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1101 Synthesis Essay
Your synthesis essay is a means of your introducing the argument you will make in your
multiple-source essay. For this paper you will find two sources about your topic.
Write a synthesis essay of at least 500 words using a primary source (an article from the
library’s databases) as well as a secondary source you will find from the internet.
Regardless of how you focus your topic, remember that you must have a narrow,
topic that you are supporting with credible research in your essay. The purpose of
your essay is to demonstrate good reasoning and synthesis skills. You must combine
the ideas in both articles into one coherent argument using both sources effectively.
You are being asked to extrapolate the main ideas and supporting details from each
article to use to further your own position on the topic. You must use an effective thesis
that combines the topic with your position. Please pull at least two direct quotes and two
paraphrases from each article to effectively argue your position on the topic and take a
stand. This paper will necessitate effective use of transition words and phrases as well as
proper MLA format for in text citations as well as a Works Cited page.
Specific Synthesis Paper Guidelines




500-750 final word count (not including Works Cited page or separated quotes)
2 sources:
o 1 primary source (from the library’s databases)
o 1 secondary source found on the internet. Must have an author, relevant
date of publication, and reasonable length.
▪ Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source!
4 in-text citations (a blend of two paraphrases and two quotations), cited correctly
according to MLA guidelines
All cited sources photocopied and highlighted and turned in to me.
**Note that your essay cannot receive a passing grade without having met the
above minimum requirements!
Additional Requirements:
1. Essay must contain a proper introduction that includes a thesis statement.
2. Sources will be entered on the Works Cited page (in alphabetical order)
and cited according to what kind of sources they are.
3. Again, you must submit sources in the appropriate drop box. These are
submitted by the date on the syllabus.
4. Only third person is acceptable for this essay. Do NOT use first person,
second person, or contractions.
Writing a Synthesis Essay
1. What is a synthesis?
A synthesis is a written discussion incorporating support from several sources of differing views. This
type of assignment requires that you examine a variety of sources and identify their relationship to your
thesis.
2. Synthesis is used in:
• Analysis papers to examine related theories.
• For example a comparison between the theories of evolution or who shot JFK.
• Research papers to incorporate multiple sources.
• For example looking at economic and social effects of proposed legislation.
• Argument papers to compare differing views and support a coherent claim.
• For example, is Turn it in a violation of student’s rights? One side may argue that the
company steals students’ papers while others claim that students agree to have their work
archived.
• Business reports to examine differing ideas and blend into a coherent plan.
• For example, what are some of the plans to improve Toledo’s waterfront to attract more
visitors and increase business opportunities?
3. Tips for an effective synthesis essay:
• Establish your purpose to shape the way you want to argue and form your thesis. The thesis is
the main claim or idea of your essay.
• Select your sources and become familiar with them so that you can discuss them in relationship
to your thesis and supporting argument(s). If you simply quote sources without evaluating them
then the sources will control your paper and your audience will may misinterpret the information.
• Develop an organizational plan. Arrange more than just one source per point; multiple sources
will increase your credibility. Look at how sources may agree or disagree with one another and
evaluate which source has better logic or more credibility.
• Evaluate or interpret each source, then show the relationship between the sources and your
thesis.
• Document each source; note the author and page number as well as listing the source on the
Works Cited page to avoid plagiarism. This MUST be done if you quote, summarize or
paraphrase a source.
4. Strategies for organization:
• Climactic order- arranges the most important/persuasive evidence last since this is what is
remembered.
• Problem/solution-establishes the problem in the introduction, then offers a few solutions.
• Comparison and contrast• Summarizes each source and shows their similarities and differences
• Can move from point-to-point, back and forth between items being compared.
• Can be set into blocks, where one item is completely discussed before moving on to the
next.
5. Analyze the position of each source; you can use these verbs to note the author’s tone:
Argumentative:
Research:
Emphasis:
affirms
adds
alleges
argues
reveals
warns
confirms
states
advises
contends
mentions
admits
denies
finds
complains
disagrees
verifies
holds
believes
predicts
concedes
proposes
insists
acknowledges
rejects
speculates
responds
suggests
emphasizes
6. Which tense do I use?
MLA- use present tense: Shakespeare writes…
APA- use past tense: Dr. Bombay affirmed the value…
Summary and Synthesis
Summary
 Reporting the ideas of others, using your own words;
representing the main points of an article/source
 Always identifies the original source (citation and/or
attribution)
 Always shorter than the original, but length varies
according to assignment/context
 Does not use quotes
Examples of Summary
 Article 1 – Biello, David. “Biofuel from Bacteria.” Scientific American,
Nature America Incorporated, 5 Mar. 2010.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/biofuel-from-bacteria/.

