Synthesizing Sources

Purpose: To demonstrate your ability to synthesize source material.

Description: This assignment will help you prepare for your initial draft of the literature review. To complete this assignment, you will need to write a thesis-driven synthesis of three articles. In other words you will want to identify a common theme or idea that you see running through all of the articles and focus on how each article develops or contributes to the theme. We have selected the following articles from your textbook for this assignment:

“ Sven Birkerts: "Into the Electronic Millennium"

Summary: Sven Birkerts’ “Into the Electronic Millennium”

Stephen Budiansky: "Lost in Translation"

Tina Rosenberg: "Everyone Speaks Text Message" pp. 267-271

Read each article through once so that you understand its scope and the author’s argument.

As you begin to read through each article again, note common themes and ideas. What are the things these authors agree and disagree about? (Hint: You may find it helpful to use an organizational tool such as a Venn diagram.)

Create a working thesis statement based on one common theme or idea that runs through all three articles (a statement that will tie all three articles together in some way). There will be several possible common themes or ideas for you to choose from. Pick the one that you can develop in the most detail.

Then, write an essay which summarizes and synthesizes these articles. In other words, describe the common theme, explain how each author develops the common theme, and then explain how each article relates to the others. What are their similarities and differences? Why are these similarities and differences important to the theme which you are examining?