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Synthesis Essay. What to include?. You must include 3 of the sources. Also, use your own knowledge, observations, and experience to support your point of view. An essay derived partly from your own thinking stands a greater chance for a top score because of the layer of depth.

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what to include
What to include?
  • You must include 3 of the sources.
  • Also, use your own knowledge, observations, and experience to support your point of view.
  • An essay derived partly from your own thinking stands a greater chance for a top score because of the layer of depth.
demands for an argumentative essay
Demands for an argumentative essay
  • Introducing your position
  • Supporting your position with evidence
  • Refuting opposing viewpoints
  • Avoiding faulty reasoning
  • Incorporating sources
  • Citing sources
make your position crystal clear and precise
Make your position crystal clear and precise
  • Gambling affects the lives of millions of Americans – too broad and doesn’t state your opinion.
  • The economic effects of gambling are generally positive – better because its specific, expresses your opinion, it’s worthy of argument, and it addresses the issue.
qualifying words
Qualifying Words
  • Almost, frequently,generally, in most cases, likely, often, might,maybe, probably, sometimes, customarily, and so forth are good to use in a position statement.
  • Words like these make your position claim more difficult to challenge.
how to start your synthesis essay
How to Start Your Synthesis Essay
  • Your position statement needs to come early, but as always, you want to engage your reader.
  • Begin w/ a brief incident or anecdote related to the point you want to make.

State a provocative idea in an ordinary way or an ordinary idea in a provocative way.

  • Example:
    • Gambling casinos pay higher wages to their employees than almost any other businesses except salmon fisheries in Alaska. In spite of its potential for positive economic effect, however, the gambling industry harms American society more than it helps (Thesis is in italics)

Use a quotation from the prompt, from one of the sources, or from your reading, your experience, your grandmother:

Example: “All you need is a dollar and a dream.”

These catchy words have enticed millions of gullible New Yorkers into throwing their money away. Because low income people play the Lottery more often than well-off people, the lure of gambling harms them more than it does others. (Thesis)


Ask an interesting question or two that you’ll answer in the essay:

    • Why have Native Americans fought so hard in Washington for the right to run casinos on their tribal lands? The answer is simple. Casinos make their owners rich. In addition, gambling profits can pay the bills for schools, hospitals, roads, and other needs. In effect, in the right circumstances gambling does more good than harm. (Thesis)
if you are running out of time
*****If you are running out of time:
  • State your position up front.
  • Do not, however, announce it like this:

“In this essay, I am going to prove that gambling does greater harm than good.”

State your point, as in “Gambling does greater harm than good,” and go from there.

how much evidence
How much evidence?
  • A rule of thumb is that three distinct and relevant reasons will usually prove a point.
  • Reason 1: Gambling casinos create jobs, especially in rural areas.
  • Reason 2: Casinos increase property value in surrounding areas.
  • Reason 3: Casinos attract tourists who spend money for food, lodging, and services
counter argument refutation
Counter Argument / Refutation
  • A short paragraph that points out a weakness in the evidence that may be used by someone who disagrees with your position.
  • Something an opponent might say is that gambling drains community resources, such as the extra amount spent for law enforcement.
  • You could refute that claim by pointing out that casinos generate considerable tax revenue that pays for additional law enforcement, and they also increase the price of nearby housing, which raises the standard of living. Wealthier people usually pay higher taxes, which would help the community.
where will you put the counter argument
Where will you put the counter argument?
  • Sometimes near the end, just before the conclusion.
  • Sometimes earlier in the essay.
  • Sometimes briefly in each paragraph.
  • Location is less important than the message that is delivered: that your evidence is superior to that of the opposition.
incorporating sources
Incorporating Sources
  • You can use

direct quotes

indirect quotes



  • Use direct and indirect quotation sparingly.
  • Use them only to support ideas that you have first stated in your own words.
  • Don’t let quotes dominate your essay. This is a test of your writing ability, not of your ability to quote others.

At the end of the quote or indirect quote use

(Source A) or (Collins)

If you use commentary, you might say,

“The author of Source B offers a short-sighted view of . . .”

“Clearly, the author of Source B has a bias again . . . A failing that weakens her argument.”


According to a school psychologist, “Some children may be better off than if they escape their parents’ grip, healthier if they grow up wild and free and sort things out on their own” (Source A).

  • One panel member summed up the conflict by saying, “Young people want a large share in the decision-making about their lives” (Collins).
  • 15 minutes to read the sources
  • 40 minutes to write the essay.
  • A 9 essay will include a clear position (thesis)
  • Make at least 3 fully developed points with the strongest point coming toward the end.
  • The writer will include his own knowledge, observations, and experience to support his point of view.
  • Use at least 3 of the sources
  • Cite the sources
  • Include a counter argument with refutation
  • Have only a few grammatical mistakes that do not impact meaning