Paper 2 will be a 3- to 5-page comparative analysis of two or three aspects of two similar
objects, works, places, etc. of your choosing.
The paper is to be formatted in MLA style, and must be between 3 and 5 FULL pages
long. It must be written as a formal academic paper in high style. We will discuss how to
write in high style as we work on the paper.
An analysis is a detailed examination of the elements of a person, place, or thing. When
we analyze, we break the subject of the study into component parts and examine each
component in detail.
A comparative analysis, therefore, is a detailed examination of components of two or
more people, places, or things to determine how they are similar, different, or both.
It is important to learn to write good comparative analysis papers because many college
assignments require this style of writing. For example, assignments might ask students to
do the following:
 Discuss how meiosis differs from mitosis.
 Discuss how the Union’s preparedness for the Civil War differed from the
Confederacy’s preparedness.
 Compare the heroes in The Epic of Gilgamesh to the heroes in The Iliad.
In responding, students would look at the various components of the two topics and
discuss them in detail, focusing on similarities and differences. For example, a student
might look at the heroes in The Epic of Gilgamesh and the heroes in The Iliad and
provide detailed discussions of their relationships to the gods in the works, their egotism,
and their bravery.
This paper is not to be an evaluative analysis. You are not to make judgments as to
which of the two people, places, or things you compare is better. Formal evaluation is a
different genre that requires that writers establish criteria for evaluation and justify the
criteria as valid. Academic evaluation papers require research in order to establish
accepted criteria, which is beyond the scope of this paper. While you may prefer one

person, place, or thing over the other, that choice might be a matter of taste, and matters
of taste are not appropriate for formal academic discussion.
Paper 2 should discuss two items in the category of your choosing. Do not conduct
research. Choose people, places, or things that you are very familiar with and compare
only observable features. Virtually any topic interesting to you would be appropriate for
the paper.
Make sure you choose two items you know very well. Choosing complicated topics you
are not familiar with will hurt your grade, not help it. A paper comparing components
of two internal combustion engines will not earn a higher grade than a paper comparing
winter to summer simply because the topic is more complicated.
Some example topics might be:
 A specific type of pizza from two different restaurants (e.g. pepperoni pizza from
Pizza Hut and from Dominoes)
 Two musical groups or performers (e.g. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande)
 Two creative works such as books, movies, and television shows in a specific
genre, such as two medical dramas, two situation comedies, two science fiction
works, or two action/adventure works (e.g. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre)
 Two classic muscle cars (e.g. classic Mustang and Corvette)
 Two jobs in the same field (e.g. phlebotomist and EKG technician)
 Two vacation spots (e.g. New York City and Los Angeles as vacation locations,
not cities to live in)
 Two breeds of dogs as pets (e.g. dachshund and doberman)
These are simply sample topics to provide you with some ideas of the type of topic you
may choose. You are in no way limited to these topics. If you are uncertain whether a
topic you are considering is appropriate, don’t hesitate to email me through CANVAS
and ask. 
However, keep your audience in mind when choosing a topic. Remember that the
audience for this paper is ALL U.S. college students. That would include some readers
who might have taken advance courses in some college disciplines and might know more
about the topic than you do. Make sure that you don’t make any incorrect statements.
But the audience will also most likely include readers who are not familiar with your
topic. The most important factor in any communication is that the audience must be
able to understand it. We MUST identify and/or explain any concepts our readers might
not be familiar with. Do not choose a topic that would require so much explanation of
terms, processes, and functions that the explanations take up so much space in the paper

