What’s an Argument Synthesis?

As you recall, a synthesis is a written discussion that draws on two or more sources and demonstrates
the connections among those sources. More specifically, an argument synthesis is built on the ideas that you
select from your sources; fits the purpose, occasion, subject, and audience of your essay; relates to an
argumentative thesis that you develop; contains well-chosen textual support (quotes, summaries, and
paraphrases); and includes a Works Cited page.
Your synthesis will be evaluated on how well you develop, state, and maintain an argumentative thesis
synthesizing the works of other writers, how clearly you establish your main points of synthesis that support
your thesis, how accurately you summarize the original texts (as needed), how you integrate your source
material into the essay, how you organize, develop, and present your essay, and, most importantly, how well
you maintain the focus on the ideas presented in the sources.
The Assignment
This assignment emerges out of the research that you conducted in support of your Argument
Prospectus and thus will use the materials that you found through that research. The Prospectus was your
attempt to demonstrate a plan for making an argument; this assignment is now your opportunity to follow
through on that plan and make that essay.
For this essay, you must integrate and use at least seven of the articles you identified in your
Prospectus, though there is no upper limit to the number that you use. Of course, these sources must be
credible, legitimate, high-quality sources for college writing, such as journal articles.
As with any synthesis, the argument synthesis is driven by connections between sources, but this time
with a clearly argumentative purpose and thesis.
Key Points to Remember
• In your introduction, you should first identify the issue, explain why it is a problem or controversial
issue and what some of the arguments involved with the issue are, and culminate with your
argumentative thesis. Then, in the remainder of the essay, you must build an argument in support of a
position on the issue that is clearly stated in a thesis statement in the introduction of the essay.
• Of course, your thesis must be arguable–if everyone would agree with you, you are not arguing.
Remember that your thesis should be the direct answer to the “What should happen” question. To
further help make your essay arguable, make sure to include all possible counterarguments.
• You should use quotations and paraphrases from your sources to show the various positions,
illuminate the layers of your ideas, and to defend your thesis. Remember, you must choose your
quotes, summaries and paraphrases wisely, INTERPRET them to your audience (i.e., what the source
information means), and relate this interpretation to your argument.
• Generally, you should avoid using long quotations–remember, choose wisely. Important longer
passages should be summarized or paraphrased to keep your ideas as the focus of the essay. Be
careful to properly credit and cite all IDEAS, WORDS, and FACTS that come from outside sources.
Accidental plagiarism is a problem that students have with this assignment. For more information of
handling sources responsibly, refer to the chapters in our textbook.
• From your work on the previous assignments in this course, you should have noted the following
elements of an essay that must be apparent in your essay:
o Introduction/Statement of the purpose of the essay
o A clear and arguable thesis that controls the essay
o Clearly identifiable main points of discussion (reasons)
o Supporting evidence of your argument to illustrate your points
o Clear, developed, and balanced discussion of the references to your various sources including
your interpretations and relating your info back to your thesis/argument
o Counterarguments and concessions along with your rebuttals, compromises, or
acknowledgements of acceptance
o Logical organization
o Effective transitions
o Conclusion/Recommendation(s)
o Correct citations
A Note on Audience: While you should consider your audience to be an academic one, please remember that it
may not be familiar either with your argument or your sources. Therefore, you should be as clear and concise
as possible while you make ALL the necessary connections among ideas for your audience.
Essay Submission Guidelines
You will again submit your draft in hard copy at conference and your revision of the essay at the
appropriate assignment page in Blackboard. Do not cut and paste your document into the submission box. If
you do, I will send it right back to you, unread. You must submit it as an attachment. If you are a user of
Microsoft Word, Open Office Write, Apple Pages, or WordPerfect, I will have no trouble opening your
attachment. If, however, you are a user of Microsoft Works, you must save a copy of your work and send it
in Rich Text Format (documents saved in this format have the extension “rtf”), or I will be unable to open
your attachment successfully. If you are a user of Google Docs, download your doc as a .docx, but
remember that you will need to adjust the header.
The finished submitted synthesis should be at least 2000 words (8 pages, double-spaced). There is no
upper limit to length.
Please follow MLA essay format and citing sources guidelines, as well as Brentar rules. Use one-inch
margins on all sides of the page, double-space, and include, on the first page of text only, include your name,
my name, course number (ENG 102), and date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page, followed by the
title, centered. But do include, on every page, in the upper right hand corner, one-half inch from the top of
the page, your last name, followed by a space and the page number, without the word “page” or a “p.”
Finally, please use for your font 12 point Courier New.
Follow this naming formula for the file for the revision: Yourlastname Researched Argument Synthesis
Revision.
Due Dates
Draft Due: In Conference (8/2, 8/6, 8/7, or 8/8)
Final Version Due: 8/12 by 11:59 p.m.

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