Overview Our first essay of the semester is, in essence, a synthesis essay: a c
Our first essay of the semester is, in essence, a synthesis essay: a composition that uses multiple sources to argue a topic. Think of this paper as an extended, thesis-driven argument you make about a particular topic, using multiple sources to help prove your point.
What is a Synthesis?
If anything confuses a student when writing an essay like this, it is the actual term “synthesis,” so it might help to think of that word via some of its synonyms, such as “to combine” and “to blend.” In light of these synonyms, try to see what you are doing in this paper as arguing a position with a variety of sources to help you. What you want to do in this essay is show that you can both sustain a logical and persuasive argument and control sources to your persuasive end. Try to have your sources have a “dialogue” with each other in terms of what they do and do not agree with in relation to your argued positions. We will practice this in class.
The most important aspect of a synthesis paper is this notion of “dialogue,” or, as some theorists have described it, “establishing connections among readings.” The more you can create a “dialogue” between your sources—author X says this, but author Y says this instead—the more credible you will be as an author, and the more importance you place on your assessment of the ideas being discussed.
I am requiring you to use a minimum of five sources to help you write your essay, at least two of which have to come from our textbook (TheMcGraw-Hill Reader Issues across the disciplines 12th edition). The other sources can also come from the textbook, or they can come from a credible source from an outside book, journal, database, etc.
I’ll accept almost any topic, so long as you can make it relate back to the articles we’ll study this semester—including those we won’t get to until after your Multi-Source Essay is actually due. This does mean that you could write this essay around a series of articles from the Health and Medicine chapter (Chapter 12), or from the Science and Technology chapter (Chapter 14), neither of which we’ll even begin reading until late next month. Perhaps the best thing to do at this point is to scan briefly through all of the articles we’ll read this semester and see what you find interesting. Alternately, you could come up with a short list of topics that you think you’d like to write on, and I’ll help you see which of those would work the best with our textbook offerings.
One thing to keep in mind when you choose your topic for this paper is that you will have the option to expand and revise your Multi-Source Essay into the larger, eight-page/eight-source Research Essay that is due at the end of the semester. It is not required that you do this, but the option is there, and if you wish to use it, then it would make sense to choose for this first essay a topic that you know you will want to write on for the next fifteen weeks, and that is large enough to allow you to eventually write eight pages on it.
Compose a 5 to 7-page essay that features a thesis-driven argument which synthesizes at least five sources about a topic that you specify. You should argue a specific point and use sources to help prove your ideas and persuade the reader. Do not simply argue the same point or idea from a source; instead, add your own ideas and perspectives to make your argument greater than any one source.
Nuts and Bolts
This essay has a minimum required length of five full pages, not including your Works Cited.
Your essay must use at least five sources.
You must use MLA formatting when citing your sources.