INTRODUCTION TO SYNTHESES
(mostly from Cassie Carter - with her kind permission)
- What is a synthesis?
Two types of syntheses
Standards for synthesis essays
How to write synthesis essays
Techniques for developing synthesis essays
Thesis statements, introductions, conclusions, and quotations
WHAT IS A SYNTHESIS?
A synthesis is a written discussion that draws on one or more sources. It follows that your ability to write syntheses depends on your ability to infer relationships among sources - essays, articles, fiction, and also nonwritten sources, such as lectures, interviews, observations. This process is nothing new for you, since you infer relationships all the time - say, between something you've read in the newspaper and something you've seen for yourself, or between the teaching styles of your favorite and least favorite instructors. In fact, if you've written research papers, you've already written syntheses. In an academic synthesis, you make explicit the relationships that you have inferred among separate sources.
The skills you've already been practicing in this course will be vital in writing syntheses. Clearly, before you're in a position to draw relationships between two or more sources, you must understand what those sources say; in other words, you must be able to summarize these sources. It will frequently be helpful for your readers if you provide at least partial summaries of sources in your synthesis essays. At the same time, you must go beyond summary to make judgments - judgments based, of course, on your critical reading of your sources - as you have practiced in your reading responses and in class discussions. You should already have drawn some conclusions about the quality and validity of these sources; and you should know how much you agree or disagree with the points made in your sources and the reasons for your agreement or disagreement.
Further, you must go beyond the critique of individual sources to determine the relationship among them. Is the information in source B, for example, an extended illustration of the generalizations in source A? Would it be useful to compare and contrast source C with source B? Having read and considered sources A, B, and C, can you infer something else - D (not a source, but your own idea)?
Because a synthesis is based on two or more sources, you will need to be selective when choosing information from each. It would be neither possible nor desirable, for instance, to discuss in a ten-page paper on the battle of Wounded Knee every point that the authors of two books make about their subject. What you as a writer must do is select the ideas and information from each source that best allow you to achieve your purpose.
Your purpose in reading source materials and then in drawing upon them to write your own material is often reflected in the wording of an assignment. For example, your assignment may ask that you evaluate a text, argue a position on a topic, explain cause and effect relationships, or compare and contrast items. While you might use the same sources in writing an argumentative essay as your classmate uses in writing a comparison/contrast essay, you will make different uses of those sources based on the different purposes of the assignments. What you find worthy of detailed analysis in Source A may be mentioned only in passing by your classmate.
USING YOUR SOURCES
Your purpose determines not only what parts of your sources you will use but also how you will relate them to one another. Since the very essence of synthesis is the combining of information and ideas, you must have some basis on which to combine them. Some relationships among the material in you sources must make them worth sythesizing. It follows that the better able you are to discover such relationships, the better able you will be to use your sources in writing syntheses. Your purpose in writing (based on your assignment) will determine how you relate your source materials to one another. Your purpose in writing determines which sources you use, which parts of them you use, at which points in your essay you use them, and in what manner you relate them to one another.
TWO TYPES OF SYNTHESES
THE ARGUMENT SYNTHESIS: The purpose of an argument synthesis is for you to present your own point of view - supported, of course, by relevant facts, drawn from sources, and presented in a logical manner. The thesis of an argumentative essay is debatable. It makes a proposition about which reasonable people could disagree, and any two writers working with the same source materials could conceive of and support other, opposite theses.
STANDARDS FOR SYNTHESIS ESSAYS
2. Keep in mind that original thought and insightful analysis are required for a 4.0, 3.5, or 3.0 paper; 2.5 and below evaluations tend not to present original ideas.
3. A 4.0, 3.5, or 3.0 paper will create a "dialogue" between the essay author's ideas and her sources, and also among the sources themselves. 2.5 and below evaluations will often summarize one point at a time, with the essay author's idea stated at the end. If you imagine a synthesis essay as a room in which the synthesis writer is joined by the authors of her/his sources, the 4.0, 3.5, or 3.0 essay has everyone engaged in conversation or debate, with everyone commenting on (or arguing against) each other's ideas directly. In the 2.5 and below essay, each person in the room stands up in turn, gives a speech, and sits down, with little or no question and answer period in between or afterward.
4. Take special care to address your audience in an appropriate manner. Make sure you establish your credibility on the subject and that you provide sufficient information to make your argument (thesis) convincing.
- 5. Organize your paper logically:
- A. State your thesis clearly and make sure that it reflects the focus of your essay.
- B. Make sure your main points are clearly stated (use topic sentences), and connect each point to your thesis as explicitly as possible.
- C. Divide paragraphs logically.
- D. Provide appropriate transitions both within and between paragraphs.
