What is the format of the essay? How many pages?
The format is MLA, double spaced, with an additional works cited. Your essay should be a full 5-6 pgs.
Do we have to write about the modes of persuasion/rhetoric?
Yes, while comparing and contrasting your sources you will want to grant some attention to speaking about how (the rhetorical choices) each essay argues its content alongside the perspective in which each writer addresses the issue.
Do we need to cite in-text?
Yes, you need to cite in-text while paraphrasing and quoting from a source. You should also be using attributive tags to precursor an author’s ideas. If you do not do these things you are plagiarizing.
What is the structure of this essay?
This essay will contain an:
How do I fit my sources together?
Your sources, especially from the reader, will not always have obvious points on which they agree. In order to conduct a synthesis of what all of your sources have to offer you need to find a common subject between all of them. Once you find the “umbrella” idea that covers all of your sources you can begin asking critical thinking questions to gain a more specific connection between them. Some sources will match up more than others and that is ok. If you have a source that does not offer strong claims for you to work into your synthesis it can be used more to give context to an issue in general or to reinforce claims from another source.
What is synthesis?
Synthesis is when you review information from multiple sources and make a claim or statement brought about by all of that information. For example, if I were to synthesize two articles about fracking I would read each writer’s argument and consider where they agree and disagree. After I compare and contrast their claims I will decide what can most logically be taken from each to create a new, more developed claim or understanding of my own. In synthesis you are cherry picking the best ideas from your sources and creating a new claim based on your sources’ information.
What if my sources are not very strong?
If you are discovering that you just cannot get much out of the sources that you chose for this essay now is the time to switch some out for ones that speak to you and your concerns more. If that doesn’t seem like an option for you, then it would be worth it to meet with someone at the Writing Center or arrange to see me during office hours. Outlining each source on paper or by grid is also a good way to gain more perspective of what each can offer you.
How do I create a strong thesis? What is my thesis expected to do in this kind of essay?
The key to a strong thesis is that your claim be specific, concise, and debatable. For this essay your thesis must be rooted in the synthesis that you have conducted from looking at all of your sources. Your thesis is in place to guide the reader through the work that you are doing throughout summary and analysis, so that once the reader reaches your synthesis they are prepared to piece the information together as you did and can follow along. If your thesis does not seem to be doing the work of guiding the reader or reinforcing your synthesis you may want to:
a) Tighten up your thesis so that there are no generalizations
b) Make sure that the language you use in your thesis is clear. Be as direct as possible—a thesis is not about being convoluted or complex, it is about getting the main idea of the essay to the reader in the most direct way possible.
c) Be certain that your thesis is taking a stand. Are you making a claim in your thesis that is debatable, or simply known? A thesis that states information that does not need to be argued is weak and will not support any of the research that you have done. Make sure that your thesis is taking a stand on the subject your chose.