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Intensive American Language Center (IALC): Level 4 Research Assignment

Synthesis Essays

A Synthesis Essay uses summaries of sources to make connections between those sources. This often involves discovering a common theme between the sources, and reporting on how each source fits this theme and connects to the other sources. Below you'll find more information about the specific types of Synthesis Essays you'll be asked to create: Compare and Contrast and the Five-Paragraph Essay

Below are links to help you construct your Synthesis Essay:

Five-Paragraph Essay

The five-paragraph essay is the classic format for essay-writing. All students learn the five-paragraph essay before they move onto more complicated writing. It helps to provide a foundation for organizing and presenting your thoughts on paper. 

The five-paragraph essay has 1) And introductory paragraph, 2) A thesis statement (topic, main idea, or argument), which lists three points you will make in your essay, 3) Three paragraphs, one for each of your three points, and 4) A conclusion. See the links below for tips on how to write the five-paragraph essay, with examples.

Compare and Contrast Essays

A Compare and Contrast Essay takes two or more subjects and discusses how they are either similar and different. Whether or not you should write about both or only one of them is up to your instructor. Please see your IALC assignment for more information.

This comparing and contrasting may also be linked to a theme. For example, you could compare and contrast how two sources (documentaries, articles, books) portray the topic of the Civil Rights Movement. You might talk about whose stories are told in each source, what key facts are discussed in each source, and so on, all related to this theme.

For more information, see the links below:

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