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 Critical Thinking
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Critical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing, Second Edition
John Chaffee et al.
Writing Projects
Chapter 7: Comparing Perspectives on an Issue or Event

Write an essay comparing and contrasting two or more written texts that present different perspectives on the same event or issue. Your primary purpose is to present some significant insights about the perspectives and the texts.


Purpose: You will be developing your comparison and contrast thinking skills.

Audience: Besides yourself, your peers, and your instructor, you may be able to find a wide audience for your work. The audience will depend to some degree on what issue you are working with. If it is an issue surrounded by current debate, check whether a local newspaper, or your school newspaper, might be interested in publishing your work. That might give you some extra motivation to write a really top-notch paper.

List some ideas of possible publications here.

Subject: As you compare and contrast perspectives, consider the source—or the "text"—for each of the perspectives. Are the texts the same or different?

Writer: This assignment is less concerned with your personal opinion as it is with your ability to analyze the perspectives of others as they are expressed in the texts you've chosen.

Generating Ideas: Get as comfortable as possible with the texts you've chosen. Reread them several times, making notes as you do so regarding possible points of comparison and contrast.

Make some rough notes in this space.

Defining a Focus: State clearly whether you are setting out to compare or contrast or do both. Also, specify the perspectives themselves very clearly. Make some notes.

Make some notes.

Organizing Ideas: Consider using block or point-by-point structure to organize your comparison/contrast. In block structure you present ideas about one text and then about the other. In point-by-point, you move back and forth between the texts.

Try a rough outline in one structure or the other. (Note: Tabbed indents are not available in the textbox below.)

Drafting: Be sure that each of your claims is supported with evidence from one (or maybe both) of the texts you are using. Keep good notes, and annotate the texts themselves; draw attention to key phrases you can use as supporting evidence.

Revising: At this point, if you've used a point-by-point structure, consider what the effect of revising into a block format might be, and vice versa. Ask yourself if you've used the most effective format for your work.

Editing and Proofreading: Be sure that your quotations from the texts are accurate and documented correctly.

Submit your answers
Either print your answers out for submission or email them to your instructor.