How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay in Public Administration

Writing guide
Posted on April 23, 2020

In their academic careers, students are often assigned to write papers where they have to compare two or more different things like concepts, events, ideas, theories etc. Such assignments require not just summarizing or reporting your findings but making a thorough analysis to find similar and different features and establish connections between two subjects. Feeing confused about how to create such a complex essay? Keep reading to learn how to write a strong compare and contrast essay in public administration.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explain in detail all the essential aspects of the writing process from selecting a good topic to outlining to revising the final draft. You’ll also find 15 powerful compare and contrast essay topics in public administration which you can use for writing your own essays. Looking for tips on how to write other types of academic papers? Check out other article on our website where we offer you full guides to all writing assignments out there with detailed but easy instructions.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay in Public Administration?

In compare and contrast essays in public administration, you need to use a rhetorical style that explains the relations between two or more different things (concepts, theories, ideas, systems, processes) and discusses how they are similar and different. To do that, you need to find the basis of comparison. You should compare and contrast subjects that belong to the same category and have much in common. That means that your subjects should be connected in a meaningful way. First, you need to compare your subjects and find similarities and then contrast them to identify differences between them. You can decide to discuss in your essay only similarities, only differences or both of them. But you should discuss both subjects equally.

There are two types of structures that are commonly used in compare and contrast essays for organizing the ideas – the block structure and the point-by-point structure. You can choose to use any of them based on the complexity of your topic and the length of your essay. Besides, you can apply the combination method and use both strategies in different parts of your essay. All types of structures have their own advantages and either of them is acceptable so you should select the best method that will help you provide useful knowledge to your readers.

  • For the point-by-point method, you need to discuss specific aspects of the both subjects one after another in a single paragraph. This structure is easier for readers to follow so you may use it for writing longer compare and contrast essays.
  • For the block method, you need to discuss all characteristic of the first subject and after that explain all features of the second subject. This structure is easier to write and you can use it for shorter papers.

You should use transitional compare and contrast words and phrases to connect ideas in your essay and make it clear for your audience that you are discussing the differences or the similarities.

  • When you contrast things, you can use such words and phrases as yet, nevertheless, instead, in contrast to, however, unlike, though, otherwise, differ, compared with, besides, although, on the other hand, even though, rather than, differ.
  • When you compare your subjects, you can use such words and phrases as similarly, like, in addition, in the same way, as well as, also, just as, comparatively, too, both.

Choose an Impressive Compare and Contrast Essay Topic

It’s important to choose an arguable topic that is interesting for you and is relevant to your course of studies. When selecting a topic, you should also consider your essay’s length. Do a preliminary research and find out if there is enough information for your word count. Choose two subjects that have some common features so that you can compare them in a meaningful way. For example, if you decide to write about systems of public administration, you can compare and contrast such systems that exist in different democratic countries.

Looking for ideas for inspirations? Review this short list of 15 interesting compare and contrast essay topics and feel free to use them for brainstorming your own ideas or writing essays in public administration.

  • New Public Management Theory vs. Classical Public Administration Theory;
  • Postmodern Public Administration Theory vs. New Public Management Theory;
  • Compare Systems of Public administration in the USA and in the UK;
  • Compare and Contrast Rational and Extra Rational Model in Decision Making vs. Incrementalism;
  • Administrative Rationality for Policy Making vs. Committee Decisions;
  • Compare and Contrast Political and Managerial Approaches to Public Administration;
  • Compare and Contrast Local Government in the USA and In Germany;
  • Compare Roles and Responsibilities of Federal, State, and Local Governments in the US;
  • What Is the Difference between Centralization and Decentralization in Public Administration?
  • What Is the Difference between State and Civil Society?
  • Bureaucracy vs. Democracy;
  • Difference between an Authoritarian Government and a Democratic Government;
  • Public Administration vs. Private Administration;
  • Scientific Management in Public Administration vs. Traditional Management;
  • Ethical decisions vs. Legal Decisions in Public Administration.

Organize Your Ideas and Make a Good Outline

You should start working on your compare and contrast essay in public administration with brainstorming features of every subject. Remember: you should look for interesting, unexpected or unusual similarities and differences. You can use such pre-writing techniques as listing, mind-mapping or creating a Venn diagram to come up with ideas for comparing and contrasting and organizing them. Don’t try to include all characteristics of the subjects in your essay. Select only those that you find the most important and use them as main points for writing your body paragraph.

