https://theconversation.com/making-college-matter-63480Major Paper 2 – Synthesis Paper
Tuesday 2/18: Introduce P2
Friday 2/22: P2 Outline
Tuesday 2/25: P2 Peer Review 1
Thursday 2/27: P2 Peer Review 2
Tuesday 3/3: P2 Rough Draft
Tuesday 3/10: Conferences
3/13: P2 Final
Learning outcomes for this composition:
2.0 Identify and apply
3.0 Make strategic decisions
to effectively use source
materials in writing
2.1 Understand the concept 3.2 Evaluate utility of source
of writing genres and their
materials given a writer’s
2.3 Identify writing
strategies at work in texts
(rhetorical strategies related
to analysis, argumentation,
2.4 Apply and document
writer’s own writing
strategies across purposes.
3.3 Contextualize source
material within a
3.4 Cite sources to
demonstrate the underlying
values and practices of a
particular citation system.
4.0 Use language
strategically and stylistically
to achieve purpose
4.1 Demonstrate stylistic
flexibility to meet the
demands of a particular
4.2 Make language choices
that create coherence and
4.3 Demonstrate sentencelevel revising and editing
strategies to improve clarity
2.5 Translate feedback from
peers and instructor into
Synthesis is one of the most complex forms of analytic academic writing. Synthesizing texts
requires that you understand each text, consider the relationship of the texts to one another,
and create new ideas of your own by bringing the texts together. This assignment will require
you to draw on skills we’ve been working on in UWP 7M: summarizing, critical reading,
responding to texts, etc. This assignment challenges you to bring these strategies together to
create a paper that presents a conversation and comments on that conversation.
The conversation you will be joining is the topic of our P2 readings: discovering your identity in
Audience: You decide.
Genre: You choose between:
• an open letter,
• or news article
Carefully read all the texts you’ve been assigned (P1R1-P1R4 & P2R1-P2R3), and identify the
specific issues that you find the most interesting and most important within the overall
conversation that these readings present. Your paper will:
1) introduce the broad conversation discussed in the readings you’ve been assigned
throughout the quarter,
2) identify and contextualize an important issue from the larger conversation discussed in
the readings you’ve been assigned throughout the quarter,
3) present that part of the conversation to your audience by explaining and analyzing your
4) makes an argument about why the issue you identified is important and what they can
learn (by engaging in the conversation) from your paper.
Basically, you will be comparing and contrasting all three readings and making a comment
• Use at least two of the P2 readings and one other class reading as evidence
• There should be very minimal quoting (a few words max). You should primarily
• Introduce the authors and their purposes/genre/main ideas as you bring them into the
conversation of your paper
• Show the complexity of relationships among sources as they are connected to your
• Fit your genre with the positioning of your main idea (we will discuss this)
• Be designed with a specific audience in mind
• Use a specific and consistent citation style to match the genre you choose
• 900-1100 words
Grading 15% of your overall grade
I expect you to complete all parts of the composition process (drafting, giving and responding
to feedback, and writing and including cover memos for your readers).
You will receive feedback on the following questions to guide you toward a successful final
o Analysis—Did you create context for the types of relationships you are establishing
between sources? Are you helping the reader understand how the evidence you use
to create the relationship is tied to the purpose of your paper?
o Audience – Did you select an audience that would be likely to read your paper? Can
you explain why you made this logical choice?
o Claim—Did you ask a question or raise and issue that focuses your audience on the
conversation generated by these texts?
o Genre Conventions—Did you help the reader see the value of each of the texts you
use in your synthesis project by introducing the texts as well as the authors and their
claims? Did you cite them in appropriate ways given your purpose (choosing
between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing)? Did you use a consistent citation
style and adhere to the value system of that style?
o Arrangement & Organization—Have you made careful decisions about how to
arrange your ideas so that a reader 1) understands this conversation, 2) recognizes
your purpose for writing about the conversation, and 3) finds you credible?
o Language & Clarity—Did you work with your sentence-level prose to be as concise
and clear as possible for other readers new to this conversation?
o Process Engagement—Did you engage with the steps described above, producing
required drafts for our workshops and submitting your drafts on time?
Process Memos (10 points each):
For your peer review draft 1, write 5-8 sentences describing what you feel confident about and
what you feel unsure about.