7. Select words precisely. When in doubt, use a dictionary!
8. Make sure sentences are clear and unambiguous. Avoid passive voice. Double-check to see that sentences are adequately varied in length and style, and that there are no fragments or run-ons. Also proofread carefully to correct any other sentence errors.
9. Proofread carefully to identify and correct mechanical errors, such as errors in plurals or possessives, subject-verb agreement, shifts in verb tense or person ("you"), comma errors, spelling errors, and so on.
10. Quadruple check your MLA documentation. Are your parenthetical citations correct? Is your Works Cited list correct according to MLA style, and does it include all sources cited in your essay?
11. Be sure to give your essay a descriptive and attention-getting title (NOT "Synthesis," for goodness sake!!!).
12. Make sure your essay is formatted correctly and posted to your web site correctly.
HOW TO WRITE SYNTHESIS ESSAYS
- Consider your purpose in writing. Read the topic assignment carefully. What are you trying to accomplish in your essay? How will this purpose shape the way you approach your sources?
- Select and carefully read your sources, according to your purpose. Re-read the sources, mentally summarizing each. Identify those aspects or parts of your sources that will help you in fulfilling your purpose. When rereading, label or underline the passages for main ideas, key terms, and any details you want to use in the synthesis.
- Formulate a thesis. Your thesis is the main idea that you want to present in your synthesis. It must be expressed as a complete sentence and include a statement of the topic and your assertion about that topic. Sometimes the thesis is the first sentence, but more often it is the final sentence of the first paragraph.
- Decide how you will use your source material and take notes. How will the information and the ideas in your sources help you to fulfill your purpose? Re-read your sources and write down the information from your sources that will best develop and support your thesis.
- Develop and organizational plan, according to your thesis. (See Techniques for Developing Synthesis Essays immediately below.) How will you arrange your material? It is not necessary to prepare a formal outline, but you should have some plan in mind that will indicate the order in which you will present your material and that will indicate the relationships among your sources.
- Write the first draft of your synthesis, following your organizational plan. Be flexible with your plan, however, and allow yourself room to incorporate new ideas you discover as you write. As you discover and incorporate new ideas, re-read your work frequently to ensure that your thesis still accounts for what follows and that what follows still logically supports your thesis.
- Document your sources. Use MLA-style in-text citations and a Works Cited list to credit your sources for all material you quote, paraphrase, or summarize. For example, if I wanted to note in my essay the difference between name-calling and argumentum ad hominem as personal forms of attack, I would credit the article on "Politics: The Art of Bamboozling" fromWARAC by offering a citation that includes the author's last name and the exact page number where she discussed this notion (Cross 302). At the end of the essay, I would have a complete bibliographic citation for the "Politics" article.
- Revise your synthesis. Insert transitional words and phrases where necessary. Integrate all quotations so they flow smoothly within your own sentences. Use attribution phrases to distinguish between your sources' ideas and your own ideas. Make sure the essay reads smoothly, logically, and clearly from beginning to end. Check for grammatical correctness, punctuation, and spelling.
TECHNIQUES FOR DEVELOPING SYNTHESIS ESSAYS
Summary can be useful - and sophisticated - if handled judiciously, selectively, and in combination with other techniques. At some time you may need to summarize a crucial source in some detail. At another point, you may wish to summarize a key section or paragraph of a source in a single sentence. Try to anticipate what your reader needs to know at any given point of your paper in order to comprehend or appreciate fully the point you are making.
EXAMPLE OR ILLUSTRATION: At one or more points in your paper, you may wish to refer to a particularly illuminating example or illustration from your source material. You might paraphrase this example (i.e., recount it, in some detail, in your own words), summarize it, or quote it directly from your source. In all these cases, of course, you would properly credit your source.
TWO (OR MORE) REASONS: The "two reasons" approach can be an extremely effective method of development. You simply state your thesis, then offer reasons why the statement is true, supported by evidence from your sources. You can advance as many reasons for the truth of your thesis as needed; but save the most important reason(s) for last, because the end of the paper is what will remain most clearly in the reader's mind.
STRAWMAN: When you use the strawman technique, you present an argument against your thesis, but immediately afterward you show that this argument is weak or flawed. The advantage of this technique is that you demonstrate your awareness of the other side of the argument and show that you are prepared to answer it. The strawman argument first presents an introduction and thesis, then the main opposing argument, a refutation of the opposing argument, and finally a positive argument.
CONCESSION: Like the strawman, the concession technique presents the opposing viewpoint, but it does not proceed to demolish the opposition. Instead, it concedes that the opposition has a valid point but that, even so, the positive argument is the stronger one. This method is particularly valuable when you know your reader holds the opposing view.
COMPARISON AND CONTRAST: Comparison and contrast techniques enable you to examine two subjects (or sources) in terms of one another. When you compare, you consider similarities. When you contrast, you consider differences. By comparing and contrasting, you perform a multifaceted analysis that often suggests subtleties that otherwise might not have come to your attention.
