18.2 Synthesis

Article links:

“Incorporating Evidence into a Research Paper” by Jennifer Janechek

“Connecting Source Material to Claims” by Eir-Anne Edgar

“Synthesizing Your Research Findings” by Christine Photinos

“Synthesis Notes: Working With Sources To Create a First Draft” by Erika Szymanski

“Introduce Evidence” by Jennifer Janechek

“Analyzing Evidence” by Jennifer Janechek

“Provide Additional Support for This Point” provided by Writing Commons

“Avoid the Use of Unsupported Opinions as Evidence” provided by Writing Commons

Chapter Preview

  • Describe how evidence can bolsters a writer’s argument.
  • Identify the kinds and ways sources that should be used in a paper.
  • Explain how opinions should be expressed in writing.

Incorporating Evidence into a Research Paper

by Jennifer Janechek

When you think of the term “evidence,” what comes to mind? CSILaw and OrderNCIS? Certainly, detectives and law enforcement officers use evidence to prove that a criminal is guilty. What’s more, they use different types of evidence to find and convict the offending person(s), such as eyewitness accounts, DNA, fingerprints, and material evidence.

Just as detectives use various types of evidence, writers incorporate evidence to prove their points—and they also use different types of evidence, depending upon which form is most useful and relevant to their points. These different types of evidence include—but are not limited to—quotes, paraphrases, summaries, anecdotes, and hypothetical examples.

Regardless of the type used, all evidence serves the same general function: it bolsters a writer’s argument. The trick is to determine, during the composition process, what type of evidence will most help your point. This section is designed to help you choose the best type of support to use in your writing; in addition, it will provide you with the tools necessary to successfully integrate evidence into your papers. By acquiring these skills, you will become a more convincing writer, as you will be able to back up your claims in a way that makes sense to your readers.

Students often confuse evidence with research; the two do not mean the same thing. Whereas “evidence” refers to a something that supports a claim, “research” is something much more: it’s a conversation. Take a look at Kenneth Burke’s famous “Unending Conversation” metaphor:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. [1]

Research begets evidence, but performing research should not just point you, as a writer, to useful quotes that you can use as support for claims in your writing; research should tell you about a conversation, one that began before you decided upon your project topic. When you incorporate research into a paper, you are integrating and responding to previous claims about your topic made by other writers. As such, it’s important to try to understand the main argument each source in a particular conversation is making, and these main arguments (and ensuing sub claims) can then be used as evidence—as support for your claims—in your paper.

Let’s say for a bibliographic essay you decide to write about the Indian Mutiny. Well, as the Indian Mutiny began around 1857, people have been writing about the Mutiny since that time. Thus, it’s important to realize that by writing about the Indian Mutiny now, you’re contributing to an ongoing conversation. By doing research, you can see what’s already been said about this topic, decide what specific approach to the topic might be original and insightful, and determine what ideas from other writers provide an opening for you to assert your own claims.

The pieces in this section focus on incorporating various types of evidence into your paper, but the main idea to keep in the back of your head is that research is much larger than your paper. Your writing is a part of a larger conversation. Do other authors justice: critically read their pieces so you understand their major claims and do not misrepresent them, choose ideas that work with yours—or that contrast with yours, so you have a jumping-off point for your argument. Doing so is critical to constructing arguments and to realizing your agency as a writer.

Connecting Source Material to Claims

by Eir-Anne Edgar

One of the three sides of the rhetorical triangle is ethos. Ethos refers to the writer’s credibility and authority as perceived by readers. (For more information about this rhetorical appeal, please see “Ethos.”) Using sources to support the claims you make strengthens your authority as a writer.  Sources also show your readers that you’ve “done your homework,” that is, that you are able to make arguments about your topic because you have read other credible and significant writers who have contributed to the ongoing conversation about your topic. To be a scholarly writer is to respond to other writers who have already discussed certain aspects of the topic you are investigating. This ongoing conversation is one that you will contribute your original ideas to as well as a conversation that other writers will continue to respond to in the future. You should start your research by looking at the most current information on your topic. If you were to engage with others in a conversation, you would not try to refer back to something that was said hours ago, instead you would respond to what is being said at that particular moment. Using sources also shows your readers where you fit in with other writers in the larger conversation about your topic. Though your work may not yet be as famous as other writers, when you refer to writers like Freud, you can show your readers where your ideas derive from or even complicate other writers’ arguments.

