For your final paper, you will develop an original argument about a topic that we have
explored through our reading and writing this semester. You can use any of the texts
that we’ve read for class, plus at least one additional text of your choosing. The text that
you select could be a nook, article, political advertisement, TV show, movie, podcast,
song, etc. — it’s up to you, as long as you get my approval before you turn in your first
draft. You will also need a third text, and that can be either one that we have read in
class or one that you have found elsewhere. Cite all three in MLA or APA style.
Synthesis means integrating different points of view on the same topic into a single
paper. Unlike analysis, this process begins with particulars and ends with more
general statements. Its should demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of
the topic, your ability to make meaningful connections between texts, and your
capacity for crafting an original, compelling argument.
First, choose your topic. Then, begin to develop the position that you will take in your
essay. Do not base this solely on your personal opinions. Explore the topic by thinking
about the issues involved and looking at them from different perspectives, especially
those presented in the texts that you already analyzed for the Unit papers. You’ll want
to decide what information is relevant and credible, but do not discount anything simply
because it doesn’t fit your position; counter-arguments need to be addressed and can
even strengthen your position by displaying an awareness of other points of view (even
if you don’t agree with them).
Once you have a clear sense of purpose, consider the audience that you are trying to
address. What do they already know about this topic? Which aspects do you need to
inform them of? What sort of rhetorical appeals will you make? What is the context in
which you would present your arguments? Try testing your ideas on people who
represent your target audience. Is your purpose clear to them? Ask for feedback.
Now, it’s time to start organizing your essay. Compose a working thesis statement that
tells your audience how you will interpret the significance of the topic under discussion.
Remember, a thesis is an interpretation of a topic or issue, not the topic itself; it must be
focused and debatable. List all of the arguments that you plan to include in your essay.
How will you arrange them so that they make sense and support your thesis? Will you
start with your strongest argument or save it for last? Try outlining the essay to see how
your ideas fit together. Group related ideas and arrange them from general to specific or
abstract to concrete – whatever will appeal to your audience. As you begin writing, do
not hesitate to rearrange your ideas or refine your arguments if you feel that this will
contribute to the overall effectiveness of your paper.
Length: 1,000 – 1,200 words (approx. 4-5 pages)
Format: Double-spaced, 1-inch margins, standard 12-point font. Name, assignment,
and due date are placed in the upper left hand corner of the first page. Last name and
page numbers appear in the upper right hand of each page. Works Cited/Reference
page at the end in MLA/APA style (not included in word count).