The Synthesis Question:
The synthesis question requires skills that are not much different from those already being taught in the process of research. Synthesis is the process of bringing together information from various sources to form something new. There will be two kinds of synthesis questions the explanatory and the argumentative. The purpose of the explanatory synthesis question will be primarily to inform for the readers so that they understand as many aspects of the topic as is possible in the paper. The writer brings together information from various sources to illustrate a topic. Examples of explanatory synthesis can be found in textbooks, brochures, encyclopedia articles, essays, etc. A synthesis essay might involve a new analysis of a complex issue such as stem cell research. The explanatory synthesis emphasizes the sources as a strategy to inform, not the writer’s use of sources to persuade others. .The argumentative synthesis question attempts to persuade the reader to believe a particular claim. Here, writers bring together information from a variety of sources, some of which may support the claim, while others may be included to represent views that the writer rejects or attempts to invalidate (refutation).
The synthesis question requires students to consider texts in light of each other. David Joliff indicates that students should have a “conversation” with the material before beginning the response. Student must consider many voices and views and contemplate multiple possibilities before taking a position. Students must understand the mechanics of documentation and how it functions in rhetoric. They should know that sources are the foundation upon which understanding is established. In the synthesis question student must annotate, read closely, infer, and make connections, skills they use frequently in an AP language class.
Additionally, the synthesis question contains a visual element. Of course, students are required to use...