Writers should utilize the latest, most significant and credible sources that engage with the topic at hand.  For example, if you were to read a scientific study that only included sources that are thirty years old, the argument of the study might look outdated and untrustworthy. It is important to remember that writing (about almost any topic) is an ongoing conversation. You are not the first to write, and you certainly will not be the last. Use sources that show your readers you are up to date and knowledgeable about your topic. Sources that come from peer-reviewed journals or scholarly organizations are examples of credible sources. Avoid sources that do not utilize sources; it is difficult to verify where writers may have gotten the information in the article. One tip for finding sources is to look at the works cited page of a credible source; this can provide you with leads in developing a list for reading further on your topic.

It is very important to make connections to the sources that you include in your writing. First, remember that your essay is your opportunity to showcase your ideas and arguments. Avoid using an excessive amount of source material; doing so can take your readers’ focus away from your original arguments. Going back to the notion that writing is engaging in conversation, think of engaging with your source material as if you are having a conversation with the writers themselves. You can use source material to lend support, to complicate, or even to argue against previous ideas. Here is one example of engaging with source material in a conversational mode:

Tom Smith writes, “Most ponies enjoy skateboarding on Saturday nights” (8). Though my findings support Smith’s claims that most ponies do enjoy skateboarding, however, my research shows that ponies tend to skate on Sunday afternoons. The differences in our findings may come from the recent changes in skateboarding laws, which are not applicable on Sundays because skateboarding officials have the day off.

In this example, the writer responds to the source material by comparing and contrasting the source’s ideas with his or her own. The source material is the section of the sentence that appears between the quotation marks. This sentence comes from page 8 of Tom Smith’s book; this is indicated by the number 8 that appears between the parentheses. If the writer and Tom Smith were at a party together, their conversation would be interesting and vibrant. Here is one example of unsuccessful source engagement:

Tom Smith writes, “Most ponies enjoy skateboarding on Saturday nights” (8). I agree.

In this example, we see no engagement with the source material. If the writer and Tom Smith were talking at a party, it would be a boring conversation that does not go anywhere. Simply agreeing or disagreeing does not continue the conversation, nor does it highlight the importance of your findings. Another way of thinking about source engagement is a three-step process: explain, engage, and discuss.

  • Explaining requires that you explain what the author in the source is talking about and why it is important. Do not take it for granted that readers will know why the source material you use is important or significant.
  • The second step, engage, requires you to talk back to the source
  • Finally, discuss the implications of your response. Here is an example of this process:

The latest study from Bird University found that “parrots tend to sleep all day on Sundays” (1). This finding is significant because it supports my hypothesis that Sunday is the official day of rest for parrots. Further research on this topic is necessary; it could be significant to many other fields of study if other varieties of birds also rest on Sundays.

Connecting your claims to source material is an important facet of structuring a strong argument. Scholarly and up to date sources give your ideas credibility and authority, just be sure to prioritize your own thoughts over those of your sources.

Synthesizing Your Research Findings

by Christine Photinos

Synthesis is something you already do in your everyday life.  For example, if you are shopping for a new car, the research question you are trying to answer is, “Which car should I buy”?  You explore available models, prices, options, and consumer reviews, and you make comparisons.  For example:  Car X costs more than car Y but gets better mileage.  Or:  Reviewers A, B, and C all prefer Car X, but their praise is based primarily on design features that aren’t important to you.  It is this analysis across sources that moves you towards an answer to your question.

Early in an academic research project you are likely to find yourself making initial comparisons—for example, you may notice that Source A arrives at a conclusion very different from that of Source B—but the task of synthesis will become central to your work when you begin drafting your research paper or presentation.

Remember, when you synthesize, you are not just compiling information.  You are organizing that information around a specific argument or question, and this work—your own intellectual work—is central to research writing.

Below are some questions that highlight ways in which the act of synthesizing brings together ideas and generates new knowledge.

How do the sources speak to your specific argument or research question?

Your argument or research question is the main unifying element in your project.  Keep this in the forefront of your mind when you write about your sources.  Explain how, specifically, each source supports your central claim/s or suggests possible answers to your question.  For example:  Does the source provide essential background information or a definitional foundation for your argument or inquiry? Does it present numerical data that supports one of your points or helps you answer a question you have posed?  Does it present a theory that might be applied to some aspect of your project?  Does it present a recognized expert’s insights on your topic?

