What is an Argumentative Synthesis?

What is an Argumentative Synthesis?
An argumentative synthesis combines synthesis and argumentative skills in order to examine a topic, summarize varying opinions surrounding that topic, and then present your own argument based on those varying opinions.
Regarding the synthesis component Stephen Wilhoit explains, “In a synthesis you combine information from two or more readings to support a position of your own” (171) and “…Try [] to present other people’s ideas or findings as clearly and concisely as you can, highlighting key similarities and differences” (195). Critical to synthesis is this idea of noting where authors agree and disagree in a clear and coherent way using meaningful transitions.
In regard to the argumentative component, after synthesizing your sources, transition into your own opinion and create a successful argument using the rhetorical strategies to persuade their audience, integrate both supportive evidence from the sources as well as opposing positions, and organize the information in a logical and coherent way.
The Assignment:
The essay should first introduce their topic beginning with an interesting and relevant hook, which will lead to an examination of the topic and their thesis statement. Following the introduction students will discuss the conversation surrounding the topic–what do the authors say about the topic and how do those opinions converge and diverge? This makes up the synthesis portion of the assignment and will be the basis for your own argument. Following the synthesis section, students will present their argument and use explanations and supporting evidence supporting your opinion.
Helpful tips for writing the synthesis section:
The synthesis should provide the context/background for your argument and in order to clearly synthesize the sources include the following components:
A summary of each source including the author and their credentials, title, publication information, and a brief summary of the main ideas.
Examine and explain the similarities and differences between all of the sources.
Consider the following questions when determining similarities and differences:
The authors–Are their credentials similar or different?
The occasion–Are the sources similar in occasion and relevancy?
The topic–Are they discussing the same topic?
The purpose–Is the purpose the same or different? Is one more effective than the others?
What is the argument? Are the conclusions the same, different or close?
What type of examples did they use?
What are the solutions? Same or different?
Helpful Tips for writing the argument section:
In class, we discussed the necessary components needed to create a logical, formal, and organized argument. Those components are:
A debatable thesis statement
At least four sources
Using accurate and appropriate textual evidence to support your argument
Choosing appropriate quotes and paraphrased material to support your argument and not simply restating other people’s opinions or ideas
Using evidence that does not support your argument to provide a counter-claim
Providing the audience with either a refutation or concession for each counter-claim presented
Using appropriate, formal, and non-inflammatory language that does not immediately isolate others who do not agree with you
Using the rhetorical strategies successfully (ethos, pathos, and logos) to convince your audience
The basic structure of an argumentative synthesis is as follows:
An introduction including
A hook and introduction to the topic
Debatable thesis statement that includes a possible solution
A synthesis section including
Brief summaries of all sources (at least four)
An explanation of similarities and differences between the sources
An argumentative sections including
Supportive body paragraphs
Topic sentences
Appropriate integration of the evidence properly cited
Counter-Claims including
A clear explanation of opposing opinions
Either a refutation (disproves completely) or concession (concedes to a point)
A conclusion that
Sums up the main ideas and restates your thesis
Offers a call to action for the audience
A Work Cited page that
Includes all referenced materials

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