Argumentative Writing Modes: Synthesis Essay The Next Phase in the Writing Evolution

College Writing: ● English Placement Exam- Students read an article and are asked to respond to the text. Similar to the analytical

writing, the prompts require assessment of the author’s argument, and whether the reader agrees/disagrees.

Example Prompt: Explain

argument and discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with his/her analysis. Inherently implied within this prompt is the

question what evidence you have that supports your agreement/disagreement.

● Analytical Writing (AWPE) – Students read academic material (expository prose discussing a variety of disciplines) and respond via recapitulation (summary of authors argument), invitation (student’s assessment as to the validity of the author’s argument) , and stipulation (student’s argument supporting assessment via external sources/proof)

Example Prompt: How does

explain the differences between the world’s peoples? Do you feel his assessment to be accurate? Why or why not?

For your future coursework:

● Modes: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~jewel001/CollegeWriting/START/Modes.htm ● Expository essay: Your in-class essays will reflect the expository format you already employ—simply

framed upon a different focus than that of literary response http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html

● Argumentative Essay : http://www.mycollegesuccessstory.com/academic-success-tools/agumentative-essays.html

● Very simplistic definition on each form: http://essayinfo.com/essays/classification_essay.php

● Thesis-driven Synthesis essay/Research paper—In essence, the almighty research paper. You’ll establish a strong argument via the relevant material, and argue your case—both agreeing with and dispelling the assertions of other valued academic (i.e. peer reviewed) sources. Sample papers may be viewed here: http://www.unm.edu/~aobermei/Eng200/samplepapers/

Synthesis Essay/Research Paper: According to Washington State’s Evergreen State College, “Synthesis means putting ideas from many sources together in one essay or presentation. After reading several books, watching movies and participating in a variety of class activities, your task is to . . . organize some of the information around a theme or a question, make generalizations, and then present information (statistics, quotes, examples) in a logical way to support your argument. Remind yourself that a synthesis is NOT a summary, a comparison or a review. Rather a synthesis is a result of an integration of what you heard/read and your ability to use this learning to develop and support a key thesis or argument. Learning to write a synthesis paper is a critical skill, crucial to organizing and presenting information is academic and non-academic settings.”

Source: “What is a Synthesis Paper?” The Evergreen State College. Olympia, Washington. 8 September 2008 
[http://academic.evergreen.edu/curricular/poliecon2001/synthesis.htm].

The Essay: o Introduction

▪ Refer specifically to the prompt (speaker and occasion, topic) and clearly state your position on the given issue.

▪ The classical formula for an argument is ● Present the issue/situation/problem ● State your assertion/claim/thesis ● Support your claim ● Acknowledge and respond to real or possible opposing views

If you do, here’s some sentence starters Agreeing before disagreeing is a great way to draw your reader in. Use phrases such as

It is true…but Proponents realize/agree…yet they believe… Supporters recognize….; still they do not acknowledge

 

 

Indeed….however,…. Certainly….despite these claims Granted…in contrast…

● Make your final comment or summary of the evidence o Body Paragraphs

▪ Traditional Argumentative Essays follow this basic guideline: ● State the purpose/claim (strong thesis with specific stance) ● Anticipate objections from the reader (1st body paragraph) ● Counter objections by supporting the claim with solid evidence (2nd-4th body paragraphs) ● Conclusion restating stance that was derived from evidence

▪ Four Elements of a Logical Argument ● Claim-The specific proposition of a writer is the claim. A claim may be made directly or

indirectly. ● Objections-Knowing the main points of the opponent helps a writer answer objections

effectively. ● Evidence-A writer supports a claim with facts, interprets the facts, and explains- giving statistics,

reasons, examples, or other evidence)

Conclusion-The end of an argument is often a restatement of the claim. It may be a summary of the main points or a logical generalization. It may attempt to motivate the reader to act.

Different Language for Argumentation

Enthymeme: Syllogism with one premise removed Syllogism: The most famous logical sequence, called the syllogism, was developed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. His most famous syllogism is:

Premise 1: All men are mortal.
 Premise 2: Socrates is a man.
 Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

In this sequence, premise 2 is tested against premise 1 to reach the logical conclusion. Within this system, if both premises are considered valid, there is no other logical conclusion than determining that Socrates is a mortal.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/659/01/

Deductive Logic: the written conclusions follow what is stated in the argument Inductive Logic: the conclusion is not expressively stated within the argument, but still may be considered effective reasoning

Major Premise: Stated purpose Minor Premise: Unstated Purpose

Major form utilized in post-secondary essays: A Toulmin Analysis of Arguments

by Lee McGaan, Department of Communication Studies, Monmouth College (IL)
adapted from Stephen Toulmin. The Uses of Argument, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1958

The Three Primary Elements of an Argument .Claim (assertion, proposition)

● A statement affirming or denying something ● the answer to the question “What are you trying to prove?” “What’s your point?” – Can be denied

(in this context)
 . .Grounds (Support, evidence)

● material which will convince audience/opponent ● not likely to be disputed (in this context) OR can be further supported. ● usually more concrete, often narrower (or a general truth). ● an answer to the question, “How so?” “Why do you think so?” “Prove it!” ● It is appropriate for the claim because it is relevant and strong.

