synthesis n.
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  1. Synthesis What does it mean to “synthesize” information?

  2. Background… • While we are not writing a synthesis essay today, we are “synthesizing” information as we make thematic connections across multiple mediums (i.e. movies, informational texts, our in class novel, etc.) • What we discuss here will apply to synthesis in writing, but the steps to synthesis are essential for us to learn today.

  3. What is it? • Synthesis searches for links between materials for the purpose of constructing a thesis or theory, or making connections in order to respond to a theme based question (as in our unit- is the world a good or bad place?) • Synthesis writing is more difficult than it might at first appear because this combining must be done in a meaningful way and the final essay must generally be thesis-driven.  • “Synthesis” commonly refers to writing about texts, drawing together particular themes or traits that you observe in those texts and organizing the material from each text according to those themes or traits.  • Sometimes you may be asked to synthesize your own ideas, theory, or research with those of the texts you have been assigned. In your other classes you'll probably find yourself synthesizing  information from graphs and tables, pieces of music, and art works as well.   

  4. Synthesis in everyday life • Whenever you report to a friend all of the things several other friends have said about a movie, or a song, you engage in synthesis.  • People synthesize information naturally to help other see the connections between things they learn;  for example, you have probably stored up a mental data bank of the various things you've heard about particular teachers.  If your data bank contains several negative comments, you might synthesize that information and use it to help you decide not to take a class from that particular teacher. • Synthesis is related to but not the same as classification, division, or comparison and contrast.  Instead of attending to categories or finding similarities and differences, synthesizing sources is a matter of pulling them together into some kind of harmony. 

  5. Purpose • Your purpose in reading/viewing various source materials and then drawing and citing connections illustrates your understanding of the topic. • For example, your assignment may ask that you evaluate a text, argue a position on a topic, explain cause and effect relationships, or compare and contrast items. If you cite evidence from various “locations,” you are thinking on a deeper level and brining in cited evidence in addition to your connections made!