Comparative Chart

The comparison chart is a graphic tool that is used to compare two or more elements in an organized way. It allows us to link and establish the characteristics, differences or similarities that exist between two or more concepts, phenomena or research topics.

It is characterized by allowing an organized reading of the information, since it clearly exposes the points to be highlighted and compared. In addition, the classification of the information facilitates its retention and the possibility of generating a conclusion.

The comparison chart allows developing skills to process and compare data, classify information, organize thinking and facilitate the formulation of conclusions or value judgments.

Comparison charts are often used as a study or analysis tool and are very useful for exposing complex concepts to an audience. They are even used for the promotion and sale of goods or services by presenting the differences and advantages with respect to the competition.

Different types of comparative tables can be distinguished, such as tabular, qualitative, or quantitative comparative tables.

Characteristics of the comparison chart

  • They classify and organize the most important information on the topics or items to be compared.
  • The contents are usually short and clear.
  • They facilitate the understanding of the information to be exposed.
  • They allow you to easily and quickly distinguish the different elements.
  • They use columns in which the information to be contrasted is placed.

Structure of the comparison chart

The comparative tables are made up of columns and rows, and their number varies according to the elements and variables to be compared.

In the columns are placed the elements to be compared with each other, for example, narrative text, descriptive text, argumentative text. In the rows, the variables or aspects to be taken into account for the comparison are placed, for example, definition, characteristics, examples.

Visually, the result would be the following:

Narrative text Descriptive text Argumentative text

How to make a comparison chart?

For the elaboration of a comparative table, it is necessary to follow the following steps:

  1. Identify which are the elements, objects or concepts to compare. For example, natural phenomena such as thunderstorms, hurricanes and
  2. Point out which are the aspects to compare. For example, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, etc.
  3. Identify the characteristics, advantages or disadvantages of each element or object.
  4. Prepare the comparative table with the number of columns and rows necessary, according to the elements to be compared.
  5. Write the corresponding affirmations, either to the characteristics, advantages or disadvantages, etc.
  6. At the end, the conclusion can be drawn on the elements compared.

Types of comparative tables (with examples)

Two types of comparative tables are distinguished that vary according to the extent of their content and the information to be compared:

Tabular comparison chart

Also known as a table comparison chart. It is the most widely used type of comparative table and its content can be extensive. Its design is simple and the number of columns and rows will depend on the elements and aspects to be compared. You can present textual or numerical information.

For example, a comparison chart on verbal communication and non-verbal communication:

Verbal communication Non-verbal communication
Communication that uses the use of words in the communication process between a sender and a receiver. Communication that does not use linguistic signs to transmit a message between a sender and a receiver.
Makes use of words, either orally or in writing. Makes use of any type of communication in which it is not necessary to use written or oral words.
Some examples are conversations, chats, letters, emails. Some examples are road signs, body posture, facial expressions or gestures, among others.

Matrix comparison chart or Comparative matrix

It is a double entry comparison chart. That is, one of the columns of the table shows the aspects or indicators to be considered for the comparison and analysis of the characteristics of the elements that belong to the same category, theories, study models to be applied, the results of different investigations, etc. Presents summary information.

For example, a comparative table on the differences between myth and legend:

Myth Legend
Definition Symbolic narration and oral tradition that relates a series of fantastic events or supernatural phenomena, rituals and religious beliefs about the origin of the world, the gods, living beings and good and evil. Narration that mixes real and fantastic events or components that occurred in a specific historical place or context. They are of oral tradition.
Characters The characters have supernatural characteristics and can be fictional or symbolic. The characters are based on real beings.
Facts The events reported seek to explain the origin of the universe, the world and living beings. They are characterized by being fictitious. The events narrated, as well as the characters, are based on real events or a particular historical moment.
Types Cosmogonic myth

Theogonic myth

Anthropogonic myth

Etiological myth

Moral myth

Founding myth

Eschatological myth

Child legend

Urban legend

Rural legend

Local legend

Horror legend

Historical legend

Religious legend

Etiological legend

Qualitative comparison chart

It exposes descriptive information of the elements to be compared. They are widely used in various areas. At times, its content may be subjective if it refers to opinions or experiences of authors or specialists in an area of ​​study.

For example, a comparative table on the differences and similarities between the terms earthquake and tsunami.

Earthquake tsunami
  • It is a natural phenomenon that consists of the abrupt movement or violent shaking of the earth’s crust.
  • It can be generated by friction between tectonic plates, by the release of accumulated energy in seismic waves, by the previous activity of a volcano, and can even be caused by various human activities.
  • It is a wave or a series of waves that occur in a mass of water pushed violently by a force that moves vertically.
  • It can be generated by an earthquake, the detachment of a glacier, the eruption of a volcano, among others.
  • It can cause loss of life and damage to infrastructure.
  • It can be generated by the movement of tectonic plates.
  • It can lead to loss of life and damage to infrastructure near coastal areas.
  • It can be generated by the movement of tectonic plates.

Quantitative comparison chart

It contains quantifiable and measurable information. It is characterized by its objectivity. For example, a comparative chart of the ages of human-age cats:

Age of cats Age of humans
1 month 6 months
2-3 months 2-5 years
4 months 6-8 years
6 months 10 years
7 months 12 years
12 months 15-16 years
18 months 20-21 years
2 years 24 years
3 years 28 years
4 years 32 years
5 years 36 years
6 years 40 years
7 years 44 years
Eight years 48 years
9 years 52 years
10 years 56 years
11 years Age 61
12 years 64 years
13 years 68 years
14 years 72 years
15 years 76 years
16 years 80 years
17 years 84 years
18 years 88 years
19 years 92 years
20 years 96 years