that it makes the paper difficult to follow in terms of comparing aspects. Choosing a
complicated topic that requires too much explanation will hurt your grade, not help it.
Please notice that you will be expected to define most jargon and/or terms associated
with the topic. You cannot assume that ALL U.S. college students know what you know.
Make sure you do not choose a topic that is so rife with jargon that it would take too
much space to define it.
Rhetorical Situation
Paper 2 is to be written as a formal informative discussion addressed to college students
in the United States. We can assume that readers share some knowledge of major cultural
and pop cultural topics but are not necessarily familiar with the details. In particular, we
are to assume that they may never have looked at and compared the components of the
two people, places, or things analyzed.
Because the paper is to be a formal academic paper, it will be written in high style as
defined in materials provided on CANVAS. Direct quotes should be used only when
absolutely necessary and should be very rare.
Except in direct quotes, the following should be avoided:
 First-person pronouns such as I, we, me, us, our, mine, etc.
 Second-person pronouns such as you, your, and yours
 Contractions
 Slang
 Informal language
 Clichés
Check your Initial Submission Draft against the list above before submitting it to
ensure you avoid these forms.
While learning exactly what is meant by “informal language” takes practice, avoiding
first- and second-person pronouns and contractions is not rocket science. Anyone who
compares their paper to this assignment sheet as you are assigned to do should find it
very easy to correct those errors. More than one or two occurrences of any of these in
your paper will be taken as an indication that you did not compare the paper to this
assignment sheet, as you are assigned to do. That might cost you extra points as well as
lowering your grade for language and style in the rubric.
For this paper, you are to focus on two and only two people, places, or things to compare,
and you are to compare only two or three components of the people, places, or things

compared. The paper is to be a developed discussion of two or three components, not a
shopping list of all of the components that can be compared. For example, there are
numerous components to any automobile, but a paper comparing two classic muscle cars
should provide a detailed discussion of only two or three components, such as engine
size, interior design, and body styling, not brief discussions of seven or eight
This paper also is to include a formal thesis statement, and we will study how to write
thesis statements while preparing this paper.
Paper 2 is to be developed with details about two or three components of two people,
places, or things. Because it is a comparative analysis of similar people, places, or things,
the same components should be developed for each of the two items discussed.
The discussion of the two people, places, or things should be about equal in length and
depth. The paper should not focus more on one person, place, or thing than the other, and
the discussion of each should be developed equally.
In addition, the paper should be developed with observable details about the people,
places, or things discussed. The “research” for this paper is simply interacting with the
people, places, or things, and the information should be based on what you directly
observe or observed in your interactions. Do not conduct research. Material gathered
from research must be documented in very specific ways in formal academic papers, and
In general, it is best to avoid assumptions in attempts to explain why differences occur
unless the assumption is not likely to be disputed. For example, mentioning that advances
in technology explain the difference between two devices from different eras would be an
assumption that often would be difficult to dispute, so it would be all right to include that
information in your paper.
It is important to keep in mind that, depending on the topic you choose, your readers
might need definitions and explanations of specialized terms and functions. However, do
not provide more detail in defining and explaining than readers need in order to
understand the points being compared.
For example, a paper comparing the work of a phlebotomist to the work of an EKG
technician might include a discussion of the stress involved in each position. Readers
might need a brief discussion of the process of drawing blood from the arm of a 3-month-
old baby in order to make the inherent stress clear, but they would not need a detailed
discussion of every step of blood collection. Similarly, they might need some explanation
of how EKGs reveal a heart attack in progress, but they would not need to know

everything about an EKG tracing. Keep your readers’ needs in mind when choosing
how much detail to include in definitions and explanations.
There are two organizational schemes that are appropriate in comparative analysis, and
which scheme writers choose depends to some degree on whether they are comparing the
same components of the items or concepts compared. For Paper 2, you are to compare
the same components of the people, places, or things discussed, so point-by-point
organization is appropriate.
Point-by-point comparative analysis is organized according to the components discussed.
The first component presented is discussed for one person, place, or thing and then for
the other person, place, or thing. The second component is then discussed for one person,
place, or thing and then for the other person, place, or thing. The same person, place, or
thing is always discussed first.
The organizational scheme is better explained through example than through exposition.
As an example, let’s say the writer Ima Goodstudent is writing a comparative analysis of
apples and oranges, and she decides to compare their appearance, their nutritional value,
and their uses in cooking. Here’s how the thesis and scratch outline for her paper might
Thesis statement: Although they are both popular fruits, apples and oranges differ
in their appearance, their nutritional values, and their uses in cooking.
 Broad statement introduction ending with thesis
 Apples’ appearance
 Oranges’ appearance
 Apples’ nutritional value
 Oranges’ nutritional value
 Apples’ uses in cooking
 Oranges’ uses in cooking
Notice that the major divisions are based on components; appearance is discussed first,
nutritional value is discussed second, and uses in cooking is discussed third. Note that the
components are listed in the thesis in the same order that they are discussed in the paper.
This is one aspect of parallelism, and your paper needs to demonstrate parallelism, as we
will discuss when we study how to write thesis statements.
Within those three major divisions, the details for each are discussed for both apples and
oranges. Notice that apples are always discussed first, and oranges are always discussed
second, including in the thesis statement. This is another aspect of parallel organization,
and you are expected to maintain parallelism throughout the paper.

