What does a successful synthesis include?
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A Synthesis essay is the same as the argumentative essay except:
Fundamentally, this is a research project of discovery for both the author and readers and if treated as such, one will be well on the way to succeeding at this task. The following points will outline a simple guide to help you through the process of writing a synthesis essay:
The AP Synthesis Essay requires you to use three sources. You
In the lesson, our professor Rebekah Hendershot goes through an introduction on the synthesis essay. She starts with what a synthesis essay is and why you have to write one, and then moves on to discuss reading the prompt, texts, finding the main ideas, choosing your sources and remembering the little things.
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Always remember that academic writing prefers Paraphrases over Direct Quotations, and that ALL information from an outside source, whether quoted or paraphrased, MUST be cited.
Synthesis writing can be informational or persuasive. The primary difference is simply how you present the thesis and argument. Some instructors or writing situations will require a persuasive or informative focus, but that is specific to that situation, not to synthesis writing in general. You, as the writer, need to determine what your purpose is. If you want to argue a specific position or change, then use a persuasive format. If you want your audience to learn about the topic in general, then the informational approach is more appropriate.
The three main components of an essay (introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion) are obviously also used in a synthesis essay, but HOW they are used might be different from what you are used to doing.Many instructors expect or require that a research paper/synthesis essay show a refutation of a source. This is not required by either MLA or APA, but it is a good technique to know and use when appropriate.
One of the reasons why a refutation is often required is that it forces students to look beyond their comfort zone when doing the research. A good researcher should always be open to new ideas and where the evidence takes them in determining their conclusion. But, unfortunately, many writers have already decided their conclusion before they ever started even researching. By requiring them to have at least one opposing view in the essay, the instructor is trying to at least create the opportunity for a wider perspective on the issue.
Where a refutation is the most effective is if it can be used to answer an objection that most readers will have to your main arguments. For example, if you are going to argue for gun control, you should know that most readers are going to know that the 2nd amendment allows for gun ownership. You can conveniently ignore that fact and stick to only the evidence that supports your claim, but the readers will know that you are ignoring this point, and it will hurt your credibility.
A refutation, on the other hand could point out that most people don’t know or understand what the 2nd Amendment really says. After all, the 2nd Amendment really reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” So a case could be made that the 2nd Amendment really only provides for the right of gun ownership to people who are part of an official, regulated militia. Any restrictions on people who are NOT part of such a militia would not be against the 2nd Amendment.
Are all readers going to accept this analysis/reading of the meaning of the 2nd Amendment? Of course not, but since you have shown that you are aware of the issue and that you have come up with an interpretation/analysis, your credibility is stronger than someone who simply ignores the issue. And your case is even stronger if your refutation can be supported with a citation from one or more credible academic sources. (plus you are showing synthesis too!).