Sample Assignment: Synthesis/Research Paper

The purpose of this assignment is to teach you to develop an argument, A THESIS, based on the SYNTHESIS of a group of readings that share a common theme.  Your paper will reflect your critical reading skills and your ability to argue your thesis successfully, as demonstrated by the improved writing skills you have developed over the course of the semester.

Write a 7-8 page synthesis paper arguing a point you have concluded from the variety of essays and sources you have critically thought about and read.  You will have three broad topics to choose from for the synthesis paper--you must write on one of these three topics. If you have a strong desire to write on a different topic, you must present the 5-7 essays (following the guidelines below) to me in office hours and present a PERSUASIVE case for why you want to write on a topic other than the three I have assigned.

Basic Requirements:

1) Your paper must be at least 7 and no more than 10 pages long.
2) You must use at least 5 essays/texts for your paper and no more than 7.
3) At least 2 essays must be on readings NOT on the syllabus—in other words, 2 of the essays you use will be texts you have not read for the class.

I recommend that you begin reading these essays NOW. Read more than 7 essays from the reader since you may drop a few as you begin to narrow your thesis. Do not begin your research with a firm argument already in mind—allow yourself to be flexible to opinions different from your own. The purpose of this paper is for you to conduct research on a certain topic and to come to a conclusion or opinion based on your research--this opinion/conclusion will form the basis of the argument or THESIS of your research paper.

I also recommend that you carefully PROOFREAD your paper—find another student in the class to help proofread your paper and use the peer editing checklists when revising and editing your final paper. Please see me in office hours, as often as is necessary, to talk about the development of your paper and any questions you have about getting started, writing, or revising.

Due Dates:

Tuesday, April 7: Your chosen topic and you list of essays/sources you will be reading.
Thursday April 16 Your introductory paragraph (with your thesis clearly underlined) and your paper outline. If you are uncertain how to begin read Hacker 2-82, especially BH 26-29 for how to develop an outline.
Tuesday, April 28: Bring your 4 page draft to class for the last peer-editing assignment.
Friday, May 1: Your SYNTHESIS paper is due by 12:00pm (noon) IN MY OFFICE. You are welcome to and your paper in early, but at the very latest it must be in an envelope in my office by noon (12:00pm) on Friday, May 1. Any papers received late will be accordingly graded down.