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Faculty Guide to Library Research Assignments

English 204 Writing Assignment

This research assignment requires students to write a synthesis essay based upon resources and use APA citation style. 

This assignment was provided by an AUS English professor.

Synthesis of Resources and APA Citation Style

Assignment: Explanatory Synthesis

This assignment is worth 10% of your grade. You are required to write an explanatory synthesis essay based on at least two, but no more than four, of your sources related to your research project.  You MUST include the sources with the final draft which must be typed in size 12 New Times Roman font and double spaced. This paper should be three or four pages long, not including the reference page. Your reference page must be prepared according to the APA style guidelines. 

Please remember that the purpose of an explanatory synthesis “is not to argue a particular point, but rather to present the facts in a reasonably objective manner” (Behrens, et. al, 2007, p. 90, italics in original). You are expected to explain to the reader the connections you have identified about the topic of your choice from the material you have read. The synthesis is an opportunity for you to make sense of the research relevant to your topic by picking your most significant scholarly sources and articulating the relationships amongst and between them. (Please note that a synthesis is not a case of summarizing each source one after the other in separate paragraphs.) It is the next step following on from your annotated bibliography assignment. If possible, pick sources that differ from each other in some significant way (though they do not necessarily have to be completely opposed to each other). Think about what the sources have in common, how they differ, and how they are in conversation with one another. The synthesis will help evaluate the credibility of the available research and establish your own credibility as a researcher. When done correctly, with just a few modifications, this synthesis paper can generally be used in the first half of your research paper.

Your synthesis will be an explanatory or informative one, not an argumentative one. It will not have the same arguable thesis that your research paper will. However, it should have an organizing thesis statement that specifically states the explanatory purpose of the paper. Your introduction needs to create a context for the reader to understand what will follow. Your additional goals for this paper will be to incorporate direct quotations when relevant and to work on organization and transitions as you move from one idea to the next to cue your reader about their connection.

 

The grading sheet for this essay is below:

Content (40 points):

Introduction well developed: context established for readers.

Explanatory thesis clear and easy to find in paper.

Purpose well supported with quotes and paraphrases from at least two sources.

Reasonably objective.

Information synthesized not summarized.

Overall coherent and well-developed (no stand alone quotes, out of place information, etc).

Topic well explained based on facts and evident from reliable sources.

 

Mechanics (10 points):

Grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice all appropriate

Formatted correctly (title centered, size 12 font, double spaced, page numbers, no spaces between paragraphs)

Proper APA reference page.

In-text citations APA style for direct quotes, summaries and paraphrases.