Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A strong outline provides the organizational framework for an effective compare-and-contrast nursing essay. This article will explain how to create a compare-and-contrast essay outline, including the key elements of the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. We will also explore two methods for organizing the comparison to help you structure a cohesive essay. Examples are provided to illustrate the outline process.

Purpose of Writing a Compare and Contrast Nursing Essay Outline

A well-structured outline is crucial to a successful compare-and-contrast nursing essay. It provides logical order and guidance for the essay’s ideas, ensuring effective analysis. Outlining first helps nursing students clarify relationships between essay topics and organize details before drafting the essay. It enables the creation of a cohesive, unified essay that flows smoothly.

Steps to Create a Compare and Contrast Nursing Essay Outline

Follow these steps when creating an outline for a compare-and-contrast nursing essay:

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

The introduction paragraph should:

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  1. Hook readers with an interesting opening statement or factoid
  2. Provide necessary background context on the two nursing essay topics
  3. Define key terms and concepts related to the topics
  4. Present the thesis statement identifying the two topics being compared and stating the main points of analysis
  5. Explain the significance and purpose of comparing the two subjects
  6. Describe the organizational method selected for the comparison
  7. Establish the nursing perspective that will be maintained throughout the essay
  8. Foreshadow the main points of comparison that will be analyzed
  9. Establish an objective and analytical tone

Compare and Contrast Body Paragraphs

When writing the body paragraphs, your goal is to discuss the similarities and differences between two subjects. Here’s a guide for crafting such paragraphs effectively:

  1. Brainstorm the major comparison points to cover (at least 3 recommended)
  2. List detailed evidence and support for each comparison point
  3. Note how each piece of evidence ties back to the thesis
  4. Decide on a logical organizational method for body paragraphs (point-by-point or block method)
  5. Determine the major comparison points to cover (recommend 3-5 points)
  6. For each comparison point, brainstorm 2-3 supporting details or examples
  7. List objective, factual evidence and support for each comparison point
  8. Include statistics, facts, expert opinions, anecdotes, studies etc.
  9. Note how each piece of evidence ties back to proving the thesis statement
  10. Write clear topic sentences introducing each comparison point
  11. Include transitional phrases to connect points logically
  12. Plan concluding sentences that relate evidence back to the thesis
  13. Organize body paragraphs spatially for optimal flow and cohesion

Compare and Contrast Conclusion Paragraph

A conclusion paragraph for a compare and contrast essay should summarize the key similarities and differences that have been discussed. It should also offer a final analysis or insight that the comparison yields. Here are some quick tips:

  1. Summarize key points about similarities and differences discussed
  2. Reemphasize the significance of the comparison and analysis
  3. Leave readers with an interesting final thought to reflect on
  4. Restate the thesis and summarize key similarities and differences discussed
  5. Synthesize analysis of relationships between the topics
  6. Reemphasize the significance of the juxtaposition and analysis
  7. Evaluate which similarities hold greater weight than differences or vice versa
  8. Conclude the comparison to provide new insights
  9. Reflect on larger implications from the analysis
  10. Pose an interesting open-ended question for readers
  11. Maintain nursing focus and relate topics to practice
  12. Provide closure without introducing new evidence

Methods to Organize Compare and Contrast Nursing Essay

There are two primary options for structuring the body paragraphs:

Point-by-Point Method

  • Compares topics A and B side-by-side per each major point
  • Each body paragraph addresses one key point of comparison
  • Smoothly transitions between the subjects on each focus area

Block Method

  • Discusses all major points about Topic A first
  • Then, discuss all major points about Topic B
  • Compares subjects as a whole in each paragraph set

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Examples

Creating an outline for a compare and contrast essay is an excellent way to organize your thoughts and evidence. Below is a basic outline with essay examples for each section.

Point-by-Point Outline

A point-by-point outline for a compare and contrast essay allows you to analyze each point of comparison or contrast between two subjects simultaneously. This approach is useful for more complex essays where you are dealing with a number of different characteristics. Below is an example outline:


  • Hook – Information on rates of nurse burnout
  • Background on nurse residency vs. orientation programs
  • Thesis – While nursing orientation and residency programs share similarities in teaching clinical skills, key differences exist in development of confidence, decision-making, and job satisfaction.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence: Both residency and orientation provide clinical skills training through hands-on learning with an experienced preceptor.
  • Evidence of clinical training in each program
  • Tie to thesis: clinical education is a similarity

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic Sentence: However, nurse residency programs put greater emphasis on developing confidence and independent decision-making skills.
  • Examples of building confidence and autonomy in residency
  • Tie to thesis: difference in developing confidence

Body Paragraph 3

  • Topic Sentence: Additionally, residencies lead to higher job satisfaction compared to basic orientation.
  • Evidence of Nurse Satisfaction Rates
  • Tie to thesis: difference in satisfaction


  • Summary of key similarities and differences
  • Emphasize greater development provided by residencies
  • Reflection on choosing the optimal onboarding program

Block Method Outline

A block method outline for a compare and contrast essay discusses all the points for one subject and then all the points for the other. This method is particularly useful when you want to discuss the subjects comprehensively one after the other. Here is a basic outline example:


  • Hook – Shocking stat on medication errors
  • Background on LPN vs. RN nurse training
  • Thesis – While LPN and RN nurses share commonalities in foundational education, key differences emerge in required clinical hours, curriculum rigor, critical thinking skills, and scope of practice.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence – LPN training includes core nursing fundamentals like…
  • All LPN education points
  • Tie to thesis – sharing basics but differences ahead

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic Sentence – In contrast, RN programs provide more comprehensive education, such as…
  • All RN education points
  • Tie to thesis – critical thinking and scope differ


  • Summary of key commonalities and differences
  • Underscore key divides in critical thinking and responsibilities
  • Reflection on ensuring appropriate nurse-level for duties

Final Thoughts

Creating an organized, logical outline provides nursing students with a strong foundation before writing a compare-and-contrast essay. The introduction previews the thesis, the body paragraphs follow a structured method, and the conclusion recapitulates the key analytical points. Whether using point-by-point or block organization, the outline spatially maps the essay content in an orderly sequence. Referencing the outline while drafting and revising will result in a unified, cohesive final essay.

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