How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay on Cultural Relativism

Writing guide
Posted on March 9, 2016

If you are tasked with drafting a compare and contrast essay on cultural relativism, it is imperative that you review the instructions with precision so as to determine whether you have to cover a comparison, a contrast, or both.

In most cases, teachers will ask that one area be emphasized over the other, which is why it is best to review instructions prior to starting the bulk of the work.

1. The Pre-write Phase
During the pre-write phase, you are preparing yourself for a simple writing process on cultural relativism. It is here that you want to refine your topic to ensure it can be adequately covered in the length of pages you have.

For example: If you want to compare rites of Catholicism with Protestantism within the boundaries of the church for your cultural relativism essay, you may need to refine the topic to focus on demographics or a specific area rather than both men and women, for the entire world. It would be pretty difficult to write a 3-5 page essay on all of the rites for both confessions, both genders, and the entire world.

The pre-write is where you research.

Research means reviewing the following sources for facts, data, quotes, or other useful material:

  • Newspapers
  • Academic journals
  • Books
  • Peer reviewed journals
  • Magazines

Primary or secondary sources might be appropriate, depending on your cultural relativism topic. When reviewing sources, be careful about internet based items. Refrain from them if:

  • There is no author listed for the content
  • The website is clearly sponsored or paid for by a biased organization
  • The work is not well researched, has no credible data

The outline for cultural relativism comes next. This is where you write out each of your main ideas and the supporting evidence. Generally it looks something like this:

  1. Body Paragraph 1
    • Claim
    • Supporting evidence
  2. Introduction
    • Thesis statement
  3. Body Paragraph 2
    • Claim
    • Supporting evidence
  4. Body Paragraph 3
    • Counterpoint
    • Refutation
  5. Conclusion

2. The Writing Phase
Here is where you take your outline and expound upon it using the data you want to include. Support each paragraph with good points, cite your sources, and ensure you have a well-balanced argument for your teacher’s approval. With a comprehensive outline, the majority of the work is done and all you need do is sit down and write it out.

3. The Post-Writing Phase
This is where you edit and proofread.

*NOTE*: These are two separate things, yet many students confuse them.

A proper edit for an essay on cultural relativism is when you review for content, the bigger picture. This is where you look not for line-by-line mistakes but for flow, supporting evidence, structure, etc…

With this done, you can proofread. This is where you should have a double spaced printed copy in your hand with a red pen. You want to read through the essay one time for each of the following things:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation

This means you should read over the content three times before you send it to your teacher.

This guide should lead you through the writing process for a compare and contrast essay. Don’t forget to also check our 10 facts on cultural relativism along with 20 topics and sample essay writing along with it.

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