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Unit 2 Assignment: Definition and Synthesis

  • Format: Typed, double-spaced, submitted as a word-processing document.
    12 point, text-weight font, 1-inch margins.
  • Length: 1200 – 1500 words (approx. 5-6 pages)
  • Value: This project will be graded out of 100 possible points, and will be worth 20% of the grade for the course.

compass icon-01.png Overview:

In Unit 1, you focused on reading the published writing of other writers critically in order to begin developing your own “invitations” into topics that interest you. You used textual analysis to break down the context, voice, thesis, and other elements of existing written texts. You also used invention strategies to begin exploring specific issues that interested you as you read and reflected. Finally, you exercised your critical literacy skills in order to evaluate the content and context of sources.
In Unit 2, you have been studying ways to define the context for the issue you are writing about in order to help audiences understand why the issue is relevant to their interests. You also have been learning about synthesis: a rhetorical tool for connecting sources and ideas that may initially seem to be unrelated.
For this Unit 2 Assignment, you will practice both definition and synthesis by writing an essay that helps an audience understand the context for your topic and the ways that other people are already invested in the topic.

quill icon-01.png Assignment:

Write an essay that defines the topic of your research for this course and synthesizes different perspectives on the issue from sources you have read critically.

Your Definition and Synthesis Essay should

  • Clearly define the topic of your essay and the specific issue (or issues) you will address
  • Clarify your position: what exactly are you wanting to say about the issue? Why is it relevant? What is at stake, and for whom?
  • Connect (synthesize) differing perspectives on this topic and set of issues, and explain how existing perspectives portray the issue in overlapping or contradictory ways
  • Revise your research question and research proposal in response to the new sources you have found and the new connections you have made

presentation icon-01.png Components:

In order to finish this project, you will need to complete all of the following parts:

  • Invention/Prewriting: Collect and submit several pages of the invention work you complete in preparation for writing the Definition and Synthesis essay.
  • Draft: Include at least one pre-revised draft of your essay. The draft needs to meet the word count of 750 words and must also apply formatting requirements for the project—in other words it must be complete. Make sure that your draft is clearly marked “draft.”
  • Peer Review/Teamwork Report: We will complete a peer-review process through our discussion board on Canvas. You will need to submit your draft and provide thoughtful and targeted feedback to your peers to earn the peer review points for this unit. In addition, you will need to complete the Unit 3 Teamwork Report survey assigned for this project.
  • Final: Your final submission of the Definition and Synthesis assignment. Needs to show revision of your original draft(s) to incorporate the changes recommended by your peers and feedback from your instructor. This final should meet all of the assignment criteria, and will be evaluated with the Unit 2 Writing Assignment rubric.
  • Reflective Self-Analysis: The essay submission will also require you to complete a reflective self-analysis assignment. This assignment is a short reflective essay analyzing the effectiveness of the research essay the writer created for this unit. In the self-analysis, the writer uses passages from their own writing and pre-writing as evidence for the claims they make about their own writing process and writing strategies.

open book icon-01.png Objectives:

In this project, you will

  • Define the context for the issue you are writing about for this course, framing the significance, relevance, and urgency of the issue for one or more audiences
  • Synthesize existing research perspectives on the topic, making connections between sources and analyzing why these connections are important
  • Develop a position on the issue you have chosen to write about, a specific perspective, evaluation, or judgment that you can support with evidence and argument

notepad icon-01.png Grading:

This project will be graded out of 100 possible points, and will be worth 20% of the grade for the course. See rubric below for criteria and scoring.


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