There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.
There are certainly many ways to have students compare things and to represent that comparison visually. Even more well-known than the comparison-contrast chart is the Venn Diagram . The Venn diagram is also very useful, as long as we keep in mind that the real value of a Venn is in the DOING of it...they work best when we have students, not teachers, determining what the relevant similarities and differences are between two or three concepts, people, places, or ideas. The website offers several types of comparison-contrast charts and Venn diagrams, which can be downloaded and printed out from the links below.