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41 Ideas for Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

 What Is Compare And Contrast Essay

It is an analytical paper about similarities and/or differences between two objects. Compare and contrast essay topics for college students concern primarily abstract objects, such as ideas, theories, methodologies, cultural phenomena, and various arguable issues. The aim is not only to point out what such objects have in common or how they differ from each other. Foremost, you need to provide compelling arguments for every point you make.


In the basis of a good compare and contrast essay are two things: a topic and structure. Sometimes your task can include a precise topic for an essay. If you have to brainstorm a topic on your own, you should take the process seriously since your topic choice defines the success of the whole work. Good compare and contrast topics concern disputable standpoints or principles. You need to take a time to choose the topic that fits your subject and interests and makes a space for a discussion.

Second important aspect of writing a good essay is a proper text structure. This type of essay is regarded as the most difficult and time-consuming papers after dissertations and 5,000-word research papers. For this reason, you should mind the structure of this essay. An order of your paragraphs isn’t the only thing that matters. It is also the essence of each statement you write.

Well, let’s take a closer look at the choosing process of compare and contrast essay topics. In the second part of the post, you’ll find a description of essay structure and its types.


Good Compare and Contrast Topics

I’ve prepared 41 topic ideas for you, sorted out by category of knowledge. For each category, you’ll find a list of comparing essays examples with the proper essay samples by the link. Besides, you’ll find examples of how to analyze the things to compare and contrast.

Social and Legal Issues

Questions of social norms and order can help you to shape decent comparison essay topics. Like philosophical issues, the questions of this category require profound research and time to be considered. However, the results will pay back all your efforts.


  1. Capitalism vs. Socialism
    + Both systems insist on labor and capital as central economic forces. Besides, in theory, they both consider democracy as an optimal political regime.
    While capitalism presupposes free market conditions, a socialistic economy is centralized and controlled.
  2. Individualism vs. Collectivism
  3. Populism vs. Progressivism
  4. Inclusion vs. Segregation
  5. Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare


Regardless of the original complexity, it is a winning move to choose a philosophical issue to discuss in your essay. They are popular and arguable and, therefore, it is relatively easy to find the needed literature and materials to write about.

 Ethical theory: Immanuel Kant vs. John Stuart Mill

  1. + They both insisted on the existence of a universal moral principle.
    For Kant such principle could be justified only by reason, without appealing to experience. Mill asserted that the principle is based on practice.

  2. Plato vs. Aristotle
  3. Freedom vs. Predestination
  4. Matriarchy vs. Patriarchy
  5. Modernity vs. Westernization


This category is also a goldmine of comparison and contrast essay topics. The range of religion issues is wide and bright, so you can pick the one that is both interesting for you and promising as a research subject.


  1. Islam vs. Christianity
    + Both Islam and Christianity are worldwide monotheistic religions that have originated from the Middle East.
    — Based on different scriptures (Quran for Islam and Bible for Christianity). While Christians consider their God as Trinity, in Islam God is strictly singular.   

  2. Biblical vs. Humanistic
  3. Buddhism vs. Christianity
  4. Creationism vs. Darwinism
  5. Mahabharata And Ramayana 

Personal Outlook

There are no limits for your fantasy to come up with comparative essay topics when it comes to daily outlook questions. We have asked ourselves this type of questions lots of times, so it won’t be difficult to think up an original and urgent issue to consider in an essay.   

  1. Marriage vs. Living Together
    + In both cases, you share your living space with another person (significant other) with whom you have close relationships, based on trust and romance.
    Unlike cohabitation, marriage is based on legal requirements and formal obligations between partners.
  2. Vegetarian Diets vs. Eating Meat
  3. Passion vs. Reason
  4. Living In A House vs. Living In An Apt
  5. Living On A Farm vs. Living In The City

Science and Technologies

To provide a credible research on a scientific issue, you must be sure that you understand the subject well and the topic you choose is feasible. Below are some compare/contrast essay topics that fit both levels of high school and college writing tasks.