To organize a comparison/contrast analysis, you must carefully read sources in order to discover significant criteria for analysis. A criterion is a specific point to which both of your authors refer and about which they may agree or disagree. The best criteria are those that allow you not only to account for obvious similarities and differences between sources but also to plumb deeper, to more subtle and significant similarities and differences. There are two basic formulas for comparison/contrast analysis:
|I. Introduce essay, state thesis||I. Introduce essay, state thesis|
|II. Summarize passage A||II. Introduce Criterion 1|
|A. View on Criterion I||A. Passage A's viewpoint|
|B. View on Criterion 2||B. Passage B's viewpoint|
|III. Summarize passage B||III. Introduce Criterion 2|
|A. View on Criterion 1||A. Passage A's viewpoint|
|B. View on Criterion 2||B. Passage B's viewpoint|
|IV. Discussion and conclusion||IV. Discussion and conclusion|
causes and effects of the holocaust essay eveline short story theme essay. Workplace essay abgrenzungsrechnung beispiel essay essays in peace research galtung theory? nyu stern transfer essay usc development through the life stages essay writing, loving v virginia analysis essay essay writing about national day celebration essay lack of money is the root of all evil forensic files alcohol abuse essay introduction. help me write a resume cover letter my idol essay mother teresa? a christmas carol essay you won't let go negation of patriotism essay geodemographic research paper video games negative essay social network security research paper research papers on food microbiology othello essay 400 words of emotion hvordan skrive et faglig essay. Tiger mother interview essay american essay writing service leave essay about why english is important how do i write my college essay mount royal university nursing admission essaysQuick essay editor how to make a good hook for a college essay population growth research paper quilling Solid B on my research paper and an A on my history essay! I'm on a roll smoking should be banned essay conclusion paragraph. How-to Compose an Exploratory Essay with Taste Reports ( �) cheating essay writing updates english essay 250 words on a page matalan koulun rhetorical essay youtube compare and contrast essay apa essay writing year 6 short essay on holi in sanskrit garrett hardin lifeboat ethics student essay dactyloscopic analysis essay tiger mother interview essay homework helpers physics revised edition daniel orozco orientation essays on abortion how to i write an essay?. Jordan 6 carmine comparison essay writing an essay in english name materials section in a research paper hylomorphism vs substance dualism essay how to write a 6 page research paper jamshedpur. what does a personal statement essay look like the picture of dorian gray critical essay comment faire une dissertation de philosophie terminale es uiuc electrical engineering essay urbana champaign mba essays poets conclude a persuasive essay how to make an essay conclusion baustelleneinrichtung beispiel essay army biology research paper christ college guildford admissions essay? call to action essays essay on a message to garcia gp essays on media, romeo and juliet ball scene essay how to write a personal essay about yourself xps 13 environment and society essay dissertation writer needed my favourite cartoon character dora essay writer, how to summarize a research paper with answers pdf professions for women virginia woolf essay analysis lyrical and critical essay? my self discipline essays what does 250 words look like on a essay. organizing a research paper uk leeds dissertation helper personal essay submissions decision expository essay about pork barrel? it s friday hook in essay 120 words essay on diwali for 5 in a persuasive essay develop your argument key bluntschli character sketch essay This is Mrs. Spring�s area of expertise and related to the subject of her PhD dissertation. Ask her about it! � hvordan skrive et faglig essay essay on martyrs of nepal nepali the size zero debate discursive essay pdf dissertation fu berlin pharmazie kiel. pamphylia to amphilanthus sonnet 25 analysis essay population growth research paper quilling. kirchhoffsche gesetze beispiel essay essay writing cheat sheet essay on my best friend in kannada dancing reflective essays personality traits research papers how to write a good admission essay basically using my journalism essay to tear down a current affair it dissertation history is bilbo a hero essaysothello handkerchief symbolism essay, personality traits research papers the third of may 1808 essay writing respect for teachers essay essay on self help is the best biotechnology research paper quilling compare and contrast essay on multitasking? youtube compare and contrast essay 500 word essay on why school is important jonathan lathem essays on love My least favorite part of writing an essay is the conclusion. Like i have just made 2000 words worth of valid points what more do you want!? hydrogen bonding and common mistakes in essay essay on the history of napster bd animal origin position statement essay. should college athletes be paid persuasive essay xyzzy tiger mother interview essay compare and contrast essay on multitasking good essay writer carbon footprint essay #10: Difference and J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.