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The Synthesis Essay - From 5 Steps to a 5

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1 The Synthesis Essay - From 5 Steps to a 5

2 What is the synthesis essay like?
Students are presented with an introduction to and a description of an issue that has varying viewpoints associated with it. Sources can be written texts that could include nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or even drama, as well as visual texts, such as photos, charts, art work, cartoon, etc.

3 What is the purpose of the synthesis essay?
The College Board wants to determine how well students can do the following: Read critically Understand texts Analyze texts Develop a position on a given topic Support a position on a given topic Support a position with appropriate evidence from outside sources Cite sources used in the essay

4 What kinds of synthesis essays can I expect?
Compare and Contrast Cause and Effect Analysis Taking a position on an argument (defend, qualify, or refute…) ** Remember, everything you write is, in a sense, an argument.

5 Timing and Planning the Synthesis Essay
USE the 15 minutes of time you are allotted at the beginning for your actual prewriting: Read all three of the prompts Deconstruct the synthesis prompt (overarching issue)

6 Develop the Opening Paragraph
Before you begin the actual writing, jot down a few notes about How you are going to present your material. There is no need to construct a formal outline. Simply create a brief listing of the major points you want to include and the order in which you will present them.

7 Develop the Opening Paragraph – cont.
**Decide which sources you will use in the essay Refer specifically to the prompt Clearly state your position on the given topic. Write this in a statement: “The position I’m going to take on this issue is to (support), (oppose), or (qualify).

8 Tips… You only have time for one draft, so make sure that it:
Is clear, organized, logical, and thoughtful Make sure your main points relate to your thesis/claim Use specific examples (personal and otherwise) Use selected sources to support the major point

9 Incorporating Sources…
Use attribution and introduction of cited sources Transitions Mix of direct quotes, summary, and paraphrase ** The synthesis essay requires you to be familiar with both analysis and argument.

10 Critical Reading of the Texts…
Students must be able to determine the following: Purpose/thesis Intended audience Type of source Main points Historical context Authority of author How the material is presented Source of evidence Any bias or agenda How the text relates to the topic Support or opposition toward the thesis

11 Read the following text..
“Our opposition to eminent domain is not across the board,” he [Scott G. Bullock of the Institute for Justice] said. “It has an important but limited role in government planning and the building of roads, parks, and public buildings. What we oppose is eminent domain abuse for private development, and we are encouraging legislators to curtail it.”

12 More neutral observers expressed concern that state officials, in their zeal to protect homeowners and small businesses, would handcuff local governments that are trying to revitalize dying cities and fill in blighted area with projects that produce tax revenues and jobs. “It’s fair to say that many states are on the verge of seriously overreacting to the Kelo decision,” said John D. Exheverria, executive director of the Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Institute and an authority on land-use policy. “The danger is that some legislators are going to attempt to destroy what is a significant and sometimes painful but essential government power. The extremist position is a prescription for economic decline for many metropolitan areas around the country.”

13 Main points: (four of them)
Thesis: “…what we oppose is eminent domain…curtail it.” Intended Audience: - Educated readers Main points: (four of them) Qualified opposition to Eminent Domain Opposed to ED for private development Acknowledges that there are those who see their position as handcuffing local officials Echeverria says, “The danger..” He fears legislation could destroy essential gov’t power.

14 How Material is Presented:
Historical Context: 2006 in response to Kelo decision How Material is Presented: Thesis + expert’s direct quotation + acknowledgement of opposition + expert’s direct quote Type of evidence presented: Directed quotes of experts in the field Source of evidence: Expert opinions Any bias or agenda: both sides of issue are presented How text relates to the topic: specific statements for and against eminent domain Support of or not for thesis: one quote supports a qualifying position: “I can empathize with the home owners affected by the recent 5:4 Supreme Court decision.” The other quotes could be used to recognize those who would oppose it.

15 Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotations
Locate key words or phrases and reduce the piece into its essential points. Paraphrase: Transpose the original material into your own words. This will probably be close to the number of words in the original. Cited Quotes: Text taken directly from the source, put in quotes and cited.

16 Remember… You Must establish a position and each source you choose to use must support and develop your position!


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