How Do I Choose the Best Comparison Essay Topics?

Valerie Clark

To choose the best comparison essay topics, define two ways of obtaining the same result or explain how two seemingly different outcomes are related. The first approach is known as a situational essay topic and is based on circumstances. The alternative is a compare-and-contrast approach based on extremes. The trick to choosing the best comparison essay topics is to decide on the most appropriate framework and highlight the similarities and differences between two options. It also helps to pick a topic of interest to you, because you likely will know more about the topic and find the research to be more interesting than if the topic were of no interest.

Pre-writing exercises may be beneficial for students who have trouble thinking of essay topics.
Pre-writing exercises may be beneficial for students who have trouble thinking of essay topics.

In situational comparison essay topics, the similarities may be that the end result of a decision is the same despite the differences noted along the way. For example, you could consider writing a composition about two different driving routes that lead to the same place. One route may be scenic while the other is not. The scenic route likely takes longer and may use more fuel while the other route is less scenic but faster and may be more fuel efficient. You could list advantages and disadvantages of each route and conclude the essay by pointing out that both routes will get you to the same place.

Another example of a situational comparison topic for essay writing can be framed around education. The end result may be a bachelor’s degree, but the track to get there can be different for every person. Consider the similarities and differences in the U.S. between a bachelor of arts (BA) degree and a bachelor of science (BS) degree. Both curricula will include liberal arts classes such as language, literature and history; however, a BA degree requires far less math and science than a BS degree. In the end, the decision to follow a BA or a BS track depends on each student, yet both degrees are considered equal by most employers.

With comparison essay topics that compare and contrast two related yet different subjects, it is best to choose two extremely different subjects such as heat therapy and cold therapy for muscle tension. In terms of education, you could compare home schooling to public school. While these two are extremely different, you may be able to develop a common ground by discussing private school as a happy medium.

Comparison essay topics that involve two extremes present challenges for writing with a natural flow and prose. Finding a common ground is just one of many writing tips for transitioning from one extreme to the other. The development of a college graduate makes a comparison essay topic that will allow you to develop each side of the story and tie the two together with the period of transition. This essay topic can be structured chronologically with the two extremes being before and after college.

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