  1. Tesla vs. Edison
    + They both were great engineers and inventors, who lived long life (over 80 years)
    While Tesla’s achievements and inventions belong to him alone, Edison had multiple workers who and assistants who helped him in his work. That is one of the reasons why Edison's work records are hundred times bigger in scope than Tesla’s.   

  2. Technology vs. Humanity
  3. Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable Energy
  4. Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research in Scientific Study
  5. Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments


  1. Online vs. Traditional Education
    + Both ways of studying include using textbooks, formal assessments and quizzes, assignments, and teacher's instructions.
    While online education is mostly quite inexpensive or even free, studying on campus requires lots of financial investments. On the other hand, unlike learning online, it gives the opportunity for direct social interactions.
  2. Nature vs. Nurture
  3. Homeschooling vs. Public Education
  4. Mathematics Project & Game Based Learning vs. Traditional Repetition Learning
  5. Language Acquisition vs. Language Learning

Culture and aesthetic issues

  1. Idealistic vs. Naturalistic Art
    + Both approaches to an art claimed to be fundamental views on life and its representation in art.
    While naturalistic art is aimed to represent the reality as it is, even with the exaggeration of the ‘realistic’ part of it, idealism in art celebrates imagination and encourages to express ideas of beauty and perfection.

  2. Medieval Literature vs. Renaissance Literature
  3. Art vs. Design
  4. Contemporary vs. traditional of architecture design
  5. Americans vs. Spanish Culture

Work, Management, and Economics


  1. Union vs. Non-union Workplace
    + In both types of workplace, professional relationships between an employer and employees are defined by a labor law and cannot go out of its frames.
    In a Non-Union work environment, the conditions are determined solely by an employer, including wages rates. On the contrary, a Union bargains with an employer for better terms and then control how the company sticks to the contract.  

  2. Management vs. Leadership
  3. Agile vs. Waterfall
  4. Formal vs. Informal Finance
  5. Bitcoins vs. Money
  6. Equal Opportunities vs. Managing Diversity

How To Structure Your Essay

If you have already decided on your topic for compare and contrast essay, then it is the right time to get down to building your outline and the first draft. Before you move further, decide on the structure you choose.

There are two different ways on how to write a compare and contrast essay:

A point-by-point method



Using this method, you compare or/and contrast both objects in one paragraph. Each paragraph should cover one aspect of your comparison. In the sample of a point-by-point outline, you can see two compared objects, PC to Mac. The main body is divided into three paragraphs. Each one focuses on a separate feature or benefit for the software users. Apart from this, you can also include a paragraph about the preferred or dominating object over another.

This type of comparison/contrasting is clearer and easier for the reader because all the similarities and differences are gathered in one particular paragraph. The difference with the block structure is huge because a reader can find the aspect he’s interested about faster and shouldn’t compare two blocks of information as in the block method. In this case, the point-by-point structure is easier for the reader to contemplate but harder for the student to write and analyze all the details in one paragraph.


 A block-by-block method



It was my favorite method of writing because it took less time to write a comparison and contrast essay with it. You craft the same number of paragraphs in the main body, but only two of them describe what you compare (if you talk about two objects). Each section focuses on a separate object, its aspects, features, and benefits to contrast to another. Both methods require the same number of points for each object. The third paragraph of your main body will be essential to compare and/or contrast both objects. Unlike the point-by-point structure, where you restate your thesis statement, in a block structure, you present your main message in such a paragraph. It either shows the dominance of one object over another or proves that one could serve as a substitute to another.



Writing a compare and contrast essay, aka a division essay, takes a good deal of analysis. It's far more interesting than a usual classification essay or a descriptive essay. First of all, it’s because you can’t operate with your own opinion. As you know, limitations motivate and induce us for deeper researching. And secondly, you must rely only on the facts and statistics. More than that, you need to use your analytical skills to compare and/or contrast various objects or opinions.

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