Writing a college paper is a process that involves several steps. Writing a research paper requires that you find several sources of information on a topic, read them very carefully, and combine or synthesize them in a meaningful way.to support your thesis or the idea that you are going to prove.
What is Synthesis Writing?
Synthesis writing involves carefully reading several sources (journal articles, books, etc.) on a topic, and identifying similar as well as contradictory ideas in each source. New ideas on the topic are merged with your prior knowledge of the topic and presented in your research paper in your own voice. Each paragraph of your paper will contain multiple sources and citations, as well as your own ideas (Ashford University, n.d.).
What Synthesis Writing Is Not
When you synthesize, you do not rely on a single source of information; nor do you string together summaries of one article after another. You do not cut and paste segments of several articles together to form a paper. True synthesis writing is similar to making a fruit smoothie; individual pieces of fruit are blended together to form a new concoction (University of Illinois, 2008).
Strategies for Synthesizing Information
As you carefully read and analyze each of your sources, it is important to take notes and/or highlight the important points that each author is making. A chart or “synthesis matrix” (Ashford University, n.d.) is also useful for keeping you organized. You can record the main themes of each source as well as the information needed for your citations. As you read, ask yourself:
Make sure that you record the information necessary to cite your sources.
One Strategy for Synthesizing Information
Analyzing & Evaluating Information
Analyzing, Synthesizing & Organizing Information
In the example (below), note that the author has incorporated three sources into this excerpt of the research paper - the writings of Goldstein, Lapidoth and Falk.
Example of Synthesis Writing
As the demographics in Europe shift, problems may arise as the wealthy members of the European Union (EU) try to absorb poorer nations (Goldstein, 2005). Lapidoth (1992) writes that a backlash to these pressures and a resurgence of nationalism may cause a fragmentation of the European Union, and a return to the “classic connotation” (p. 345) of the nation state. Conversely, if the European Union is successful, other regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America may be tempted to emulate its example (Falk, 1999).
The European Union (EU) is still evolving and the verdict is out on whether it will ultimately prove successful. Since the formation of the EU, many poorer countries have clamored to join the union, and immigration to the west has increased as people look for a better life. As of 2004, the EU has expanded from 15 to 25 nations with several other countries expressing an interest in joining (Goldstein, 2005).
(Downs-Jones Library, 2012)