Explanatory Synthesis


An explanatory synthesis is like a map.  You are the cartographer who will create the map. You must decide the scope of the topic (just like the borders on a map); the key features to be included (similar to the man-made places and natural objects that a map shows); and the important relationships between those features (on a map, these are roads).  You sketch a layout which will be of use as a general introduction to the topic. 


Explanatory Synthesis Checklist


1. Does your introduction include a thesis statement? Is that statement logical and tenable and refutable? Have you set the borders for your discussion and included key features and important relationships? Have you explained to your reader why he or she should care about this issue?


2. Have you selected a format suitable for your synthesis? (see below for a thematic format)


3.  Do your body paragraphs flow in logical order?  Do you have good transition sentences leading from one paragraph to the next? Do you include quotations from your sources?


4. Does your conclusion reiterate why the particular features and relationships you selected are important for an understanding of your topic?

5.  Do you have a Works Cited page in which you include proper citation information on the articles?


Possible format for an Explanatory Synthesis Paper with 5 sources

Paragraph 1: Introduction and thesis statement. Why it matters...

Paragraph 2: important feature mentioned by Author Anderson

Paragraph 3: important feature mentioned by Authors Brown and Charles

Paragraph 4: significant relationship mentioned by Author Dawson

Paragraph 5: significant relationship mentioned by Author Esseltine

Paragraph 6: My ideas on why these are the most important features and relationships for my topic

Paragraph 7: Conclusion

Works Cited page: Anderson, Brown, Charles, Dawson, Esseltine