A Sequence for Academic Writing Chapter 3: “Explanatory Synthesis”
Chapter 4: “Explanatory Synthesis” • What is Synthesis • A synthesis is a written discussion that draws on two or more sources. • Your ability to write synthesis depends on your ability to infer relationships among sources—essays, articles, fiction, and non written sources.
Academic synthesis is when you make explicit the relationships that you have inferred among separate sources. • In order to write synthesis, you must understand what you have read and often be able to summarize this to your readers. But, synthesis goes beyond summary and requires to ability to make connections and form relationships. Both of these skills are necessary in order to determine the relationships among sources.
What is Synthesis continued: • There are many ways to determine ways that information in sources is related to information in other sources. • You will need to be selective in selecting which information to use. • As a writer, you must select the information that best allows you to achieve your purpose. • Where do we find written synthesis? • See chart on pg. 88
Purpose • Explanatory • Arguments • Having located sources relevant to your topic, you would select, for possible use in a paper, only those parts that helped you in fulfilling this purpose. And, how you used those parts or related them to other material from other sources—would also depend on your purpose.
Using your Sources • Since the very essence of synthesis is on combining information and ideas, you must have some basis on which to combine them. • Examples: • Cause-effect • Describe • Compare-contrast • Argument • Your purpose determines which sources you research, which ones you use, which parts of them you use, at which points in the essay you use them, and in what manner you relate them to one another.
How to Write Synthesis • Although writing synthesis cannot be reduced to a lock-step method, it should help you to follow the guidelines in the box on pg. 84-85. • Organize a Synthesis by IDEA, Not by Source (pg. 109) • A synthesis is a blending of sources organized by ideas. • Avoid organizing by source + summary. This is not a synthesis because each source stands alone as an independent summary. • Do organize by idea. This creates a dialog among sources in support of an idea. Each organizing idea in turn supports the thesis.