Synthesis essay What is the synthesis essay?



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Synthesis essay

What is the synthesis essay?

  • Students are given
  • intro and description of a topic that has different perspectives
  • Selection of sources that address the topic
  • --nonfiction --non-textuals
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • drama

How do I answer the synthesis essay?

  • Investigate a variety of sources, both print and visual
  • Choose which of the sources to include in your presentation
  • Respond to these sources and discuss how they relate to your thesis (position)

You must

  • Relate it to the thesis/claim
  • Use specific examples (personal and otherwise)
  • Use selected sources to support the major point

Textuals

  • Textuals
  • Essays
  • Articles
  • Fiction
  • Drama
  • Poetry
  • Non-textuals
  • Photos
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Art
  • Editorial cartoons
  • Newspaper pages

Purpose of the synthesis essay

  • To determine ability to
  • Read critically
  • Understand and analyze texts
  • Develop & support a position on a given topic
  • Support a position with evidence from outside sources
  • Incorporate outside sources into texts of essay
  • Cite sources used in the essay

Two types of synthesis essays

  • Expository essay where you develop thesis and support with specific examples form sources
  • Compare and contraast
  • Cause and effect
  • analysis

Second kind of synthesis prompt

  • Must present an argument
  • Must take a position on a given topic
  • Must support position with outside sources
  • Must indicate the weaknesses of the other arguments

How to tackle the synthesis essay

  • Break down the synthesis prompt
  • Read any introductory material
  • Look for key words, phrases, other information to make your job clearer
  • Highlight important terms and elements of the prompt

Intro example

  • Invasive species are non native plants and animals that thrive outside of their natural range and may harm or endanger native plants and animals. As producers and consumers in our global society, we affect and are affected by species introduced accidentally or intentionally to a region.
  • Currently some people argue for stricter regulations of imported species to avoid the possibility of unintended negative consequences. Others, however, claim that the economies and basic resources of poorer nations could be improved by selective importation of nonnative species.

Assignment

  • Read the following sources (including any introductory information) carefully. Then write an essay in which you evaluate what a business or government agency would need to consider before transferring a hardy but non-indigenous species to another country. Synthesize at least three of the sources for support.
  • Refer to the sources by their titles (source A, Source B etc.) or by the descriptions in the parentheses.

Time factor

  • Suggested reading time
  • Suggested writing time

Strategies—Critically read the texts

  • ANALYZE FOR
  • Purpose/thesis
  • Intended audience (Of the original article)
  • Type of source (primary, secondary)
  • Main points
  • Historical context
  • Authority of the author
  • How material is presented
  • Type of evidence presented/source of evidence
  • Any bias or agenda
  • How text relates to topic
  • Support or opposition toward the thesis

How to analyze non- textuals

  • Identify subject of the visual
  • Identify major components: characters, visual details, symbols
  • Identify verbal clues—tag lines, date, author, dialogue
  • Does visual take a positive or negative position toward the issue?
  • Identify primary purpose of the visual.
  • Determine how each detail illustrates and /or supports the primary purpose

Practice

  • Look at Source A and analyze.
  • Subject—balsam fir trees destroyed by species

Determine your position

  • After reading the prompt construct a preliminary position sentence/controlling focus
  • Ex: Government and businesses alike must consider __________ __________ ________ before permitting importing a non-indigenous plant or animal to a new region.
  • Although importing a non-indigenous plant or animal to a new region may be an easy fix,

Selecting sources

  • What is your purpose?
  • Is the source background info or pertinent info?
  • Does the source give new info or info that other sources cover?
  • Does this source reflect viewpts of any other texts?
  • Will this info add depth to your essay?

Selecting sources (cont.)

  • Does this source contradict the viewpts of other sources?
  • Does the source support or oppose your position?

Summary of source

  • Read closely and locate key words that enable you to reduce the piece to its essential points

Choosing which parts of the selected texts to use

  • Review the notes/highlights on your chosen passages
  • Ignore items you have not annotated
  • Determine if each excerpt contributes to the development of your thesis

Choosing which part you will use--body

  • Identify major point each will support
  • Does it strengthen your position (if not, ignore it)
  • How much of the excerpt will you use?
  • Why have it in your essay?
  • What comments can you make about it?

How to incorporate--body

  • If you have not annotated the piece ignore it
  • Determine how each source develops, supports your thesis
  • 1. identify the major point each will support
  • 2. analyze if the source/piece will strengthen your point and not just refer to it.
  • 3. determine how much you will use
  • 4. Determine what comments you can make about the point (analyze)
  • 5. determine anticipated objection to the point
  • Source
  • Point supported
  • Quote/non-textual aspect/ summary /paraphrase
  • A
  • Media ‘s use of survivors influenced public’s anger toward terrorists
  • Tearful survivors dominant element; holding photos of missing loved ones (focal point)

Summary

  • Read article
  • Underline key words
  • Base summary on key words underlined

Paraphrase

Inference

  • Draw a conclusion based on the important information provided
  • What do you get out of the material/source?

Purpose of intro

  • Catch reader’s interest
  • Give background information necessary for reader to understand point of the essay
  • Introduce thesis that indicates purpose of essay and order of points to be raised in support of thesis.

Writing intros

  • Find a startling statistic that illustrates the seriousness of the problem you will address. Quote an expert (but be sure to introduce him or her first).
  • Mention common misperception that your thesis will argue against. (Many Americans believe. ..)
  • Give some background information necessary for understanding the essay.
  • Use an anecdote that exemplifies reason for choosing the topic. In an assignment that encourages personal reflection, you may draw on your own experiences;
  • In research essay, the narrative may illustrate a common real-world scenario. (Freedman and Blotnik)

Writing the conclusion

  • Can include information from sources that you did not use
  • Topic sentence –presents your position
  • Refer to source that makes a strong statement in support of your position but did not give adequate support to include in body
  • Design clincher to be more than just a tag on.

Purpose of Conclusion

  • place the paper in a larger context
  • serve as a call for action
  • set forth a warning or hypothesis
  • intentionally complicate the issues you have already introduced (Allyn and Bacon)
  • Restate thesis in simplistic manner
  • Clincher—refer back to attention getter (tell the ending of the anecdote, put the statement, statistic in context)

If essay deals with contemporary problem, warn of consequences of not attending to the problem.

  • If essay deals with contemporary problem, warn of consequences of not attending to the problem.
  • Recommend a specific course of action.
  • Use quotation or expert opinion to lend authority to the conclusion you have reached.
  • Give a startling statistic, fact, or visual image to drive home the ultimate point of your paper.
  • If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point with a relevant narrative drawn from your own life experiences.
  • Return to n anecdote, example, or quotation that you introduced in your introduction, but add further insight that derives from the body of your essay.
  • In a science or social science paper, mention worthwhile avenues for future research on your topic.


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