English 1302: Week Three Synthesizing Sources
Prompt • Please get out your homework assignments (Library Assignment, Annotations) and have those ready. • While we wait for class to begin, please read Charles Knight’s sample Brief Assignment 2 in your First-Year Writing Textbook p. 585. Note how the body paragraphs are structured in relation to the thesis.
Class Overview • Announcements, Reminders, and Due Dates • Introduction to Synthesis • Identifying Synthesis Language • Literature Review Formal Requirements and Language • Review of Yarbrough’s Literature Review 1.2 • Synthesis Exercise: Poetry of World War I • Homework: Library Assignment, Topic Proposal, and Brief Assignment 2
Announcements • Upcoming Brief Assignment 2 • Library Assignment due in class next week (2/11) (make sure to retain a copy for yourself!) (.5 of a point off for each day late). • Formal Topic Proposal due by e-mail next week (no later than midnight 2/12) • University Writing Center Appointments
Introduction to Synthesis • Synthesis is a technique that “groups similar pieces of information together” and establishes patterns between different texts. • Think of synthesis as a “combining” or drawing together of elements: this is how you identify the themes and elements of a scholarly conversation for your reader. • Synthesis is the core writing skill for the literature review, as your body paragraphs should be devoted to synthesizing articles based on subtopics of your research topic. • Synthesis in a literature review should involve explicit, qualitative comparisons between authors’ arguments and their various sub-points and concerns. • An effective synthesis essay will require you to draw on summary and paraphrase skills but should operate by connecting authors’ arguments. • Synthesis requires that you examine not just simple matters of agreement but varying degrees of overlap and even disagreement between authors.
Identifying Synthesis Language • Formally, synthesis of arguments should focus on the authors and their articles within the sentence. • Ex: WhereasBarker’s research argues that metaphor is significant to Dickinson’s poetry because of the way it relates to self-exploration and “lyric identity,” Weisbuch identifies not metaphor but metonymy in conjunction with Dickinson’s poetry. Moreover, he believes that metonymy signifies a dissolution of identity as opposed to the expansion or exploration Barker suggests (Weisbuch233). • Synthesis will require you to discuss at least two authors in context with one another within the same sentence. • Effective synthesis should not attempt to summarize each author alone in their own paragraph; your paragraphs’ topic sentences should identify the common subtheme shared by two authors or more. • Synthesis often employs comparative phrases, complex sentence structure, and signal verbs to incorporate multiple authors’ views. • Where in Yarbrough’s 1.2 did we see these phrases?
Brief Assignment 2 • BA 2 asks you to write an essay that synthesizes the main points of three articles: Birkerts’s “Into the Electronic Millennium,” Budiansky’s “Lost in Translation,” and Rosenberg’s “Everyone Speak’s Text Message” (all in your FYW textbook). • Should be written in the third-person (no use of “I”) and must focus on the authors and the connections between their arguments/purposes. • Your thesis sentence should identify the theme common to all three articles and allow you to identify sub-points for your body paragraphs. • Although the assignment is 400-600 words total, you must include a sufficient introductory paragraph and concluding paragraph in addition to two body paragraphs of synthesis. The body paragraphs should be substantially developed (i. e. not shorter than your conclusion or intro) and must contain textual evidence (paraphrases or brief direct quotes) to support your synthesis of the sources. Be specific in your comparisons! • Please be sure to include topic sentences that identify the point around which you will synthesize the sources. • You must include an MLA-format works cited entry (labeled Works Cited) at the end of your work. Not including attribution for your sources is akin to plagiarism. In-text citations for paraphrases, quotes, and any idea taken directly from the text must be included. • Proofread carefully and make sure that you are referring to authors by their last names after their full names have been established in the intro paragraph.
Intro and Concluding Paragraphs • Your introduction should be modeled after the structure of our WWI example (coming up in this Powerpoint, slides 13/14). • Your introduction should include: • A one sentence hook/statement of exigency that focuses on the researchers and their arguments • A clear two sentence summary of the overall debate or concern in the essays. • A statement containing the articles’ titles and authors’ names as well as the general theme that connects them. • A thesis that indicates the trend in research and connects the three authors. • Your conclusion should include: • A concise summary of the thesis and comparisons or differences that arrived from the synthesis.
Brief Assignment 2 Directions Cont’d • Nearly every sentence should involve more than one author’s article. Paragraphs should be organized bytheme and not by individual articles. • When drawing comparisons for synthesis, make sure that you are using correct source integration technique: look at the example BA2 on 584-5 and Yarbrough’s 1.2 (both in FYW) for models. Also, you will want to review Ch. 13 in your St. Martin’s Handbook for additional guidance on source integration. • Practice active reading and make sure to use the checklist provided on the following slide (and on the blog) to help you identify the arguments of each article before you begin drafting your BA2. • Make sure not to use excessive direct quotes: you do not have the space. Your assignment will be docked points if you use excessive or long direct quotes. Practice concision.
