Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.
Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.
|Dominant from the 1920s to the 1950s||Rose to prominence in the 1960s|
|Mental processes cannot be empirically studied||Mental processes as focus of study|
|Focuses on how thinking is affected by conditioning and environment||Focuses on the cognitive processes themselves|
Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.