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Source Synthesis. ESL501 Created by Katherine Wu Modified by Jihye Yoon. Defining Synthesis. What does it mean to synthesize? What, then, does it mean to synthesize sources? Why is it important to synthesize sources in a literature review?.

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source synthesis

Source Synthesis

ESL501

Created by Katherine Wu

Modified by Jihye Yoon

defining synthesis
Defining Synthesis
  • What does it mean to synthesize?
  • What, then, does it mean to synthesize sources?
  • Why is it important to synthesize sources in a literature review?
slide3

Synthesis: to combine separate elements to form a whole

  • A literature review should show that you have understanding about other works that are related to your research question.
  • In a lit review, such understanding should be demonstrated by
    • Make connections and clarify relationships among the ideas of the source materials
    • Organize the text topic-by-topic instead of source by source
source synthesis examination
Source Synthesis Examination
  • What are the organizing principles of text A and text B?
  • Highlight the topic sentences of each paragraph.
  • Which text synthesized the sources better?
  • What are some characteristics that make a good source synthesis?
slide5

To show that you have digested the information well

      • organize all the information by topic instead of sources
      • present the recurring ideas among sources.
      • clarify the relationship between ideas in those sources
  • One strategy to help you get organized: Drawing a grid!
using a grid to organize sources
Using a Grid to Organize Sources

Research Question: What are the purposes of ESL classes in universities?

  • Step1: List out the main ideas of each source
slide7

Step 2: Based on the recurring topics in the grid, organize your source synthesis by topics instead of sources

E.g. According to recent literature that discusses the purposes of ESL classes, there are four main functions. To begin with, author A and author D point out that ESL classes help students with their grammar errors….In addition, both author A and author B states that ESL classes help students form communities and develop better relationships….Furthermore, many experts, including author A, C and D claims that one of the students learn organization skills….Finally, author B, C and D, all emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of plagiarism in ESL classes in accordance with university policies.

steps to creating a grid
Steps to Creating a Grid
  • Step1: List out the main ideas of each source
  • Step2: Based on the recurring topics in the grid, organize your source synthesis by topics instead of sources
sample grids
Sample Grids
  • You can also create a grid based on research methods and results
practice creating a grid
Practice Creating a Grid!
  • Research Question: Are Richer People Happier?
  • Fill out the grid based on the provided 5 sources.

Step1: List out the main ideas in each source

Step2: Based on the recurring topics in the grid, organize your source synthesis by topics instead of sources

writing the synthesis
Writing the Synthesis
  • For each main idea that recurs among the sources, create a topic sentence that both

1) Synthesize the literature to be discussed

2) Describe the literature to be discussed

E.g. 1) Much of the literature points out that whole capital punishment does not stop crime, most Americans still believe that it does stop crime.

E.g. 2) Not only does the literature agree that capital punishment does not stop crime, Prejean, Fitzpatrick and Marshall also suggests that capital punishment may in fact cause more crime.

slide12

Now support the topic sentences you created, with summaries, paraphrases or quotations.

  • Make sure to use clear transitions.
  • Make sure your supporting details are directly related to the topic sentence (Do not include minor details that are unrelated, but included in the source).
  • Do NOT plagiarize! Make sure you are citing sources appropriately.
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