• Freewrite: Open your book to the Student Sample
BA 2s in your First-Year Writing book (pp.583-585).
1. Identify the thesis of each sample. Which sample’s
thesis is easier to identify; why?
2. Which sample do you think is best; why?
Y O U R B A 1 & PA 1 C O M M E N TA R Y
SYNTHESIS IS THE FLIP SIDE OF
• you already understand the
parts, so your job is to
assemble them into a new
Notes from the eHandbook
TO SYNTHESIZE SOURCES FOR A
RESEARCH PROJECT, TRY THE
• Read the material carefully.
• Determine the important ideas in each source.
• Formulate a position. Review the key ideas of each source and figure
out how they fit together. Look for patterns: discussions of causes and
effects, specific parts of a larger issue, background information, and so
on. Be sure to consider the complexity of the issue, and demonstrate
that you have considered more than one perspective.
• Summon evidence to support your position. You might use
paraphrases, summaries, or direct quotations from your sources as
• Deal with counterarguments. You don’t have to use every idea or
every source available—some will be more useful than others.
However, ignoring evidence that opposes your position makes your
argument weaker. You should acknowledge the existence of valid
opinions that differ from yours, and try to explain why they are
incorrect or incomplete.
• Combine your source materials effectively. Be careful to avoid simply
summarizing or listing your research. Think carefully about how the
ideas in your reading support your argument. Try to weave the various
sources together rather than discussing your sources one by one.
SYNTHESIS IS NATURAL
Whenever you talk to a friend that things several
other friends has said about the film or CD you
engaged and synthesis. People synthesize
information naturally to help others to see if the
connections between things they learn; you have
probably stored up a mental data bank of the
various things you’ve heard about particular
professor. If your data bank contains several
negative comments, you might synthesize that
information and use it to help you decide not to
take a class with that particular professor.
SYNTHESIS IS NATURAL
Synthesis is related to, but not the same as
classification, division, or comparison and
contrast. Instead of attending to
categories or finding similarities and
differences, synthesizing sources is a
matter of pulling them together into some
kind of harmony. Synthesis searches for
links between materials for the purposes of
constructing a thesis or theory.
KEY FEATURES OF SYNTHESIS
1. It accurately reports information from the
sources using different phrases and sentences
2. It is organized in such a way that readers can
immediately see where the information from
the sources overlap
3. It makes sense of the sources and helps the
reader understand them in greater depth
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REPORT
Each topic sentence, instead of simply
introducing the material for the
paragraph that will follow, will link back to
the thesis and assert that the information
to be synthesize/presented below is
essential because …
Your primary purpose is to show
readers that you are familiar with the
field and are thus qualified to offer
your opinions. But your larger
purpose is to show that in spite of all
this wonderful research, no one has
addressed the problem in the way
that you intend to in your paper.
SYNTHESIS ESSAY: INTRODUCTION
• Contains a one-sentence (maybe two)
statement that sums up the focus of your
• Also introduces the texts to be synthesized:
• Givers the title and author of each source
• Sometimes provides pertinent background
information about the authors, about the texts to
be summarized, or about the general topic from
which the texts are drawn
SYNTHESIS ESSAY: BODY
This should be organized by them, point,
similarity, or aspect of the topic. Your
organization will be determined by the
patterns you see in the materials you are
Make sure your work represents the text fairly.
Look upon yourself as a synthesizing machine.
SYNTHESIS ESSAY: CONCLUSION
When you have finished your paper, write a
conclusion reminding readers of the most
significant themes you have found and the
ways they connect to the overall topic.
Most importantly, you will want to suggest
further research or comment on things that is
was not possible for you to discuss in the
paper. This may be the place you set up the
exigency for a future argument.
BA 2: TO COMPLETE THIS ASSIGNMENT, YOU
WILL NEED TO WRITE A THESIS-DRIVEN
SYNTHESIS OF THREE ARTICLES.
You will want to identify a common theme or idea that
you see running through all of the articles and focus on
how each article develops or contributes to the theme.
We have selected the following articles from your
textbook for this assignment:
1. Sven Birkerts: "Into the Electronic Millennium" pp.
2. Stephen Budiansky: "Lost in Translation" pp. 238-244
3. T ina Rosenberg: "Everyone Speaks Text Message" pp.
BA 2: OUTLINE
1. Read each article through once so that you understand its scope
and the author’s argument. 2. As you begin to read through each article again, note common
themes and ideas. What are the things these authors agree and
disagree about? (Hint: You may find it helpful to use an organizational
tool such as a Venn diagram.) 3. Create a working thesis statement based on one common theme or
idea that runs through all three articles (a statement that will tie all
three articles together in some way). There will be several possible
common themes or ideas for you to choose from. Pick the one that
you can develop in the most detail. 4. Then, write an essay which summarizes and synthesizes these articles.
In other words, describe the common theme, explain how each
author develops the common theme, and then explain how each
article relates to the others. What are their similarities and differences?
Why are these similarities and differences important to the theme
which you are examining?
Length: 400 - 600 words Format: MLA style for internal citations and works
BASED ON WHAT WE HAVE DISCUSSED ABOUT SYNTHESIS,
RESPOND TO THE FOLLOWING PROMPTS ABOUT THE STUDENT
SAMPLE OF SYNTHESIS IN YOUR TEXTBOOK.
• Does the student have the appropriate thesis
statement for a synthesis paper? If yes, how
so? If not, how might the thesis statement be
• What is effective about the introductory
• What is ineffective about the introductory
• Identify places of synthesis in the body
paragraphs. How can you tell that the
student is synthesizing? For example, are
there certain transitional words that the writer
uses to show synthesis?
• Do the body paragraphs relate directly back
to the thesis? If so, explain how. If not, what
aspects of the thesis statement are not
addressed in the body paragraphs?
Formal Outline – Information on Blog