How researchers converted E.coli into a biofuel through gene manipulation.
 Article 2 – “Coming up Empty.” The Economist, The Economist
Newspaper, 27 Mar. 2010.
http://www.economist.com/node/15773820.

EPA’s commitment to increasing America’s use of biofuels by utilizing other
sources other than corn/ethanol.
 Article 3 – “Biofuel firms fight back over power plant refusals”
Professional Engineering , 10 Mar. 2010.
http://www.professionalengineering.com/article/biofuel-firms-fightback/.
o
In England, biofuel opponents protest the building of several biofuel power plants.
Synthesis
 Based on a reading and summary of related
articles/texts, synthesis is your observation(s) of all
the related texts, usually with a specific focus
 Synthesis often appears as the topic sentence in a
longer paper, overviewing the specific content of a
paragraph.
 A Works Cited page is necessary when writing a
synthesis essay. It is important to give the reader all
information regarding each source.
Synthesis Strategies
 Compare:
 What do all or most of the sources say that is similar?
 What is the point of agreement?
 Contrast
 What does one source add to the conversation that is unique?
 Do any of the sources disagree? What is the point of
stasis/difference?
Observations = Synthesis
 All three articles are recent and imply that the
production of biofuels is on the rise.
 Article Three adds that the move to build biofuel
power plants is controversial.
 Article One differs from Two and Three in that it
examines an unusual source for biofuels, e.coli
bacteria. Using bacteria instead of food sources
dismisses one main objection of biofuel opponents.
Basic Summary and Synthesis Paragraph Ex.
1. Topic sentence of paragraph: Synthesis statement
(followed by….)
2. Summary of article 2 (with citation and attribution)
(followed by …)
3. Summary of article 3 (with citation and attribution)
(followed by …)
4. “However,” Summary of article 1 (with citation only)
5. Wrap-up/transition sentence.
Example paragraph

In a fluctuating global market overly-dependent on fossil
fuels, interest in developing biofuels is reportedly on the
rise. The Environment Protection Agency, for example,
recently projected a marked increase in the use of
biofuels over the next twelve years (“Coming Up
Empty”). This move is not without its opponents
worldwide. A March 2010 article in Professional
Engineering reported that biofuel opponents have
delayed the construction of several biofuel power plants
in England (“Biofuel Firms Fight Back”). However, the
recently discovered potential of bacteria as a source for
biofuels may alleviate some concerns (Biello) and
encourage more countries to join this energy endeavor.
(Transition Sentence Needed)
Synthesis Essay Proposal
Follow these steps to complete the Synthesis Essay Proposal:
1) Write the topic of the article you have chosen.
2) List the author and title of the article you are using as the original source.
3) Use the library databases to find a credible and scholarly document that relates to an important
aspect of your topic/original source.
4) In a cohesive paragraph of 4-8 sentences, describe the topic of the second source and how it
relates to the original source.
5) Construct a Works Cited page for your document that includes the source citation for the
original source.
6) Create a source citation entry for your secondary source, and format it correctly on your
Works Cited page.
7) Ensure the hyperlink works.
8) Submit your work in the drop box.
Synthesis Essay Outline
Primary Source:
What is the main idea of the article:
What are three main points in this article that you feel most strongly about?
1.
2.
3.
What is your position on the main idea after reading the article?
Secondary Source:
What is the main idea of the article:
What are three main points in this article that you feel most strongly about?
1.
2.
3.
What is your position on the main idea after reading the article?
Thesis Statement combining article topics and your position on the issue:

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