Essay #2: Summarizing and Synthesizing

English 105

The object of this assignment is to enable you to write a clear and concise summary of two texts and to synthesize the main ideas of these texts.

In a summary, you need to:

State the thesis and main ideas of a text

Identify the details of a text that are necessary in order to understand the text without having to read the whole text.

Separate your own opinions about the text from what a text/author is saying.

In a synthesis, you need to:

Identify similar main ideas among multiple texts: Where do the authors find common ground?

Combine main ideas from multiple texts into a single concept.

Identify any points of departure between the texts.


Your essay should include the following parts:

Introduction: this is where you introduce the concept you have extracted from the texts as your thesis and present the works you are to examine.  (Hint: You may find it easier to formulate these ideas after you have summarized the texts.)


Summary of text 1

Summary of text 2

Synthesis of text 1 and 2

Conclusion: this is where you round up your essay. You can do this by briefly restating what your essay was about and identifying further implications about the topic. 


Length: three typed double-spaced pages.

Draft due: Monday, 2/9

Final due: Thursday, 2/12


Self-evaluation: When you submit your final draft, include a typed cover page that addresses the following: How difficult was it to find an idea held in common by these two authors?  How might writing a synthesis be similar to translating a conversation between two people speaking different languages?  What practical purpose might synthesis serve when researching a topic?