For your peer review draft 2, write 5-8 sentences describing what you changed based on your
For your rough draft, describe in a short paragraph (7-10 sentences) your choices. What did
you decide to change after the peer review? What did you choose NOT to change (suggestions
your peers gave that you did not take) and why? How do you think you have improved your
For the final draft, describe in a short paragraph (8-12 sentences) what you further changed to
improve your paper. If there was anything I suggested that you did not change, please address
those. Based on the grading criteria, what final grade would you give yourself and why?
PURPOSE OF THIS PAPER
• 1) To synthesize three sources (two P2 readings and one other class reading of
• What that essentially means is to compare and contrast the ideas that are discussed
in the readings
• In other words, let the articles have a conversation with each other where they agree,
react, disagree, respond, etc.
• 2) And to contribute your opinion to that synthesis
• What do you think about this topic?
• Why is this discussion important?
• In one word: identity
• What are these authors saying about identity?
• And you can guide that in whatever direction you choose:
• Ex. On the midterm: how important is it for new int’l students to hold onto their
cultural identity while adapting to life in America.
• Ex. How finding your identity as a first-gen student will better help you navigate
YOU HAVE SOME CHOICES TO MAKE IN THIS
• This may be one of the hardest steps is making that decision
1. Which third source are you going to use?
2. Who are you going to choose as your audience?
3. What genre do you want to select?
• You decide!
• Since this would be published publicly, it should not be one person or those
you know personally
• Groups of people for example:
• Students at UC Davis
• International students in America (if you only say “international students”, it would be
too overwhelming for this paper)
• College professors who mainly teach int’l students
• You choose
• Open letter (similar to P1R1)
• Sources may be hyperlinked
• You are literally writing to “you”. All
pronouns may be used, but consistently
• News article (similar to P2R3)
• Sources should be cited in APA style
• All pronouns may be used, but mainly
third person pronouns
• Objective but optional hint of tone
• There are different ways you can approach this:
• What are the ideas they agree or disagree on? Are these main ideas or supporting ideas?
• Does one article discuss a problem and another a solution?
• Does one article serve as the cause and another the effect?
• Does one article write about a topic generally while the other gives specific examples to
GO BACK TO YOUR COMPARISON NOTES
• Examine which fall under which category:
LANGUAGE TO SHOW COMPARE/CONTRAST
• However, nevertheless, on the other
hand, still, etc.
• Similarly, likewise, also, etc.
• Adverb clauses
• Even though, although, despite, in spite
• But, and
• Is different from, is similar to, strikes a
contrast, shows similarities, etc.
• Superlatives and comparatives
• The strongest, the least supportive
• Is more passionate than, shows more
logic than, is shorter than, etc.
ORGANIZING YOUR PAPER
• Opening (10-15% of your paper)
• This is where you introduce the titles, authors, purposes, main ideas, and your main
• Synthesis (50-60% of your paper)
• This is where you will do your compare and contrast, allowing the readings to ”speak”
to each other
• Closing (the remainder of your paper)
• This is where you will bring in your opinion on the topic (open letter) OR discuss the
importance of this conversation (journal article or news article)
OUTLINING YOUR PAPER
• What I want:
1. Your selections:
What are your three sources?
Who is your audience?
What genre are you going to use?
2. Your introduction of the sources
Author, title, purpose, audience, main
3. A bullet point list of the “conversation
they are having”
4. What you want to contribute to the
What do you think about their ideas
Why is this conversation important (news
article or journal article)
It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how
you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out.
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Vanity was stronger than love at sixteen and there was no room in
her hot heart now for anything but hate.
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Is much more succinct
Selects words carefully to be as precise as possible
Uses a variety of sentence structure to reduce
repetitiveness or lengthy ramblings
Academic Writing OTOH
Using too many words to express a rather simplistic idea.
The teacher demonstrated some of the various ways and methods for
cutting words from my essay that I had written for class.
There is no doubt about the fact that shopping online allows
teenagers to buy things without their parents knowing, which is
more and more common.
In Crew’s argument there are many indications of her
misunderstanding of the American culture.
“It is” “There are”
Marketers were trying different techniques to reach teens.
Use verbs instead of “to be + noun”
The hydrogen was mixed with the blahblahgen.
Your car was fixed.
Use simple present instead of progressive
There is a large number of teenagers shopping online.
Passive → Active. Unless you are writing for sciences/avoiding “I”
& Unless the subject is unknown/does not matter
My personal opinion, at the present time, by means of, the basic
essentials, connect together, for the purpose of, in close proximity, every
They have the right qualifications to submit an application.
