ENGL 1301-016 Fall 2008 Synthesis Paper Assignment
Back to the Syllabus
This open-ended assignment asks you to synthesize your ideas about several texts from the "Media & Society" unit (221-294) of the Blair Reader.
Begin by re-reading your favorite essays from the unit. Pick an interesting theme, issue, or subject present in three or more essays. Review the texts to find passages that you find most compelling and important in relation to that topic.
Next, find at least one example of a discussion of media (any kind of media; think expansively here) in the current news: some incident or issue where the media itself has become the story. (When choosing this example, try to find several different reports or takes on the incident or issue; don't stop with a single news item or bare mention of the issue. Look, perhaps, for something that's been extensively blogged, written up in op-eds or columns, or been the focus of a TV, radio, or print newsmagazine feature.
Develop an essay that discusses, while making some claim or argument about, the three (or more) essays you've chosen from the Blair Reader in the light of the news item. In this essay, you must:
- include a thesis statement that makes your point
- support your thesis with evidence from at least three Blair Reader texts and from the stories, columns, or features that constitute your news item
- integrate quotations properly and explain their significance (this includes careful attention to who's speaking, how their views differ from others' or your own, and proper quotation mechanics, including citations keyed to a Works Cited list)
- paraphrase properly by communicating the authors' ideas in your own words, not imitating their vocabulary or sentence structures. This is not just a matter of avoiding plagiarism, BTW. By recasting ideas in your own words, you understand and work with them better; incorporating and transforming sources is the essence of synthesis.
- A first draft should be ready for in-class workshopping on Monday 22 September, and should contain about three pages of material. Include all Works Cited and other aspects of MLA style, particularly quotations, in proper format as you go. Your peers will comment on formatting in the workshop, and you will be glad you incorporated it as you went along.
- A semifinal draft (due Monday 29 September) should be 4-6 pages in MLA style with Works Cited list at the end and parenthetical documentation throughout. See Hacker's Writer's Reference for MLA Style guidelines, or any of the many MLA-Style synopses on the Web, such as this one from Purdue University.
to the top of this page
Back to the Syllabus