How do the sources speak to each other? 

Sometimes you will find explicit dialogue between sources (for example, Source A refutes Source B by name), and sometimes you will need to bring your sources into dialogue (for example, Source A does not mention Source B, but you observe that the two are advancing similar or dissimilar arguments).  Attending to interrelationships among sources is at the heart of the task of synthesis.

Begin by asking:  What are the points of agreement?  Where are there disagreements?

But be aware that you are unlikely to find your sources in pure positions of “for” vs. “against.”  You are more likely to find agreement in some areas and disagreement in other areas.  You may also find agreement but for different reasons—such as different underlying values and priorities, or different methods of inquiry.

Where are there, or aren’t there, information gaps?

Where is the available information unreliable (for example, it might be difficult to trace back to primary sources), or limited, (for example, based on just a few case studies, or on just one geographical area), or difficult for non-specialists to access (for example, written in specialist language, or tucked away in a physical archive)?

Does your inquiry contain sub-questions that may not at present be answerable, or that may not be answerable without additional primary research—for example, laboratory studies, direct observation, interviews with witnesses or participants, etc.?

Or, alternatively, is there a great deal of reliable, accessible information that addresses your question or speaks to your argument or inquiry?

In considering these questions, you are engaged in synthesis: you are conducting an overview assessment of the field of available information and in this way generating composite knowledge.

Remember, synthesis is about pulling together information from a range of sources in order to answer a question or construct an argument. It is something you will be called upon to do in a wide variety of academic, professional, and personal contexts. Being able to dive into an ocean of information and surface with meaningful conclusions is an essential life skill.Synthesis Notes: Working With Sources To Create a First Draft

Synthesis Notes: Working With Sources To Create a First Draft

by Erika Szymanski

Synthesis notes are a strategy for taking and using reading notes that bring together—synthesize—what we read with our thoughts about our topic in a way that lets us integrate our notes seamlessly into the process of writing a first draft. Six steps will take us from reading sources to a first draft.

When we read, it is easy to take notes that don’t help us build our own arguments when we move from note-taking to writing. In high school, most of us learned to take notes that summarize readings. Summarizing works well when the purpose of our notes is to help us memorize information quickly for a test. When we read in preparation for writing a research-supported argument, however, summarizing is inefficient because our notes don’t reflect how our sources fit into our argument. We have to return to our sources and try to recall why and how we saw them contribute to our thinking.

Thinking through your sources

Step 1: As you read, keep in mind your purpose. Why are you reading this source? About what will you be writing? Write down your thoughts on how the text fits in with what you are currently thinking about your topic; if you did not begin your research with ideas, start thinking and building as you read. Try to make complete sentences. Often, you may summarize or paraphrase a bit of what the text is saying as you refer to it in the context of your own thinking, but do not just summarize what the text says. Capture what you think as you read: your reactions, how it is helpful, how it is relevant. Incorporate any quotes you find especially helpful, but rather than simply copying the quote, write about and around the quote.

Repeat step 1 for each source you think you may use to build your argument.

Identifying your thesis: Whether or not you began with firm ideas about your topic, your reading – and, more precisely, your thinking as you read – will be the source of new ideas. Your thesis, then, will emerge during your reading as the product of how all of your reading and thinking comes together to create a position you can support, with your sources and with your own well-informed argumentation. Even if you began your research holding a clear position on your topic, give your thesis permission to change as you read. Not doing so limits your capacity to learn and grow through your reading and, moreover, risks leaving you unable to support your thesis with your sources.

When you feel as though you have read and thought enough to develop a position on your topic that your sources can support, and that you can stand behind, take note of that position as your thesis. Know, though, that your thesis may still grow and change as you continue to read, think, and draft if you find your sources leading you to support a different position.

Elaborating on your ideas

Step 2: When you are ready to begin writing, refer back to your synthesis notes. Look at the first point and write a short paragraph about that thought or observation. If your synthesis notes are in complete sentences, you may cut and paste those sentences into your new paragraphs or revise and build from them to reflect how your thinking has changed and grown. Then move to the next note and, again, write a short paragraph about that observation. These sections of writing do not need to be connected; that will come later. Do not worry about writing a coherent paper; just focus on one idea or observation at a time.

