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This paper presents a comparison between series and shunt flexible AC transmission systems (FACTS) controllers. The comparison is made using frequency domain methods under the framework of individual channel analysis and design (ICAD). A 5th order model synchronous generator feeding into a large system via a tie-line system is considered. The system includes a shunt compensator in the form of a static VAr compensator (SVC) or a series compensator in the form of a thyristor-controlled series compensator (TCSC). An SVC featuring a damping control loop is also assessed. Particular emphasis is given to the closed-loop performance and robustness assessments. Fundamental analyses are carried out using ICAD to explain the dynamic behaviour of the generator affected by the shunt or series FACTS devices. Using the ICAD framework, an in-depth comparison is made between the abilities of the SVC and TCSC to eliminate the problematic switch-back characteristic intrinsic to synchronous generators.