.

.Warrant: what links support/gr. to cl. Why the gr. is allowed to stand as proof for the claim ● A principle of logic or reasoning ● generally unstated, an assumption that both rhetor and audience implicitly accept ● the key is that a warrant can apply to many claims and grounds. EXAMPLE:

Claim: Joe Smith is a good choice for the position of Appellate Court Judge Grounds: The American Bar Association recommended Smith as well qualified. Warrant: (usually unspoken) The ABA is an authority source known as competent to determine who is a good

 

 

choice for appellate judge positions. http://department.monm.edu/cata/mcgaan/classes/cata335/o-toumin1.335.html

Extended Outline Example:

Argumentative Paper Format ( good for college!)

*Please note that this is only a sample format. There are multiple ways to organize an argumentative paper

INTRODUCTION o 1-2 paragraphs tops

o PURPOSE: To set up and state one’s claim What background information, o REQUIRED ELEMENTS If you’re arguing about a literary work—state author + title

If you’re arguing about an issue or theory – provide brief explanation your of issue/theory. STATE your claim /thesis at the end of your introductory paragraph

BACKGROUND PARAGRAPH o 1-2 paragraphs tops; Optional (can omit for some papers). Also, sometimes this info is incorporated into the introduction paragraph (see above). o PURPOSE: Lays the foundation for proving your argument. o Will often include:

Summary of works being discussed Definition of key terms Explanation of key theories

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE PARAGRAPH #1 o PURPOSE: To prove your argument. Usually is one paragraph but it can be longer. o Topic Sentence: What is one item, fact, detail, or example you can tell your readers that will help them better

understand your claim/paper topic? Your answer should be the topic sentence for this paragraph. o Explain Topic Sentence: Do you need to explain your topic sentence? If so, do so here. o Introduce Evidence: Introduce your evidence either in a few words (As Dr. Brown states ―…‖) or in a full sentence

(―To understand this issue we first need to look at statistics). o State Evidence: What supporting evidence (reasons, examples, facts, statistics, and/or quotations) can you include to

prove/support/explain your topic sentence? o Explain Evidence: How should we read or interpret the evidence you are providing us? How does this evidence prove

the point you are trying to make in this paragraph? Can be opinion based and is often at least 1-3 sentences. o Concluding Sentence: End your paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts how the topic sentence of this

paragraph helps up better understand and/or prove your paper’s overall claim.

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE PARAGRAPH #2, 3, 4 etc. o Repeat above

COUNTERARGUMENT PARAGRAPH o PURPOSE: To anticipate your reader’s objections; make yourself sound more objective and reasonable. o Optional; usually 1-2 paragraphs tops o What possible argument might your reader pose against your argument and/or some aspect of your

reasoning? Insert one or more of those arguments here and refute them. o End paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts your paper’s claim as a whole.

CONCLUSION PART 1: SUM UP PARAGRAPH o PURPOSE: Remind readers of your argument and supporting evidence o Conclusion you were most likely taught to write in High School o Restates your paper’s overall claim and supporting evidence

CONCLUSION PART 2: YOUR “SO WHAT” PARAGRAPH o PURPOSE: To illustrate to your instructor that you have thought critically and analytically about this issue.

o Your conclusion should not simply restate your intro paragraph. If your conclusion says almost the exact same thing as your introduction, it may indicate that you have not done enough critical thinking during the course of your essay (since you ended up right where you started).

o Your conclusion should tell us why we should care about your paper. What is the significance of your claim? Why is it important to you as the writer or to me as the reader? What information should you or I take away from this?

 

 

Graphic Organizer—Argumentative Synthesis Outline Format

Introduction:

Broad Sentence:______________________________________________________________________ Make sure you include any authors and titles in the Introduction!

Brief Summary of main article______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Introduce external titles:___________________________________________________________________

Claim/Thesis (what and why):____________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Body Paragraph #1:

Topic (what and why– one topic per paragraph!)_____________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

1. Grounds/ Primary Support(statement to be proven)__________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support (analysis WHAT)________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support ( WHY) ________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

2. Counter Argument with Supporting Evidence( Analysis What)_____________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support ( agree or disagree)________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Warrant Statement ( if able)_________________________________________________________________

3. Grounds/Restate argument_________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Grounds/Primary Support(statement to be proven)______________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support (analysis WHAT)________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support ( WHY) ________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Body Paragraph #2:

Topic (what and why– one topic per paragraph!)_____________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

1. Grounds/ Primary Support(statement to be proven)__________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support (analysis WHAT)________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support ( WHY) ________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

2. Counter Argument with Supporting Evidence( Analysis What)_____________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary Support ( agree or disagree)________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Warrant Statement ( if