Synthesis Essay

The Final Essay Style
* You will be given a prompt asking you to build
an argument about a certain issue.
* You will have 6-8 sources of information
available to reference in your argument.
* Will present opposing views.
* Will include at least one visual text (cartoon,
chart, graph)
Oh no! The
Windy Tornado
Henchman is
after the super
* Synthesizing sources is putting them together into a
sort of harmony.
* Beyond classifying, comparing, or contrasting
* The harmony is your thesis
* Look for links between materials for the purpose of
He’s not
constructing a thesis or theory
* Infer relationships and make them explicit
* Analogy: You bring your sources into a room to have
a discussion with each other. You lead the
discussion, but sources comment on your ideas as
well as each other’s.
He’s not
over here,
* The prompt often gives you clues about where
the contention or disagreement is.
* Before you read any of the sources, develop a
working thesis
* Don’t refine wording—just establish what you
think your position is.
* Try to anticipate your main points
* As other elements/ideas arise, flip to this page and
jot them down (with source id)
Today almost 70% of Americans play some form of video games,
and sociologists and psychologists seem to agree that video
games have become one of American teens’ favorite activities.
Some social critics claim that violent video games are connected
to teen violence, while others argue that the games are harmless
Read the following sources (including introductory information)
carefully. Then write an essay in which you develop a position on
the effects of violent video games on teenagers. Synthesize at
least three of the sources for support.
* As you read each
source, identify and
jot down:
* A brief summary
* Its angle
* How it may fit into
* Also evaluate:
* Credibility of source
* (blog vs. The New
* Its bias
* Annotate:
* Mark main ideas, key
terms, useful
He’s not
Source B – “Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggression”
From American Psychological Association
“…In the short run, playing a violent video game appears to
affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term
effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns
and practices new aggression-related scripts that can become
more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict
situations arise.”
Source C – “New Study Shows Video Games Don’t Cause
From News Broadcast
“ ‘We found that most boys 12-14 years old are playing Maturerated video games, so this idea that ‘M’ rated games cause
shootings or major violence just doesn’t hold water,’ explained
psychiatrist Dr. Cheryl Olson.”
* Choose which sources you are going to use and return to your
* Make sure that the body paragraphs are based on your main
points, not the sources.
* Integrate the sources into your argumentative scheme.
* Thesis with several supporting examples
* Classical or Rogerian argument
* Consider how sources relate
* Support?
* Rebuttal? Concession?
* Are A and B contrasts?
Is D an extended illustration of C?
* Using sources:
* Integrate them into your sentences
* You may paraphrase or quote them
* Giving a little background on the source itself
makes you appear credible
* Do not let this distract from your point—make sure
it is short.
* You must cite paraphrased and quoted sources.
* “Quote” (Source A).
* “Quote” (Rudder).
Paraphrase (Source A).
Paraphrase (Rudder).
It’sssssssss too high, sssssssssayssssssss I.
Blah, blah blah. Stuff about Dill. While Dill’s article
suggests that videogames promote violent behavior, Dr.
Cheryle Olson’s assertion, in a television news report, that
“most boys 12-14 years old are playing Mature rated video
games,” reminds concerned parents that, though video
games might trigger negative behaviors in a select few, they
have not reduced the entire current teenage population to
pistol-toting belligerents (Source D). Like so many other
products available to teenagers—horror movies, potato
chips, literature, the internet, cold medicine—video games
can be a “typical and normal” part of life for the majority,
but might pose problems for a small minority (Source D).
Thus, parental guidance and vigilance is the proper course
of action—not blanket demonization of an entire
entertainment industry.
* If you fail to cite words
or ideas, you will not
pass the exam.
* You must hit on at
least three sources!
* The highest score you
can get with two
sources is a four.
I can reach him,
but I can’t hold
* Remember:
* Analyze source
* When, where, why?
* Do not center
organization around
* Begins by contextualizing * “Provide an extended
the issue and
demonstrating why
audience should read on.
* Thesis does justice to
issue’s complexity while
emphasizing writer’s
* Conclusion addresses the
“so what?”
consideration of the sources
the reference—they go
beyond merely citing sources
to assaying their significance
to the thesis being developed
and forging connections
between author’s position and
that of the author of the
* “Enter into conversations
with the sources… rather
than being overwhelmed”
* Attribute info, rather that
Let’sssssss sssssssssssynthesssssize our
You saved me! Yay!

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