However, it is important to note that comparative analysis papers are organized
differently if different components are discussed. We will study material that discusses
both organizational schemes. It is important to learn both because you will need to know
how to use those organizational patterns in other courses.
One aspect of organization that cannot be demonstrated in an outline but would be
Apparent in the paper itself is the use of emphatic organization. When we use emphatic
organization, the least important aspect is discussed first, and the most important aspect is
discussed last. Other aspects are also ranked in order of importance. In most cases, which
aspect is considered least and most important depends on the point the writer is
attempting to make in his or her paper. Generally, the most important aspect is
supported by the most detail, so the last section of the paper is usually longer than
other sections or is, at least, not significantly shorter than other sections.
Language and Style
As noted above, Paper 2 is to be written in high style, meaning there should be no first- or
second-person pronouns, contractions, slang, informal language, or clichés. It is to follow
the guidelines for high style in your textbook.
The paper is to be formatted in MLA style and submitted in Microsoft Word.
Please examine the LANGUAGE AND STYLE section of the grading rubric to
determine other factors that will be considered.

Paper 2 Grading Rubric
The following rubric will be used to grade the Initial Submission Draft of Paper 2, which
is a comparative analysis. The same criteria will be used in evaluating P2 as part of your
portfolio if you choose to include it in the portfolio.
The following will serve as a guideline to help you determine how each criterion rates in
terms of a letter grade. Of course, only the final score on the paper is recorded, but I
know it’s often helpful if we can make judgments based on A, B, C, D and F.

Criterion Points Earned
Includes consideration of the following factors:
 Good thesis statement with plan of development appears
at the end of the introduction
 Paper focuses on two and only two people, places, or
 Paper focuses on two or three components of items
 Paper is focused sufficiently to meet length requirements
 No off-topic information is included
 Each paragraph is focused on a single idea

Criterion Points Earned
 Information in each paragraph supports the idea
discussed in that paragraph
 Other focus problems demonstrated by the paper
Includes consideration of the following factors:
 Paper is between 3 and 5 full pages long in 12 pt. Times
New Roman
 Paper is developed with specific, clear details of the
components discussed for each person, place, or thing
 The development of the two people, places, and things is
roughly equivalent, and approximately the same amount
of space is devoted to the discussion of each
 Definitions and explanations are developed appropriately
to meet readers’ needs
 Paper does not leave the reader with unanswered
questions that could/should have been answered
 Other development problems demonstrated by the paper
Includes consideration of the following factors:
 Paper opens with an appropriate introduction that ends
with a good thesis statement including a plan of
 Paper uses point-by-point organization correctly
 Paper uses emphatic organization correctly
 Parallel organization is maintained throughout the paper
from introduction through conclusion
 Paragraphs are used correctly
 Transitions between paragraphs are handled well
 Transitions between sentences are handled well
 The paper includes an appropriate conclusion
 Other organization problems demonstrated by the paper
Language and Style
Includes consideration of the following factors:
 Paper is formatted in MLA style
 Paper uses high style
 There are few direct quotes
 Language is appropriate for audience
 Paper is free of sentence fragments
 Paper is free of run-ons and comma splices
 Paper has few errors in verb usage
 Paper has few errors in pronoun usage
 Paper has few errors in sentence structure such as
misplaced modifiers, dangling constructions, and faulty

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