your mind, because it will help you decide which pieces of information belong together and how you will order them. In other words, choose the order that will most effectively fit your purpose and support your main point. Table 5. For an essay question on a test or a brief oral presentation in class, all you may need to prepare is a short, informal outline in which you jot down key ideas in the order you will present them. This kind of outline reminds you to stay focused in a stressful situation and to include all the good ideas that help you explain or prove your point.

The expectation is you will build your paper based on the framework created by the outline. When creating outlines, writers generally go through three stages: a scratch outline , an informal or topic outline , and a formal or sentence outline. The scratch outline is basically generated by taking what you have come up with in your freewriting process and organizing the information into a structure that is easy for you to understand and follow for example, a mind map or hierarchical outline.

An informal outline goes a step further and adds topic sentences, a thesis, and some preliminary information you have found through research. A formal outline is a detailed guide that shows how all your supporting ideas relate to each other. It helps you distinguish between ideas that are of equal importance and ones that are of lesser importance. If your instructor asks you to submit an outline for approval, you will want to hand in one that is more formal and structured.

The more information you provide for your instructor, the better he or she will be able to see the direction in which you plan to go for your discussion and give you better feedback. Instructors may also require you to submit an outline with your final draft to check the direction and logic of the assignment. If you are required to submit an outline with the final draft of a paper, remember to revise it to reflect any changes you made while writing the paper. There are two types of formal outlines: the topic outline and the sentence outline.

You format both types of formal outlines in the same way.


  • The Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement: Prework.
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Use Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. Here is what the skeleton of a traditional formal outline looks like. The indention helps clarify how the ideas are related. In an outline, any supporting detail can be developed with subpoints. For simplicity, the model shows subpoints only under the first main point.

Formal outlines are often quite rigid in their organization. As many instructors will specify, you cannot subdivide one point if it is only one part. For example, for every Roman numeral I, there needs to be an A.

Compare and Contrast Thesis Example

For every A, there must be a B. For every Arabic numeral 1, there must be a 2.


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  8. See for yourself on the sample outlines that follow. Constructing Informal or Topic Outlines An informal topic outline is the same as a sentence outline except you use words or phrases instead of complete sentences. Words and phrases keep the outline short and easier to comprehend.

    All the headings, however, must be written in parallel structure. Here is the informal topic outline that Mariah constructed for the essay she is developing.

    Her purpose is to inform, and her audience is a general audience of her fellow college students. Notice how Mariah begins with her thesis statement. She then arranges her main points and supporting details in outline form using short phrases in parallel grammatical structure.

    How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

    This checklist can help you write an effective topic outline for your assignment. It will also help you discover where you may need to do additional reading or prewriting. Do I have three or more main points that I want to make in this piece of writing? Does each main point connect to my controlling idea? Is my outline in the best order—chronological order, spatial order, or order of importance—for me to present my main points? Will this order help me get my main point across?

    Do I need to make any adjustments in my working thesis statement before I consider it the final version? Word processing programs generally have an automatic numbering feature that can be used to prepare outlines. This feature automatically sets indents and lets you use the tab key to arrange information just as you would in an outline. Although in business this style might be acceptable, in college or university your instructor might have different requirements. Be sure to observe correct outline form, including correct indentions and the use of Roman and Arabic numerals and capital letters.

    Collaboration: P lease share with a classmate and compare your outline. Refer to the previous exercise and select three of your most compelling reasons to support the thesis statement. Remember that the points you choose must be specific and relevant to the thesis. The statements you choose will be your primary support points, and you will later incorporate them into the topic sentences for the body paragraphs. A sentence outline is the same as a topic outline except you use complete sentences instead of words or phrases.

    Complete sentences create clarity and can advance you one step closer to a draft in the writing process. The information compiled under each Roman numeral will become a paragraph in your final paper. If you think that a paragraph might become too long, add an additional paragraph to your outline, renumbering the main points appropriately.

    As you are building on your previously created outlines, avoid saving over the previous version; instead, save the revised outline under a new file name.

    How to Create a Thesis for a Compare & Contrast Essay

    This way you will still have a copy of the original and any earlier versions in case you want to look back at them. PowerPoint presentations, used both in schools and in the workplace, are organized in a way very similar to formal outlines. PowerPoint presentations often contain information in the form of talking points that the presenter develops with more details and examples than are contained on the PowerPoint slide. Expand the topic outline you prepared in Self — Practice Exercise 5.

    In this outline, be sure to include multiple supporting points for your main topic even if your topic outline does not contain them. The method of organization you choose for your essay is just as important as its content. Without a clear organizational pattern, your reader could become confused and lose interest. The way you structure your essay helps your readers draw connections between the body and the thesis, and the structure also keeps you focused as you plan and write the essay.

    Choosing your organizational pattern before you outline ensures that each body paragraph works to support and develop your thesis. When you begin to draft your essay, your ideas may seem to flow from your mind in a seemingly random manner. Your readers, who bring to the table different backgrounds, viewpoints, and ideas, need you to clearly organize these ideas in order to help process and accept them.

    A solid organizational pattern gives your ideas a path that you can follow as you develop your draft.