Description: Argumentative synthesis is the description of a conversation that develops on a subject when several voices are involved including, and directed by, yours. Yours is the highest priority, as your voice directs the time and attention spent on each of the other voices and provides the argument and reasoning for doing so. Synthesis is the description of how the writer makes sense of multiple perspectives and what new understanding arises because of the experience. Synthesis may, but is not bound to examine the following elements of the ideas and voices in consideration: textual situation, genre, language, and consequence; implication or inference; contextual factors; rhetorical choices and styles; the tone, mood, or energy; effectiveness of the rhetoric; effectiveness of the reasoning; the pleasure the text offers; the text in comparison to other texts or ideas; or the physical details within the texts but only as related to your guiding argument. Synthesis is the reader’s attempt to arrive at a new, better understanding of the ideas being offered by the various voices. As opposed to separating ‘they say’ from ‘I say,’ synthesis is more like ‘now we say, and this is why…’
Expectations: Strong synthesis will clearly offer a complex claim that guides the audience to and through each of the voices toward a new, deeper, and rewarding understanding of the subject for both the writer and the audience. This argument must be a significant departure from other positions being considered and examined, though it does not need to disagree. Strong synthesis will show the reasons and reasoning behind the writer’s argument. Contextual description of other voices should describe the relation to the writer’s argument, the reasoning or main points in connection with that argument, the effect of that reasoning on the direction of the text, the situation and genre of the text, and any helpful outstanding physical details from and/or about the text. Strong synthesis will use and vary appropriate, guiding quotations, paraphrases, and summaries with proper citation. Strong synthesis seeks to establish what new directions of exploration and understanding the writer thinks the subject is taking based on the meeting of the various voices and is grown and shown rather than presumed and proven. Synthesis is a tool that allows a writer to both interact and develop a line of reasoning, not just to demonstrate it.
Assignment: You will write 4-5 pages of synthesis of the assigned text. Your synthesis must be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt font, 1” margin, properly cited for quote use, well-organized, and free from spelling and grammar errors. Summary skills will be used for the mandatory quotes and subsequent citations.
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