The purpose of a comparative essay is to fully explore one or more topics from every possible angle to identify similarities or differences between topics. The writer is not called upon to support any one idea over another but simply to provide a logical assessment of the facts and present statements based on the evidence provided. Here is a quick guide to the structure of a comparative essay:
In this first paragraph you outline your purpose and introduce the reader to your situation. Give a slight explanation of each topic you plan to explore as well as the methods used to collect information. You can end this first paragraph with a small introduction into the second paragraph by touching on the next topic of discussion.
In the main body of your essay you must present each side of your study and the information associated which each one. Be thorough in both your collection and presentation of information and do so in an objective manner. You must also explain the methods used to collect your data and give reason for selecting your chosen methods over the rejected ones.
Now that you have presented your data to the reader, proceed to analyze these data points. Give detailed explanation of the possible implications of each point, using examples wherever possible, to further develop your ideas. Again, it is necessary to be objective, you are not required to be persuasive in a comparative essay.
After analyzing the data, it should be a simple task identifying the similarities and differences between items. In this second to last section of your paper, show the reader how everything mentioned relates to your initial statement or question. Be very clear when stating your interpretations of the data, objectivity is key to a good paper. Any person reading your paper should be able to follow your logic.
This is the final paragraph of your essay and in this section you must make a statement of conclusion. This may simply be a repeat of the introductory statement or it can be entirely original, derived from the analyzed data. Your conclusion must be short and to the point. The conclusion is usually a statement of declaration, declaring a truth fully supported by evidence. Be sure to formulate your conclusion based only on evidence presented in your essay to ensure it leaves the reader with a sense of completion after having read your work.