Sources of Wordiness
Using a definition rather than elaboration
She transformed her life because she changed the way she lives.
He decided to concoct a story about how his homework was
eaten by dogs so he made up a story to tell his teacher.
Always using full clauses when some could be reduced
My teacher, who is from Mountain View, visits the Bay Area
The homework that was assigned is extremely difficult.
Sources of Wordiness
Your ideas cannot be ascertained due to the ambiguous/unclear
nature of your selection of vocabulary.
Different people have differing expectations of how the government
should spend their tax money.
The government generally wastes a lot of money on a lot of stuffs.
It’s kind of important that the government learn how to manage
their finances and things like that.
Or vague ideas:
There are many reasons why we shouldn’t do that.
The writer talks about the effects of implicit bias and how it works.
Informal speech (stuff, thing, and so on, etc.)
He is a person who lies in every situation he is in.
My friend wasn’t able to apply to college because he doesn’t have a lot
My friend’s financial restrictions prevented him from applying to college.
The Chinese food on campus doesn’t taste like real Chinese food.
Words that need an adjective or a word with more depth in
Going shopping gives me a certain feeling.
A particular experience of mine taught me the importance of patience.
The author’s view aligns with mine.
He’s a bad roommate.
Good, bad, thing, stuff, effects, affect
Sources of Vague Language
Work on Handout
Sentences that could be combined for better clarity.
The supposed habit of teens to shop online trumps their in-store
shopping preference. This is said to be more common in teens aged 1416.
It was explained by the researcher that children are growing up as
consumers. This fact could lead to children never feeling satisfied.
Take a look at your TW4
Citations and Reference Page
Citing in text: Option 1
As part of your sentence
Last name (year) (verb) that [paraphrase or quote]
Ex. Gaga (2011) reported that she was born that way.
Ex. Gaga (2011) said, “I was born this way.”
It was (verb) by Last name (year) [paraphrase or quote]
Ex. It was reported by Gaga (2011) that she was born that way.
Ex. It was suggested by Gaga (2011) that “[she] was born this way.”
Few would argue against Gaga’s (2011) idea that “she was born this way”
Citing in text: Option 2
Tagged on at the end
[paraphrase or quote] (Last name, year).
Ex. The female sex is in charge of the universe (Knowles, 2013).
Ex. “Who run the world? Girls, girls,” (Knowles, 2013).
[paraphrase or quote] (Last name, year), [YOUR commentary].
Ex. The female sex is in charge of the universe (Knowles, 2013), but there are competing
arguments against this theory.
Ex. “Who run the world? Girls, girls,” (Knowles, 2013), but there are competing arguments
against this theory.
*Keep in mind that the citation should come AFTER the information you are borrowing
and BEFORE your own ideas.
Citing in Text: Punctuation Awareness
PAY ATTENTION TO PUNCTUATION
Depending on the reporting verb used, you may or may not need a comma
Last name (year) said, “….”
Last name (year) argued that “…..”
Make sure NOT to put a period after your citation, even if there’s a period in the text.
ALWAYS put the period at the end of the sentence.
“…..” (Last name, year).
“…..” (Last name, year), but …..
Specific to our class
Source within a source
“as cited in”
As cited in Ahmad (2019), Jin said that the world is better since Trump is no longer president.
“Today is a better day because Trump is impeached,” (Jin, as cited in Ahmad, 2019).
In the reference page, you have to list them all
BUT in the text, you can just write the first author’s last name and “et al.”
Ex. Han et al.
Check your citations/punctuation
Writing the Reference Page
Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Date). Title. Retrieved from: website.
(Each item in your list needs to be organized alphabetically and double spaced. Second
and additional lines need to be indented.)
Sample Reference Page
Entine, J. (2014, September 9). The debate about gmo safety is over, thanks
to a new trillion-meal study.
Suclair, F., & Mendoza, G. (2013, January 13). Gmo products should be aptly
labeled. Retrieved from: www.cnn.com/2013/13/13/gmo-productlabeling-debate
Information on citation generators
Check/Create Your Reference
Page for P1
Natural unpredictable changes to identity
General personal changes
Examples about multicultural students
Being open minded
Focuses more on religion self discovery
focuses on P-P
Focuses more on academics
Focuses on P-P and student-professor relationships
Speaks to educators as well
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