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Synthesis: Home

This guide will walk you through how to combine your research in a meaningful way.

Engaging in Synthesis

Synthesis requires you to make sense of all the relevant ideas in your sources and blend them together with your own thoughts and ideas. Watch this video to learn how to engage in synthesis in order to take research from multiple sources along with your own arguments and turn it into a research paper.

Synthesizing Your Research

Understanding Your Research

1. Read through your sources carefully.

2. Identify common themes or sub-topics that keep appearing in the articles you’re reading.

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The Research Matrix

The research matrix is a helpful tool you can use to synthesize your research along with your own voice. The blank research matrix above can help you organize your paper by main idea, identify connections between your sources, and add your own analysis.

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Filling Out Your Matrix

1. Write your topic or research question above the matrix.

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2. Write your main ideas for your paper on the left side of the matrix. Helpful Tip: Choose your main ideas AFTER you have read your sources!

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3. Write the title, author, or citation of each source in the top row of the matrix.

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4. Fill in the matrix boxes with a paraphrase or direct quote that represents how the source discussed that main idea. You do not need every source to address every main idea!

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5. Don't forget to nclude your own analysis of the main idea and the sources in the last column on the matrix.

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Identify Gaps in Your Research

1. There’s a high likelihood that you will have empty spaces on your research matrix and that’s okay! Small gaps show that there is room for your own voice to join the conversation.

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2. Large gaps in your matrix are often a sign that you need to do more research on that main idea. As a rule of thumb you should have at least two sources for each main idea in order to create a meaningful dialogue. 

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Subjects:Research Tips