(Click for a hint)
|Note: When you draw up your notes for a paragraph, use columns on a single page—one box for each author. You can compare notes when you are looking for similar ideas.|
- About balancing evidence in your writing
- Synthesising evidence in a paragraph
- Steps for synthesising
- Don't do this!
- More information
Key words: balance, integrating, synthesising
Please note that the APA referencing style is used in this workshop.
Balancing evidence means that you will weave together information from different sources into your body paragraph. There are three strategies you can use to present evidence in your essay: paraphrasing, summarising (which includes synthesising) and direct quoting. As your assignment has been set to challenge you to investigate, interpret and use research on a topic, your essay will need to be a balance of evidence from others' information and your personal opinion and experience. Use the slider on the seesaw in Exercise 1 to get an idea of the consequences of using other peoples' ideas TOO much OR using your own ideas ONLY without backup from authoritative sources.
Exercise 1: Balancing your information
Move the slider button below to see how essay writing needs to balance information sources.
There is an excellent example on the following site that you should do next. It uses writing samples to show very clearly the kinds of mistakes that can be made when you are using and integrating resources. (5 minutes).
Synthesising is a complex skill that you use to develop your body paragraphs. It requires you to draw together your ideas, supported by the similar and sometimes contradictory ideas of others. Let's consider the essay topic:
Discuss why assignment essays are common assessment tasks in undergraduate tertiary coursework, and evaluate the effectiveness of assignments as an avenue for learning.
A paragraph from this question may deal with the advantages of assignments over examinations.
Exercise 2: Synthesising evidence in a paragraph
This demonstration shows you how to develop a notetaking system for a paragraph on the topic of exams versus assignments. The notetaking system helps you to record AND synthesise evidence from a number of sources.
- students needing feedback (Jones et al., 2004, pp. 36-37; Peters, 2008, p. 79)
- effect of exams on students ( Peters, 2008, p. 79; Wonderland University, 2006)
- subject discourse (Jones et al., 2004, pp. 36-37; Peters, 2008, p. 79; Wonderland University, 2006)
Exercise 3: Integrating synthesised information into an academic paragraph
The following annotated paragraph has been written from the set of notes and synthesising activities in Exercise 2:
The techniques for successful synthesising may be picked up quickly if you know a few strategies. You can use a step-by-step approach. The order of each step is fairly intuitive. Try to put the following six steps in the correct order.
Exercise 4: Steps for synthesising
Drag the steps for synthesising into the correct order.
- Don't think of individual authors all of the time. Consider your case from a 'multiple author' perspective. This will help your argument to carry more weight.
- Don't leave out your notetaking activity. Once you have your notes, it's much easier to synthesise your information with a correct match to your authors.