Reading Checklist For each article you read for BA2, please note the following as you take notes: • Identify the specific theme of the article (must be narrower than “technology” or “reading”(“technology” could mean “washing machines” if left undefined): what problem are they concerned with? What relationships or ideas?) • Identify the argument: what does the author want his or her audience to do or believe? What’s at stake? • How do they form their argument? Why do these techniques matter? • Who is the audience, and when was the piece written? (Hint: this will alter how the authors examine their themes and form their argument). • What are some textual examples you could use to identify an aspect or sub-point of the author’s argument?
Example Synthesis Body Paragraph From Yarbrough’s 1.2: “[Topic Sentence] Researchagrees in addition to line spacing, bigger text size is beneficial for child readers. Sue Walker strongly states that “size of typeface” is the “most important factor in the influence of books upon vision” (Describing 196). However, Walker’s studies are not completely relevant since they revolve around children’s books from the early 1900s, but her reports still consider the importance of design and the needs of beginning learners and their perceptions of words. Likewise, Laura E. Hughes and Arnold J. Wilkins encourage larger word size since they believe type may be too small for effective reading comprehension (Typography 410). Theyagree with Walker by stating that font size usually gets smaller as a result of smaller lettering and state it could hinder performance and slow speed (Typography 315). Hughes and Wilkins are also more urgent than Walker by calling for a change in books by educators. In a more recent article, Arnold J. Wilkins observes reading speed in relationship to word size, but unlikehis earlier study with Hughes he does not focus on comprehension. He finds that larger font is beneficial for both younger and older children. In addition, both studies agreethat larger word size designed for younger children was read faster by older children, thus larger type size was beneficial to all ages. When comparing Wilkins and Walker, Wilkins is more detailed in field research by testing children, whileWalker focuses more on the general effectiveness of word size in the design of children’s books. [Concluding Sentence] Nonetheless, Walker, Hughes, and Wilkins recognize that adjusting word size is an important factor to consider and can affect the way children learn to read.”
Annotations • In the previous slide, authors’ names are underlined and signal phrases for synthesis are bolded. When a third author is brought directly into a sentence via comparison, they are marked in red. Likewise, phrases that pulled all authors together were marked in blue. • The topic sentence discusses all authors and defines the paragraph’s point [sub-topic] for synthesis: agreement that “bigger text is beneficial for child readers.” • Note that Yarbrough does not only discuss basic agreement: she explores the qualitative differences and similarities between each author’s approach to the sub-topic. • Note the use of details (short direct quotes, paraphrases) to support her synthesis and summary of each text.
Sample Introductory Paragraph: Synthesis of WWI Poets • “World War I saw one of the greatest outpourings of poetry from active soldiers than almost any war before it. During the war, soldier-poets or “trench poets” who made war their subject reacted to the traditional, patriotic art of the 19th century through their own poetry, often refusing the public conception of the soldier. Their poems, however, differ from one another in their approach to the role of the soldier during wartime. “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen, “Base Details” by Siegfried Sassoon, and “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae all examine the legacy of fallen soldiers in relation to the civilian public. These poets are in consensus that a soldier’s experiences are separate from those of the civilian public, although they differ in the way they believe a soldier’s legacy should be received during wartime and as part of the war effort.”
WWI Synthesis: Annotated • “ [Hook] World War I saw one of the greatest outpourings of poetry from active soldiers than almost any war before it. [Debate/Concern ] During the war, soldier-poets or “trench poets” who made “war” their subject reacted to the traditional, patriotic art of the 19th century through their own poetry, often refusing the public conception of the soldier. Their poems, however, differ from one another in their approach to the role of the soldier during wartime. [Authors and general theme] “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen, “Base Details” by Siegfried Sassoon, and “In Flanders Fields” by John McCraeall examine the legacy of fallen soldiers in relation to the civilian public. • *Note: nearly all sentences start with or focus on “the authors” of the texts/poems.” • [Thesis indicating research trend] These poetsare in consensus that a soldier’s experiences are separate from those of the civilian public, althoughthey differ in the way they believe a soldier’s legacy should be received during wartime and as part of the war effort.”
Homework • Read the three articles listed in BA2 (printed in your FYW textbook) as part of BA2 (Hint: do this early!) • Complete Brief Assignment 2 in Raider Writer, due Sat. 2/8 • Complete and send your formal topic proposalvia e-mail (please review our class notes for Week 2 on the blog for specific details) (worth 4 points participation total). You must follow directions with this e-mail. • Complete the Library Assignment (all sections) and turn in a copy in class on 2/11 (worth 8 points participation total). *Make sure not to turn in your only copy! You will need this for our class next Tuesday.