Academic Evaluations

Using Comparison and Contrast Effectively

In order to make comparison and contrast function well in evaluation, it is necessary to be attentive to: 1) focusing on the item or concept under consideration and 2) the use of evidence in comparison and contrast.

When using comparison and contrast, writers must remember that they are using comparable items or concepts only as a way of demonstrating the worth of the main item or concept under consideration. It is easy to lose focus when using this technique, because of the temptation to evaluate two (or more) items or concepts rather than just the one under consideration.

It is important to remember that judgments made on the basis of comparison and contrast need to be supported with evidence. It is not enough to assert that "La Cocina's chile is even more fiery and flavorful than Manuel's." It will be necessary to support this judgment with evidence, showing in what ways La Cocina's chile is more flavorful: "Manuel's chile relies heavily on a tomato base, giving it an Italian flavor. La Cocina follows a more traditional recipe which uses little tomato and instead flavors the chile with shredded pork, a dash of vinegar, and a bit of red chile to give it a piquant taste."

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Introduction