To demonstrate your ability to narrow down a topic of genuine interest to you, one approved by your instructor.

The purpose(s) of this assignment:
➢ To demonstrate your ability to narrow down a topic of genuine interest to you, one approved by your instructor.
➢ To demonstrate your ability to find (in the library’s databases) and evaluate sources containing information, new to you, about that topic. A minimum of 3 outside sources for this essay must come from the databases. Other sources must be approved by your instructor.
➢ To demonstrate your ability to comprehend several texts on the same topic, some of which may have been written for the general reading population but some of which should contain challenging vocabulary and relevant data.
➢ To demonstrate your ability to analyze the issues being presented by various writers, to identify similar concerns or themes, and to grasp the complexity of the issues involved.
➢ To arrive at your own position, informed by the data and ideas presented by others. This assignment is a thesis-driven synthesis, in which you explain why you hold the position you do on the topic in question, after first reading about and considering the various positions that individuals hold. The body paragraphs of this essay should NOT bring in any first-person experiences to back up the ideas being presented.
This assignment is also intended to enable you to demonstrate your ability to use all that you have learned this semester about how to structure, develop, revise, edit, and proofread a formal essay.
This assignment does NOT require you to write an argumentative essay in which you present information on both sides of a controversial topic; however, such an approach is allowable.
Because of the purpose(s) of the assignment, it is important that you choose a topic for this essay (subject to your instructor’s approval, of course) that you are genuinely curious about and that you are committed to helping your reader understand more fully.
One more suggestion: You would do well to begin this project with a number of questions about your topic, the answer to any ONE of which might just helping you reach for your tentative thesis for this essay. The thing you do NOT want to do is approach this assignment with your mind already made up about your position on this topic.
This project should be about starting out with questions you genuinely want to find the answers to: some of them factual in nature, some of them more open-ended. Only by starting out this way are you likely to end up with the kind of thesis needed for an essay of this nature.
Other requirements of this assignment:
➢ Minimum-length requirement for this essay: 4 full pages, spilling onto a 5th page. (The strongest synthesis essays typically exceed the minimum length, and they also typically incorporate material from more than the minimum number of sources.
➢ A minimum of 3 outside sources for this essay must come from the library’s databases. Any sources NOT coming from the library’s databases must be approved by your instructor.
➢ Ideally, each body paragraph demonstrates your ability to “synthesize” material from at least 2 of your outside sources. Unless there is something unusual going on, no body paragraph in this essay should merely summarize what one outside source says.
➢ A separate Works Cited page and MLA in-text citationsare, of course, required.
➢ Given the assignment, first-person pronouns are generally NOT considered appropriate for this assignment. (As always, second-person pronouns are NOT. Other conventions of formal writing must be followed.) However, depending on your instructor’s view of this assignment, introductions and conclusions have sometimes been approved to be presented in first-person; the body paragraphs, never. You are encouraged to talk with your instructor to make sure that you understand your primary reader’s expectations.

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