Synthesis/Analysis Paper

76-101 A & B, FALL, 2000

Assigned: Friday, October 6, 2000

Due:  First draft (2 copies), See Syllabus for Due Date; Final draft (to be handed

in with the first draft I've commented on and the grading criteria):

See Syllabus for Due Date.

Length:  Double-spaced: 4-5 pages.


     Write a paper that explores science studies from a perspective of your

choosing.  This paper should define the problem (or common point(s)) at

stake in your discussion and explore that problem with the help of at least

four essays you've read so far. Your task is to use synthesis to analyze

this problem. (A synthesis grid of your making can help you here). You might

write about the social in science, ideology in science, gender and science,

science and objectivity, science and education, the relationship of science

and technology, etc., or a topic of your choice which is discussed by the

authors you choose.

     By "synthesis," I mean the task of mapping out the terrain navigated by

this group of texts in regards to the problem you've chosen.  As in the

summary assignment, the key word here is connection.  But whereas in

summary, the job was to connect the internal bits of one argument, the

job here is to connect the arguments of a number of texts together under

your guiding hand.  To employ our other main metaphor in this unit, the

task is to put these texts in conversation with each other.  

     By "analysis," I mean defining your problem through a guided tour of

these essays.  You are not supposed to come up with a solution to your

problem, but rather explore your problem and its ramifications via a tour

of these essays. Your argument's goal is for your reader to gain a proper

understanding of the problem.  

    Finally, remember the lessons of summary:  to write a good

synthesis/analysis, you must be able to understand not only what authors

are saying, but what they are doing.     


     Hint:  You will waste a lot of time if you proceed as if this were a

compare/contrast assignment, in which each paragraph has for a subject

one text and you discuss the similarities and differences of that text

with the others within that paragraph.  Rather, organize your paper around

issues and arguments so that you're dealing with one topic and a bunch of

texts in each paragraph, and thus synthesizing arguments and creating

something new, not simply rehashing, separately, the arguments of the

various texts.



Grading Criteria for Synthesis/Analysis Paper

 (Please attach to back of final draft, with first draft behind, and staple).



  /30 I. Introduction (30 total points)

  /10 A. Concise, clear introduction of problem(s).

  /10 B. Clear thesis statement: statement which makes a general statement

characterizing the domain of argument surrounding your problem. (Here's an

example--don't use it!--"While there is a strong contingency of contemporary critics who challenge the notion of objectivity as propounded by Hubble (note: this would only work after having briefly introduced that notion via Hubble, and generally defined it), a number of conservative defenders have arisen to fortify that notion, and to discredit its detractors." Notice how the thesis is abstract enough to stand for a debate around objectivity, not unduly limiting the discussion to one particular point, yet still

saying something substantive about the debate).

  /10 C. Forecasting statements (road map of the rest of the paper, mapping

of camps--what, who you will be discussing). The mapping should follow shortly after the thesis (in the following paragraph.), and should trace, in slightly more detail, the thesis that you just made. You will forecast, generally, what you will say about who says what--but all in connection with each other. Here, you will divide the authors into

camps, and define how they are thus divided. Notice how the above thesis ties the interlocutors together in a debate. You continue that kind of connection in the mapping and throughout the body of the paper).


  /35 II. Structure (30 points)

  /10 A. Clear topic sentences which introduce the sub-topics in each of your

paragraphs and show how each sub-topic is relevant to the thesis (and topic) of the

paper. Stick to one topic per paragraph.

  /10 B. Supporting evidence from the texts, including relevant and

appropriate quotations with explications.

  /15 C. Organization, structure and development which connects sub-

topics/paragraphs, foregrounding the important issues, with understandable

transitions between the topics/paragraphs.                       


  /30 III. Content (35 points)

  /10 A. Presentation of a strong argument which does more than reiterate

what has been said in class, but rather shows fresh insight into the material.


  /10 B. Arguments which demonstrate a solid grasp of, and a thoughtful

response to, the readings. (Interpretation).

  /10 C. Writing that is adequate to the complexities of the material and

maintains a strong sense of purpose in arguing its point.

  /5 IV. Technical Proper citation, quotation, grammar, spelling, etc.