Develop a strong thesis statement to set the focus of your arguments and establish the purpose of your essay. Although your thesis can consist of several parts, you should make it concise and coherent. For example, if you are planning to compare and contrast bureaucracy and democracy, you may consider writing your thesis in such a way:

‘The bureaucracy and democracy are usually considered to be antithetical approaches to governing a society and relationships between them are both paradoxical and complementary. Although bureaucracy is considered dangerous to democratic freedoms, but at the same time it is integrated into a democratic society and plays important functions.’

Create an outline for your essay based on the ideas that you came up while brainstorming. Decide what method you will use for organizing your ideas – the block structure or the point-by-point structure. You should keep in mind that these methods only offer outline for the body of your compare and contrast essay so you also need to include a good introduction and a memorable conclusion. Your outline will serve as a skeleton of your essay which you can expand by adding more details as you start writing.

Begin Your Compare and Contrast Essay in Public Administration with an Engaging Introduction

The purpose of an introductory paragraph is to introduce your topic, state your argument, and catch attention of your audience. That’s why it important to make your introduction both informative and engaging. Here are some tips on how you can achieve that.

  • Begin your introduction with a hook – a bold concise statement, surprising fact or a provocative question that leads to your argument.
  • Use general to specific’ structure and start your introductory paragraph broad to provide background information and set the context for your argument. Don’t provide a lot of background information. Include only details that are relevant to your argument.
  • Write the thesis statement to establish the focus and the purpose of your paper. A strong thesis sups up the overall argument and limits your essay.
  • You may briefly outline the key points that you are planning to make to help your readers understand what to expect from your compare and contrast essay in public administration.

Make Strong Argument in Body Paragraphs

In the body of your essay, you have to prove, explain, and support your thesis statement. Keep in mind that you should focus each body paragraph on a single main point. Your sentences must be organized in a logical order and clearly connected. Here are some tips on how to structure your body paragraphs.

  • Write a topic sentence that expresses a controlling idea of the paragraph.
  • Explain the controlling ideas in 1-2 additional sentences.
  • Integrate evidence that support the claim made in the paragraph. You can include quotes from primary sources, common sense examples, figures, and statistics. Make sure you cite all your sources to avoid plagiarism.
  • Explain what your evidence means and why it matters for your argument.
  • Write 1-3 sentences that interpret the evidence and tell your audience how it contributes to supporting the central paint and the entire argument in your essay.
  • End your body paragraph with a concluding sentence that includes a transition to the next paragraph.

Organize your paragraphs in a way that they flow organically from one key point to the next one. Don’t forget to use transitions to connect your ideas.

Finish Your Compare and Contrast Essay with a Powerful Conclusion

End your compare and contrast essay in public administration with a memorable conclusion that wraps everything up and gives a sense of closure. Your goal is not just summarize your argument but synthesize and offer a new perspective on it. You need to tie together all main points and show how they are related. Besides, you need to remind your readers about the significance of your thesis statement. Although writing a good conclusion is not easy, you should invest your time in it and take advantage of your last chance to impress your readers.

Edit and Proofread Your Draft

When you finish the first draft of your compare and contrast essay in public administration, you should put it aside for a while and have a short rest. Then you should review your piece of writing with fresh eyes and edit and proofread it. You should never skip over these important stages of the writing process because they have a great impact on the overall success of your paper.

While you edit, you should focus on a bigger picture and make your essay more readable by making changes in the content to improve the logical flow, paragraph and sentence structure, and word choice. You should also assess clarity, style, and citations. While editing, you may break longer sentences into simple ones, combine 2 consecutive short sentences, eliminate the passive voice, fix fragments and run-on sentences, reduce the number of prepositions, find sentences with clichés and make them more specific.

When you are satisfied with your final draft, you should proofread it fix errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Your goal is to make your essay the best it can be to ensure that it can make a powerful impression on your readers. That why you should read your essay aloud carefully and look for everything that doesn’t sound right. Here are some tips for proofreading effectively.

  • You’d better work with a printed copy of your essay because it’s much easier to notice mistakes and inconsistencies on a piece of paper than on a computer screen.
  • You should look for one type of mistakes at a time and always proofread your essay several times.
  • Create a list of your typical mistakes and then use it as a proofreading checklist.
  • Read your essay backward starting with the last word. You may read sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph. In this way you won’t be distracted by the content and will be able to focus on separate words.

As you see, constructing a powerful compare and contrast essay in public administration may take a lot of time and require much effort. That’s why it crucial to start planning your essay as early as possible to ensure that you’ll have enough time for doing research, organizing your ideas, writing and revising several drafts. But the good news is that if you follow our easy instructions and practice a lot, you’ll be able to produce a well-written paper that can make a great impression on your instructor and get you a high grade.

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