Explanatory Synthesis Assignment

Explanatory Synthesis Assignment

ENG 102 – SUMMER 2018 – BRENTAR – ESSAY #2 – EXPLANATORY SYNTHESIS What’s a Synthesis?

A synthesis is “a written discussion that draws on two or more sources. It follows that your ability to write syntheses depends on your ability to infer relationships among sources” (Behrens and Rosen, Sequence for Academic Writing 81). As compositionist Katherine Ackley adds, “A synthesis draws conclusions from, makes observations on, or shows connections between two or more sources…by extracting information that is relevant to your purpose” (51).

An explanatory synthesis is built on the ideas that you select from your group of sources, fits the purpose, occasion, subject and audience of your essay, states then develops an informative thesis that presents for the reader the biggest possible picture of the issue, contains well-chosen textual support (quotes, summaries, and paraphrases), and includes a “Works Cited” page.

Keep in mind that your audience is college-educated adults, but instead of reading the original texts for themselves, they are relying on your essay for their information.

Your synthesis will be evaluated on how well you develop, state and maintain an informative 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 and not on your own personal reactions to them.

To that end, remember to make sure that you do not evince any stance of your own whatsoever. This essay must not make an argument. An Explanatory Synthesis is like reportage: the writer of an Explanatory Synthesis will report only the salient ideas surrounding the issue, which may include the stances of those being cited, but will not opine about the issue him or herself. The Assignment

The essay will focus on issues of the relationship between humans and our world, especially its nature and environment. You will use the following source articles focusing on that subject matter:

• from the Engaged Reader o “The Plight of the Honeybee,” by Bryan Walsh, on page 217; o “Our Oceans Are Turning into Plastic. . .Are You?” by Susan Casey, on page 225 o “Building Baby from the Genes Up,” by Ronald M. Green, on page 241 o “Genetically Modified Humans? No Thanks,” by Richard Hayes, on page 245 o “Creating “Companions” for Children: The Ethics of Designing Esthetic Features for Robots,” by

Yvette Pearson and Jason Borenstein, on page 249 • In Blackboard

o “Coffee to Go: Is This the End of Our Favorite Drink?” by Stephanie Pain You must integrate and then cite on your Works Cited page all of these articles. This is not a research essay, per se; however, if you do conduct research and use any research materials, you must cite them appropriately.

Remember that your purpose–here it is strictly informative–determines not only which sources you will use but also which information you plumb from them and how you will relate them to one another.

Here are the general parts/elements of a synthesis that should be apparent in your essay: • Introduction/statement of the essay’s subject and purpose (at some point indicating the

essays/sources considered for synthesis) • A clear thesis that controls the essay and presents the “big picture” about the issue at hand • Clear topic sentences that support the thesis (each topic sentence will relate a “big idea” inherent in

the issue)

• Well-chosen and well-synthesized textual support • Logical organization (remember that explanatory syntheses are organized according to ideas, not

sources) • Effective transitions • An effective conclusion • Use of your own words • Use of third-person voice and present tense

Essay Submission Guidelines You will submit your draft in hard copy in one-on-one conference. You will submit your revision electronically on Blackboard; therefore, please follow these guidelines:

• For the submission, do not cut and paste your document into the submission box. You must submit it as an attachment at the Essay #2 assignment page.

• The file should be named in this fashion: Your last name, followed by the name of the assignment and the word “revision”

o Thus, if I were a student submitting my explanatory synthesis, the file name would be Brentar Explanatory Synthesis Revision. Capitalize every word in the file name, and do not introduce underscores instead of spaces in the file name.

• Finally, if you are a user of Microsoft Word, Pages, Open Office Write, or WordPerfect, I will have no trouble opening your attachment. If 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 file as a Word file (.docx) and submit it in that format

If you do not abide by the above procedures, I retain the right to refuse your submission. The finished submitted synthesis should be at least 1250 words (5 pages, double-spaced). There is no upper limit to length.

Please follow MLA essay format guidelines. You may refer to the sample Explanatory Synthesis as a model for how your paper should be formatted.

• The only paper size you should be using is US Letter. Do not use A4. • 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.”

• Do not introduce horizontal or vertical lines in this area (called the header). Also, do not introduce shaded boxes in this area. The font should be identical to the font in the text of the essay.

• Finally, please use for your font 12 point Courier New. You may refer to the sample essays as a model for how your paper should be formatted.

Due Dates

• Draft Due: In conference (7/17 or 18) • Final Version Due: 7/21/18, by 11:59 p.m.


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