Writing Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

Nursing students are often required to write essays comparing and contrasting various topics. These compare-and-contrast essays analyze the similarities and differences between two subjects. The body paragraphs are where the main analysis and discussion take place. This article will examine best practices for structuring compelling compare-and-contrast body paragraphs for nursing essays.

Purpose of Compare and Contrast Body Paragraphs

The purpose of the body paragraph in a compare and contrast essay is to provide the analysis that supports your thesis statement. The thesis establishes what is being compared, the aspects of comparison, and the purpose for doing so.

Each body paragraph should focus on one key point of comparison. Using targeted details, evidence, and explanations, the body paragraphs build on each other to paint a complete picture for the reader of the subjects being compared and contrasted.

Strong body paragraphs are cohesive, unified around one central idea, and transition smoothly to connect your key points. The body paragraphs develop the heart of your essay.

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Structuring Compare and Contrast Body Paragraphs

When writing compare and contrast essays, there are two main ways to structure your body paragraphs:

1. Subject-by-Subject Structure

With a subject-by-subject structure, each body paragraph focuses on one of the two essay topics you are comparing and contrasting. For example,

Paragraph 1 describes Subject A, and Paragraph 2 describes Subject B. Paragraph 3 compares Subject A and Subject B. Paragraph 4 contrasts Subject A and Subject B.

This method works well when your subjects have many differences you want to highlight.

2. Point-by-Point Structure

With a point-by-point essay structure, each body paragraph has a different point of comparison. For example,

Paragraph 1 compares point 1 for Subject A and Subject B. Paragraph 2 compares point 2 for Subject A and Subject B. Paragraph 3 contrasts point 1 for Subject A and Subject B.

This allows for paragraph-by-paragraph analysis. Use this structure when subjects are similar in many ways.

Incorporating Evidence and Examples

Each body paragraph should use specific details, evidence, examples, and explanations to support the key point. Nursing essays may pull evidence from:

  • Nursing research and studies,
  • Clinical experiences and observations,
  • Patient cases or examples,
  • Expert opinions and best practices.

Solid evidence strengthens your analysis and allows you to highlight similarities and differences with depth. Examples from nursing practices are especially compelling.

Transition Words and Paragraph Structure

Transition words are important for connecting ideas and showing relationships between subjects and paragraphs.

Use phrases like “in contrast,” “similarly,” “on the other hand,” or “however” to transition between ideas.

Begin your essay paragraphs with topic sentences that introduce the focus. End with concluding sentences that reinforce key connections and lead to the next point.

Concluding your essay body with transition sentences involves crafting sentences that summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs. They help to synthesize the comparisons and contrasts you’ve presented, emphasizing the insights or overall thesis you’ve developed, and set the stage for your concluding remarks.

Following a logical sequence and structure allows your analysis to flow clearly.

Common Body Paragraph Weaknesses

Some common weaknesses to avoid in nursing compare and contrast body paragraphs include:

  • Focusing only on similarities or only on differences, instead of both
  • Allowing paragraphs to become repetitive or disjointed
  • Failing to tie examples back to key points using explanations
  • Neglecting transitions to highlight relationships
  • Light or superficial analysis without depth
  • The mismatch between evidence and the main paragraph focus

Proofreading for these issues can strengthen your body paragraphs.

Key Considerations for Nursing Compare and Contrast Body Paragraphs

Writing effective nursing compare and contrast essays relies heavily on crafting insightful body paragraphs. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use a subject-by-subject or point-by-point structure to best fit your analysis
  • Begin paragraphs with clear topic sentences and close with resonant concluding lines
  • Incorporate compelling and relevant evidence from nursing contexts
  • Use transitions and explanations to highlight relationships
  • Build unity and cohesion paragraph-by-paragraph
  • Proofread for depth, transitions, and logical flow

Following these steps will help you write clear, unified, and organized compare-and-contrast body paragraphs that support your thesis and analysis effectively. Sharpening this key skill will enhance your ability to write persuasive nursing essays.

Here are some essay examples with key points that could be used to compare and contrast body paragraphs :

Point-by-Point Example

Topic: Comparing hospital-based nursing education vs. university-based nursing education

Paragraph 1:

  • Point of Comparison: Admission requirements
  • Examples of similarities and differences in admission criteria
  • Analysis of how the admission process compares

Paragraph 2:

  • Point of Comparison: Clinical hour requirements
  • Examples of total clinical hours required by each program
  • Analysis of how the clinical hour standards compare

Paragraph 3:

  • Point of Comparison: Curriculum content
  • Examples of core courses and concepts covered
  • Analysis of how the curriculum compares in depth and breadth

Subject-by-Subject Example

Topic: Contrasting nurse practitioner vs. physician assistant roles

Paragraph 1:

  • Details on education requirements for nurse practitioners
  • Examples of settings nurse practitioners can work in

Paragraph 2:

  • Details on physician assistant education
  • Examples of physician assistant responsibilities

Paragraph 3:

  • Ways the roles are similar in terms of responsibilities and autonomy
  • Direct comparison of overlapping tasks and scopes of practice

Paragraph 4:

  • Key differences in nursing philosophy vs. medical model
  • Differences in training focus and credentialing requirements
  • Analysis to contrast the two roles

Comparing Associate and Bachelor’s Nursing Degrees

ADN vs. BSN Pathways

Paragraph 1:

  • The ADN focuses on technical nursing skills and prepares students for direct patient care roles.
  • ADN programs usually take 2-3 years to complete.
  • Examples of common ADN courses: Fundamentals of Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Pediatrics, Pharmacology.

Paragraph 2:

  • The BSN provides additional research, leadership, community health, and nursing theory coursework.
  • BSN programs usually take four years to complete.
  • Examples of unique BSN courses are evidence-based Practice, Health Policy, Nursing Research, and Global Population Health.

Paragraph 3:

  • Both degrees qualify graduates to take the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain RN licensure.
  • ADN graduates can often transfer course credits and return for a BSN later.
  • The additional BSN coursework aims to prepare nurses for leadership roles.

Comparing Hospital and Community Nursing Settings

Hospital vs. Community/Public Health Nursing

Paragraph 1:

  • Hospital nursing focuses on treating patients who are acutely or critically ill.
  • Nurses specialize in medical-surgical, critical care, oncology, labor and delivery, etc.
  • Fast-paced environment with a range of urgent patient needs.

Paragraph 2:

  • Community/public health nursing works with populations to promote health.
  • Nurses assess community needs, provide care education, and connect people with resources.
  • A slower pace with an emphasis on preventive care and health promotion.

Paragraph 3:

  • Both settings require critical thinking, empathy, and clinical competence from nurses.
  • Hospital nurses treat individual patients through illness episodes.
  • Public health nurses look at social determinants of health affecting entire communities.


In nursing essays, the body paragraphs are important to develop the detailed analysis that builds your argument. For compare and contrast essays, the body paragraphs highlight key similarities and differences between two nursing subjects, whether theories, practices, programs, or perspectives. 

Using transitions, focused organization, relevant evidence, and logical flow are hallmarks of strong body paragraphs. Writing compelling comparisons in nursing begins with honing this essential component. Nursing students who practice analyzing similarities and differences will strengthen their skills in constructing persuasive arguments grounded in evidence. This supports learning to think critically and write convincingly as a nursing professional.

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