If you get stuck – if you cannot figure out how a particular note fits into your argument or if it no longer fits—skip that note and move to the next one. You can return to these unused notes later when you may find that you now have something to say about them or that they simply are not part of your argument.

You may find it helpful to color-code your synthesis notes to remind yourself of what material you have and have not used. Remember, too, to include in-text citations to your original source material as you write. (look here for guidelines on when citation is necessary).

When you reach the end of your notes, you should have a list of short paragraphs constituting much of your argument.

Finding the essence of your argument

Step 3: Read back through your short paragraphs and, in a separate document or on a separate sheet of paper, summarize each paragraph in a single phrase or sentence. If you cannot summarize a paragraph with a single phrase, try to revise the paragraph so that it focuses on just one idea. Give each paragraph and its corresponding summary phrase a number so that you can match the paragraph to its summary phrase.

Organizing your ideas

Step 4: Now we will organize the writing we did in step 2. Looking only at the list of summary phrases, rearrange them until they can be read as a logical, coherent paragraph from top to bottom. This paragraph should summarize your argument. If you find that a phrase fails to fit, set it aside. If you find a gap where you need an additional sentence to provide a logical connection between two of your phrases, write in that sentence.

Organizing your writing

Step 5: Return to your short paragraphs and rearrange them so that they match the order of the summary phrases that you have just organized. If you set aside any phrases, set aside their corresponding paragraphs—you may not end up using those paragraphs. If you had to write any new phrases, add those phrases in their place in-between paragraphs; you can expand these phrases into full paragraphs in the next step.

Shaping and structuring your argument

Step 6: Now, take these organized paragraphs and bring them together into a coherent argument. When you read your organized paragraphs, the ideas from each paragraph should flow logically into the next. Add transitions to make those connections explicit. Revise your paragraphs to make the logic of your argument more clear. Delete sentences that are no longer relevant in their new context or add sentences if you need to more fully explain an idea. Expand any added phrases into more complete connecting paragraphs.

At this stage, you may need to refer back to your source material to flesh out any gaps in your argument, or you may find that you need to consult new source material for the same purpose, but your draft should make clear what additional information you need and where it goes. You will also want to add an introduction and conclusion summarizing and drawing out the main points of your argument. Nevertheless, you have produced a first draft from your reading notes without ever going through the painful steps of wondering where and how to begin writing.


Introduce Evidence

by Jennifer Janechek

Can the reader distinguish between your ideas and those of your sources?

You don’t want to take credit for the ideas of others (that would be plagiarism), and you certainly don’t want to give outside sources the credit for your own ideas (that would be a waste of your time and effort). So, as a writer, you should distinguish between your ideas and those of your sources before quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing.

In order to help the reader see who’s writing what, it’s important to introduce your evidence. Here are some helpful hints to consider when introducing your sourced material (note that while MLA style is used in these examples, you should use whatever formatting style is required by your instructor):

When incorporating a source into your paper for the first time, reference not only the author’s full name (if provided) but also the title of the publication.

For instance, if I wanted to use a quote from Homi Bhabha’s The Location of Culture and I had not referenced this source yet in my paper, I would want to give it a full introduction:

In The Location of Culture, Homi Bhabha discusses the effect of mimicry upon the cultural hybrid, claiming that mimicry renders “the colonial subject . . . a ‘partial’ presence” (123).[2]

Before quoting, the author provides the reader with both the author (Homi Bhabha) and the title of the publication (The Location of Culture). That way, going forth, unless the author introduces a different book or article, the reader knows that all references to Bhabha come from The Location of Culture.

When incorporating a source into your paper for the second time (or any other time following the initial introduction of that source), provide the reader with only the author’s last name.

For instance, if I’m still working with Bhabha’s The Location of Culture, I might do something like this:

As Bhabha writes, “[Mimicry] is a form of colonial discourse that . . . [exists] at the crossroads of what is known and permissible and that which though known must be kept concealed” (128).

Since you’ve already provided the reader with Bhabha’s full name (Homi Bhabha), there’s no need to give it again. All later references thus only require Bhabha’s last name. If pulling material from a different work of Bhabha’s, though, you’ll need to introduce the quote (or paraphrase or summary) by specifying this new title (though you’ll still only need to provide Bhabha’s last name).

