The Critque, The Thesis Statement, The Explanatory Synthesis and the Argument Synthesis


1. What are the principles for writing an Argument Synthesis?  What makes an argument synthesis different from an explanatory synthesis? 




2. Assess the following 3 thesis statements:


a) Would this thesis be more suitable for an explanatory synthesis or an argument synthesis? Why?


The Krebs cycle is found in all living beings.  Therefore, to understand basic biology, the Krebs cycle must be thoroughly mastered.  The high rate of student failure in organic chemistry is directly due to student’s poor mastery of the Krebs cycle. 


b) Would this thesis be more suitable for an explanatory synthesis or an argument synthesis? Why?


The field of colonial furniture design is dominated by the work of contemporary master Norm Abrams and by the products of the Littlefield furniture workshops in North Carolina.  Acquaintance with the field necessarily includes knowledge of Abrams’s work and the products of the Littlefield master-crafters.



c) Would this thesis be more suitable for an explanatory synthesis or an argument synthesis? Why?


It is impossible to learn how to tie a knot from a diagram or a description.  The best way to learn knots is for one person to show another person.  Of course, the learner must practice!  The Boy Scouts of America should replace their knot-tying manual with an instructor-led video training course.




3. Imagine that you are writing a paper about Charles Shultz, creator of the cartoon Peanuts, and you’ve decided to quote some part of the passage below.  Give the title for the paper and write three sentences from your imaginary paper.   First, introduce your quote with a sentence. In the next sentence, present the quote, eliminating part of the original passage using ellipses.   Finally, follow the quotation with a third, concluding sentence.


During the Great Depression, Schulz's hard working father, Carl, struggled to keep both his family and his barber shop afloat. Carl Schulz not only managed to maintain two employees and to put pancakes on the dinner table (his son’s favorite), but also found the means to enroll his son in a correspondence course in cartooning at what is now the Art Instruction Schools, Inc. ("Draw Me"), in Minneapolis. A shy and insecure student, Schulz struggled through the program, submitting his coursework by mail instead of in person and earning only a C+ in "Drawing of Children." 


Mary McIntosh, The Life of Charles Shultz (page 32).


Title for your paper:


Three sentences (including a quote):








 4. You are a newly hired columnist at the New York Daily News, and your editor suggests that you write a critique of this month’s top DVD rental, the horror comedy Squashed Cheerleaders. You’ve never seen the movie and your column is due in 48 hours.  However, you don’t panic because you learned the 3 elements of a well-informed opinion English 101. What are those elements? Based on these elements, what will you do to earn the reputation for good judgment?








5. Military historian Professor Stuff asks you to write a one-page critique of the book Thomas Jefferson: A Hero for All Times. He’s a stickler for details, but he’s also very busy. (That’s why you’re doing the critique!) You know that you can satisfy him if your critique is well-organized. Propose an outline for your critique.








6. You have a job as a translator of ancient texts, and yesterday you translated the Babylonian cuneiform tablet below.  You have discovered that this tablet contains five questions, which you have translated (below).  “Oh ho!” you said to yourself, when you read the questions, “I remember these questions from English class! This must be part of an ancient writing lesson.” 


a) What was the title of this lesson?
b) If this same lesson were being taught today, how would you explain each of the questions?


(Here’s what was on the cuneiform tablet)

Is it logical?

Is it tenable?

Is it refutable?

Who cares?

Does it present new relationships, new concepts and new boundaries?









7. Assess the following thesis statement.  “To understand the success of Rita’s Italian Ice in Pennsylvania you must understand the loyal Italian population, the location of Rita’s next to gas stations, and the careful attention Rita’s employees pay to making quality products.  What kind of thesis is this?  Would this make a good paper?  Why or why not?