Synthesis Essay The Final Essay Style
You will be given a prompt asking you to build an argument about a certain issue. • You will have 6-8 sources of information available to reference in your argument. • Will present opposing views. • Will include at least one visual text (cartoon, chart, graph) Argument Essay Rhetoric Essay What is it? Oh no! The Windy Tornado Henchman is after the super LoL!
Synthesizing sources is putting them together into a sort of harmony. • Beyond classifying, comparing, or contrasting • The harmony is your thesis • Look for links between materials for the purpose of constructing a thesis or theory • Infer relationships and make them explicit • Analogy: You bring your sources into a room to have a discussion with each other. You lead the discussion, but sources comment on your ideas as well as each other’s. Leroy? … He’s not over here, guys! He’s not here either… What is Synthesis?
The prompt often gives you clues about where the contention or disagreement is. • Before you read any of the sources, develop a working thesis • Don’t refine wording—just establish what you think your position is. • Try to anticipate your main points • As other elements/ideas arise, flip to this page and jot them down (with source id) Step One: The Prompt
Introduction: Today almost 70% of Americans play some form of video games, and sociologists and psychologists seem to agree that video games have become one of American teens’ favorite activities. Some social critics claim that violent video games are connected to teen violence, while others argue that the games are harmless entertainment. Assignment: Read the following sources (including introductory information) carefully. Then write an essay in which you develop a position on the effects of violent video games on teenagers. Synthesize at least three of the sources for support. • Video games are an easy scapegoat • Violence permeates society • Ancient games (chess) and literaturecenter on war, survival • Responsibility of parents, teachers
As you read each source, identify and jot down: • A brief summary • Its angle • How it may fit into argument • Also evaluate: • Credibility of source • (blog vs. The New Yorker) • Its bias • Annotate: • Mark main ideas, key terms, useful quotations Step Two: The Sources He’s not here.
Source B – “Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggression” From American Psychological Association “…In the short run, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that can become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise.” • Psychological study – reliable source • Opposing view • Concession? Just as those withaddictive personalities should avoidalcohol, so should those with violenttendencies avoid violent video games? • Responsibility of parents
Correlation, not causality
Source C – “New Study Shows Video Games Don’t Cause Violence” From News Broadcast “ ‘We found that most boys 12-14 years old are playing Mature-rated video games, so this idea that ‘M’ rated games cause shootings or major violence just doesn’t hold water,’ explained psychiatrist Dr. Cheryl Olson.” • Psychiatrist – reliable • Supports claim – backing for concession • Violence in specialized cases – be aware of warning signs, but overall restriction is unnecessary
Choose which sources you are going to use and return to your thesis. • Make sure that the body paragraphs are based on your main points, not the sources. • Integrate the sources into your argumentative scheme. • Thesis with several supporting examples • Classical or Rogerian argument • Consider how sources relate • Support? • Rebuttal? Concession? • Are A and B contrasts? Is D an extended illustration of C? Step Three: Plan
Using sources: • Integrate them into your sentences • You may paraphrase or quote them • Giving a little background on the source itself makes you appear credible • Do not let this distract from your point—make sure it is short. • You must cite paraphrased and quoted sources. • “Quote” (Source A). Or Paraphrase (Source A). • “Quote” (Rudder). Or Paraphrase (Rudder). Step Four: Write. It’sssssssss too high, sssssssssayssssssss I.
Blah, blah blah. Stuff about Dill. While Dill’s article suggests that videogames promote violent behavior, Dr. Cheryle Olson’s assertion, in a television news report, that “most boys 12-14 years old are playing Mature rated video games,” reminds concerned parents that, though video games might trigger negative behaviors in a select few, they have not reduced the entire current teenage population to pistol-toting belligerents (Source D). Like so many other products available to teenagers—horror movies, potato chips, literature, the internet, cold medicine—video games can be a “typical and normal” part of life for the majority, but might pose problems for a small minority (Source D). Thus, parental guidance and vigilance is the proper course of action—not blanket demonization of an entire entertainment industry.
If you fail to cite words or ideas, you will not pass the exam. • You must hit on at least three sources! • The highest score you can get with two sources is a four. • Remember: • Analyze source credentials • When, where, why? • Do not center organization around sources. I can reach him, but I can’t hold him! Things to Know
Begins by contextualizing the issue and demonstrating why audience should read on. • Thesis does justice to issue’s complexity while emphasizing writer’s position • Conclusion addresses the “so what?” • “Provide an extended consideration of the sources the reference—they go beyond merely citing sources to assaying their significance to the thesis being developed and forging connections between author’s position and that of the author of the source.” • “Enter into conversations with the sources… rather than being overwhelmed” • Attribute info, rather that appropriating. A High Scoring Essay Let’ssssssssssssssssssynthesssssize our effortssssssssss!