For this assignment you should choose two essays addressing a common topic that you plan to discuss in your final research paper. Your goal is to write a 4–6-page paper about this common topic using your two articles as support for the points you are making about the topic. Your argument must synthesize two articles that you plan to use in your research paper.
As with any paper for this course, you must write a formal essay with a thesis and overarching argument. The paper should be organized around the main arguments you are developing about the topic based on the ideas and information provided by these articles.
What is a synthesis?
One of the main goals for this assignment is for you to bring the essays into dialogue with each other and to discuss your position in this dialogue in a 4–6-page paper. To this you will want to consider and explain similar concepts found in the essays. This should happen within your body paragraphs as evidence for the points you are making. Some of your paragraphs may highlight commonalities between the arguments—common assumptions or approaches to the topic. Other paragraphs might end up highlighting differences between the articles that reveal the debates about the topic. If there are differences between the articles, explain these differences. If the articles are offering different conclusions on the topic discuss the significance of these differences. Do these arguments highlight a larger debate in the field? If so, discuss this.
Still other paragraphs might pull together different aspects of the arguments that complement each other, enabling you to draw a clearer picture of the topic. While you might have occasional paragraphs that only discuss one of the two articles, the bulk of your paper should have paragraphs that use both essays to build up a larger point.
Things you should consider when writing the paper:
While your assignment is to discuss two articles, at this point you should be able to place them in a larger context of works on the subject you are exploring. In your final paragraph you should consider the implications of these articles for your own research on the topic. What new questions are raised by the essays? What new studies remain to be done? How will these essays influence the direction you take in this project?
Finally, make sure that somewhere in your paper you clearly identify each article by author and title. At some point in the paper you will also need to provide a brief overview of the argument of each article. However, be careful not to spend too much of your paper summarizing the articles—remember, this paper is supposed to be a synthesis, not a summary.
Please choose your articles carefully. Articles should be a substantial length (at least 7 pages) and should give you enough material for the purposes of this paper. If you are having trouble putting the articles in dialogue with each other, choose different articles.
Argument Structure Exercise
1. Number the body paragraphs of your paper. Number a blank sheet of paper to match the paragraph numbers, leaving room to write after each number.
2. Starting with the final body paragraph and going backwards through the paper, do the following for each paragraph. Quickly read the paragraph Without looking at the paragraph write a sentence next to the corresponding number that articulates the argument of that paragraph (not what the paragraph is about, but what you have concluded about the subject the paragraph is about. If you have more than one major point, write these down in two sentences
3. Starting with your thesis sentence, read the list as if it were a paragraph. Are there any gaps when you read it as a paragraph? Any areas you need to fill in? If so, write the sentences that could fill those gaps.
4. Are any ideas repeated? If so, are they separated by other ideas—those sentences should be next to each other.
5. Are there any sentences that just don’t fit in or seem to belong? If so, cut those sentences out of your paragraph.
6. Now go back and look at your paragraphs. Do the ideas in these sentences appear in your topic sentences? If not, you need to replace them with better topic sentences that clearly express these ideas
7. Reorganize your paper to match the structure you’ve developed through this list/paragraph.
8. Each sentence should have its own paragraph—if you had paragraphs with two sentences, you need to expand them into two paragraphs.. Repeated sentences should be combined into one paragraph. New sentences need new paragraphs. If you cut a sentence you need to cut that paragraph.
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