Very often people want an answer to the question, "Which is better?" For this assignment you will conduct some research answering the question, create a table or two illustrating your discoveries, and write an article explaining your results and recommendation.


Step by Step

  • Before you write, read a pair of articles in Consumer Reports.
  • Choose a topic where you compare two or more competitive items and you'll make a final judgment about them.
  • Research other reviews
  • Choose specific products to analyze/review
  • What variables/characteristics will you consider?
  • Your own first person research into the products
  • Organize a graph/table with the results
  • Take pictures/develop other pull out features to accompany your article
  • Write the article

Format Tips

  • This format relies heavily upon rational evidence. If you have an emotional attachment to one thing over another and fail to present actual evidence, your paper will sound like it and the reader will think you are foolish rather than intelligent.
  • Prewriting is particularly important here. I'll require you to make a table where you map out different traits of your compared items and how each one fares with each trait. In magazines like Consumer Reports, these tables are the meat and potatoes of what they do--readers love them. See this example for instance:

Easily done & quickly
Difficult - needs white out
Have to press hard sometimes
Easy to read w/ minimum effort
Can fade and smear over time
Lasts years and years
  • Before writing you'll need to choose how you'll go about writing your article. You can chose a block method of talking, or an item by item method. I give you examples below using the same comparison as the table above (pens vs. pencils).
    • Block: Here you say everything about one thing and then everything about the other.
      • First you talk about pencils. Then you talk about pens. Then your conclusion wraps up the most important elements of what you said.
    • Trait by trait: Here you mention traits and then discuss each item's characteristics regarding that trait.
      • First you discuss erasability of pencils, then the erasability of pens. Then you discuss the readability pens and pencils. Then you discuss the durability of pens and pencils.


  • Your comparison should not be too long, but long enough to be worthwhile. Make it 300-500 words.
  • Choose any item or product where competition is appropriate.
  • Hand it in with MLA format
  • Versus an Item of Comparison