Steps You Need to Take to Write a Good Compare/Contrast Paper 1. Read and understand the assignment sheet. Ask questions. 2. Brainstorm about two or three different topics that you are considering. Use some of the freewriting, questioning, or listing techniques that we have practiced, or use the Inspiration software in the Writing Center. 3. Look at your ideas and consider the pros and cons of each possible topic. Pick the one that seems most appropriate for the assignment and that interests you most. (Remember, the “easiest” topic often doesn’t turn out to be the easiest, so don’t let that influence your decision too much.) 4. Once you have decided on your topic, skim through your notes from The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change and type up a list of quotes that pertain to your topic. Include the page numbers. 5. Do some additional research on Proquest or on the websites that I have included on my webpage. Do not use wikipedia or waste time with random googling. 6. Read the articles that you find and type up your notes and quotes (with references). 7. Now, turn to the compare/contrast handout. Spend a little time (say ½ hour) looking through your notes and brainstorming. Make a chart of the similarities and differences. Make a list of possible points you could use for a point-by-point paper. Finally, pick an outline format. 8. Create a topic sentence outline for your paper. Remember, a topic sentence outline is when you write out a complete sentence for each point. This sentence usually becomes the topic sentence for your paragraph. For instance, instead of just having “Effects of Good Study Habits” as the point in my outline, I would write out this complete sentence that actually makes a complete point: “Good study habits can have an even more pronounced effect on a student’s grade than their critical thinking ability, especially if the course is based on multiple-choice exams.” This is clearly an argument, for we could disagree about it. This is a great time to see a tutor in the Writing Center. Run your outline by them and discuss it before you spend more time on the paper. Remember, they are open on Saturdays. Another option might be to exchange outlines with another student over email and have an email discussion to help each other. Of course, you could also always visit the ogre who lives in C156D. She will be there on Wednesday after class and Monday from 10:15 to 12:15. 9. Once you have a good outline, it should make writing the rough draft a lot easier. Double check your introduction to see if it includes all the points that an intro should have (hook, background info, statement of topic, thesis.) Also, make sure that you put your quotes in proper MLA form and that you do a works cited. It usually makes it easier to do the works cited first, because then you know what to put into the parentheses in the body of your paragraph. Remember: It’s a lot easier to do this well the first time so that you don’t have to redo your paper completely! It’s crunch time, so plan wisely!