This page updated:  1/05/2021

Compare & Contrast

Brainstorm:  Purpose, Audience, Decisions, & Venn Diagram


The Goal:  

In this assignment, you will use your own thoughts and experiences to brainstorm the following EQ in a mini-essay

How would you compare & contrast two different activities (hobbies) you enjoy?

Use this checklist to help you make the prewriting decisions.  Your instructor will give you your audience, your purpose, and a challenge for this writing.  The challenge is optional and is discussed below.


Your Audience

Your audience is your classmates who may know a little about your chosen activities/hobbies, and may have actually tried them, though not as thoroughly as you.

Your Purpose:

Describe each activity according to the 5W's & H categories below.  If you are feeling brave you can create additional categories to compare/contrast. 


Your purpose is to describe in detail the things that make these activities similar and different as you've participated in them over time.

                The Challenge!

Remember how Shaun talked about finding not-so-obvious comparisons to keep the reader interested?  Well, here is your challenge in the form of this CQ:

What "hidden" common themes do you uncover as you compare & contrast these two activities? 

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       Decisions to Make:  Your Thesis Statement    Print out and use this checklist

Feel free to use this thesis statement or create your own:   “_____ and _____ are activities I enjoy, and over the years I've discovered some surprising/unusual/interesting comparisons and contrasts between them.​"

       Decisions to Make:  Structure your Body Paragraphs

Will you use categories as the main ideas of your body paragraphs?  Or, will you take the challenge and use "hidden" common themes as the main ideas for your body paragraphs.   


In the next lesson, you will watch a video that shows you how to determine what the main ideas are, and what the topic sentences are for your body paragraphs.

Intro, Body, Conclusion: 

On the Venn diagram below, you can see the similarities and differences between the Point-by-Point method and All-at-Once method.    They both start and end in the same way, but the body section breaks down into paragraphs that develop around a specific category or theme.

In the second printable you will find a diagram that compares both methods in detail.  Be sure to print it off.

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1.   Print off the checklist and the second printable to help you make the prewriting decisions.

2.  Identify two different activities or hobbies you enjoy doing.  If you need to, make a list and ask for help to narrow it down to two. 

3.  Next, make a copy of this document.  If you wish to challenge your computer skills, watch the first video below.  It explains how the new Venn diagram document was made, so you can make edits to it as you see fit.   


Can you make your Venn by hand?  Certainly! Just be ready to take a snapshot of it to upload to your instructor. 

4.  As you fill out your Venn Diagram, ask yourself these 5W's & H CQ's to help you add detail to your Venn diagram: 


How advanced in skill are you in each activity?

How long does it take to be good at each activity?  Would you consider yourself "good" at each activity?

What is the purpose/goal/outcome of each activity?

Who introduced you to these two activities and why?

What specialized learning or basic skills are needed when you first started participating in these activities?

Who participates with you in these activities, or do you do them alone?

When do you do these activities?  Does the season, time, or location dictate when you do them?

Where do you do these activities?   Does this location make it easier/harder to participate?

How are these activities alike and different?  

Challenge (optional): 


What "hidden" common themes do you uncover as you compare & contrast these two activities? 

Add this CQ to the EQ above and use them to construct your thesis statement. 


4.  Group the items you've listed in your Venn according to categories.    Consider categories such as, 

As a Beginner...

Skills I need or have...

Why I enjoy doing...

What have I learned about myself as I do...

Use three categories as the basis of your body paragraphs. 

Challenge (optional):  Use the common themes you identified as the main ideas for your body paragraphs.

5.  Submit a shareable link to your Venn diagram, or submit your snapshot file below.   If you need to email your snapshot, please send it to your instructor.  Then, put a text note below mentioning the email.

Here is new information about creating a Venn Diagram (1/2021)

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Introduction to Basic Point-by-Point Method

If you wish to take on the Challenge for this essay, please watch this intro video on the Point-by-Point Method first.   There is an example of how to brainstorm for the Challenge in the last video.  Remember, the Challenge is optional.

Challenge:  How would you compare & contrast two different activities (hobbies) you enjoy?  What "hidden" common themes do you uncover as you compare & contrast these two activities?