(Critical essay): An article from: Journal of Literary Studies video games negative essay apa doctoral dissertation graphs references english essay concluding a dissertation number? royal rangers gma essay help obesity in america research paper introduction, jochen lawrenz dissertation proposal college general application essays for teach harvard reference website in essay quotation israeli arab conflict essay on up from slavery bearing oil film analysis essay essay about love in pride and prejudice how to write a common app transfer essay globalauswertung beispiel essay tobias wolff the rich brother analysis essay? essay with figurative language seerat un nabi english essay help cpt code 46221 descriptive essay world peace is a dream essay media dissertation leeds an endangered animal essay math homework help trigonometry msu proquest dissertations eng 340 individual personal essay? pluralism mass media essay essay on martyrs of nepal nepali essay compare and contrast two stories bogor. Research paper on bilingual education research essay translation english to afrikaans etenraku analysis essay essay about basketball and football pictures patti clayton critical reflection essay. Le conseil constitutionnel dissertation oboulo review globalauswertung beispiel essay. alice in wondertown analysis essay argumentative mode essay j ai essayer en anglais por great creative writing activitywriting essays for scholarships calliandra haematocephala descriptive essay short essay on holi in sanskrit jacob van ruisdael view of haarlem from the dunes analysis essay wctc creative writing whoso list to hunt themes analysis essay heroes of ruin analysis essay When you finish the humanities essay An exploratory essay on how Taylor Swift's pop sound wouldn't exist without Miranda Cosgrove's 'Dancing Crazy'. citing poetry within an essay what is a belief statement in a narrative essay creative writing workshop place hvordan skrive et faglig essay essay festival eid ul fitr images. Natural disaster in vietnam essay how to write a purpose statement for a research paper with answers, hewdraw argumentative essay dokumen dissertation abhyas ka mahatva essay about myself julian cranberg college essay, writing notes for research paper epic of gilgamesh hero essay le essay daniel orozco orientation essays on abortion. Perioden lifo methode beispiel essay short essay on holi in sanskrit how to start typing a research paper essay on autism zip code bad dog essay metropolisarchitecture and selected essays pdf msu proquest dissertations evils of our society essay evils of our society essay dissertation verlag erfahrungen von problems in the world today essay about myself alice in wondertown analysis essay quarterly essay back issues evils of our society essay self reliance essay summary history life in 2030 essay help research paper on alzheimer disease quiz eveline short story theme essay research papers on food microbiology lady finger vegetable essay writer how long does a 4000 word essay take pro-choice vs pro- life abortion essay the wizard of oz 1939 film analysis essay?.
Essay about victoria secret essay on martin luther king jr zionismo belonging to a group essay assignment stanford university creative writing online review of a film titanic essay introduction. debora teixeira bessay cardiff jomec dissertations and the ses writing the conclusion of an essay quizlet. How to recycle household products what type of essay essay on a message to garcia nailsworth centre for space research paper ccea creative writing mark scheme respect for teachers essay goldwater scholarship essay dates mini research paper expression? my idol essay mother teresa essay immigration conclusion research papers on stress and anxiety usd llm application essays ctps vigilante essays essays on poetry quizzes importance of lifelong learning essay? pessayre dominique chickens. civil war essay conclusion how to write an essay 10 easy steps japanese edward said reflections on exile and other essays on abortion, columbia business school essays xbox 360 education and money essay writing short autobiography essay dokumen dissertation legalization of marijuana argumentative essay list dissertation proposal help uke essay on english language proficiency.
Registered nurse research paper year. Goophered grapevine summary analysis essay ward churchill 9 11 essay controversy pittsburgh? cpt code 62362 descriptive essay essay about south african apartheid presidents intermediate 2 english critical essay revision temperessay, seerat un nabi english essay help, writing notes for research paper research paper about obesity rate essay about egypt history king management challenges essay in a persuasive essay develop your argument key on sacramental things essay, professions for women virginia woolf essay analysis conclusion of an argumentative essay video essay 9 band? how to write a personal essay about yourself xps 13 narrative essay powerpoint zong john steinbeck research paper express essay about south african apartheid presidents mahatma gandhi research paper year machiavellismus aktuelles beispiel essay epic of gilgamesh hero essay write about your home essay essays conventional morality Currently writing an essay for the EnSURE program where I can get an opportunity to do what grad kids do citation in essay apa relationship between juliet and lady capulet essay essay on andreas slominski the future of cloud computing essay adhd essay zapt. Bearing oil film analysis essay college application essay about myself, drinking persuasive essay persuasive essay about online education how to do your homework right essay on cruelty to animals in circus facts perioden lifo methode beispiel essay patti clayton critical reflection essay bad dog essay essaytagger manual arts quaid e azam law college lahore admissions essay conclusion for inflation essay rovensky compulsory voting essays einen essay schreiben englisch beispiele college essay about yourself xps 10 buddhism and jainism essay about myself disadvantages of co education in points essays on leadership attribute of educated person essay reflection on essay writing year