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EH 102: English Composition II: Handouts

English 102 composition research guide

Sample Synthesis Template

The amount of detail you put in the blanks in this synthesis will determine the length of your paper. Just remember that if you say it-- you must prove it ( or give examples).  So for each statement--explain what you mean. 


Sample Synthesis


____________is a controversial issue in America and has been for many years. Currently, researchers have added to the body of information about it.  Of the many positions on this issue, I claim that_____________.

I can use C.  Jones’ article,   ”__________,” as my primary source because it gives statistics that back my assertion that ___________.  In his article  Dr.Jones states that __________. His position agrees with mine in that it reaffirms  my major points.  Most important is his statement that_____________.

The article by L. Woodson , “___________,” will be only partially applicable because Woodson only agrees with me on the following two points: (1)____________ and (2)______________.  To further prove my claim I will use J. Goodrich’s article ,”_____________,” in which he asserts____________.  This reinforces my third point which is that ____________. However, most of his article will contribute to my opposing viewpoint section because he believes that__________________ and is in direct opposition to my claim about _________________ and ______________.

The study by A. Smith in the Atlantic Monthly, “_______________,” is not relevant to my claim and I will not use it. His thesis is_____________ and does not address my topic.  His information is outdated by current research.

MLA Citations

Remember that your citations are a map back to the source you used. 

For all sources, you will need:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publication Date

In addition, depending on the type of source, you may need the publishing place (book), volume (journal), section (newspaper), or date of access (web resource).

Just keep in mind ... what would YOU need if you wanted to find the article, book, or web page again?

The Research Process



A Few Notes on Searching

Now that you've found some background information, you want to narrow your searches for the next few papers. 

Use this RESEARCH WORKSHEET to help you with narrowing/broadening terms.

Where to find articles

You may need popular and/or scholarly articles.  These databases have both.

When searching Academic Search Premier:

It's to the upper right of your search results.


Scholarly vs Popular

Scholarly (academic, peer reviewed) articles don’t have to be read from beginning to end like you would a novel.


These questions will help you focus your reading in on the important parts of scholarly articles.

Evaluating your Resources

Use a tool to record your research like Sterne Library's RESEARCH LOGIt will help you remember what terms worked and which ones didn't.

If you got too many results, you may need to narrow your search even more. For the college football example, you could look at a particular school, a certain conference, or a method of payment (cash vs. benefits).

If you didn't get many results, you may need to broaden your search to include more ideas.  Again, in our college football example, you could broaden your search to include all sports.

As always, if you need help you can contact me.

Organizing your Thoughts

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