comparative or dual outlines

I write academic papers in which I contrast and compare the ideas of more than one viewpoint, but usually only two at a time. When developing my arguments I use Scrivener as an outlining and thought organization tool.

I have split the pane vertically to provide two documents in which to place mirror-like outlines that have elements that show, on the same visual level, contrasting points. In order to make this useful, I need to constantly adjust the two outlines to keep them aligned.

Is there a better way to do this: in Scrivener or perhaps another application?

What I really want is an electronic blackboard or notepad upon which I can write, capture, and drag so that I can align and rearrange thoughts and ideas as my brain percolates. (That’s the coffee reference, by the way.) What I really need to do is link listed thoughts that are in two side-by-side columns together.

OmniOutliner lets you create columns within a single file. But if you shift a row elsewhere in the outline, I believe its entire contents move. What you’re describing is a kind of table where the cells, or rows and columns, are independent of each other. You might want to look at Tinderbox or mind-mapping software to get the kind of freeform play you want among your ideas.

Or possibly Zengobi Curio: