Academic Writing

Reporting - paraphrase, summary & synthesis

Synthesis

A synthesis is a combination, usually a shortened version, of several texts made into one. It contains the important points in the text and is written in your own words.

Synthesis is an essential part of as defined by Bloom: Writing Functions 10: Critical

Synthesis:

  • Puts parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure
  • Combines information together in a different way by putting elements together in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions
  • Generalises from facts.>

Common verbs associated with synthesis include:  categorise, combine, compile, compose, create, devise, design, explain, explore, formulate, generates, integrate, justify, modify, organise, plan, rearrange, reconstruct, relate, reorganise, revise, rewrite, summarise, sythesise, tell, write.

To make a synthesis you need to find suitable sources, and then to select the relevant parts in those sources. You will then use your paraphrase and summary skills to write the information in your own words. The information from all the sources has to fit together into one continuous text. Please remember, though, that when you synthesise work from different people, you must acknowledge it. See Writing Citation

The following stages may be useful:

  1. Find texts that are suitable for your assignment.
  2. Read and understand the texts.
  3. Find the relevant ideas in the texts. Mark them in some way - write them down, take notes, underline them or highlight them.
  4. Make sure you identify the meaning relationships between the words/ideas - use colours or numbers.
  5. Read what you have marked very carefully.
  6. Organise the information you have. You could give all similar ideas in different texts the same number or letter or colour.
  7. Transfer all the information on to one piece of paper. Write down all simiar information together.
  8. Paraphrase and Summarise as necessary.
  9. Check your notes with your original texts for accuracy and relevance.
  10. Combine your notes into one continuous text.
  11. Check your work.
    1. Make sure your purpose is clear
    2. Make sure the language is correct
    3. Make sure the style is your own
    4. Remember to acknowledge other people's work

Example

Example 1:  - Protecting Rainforests