In a digital culture, the information stream is endless; whether its education, news, entertainment or advertising, we must negotiate new content at alarming rates each day. Information overload is now a common challenge.
To overcome the challenges of this information, we need to learn to filter and organize all this content. We need to be able to make sense out of it. In fact, such skills in information management and synthesis are key to a 21st century literacy. We need to be able to discern quality information, and we need to be able to find connections within all this information in order to give meaning to the world around us.
These key literacy skills are central to the academic process. Once we have a research question, we go and out and collect information from multiple sources to help us answer that question. But to do that, we need to be able to make order from all the information we collect.
In Study Room 4, we will work step by step through the development of a synthesis essay, and learn to organize information from multiple sources in logical and illuminating ways to answer a research question.
What is a Synthesis Essay?
A synthesis essay combines the perspectives from a variety of sources on a given issue or question. The goal is to make connections and illuminate relationships between different sources, and develop a larger understanding of the issue and your own critical position on it.
Why is This Important?
The ability to synthesize information is essential to thinking and writing in a university context. In synthesizing information, we have the ability to bring together many diverse voices around a singular issue; by doing this, we can illuminate the issues and show how they are significant to society. Further, we can add our own position to the larger conversation on the issues.
How to Start
Study Room 4 offers 3 lessons that guide you through a process of organizing information and the development of a synthesis essay.
This Study Room works best when you complete the lessons in order. In each lesson, you build on the work completed in the one before it until, finally, you complete a comparison essay.
Can’t do it all? No problem. Dip in to any lesson to find useful tips, templates and samples on each topic.
- Organizing and Grouping Information (Lesson A).
You will learn to organize and group research information into useful points of discussion.
- Combining and Evaluating Ideas (Lesson B).
You will practice deciding how to combine and comment on the connections between sources.
- Producing the Essay Outline (Lesson C).
You will produce an essay outline based on categories of discussion.
You can work progressively through the lesson, or click the links to choose a specific section.
View the quick access list of the blank templates offered in this lesson. You can use these templates as resources to help you complete future work.