When you are told to write a compare and contrast paper, you have to center on the similarities, connections and differences. Many people do make the mistake of centering on just one of this, and this may be their undoing as the research paper will not be a complete one. When you are told to compare and contrast, it means you must point out the similarities and distinctive features.
There is one core value you must not miss, and this is the fact that you should bring in new connections and differences. Now, when you are given such essay, the first thing to do is to decipher whether you are told to write mainly on the connections, or on the differences or even on both of them. This is where your passing or failing the test starts.
You have to start by asking yourself whether you really have enough information about the two items you have been instructed to compare and contrast. Never write the paper with wrong information. Only when you ascertain the level of knowledge you have about them, then you decide whether you should go for more research. The next question to ask is whether these two things are really similar or different in any way.