What is a comparative paper?

Two distinct things:

Retirement planning in the U.S. and another country

Health care service in the U.S. and another country

Long-term care service in the U.S. and another country

Analyze similarities and differences

Discuss implications of these

Use research to support ideas

You are an expert informing non-experts

  • Sociological Aspects of Aging — focus on older adults
  • Make clear transition from one idea to next
  • Useful comparison transition words can be found on this website: https://www.sbcc.edu/clrc/files/wl/downloads/WritingaCompareContrastEssay.pdf
  • Headings can help direct your reader’s focus from one part of the paper to the next.
  • Adhere to the page limits (minimum 4 – maximum 6 pages + references)

Your own ideas should be informed and supported by cited research

Include relevant current political and social contexts (e.g. If writing about health care, include Affordable Care Act in the U.S.)

Use credible sources found in library databases, or government/non-profit websites (e.g. www.medicare.gov; www.dor.kaiser.org;  www.commonwealthfund.org; www.rrf.org)

Avoid use of Wikipedia, and sites with .net or .com

Useful resources:

Research handbook in Canvas

Purdue Online Writing Lab website: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Creating an outline

  • Two methods of organization:
    • Point by point – organized by dimension
    • Block – organized by country
  • Include ample detail so that your professor/TA can provide feedback
  • Include references

The introduction

  • Begin with a sentence that creates interest (e.g. interesting fact, compelling quotation, question for the reader to ponder)
  • State what you will be comparing and why it is important
  • Provide general background information on each country (e.g. whether the country is developed, description of its 65+ population) and dimension (e.g. a definition of the dimension)
  • State the focus of your paper (e.g. similarities, differences, both) in a clear thesis statement

Body of the paper

  • Chose a few aspects of the dimension that stand out for your focus
  • Describe them in a way that will help non-experts understand them
  • Compare the two countries on these aspects of the dimension, considering the questions in the paper guidelines:
    • How are the systems alike and/or different?
    • What is the impact of the two different cultures on the dimension and how does it compare across the countries as a result?
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each system?

The conclusion

  • Briefly summarize the ideas you presented in the paper
  • Synthesize the ideas by considering the questions from the paper guidelines:
    • If one country’s system were adopted in the other country, how would older adults be impacted?
    • Who would be most impacted and why?
    • How does the dimension benefit from interdisciplinary perspectives?
  • Leave the reader with a compelling thought to think about for future research or action