Relevance helps determine which characteristics are worth comparing and contrasting.
Your thesis will help you determine the relevance, or irrelevance, of facts. This is a sentence that lets the reader know the topic and the argument the writer is making.
In a science course, topics could be based on comparing and contrasting two species of plants or animals, or comparing one theory in a given subject area to another theory.
Within a history course, an instructor could assign an essay that compares two historical figures, two time periods, two wars, or even two types of government.
Prewriting allows the writer to get ideas and details down on paper before writing paragraphs.
A Venn diagram can be used to sort the information.
The thesis statement will help keep the writing focused on just a few ideas that are based on the overall topic.
The topic for a compare and contrast essay will likely be determined by the subject or course that a student is enrolled.
For example, in a social studies course, a class is working on a unit about the places where people live: rural, urban, and suburban.
The instructor assigns everyone a compare and contrast essay on life in a city compared to life on a farm. A strong, well-written, and organized compare and contrast essay will show the instructor that the writer understands the differences between life in the city and life on the farm.