Writing Assignment #3 will be a synthesis essay, a format that is sometimes referred to as a literature review.
Please click here for a video that briefly describes and outlines this writing assignment.
Your synthesis essay should be organized in the following manner:
Introduction: Write one or two paragraphs in which you introduce the reader to your topic.
Body-the categories into which you are dividing the literature: Divide your sources into a few
categories. A suggestion is that you divide them into three to five categories.
Conclusion: Summarize what the literature says on your topic.
This semester, you have constructed a table of research findings of four articles that discussed research studies.
You have also critically evaluated several articles in the annotated bibliography. In this assignment, you will
synthesize the ideas of several authors in a synthesis essay, or literature review.
For your annotated bibliography, you selected a topic based on your interests and, possibly, your major. You
constructed a list of 12 references and summarized and critically analyzed them in 150-200 words each.
Through this process, you may have seen patterns in the scholarly literature in the topic on which you conducted
research. For example, consider the following examples:
You may have researched studies in criminal justice and found that there are varying opinions on
how to respond to criminal behavior among youth.
You may have researched studies in psychology and found that counseling strategies for victims of
domestic abuse tend to fall into four categories.
You may have researched graphic communications and discovered that the integration of graphics in
business report writing has evolved from the 1970s to the present because of advancements in
You may have researched articles on gerontology and found studies that answered three basic
questions on how older adults respond to training for physical performance.
In the synthesis essay, you will focus your research efforts in a particular area, perhaps as a response to what you
found while writing the annotated bibliography. You will then conduct more research and synthesize your
findings in this synthesis essay.
Please note that the annotated bibliography was the beginning, not the end, of your research. You might decide
to disregard several of the articles you analyzed in the critical annotated bibliography because they don’t speak
to the specific area on which you have decided to write your synthesis essay. You might select one article that
you analyzed in the critical annotated bibliography, look up the articles cited in that article, and “snowball” your
research in that way.
In other words, this process is a recursive one. You might find reasons to hone in on and narrow your topic even
further, after you have written the annotated bibliography.