Point-by-Point Method – Compare & Contrast Essay

The Point-by-Point method alternates arguments about the two items (A and B) that you are comparing and/or contrasting. The pattern is as follows:
o Point 1 – discuss A
o Point 1 – discuss B
o Discussion about overall links between A and B
o Point 2 – discuss A
o Point 2 – discuss B
o Discussion about overall links between A and B
o Etc.

This method is often easier for a reader to follow because similarities and differences are more obvious when placed next to each other. For this reason, writers generally use this method for longer essays.
Please Note: This method, like the Block method, only offers an outline for the body of an essay. Remember, you also need to include an effective introduction and conclusion.

POINT-BY-POINT METHOD OUTLINE EXAMPLE:

Thesis: John Stewart Mill and Michael Bakunin both support three of the basic principles of democracy (government by the people, tolerance, and equality); however, they support them to different degrees and for different reasons.

POINT 1

Paragraph 1: Mill believes that the majority makes moral decisions.
Paragraph 2: Bakunin believes that public opinion should be the basis of society’s decisions, which is slightly different
than Mill’s understanding of a moral majority.

POINT 2

Paragraph 3: Mill argues that complete open-mindedness always benefits society.
Paragraph 4: Unlike Mill, Bakunin allows freedom of expression to be limited by public opinion.

POINT 3

Paragraph 5: Mill claims that we are all equal because mere accident determines what worldview we are born into.
Paragraph 6: As with Mill, Bakunin extends equality to all and embraces diversity.