Side note: Never refer to an author by his or her first name. Either reference the author by his or her full name or by his or her last name, depending upon whether or not you’ve previously mentioned the author’s full name in your piece of writing.

When incorporating a source into your paper for the second time (or any other time following the initial introduction of that source), you may want to place the idea or direct quote within one of your sentences; if so, provide the author’s last name and a page number or page range for the referenced material in an in-text citation.

This method can be quite tricky, because you don’t want your quote to appear “dropped in.” Here are a few ideas about how to effectively incorporate quotes into sentences:

  • You may choose to use a dash (two hyphens) or a colon to introduce the quoted material:

The child crosses this bar when he enters into language, as he can never again access the Real—a realm that now may “only [be] approach[ed] through language” (Price Herndl 53).

This can be tricky, depending upon the excerpt you’re using, because you may have to rework the wording within the quote to suit the sentence structure.

Side note: Whenever you change or add/delete anything—anything at all, even a capitalization—within a quote, you must bracket [ ] the change, addition, or deletion.

You may choose to change the wording within a quote (and bracket accordingly) so that it works within your sentence structure:

The child crosses this bar when he enters into language, as he can never again access the Real, for “[he] can only approach it through language” (Price Herndl 53) [3].

Note that the excerpted material must make sense within the context of your sentence, and the reader still must be able to distinguish between your ideas and those of your source.

Analyzing Evidence

by Jennifer Janechek

How is this source relevant to your thesis and purpose?

Many emerging writers struggle with connecting sourced material to their claims and to their thesis. Oftentimes, this is because they’re too close to their work and think that the connection between claim and evidence is completely apparent to the reader. Even if the connection is readily visible, authors should still follow up a piece of sourced material with an explanation of its relevance to the author’s point, purpose, and/or thesis. Such connections (“analysis”) should be made directly following the sourced material.

Let’s say that I’m writing a research paper that suggests offshore drilling should be banned, and my thesis is as follows:

Though some may argue that offshore drilling provides economic advantages and would lessen our dependence on foreign oil, the environmental and economic consequences of an oil spill are so drastic that they far outweigh the advantages.

Following this thesis come body paragraphs relating my main points: (1) the known economic impact of past oil spills, (2) the known environmental impact of past oil spills, (3) the potential impact of oil spills on marine and human life, (4) a comparison between advantages and disadvantages of offshore drilling, and (5) a response to potential counterarguments. My conclusion would then include a proposal to ban offshore drilling.

So, for instance, in my fifth body paragraph I include the following claim (in my topic sentence) and also provide the following support:

Others argue that the US needs to end its dependence on foreign oil from unstable regions necessitates domestic oil production. During an April 2010 speech to the Southern Republican conference, Sarah Palin responded to the ongoing debate about offshore drilling and insists that “relying on foreign regimes to meet our energy needs makes us less secure and makes us more beholden to these countries” (Malcom). [4]

I can’t, as a writer, just stop there, because my reader would not necessarily know the connection between my point and the quote. As such, I must make the connection for my reader.

Such a connection may take the form of explaining what the sourced material is saying (breaking down ideas):

Palin’s assertion implies that the majority of our oil comes from unstable regimes in antidemocratic regions. Although I understand her concerns about providing such regimes with a measure of economic power over the United States, I believe that offshore drilling poses a greater threat to the stability of our economy.

Or, a connection may point the reader back to the thesis:

Though Palin’s argument is representative of a group that views offshore drilling as a necessity, it fails to acknowledge that America’s largest petroleum trading partners are not countries with unstable regimes.

Or, a connection may point the reader back to the paragraph’s main point:

Palin’s argument is representative of a cohort that believes in the importance of domestic oil production.

Even still, a connection may point the reader to the author’s purpose:

Despite Palin’s (and Republicans’) protests, I argue that offshore drilling presents a more real threat to American security than do foreign regimes.

Thus, depending on where you want to go in the paragraph, you have many options for ways to make connections for your reader. Remember, your reader is not in your brain; and as smart as he or she may be, you still need to make connections that explain the relevance or purpose of included sourced material.

Provide Additional Support for This Point

provided by Writing Commons

Why is it important to provide reliable support for a point?

When a writer makes a point or claim, his or her position should be supported by evidence from one or more reliable sources. Evidence from reliable sources can make an argument more convincing and build the credibility of the writer. In contrast, unsupported points or points supported by unreliable sources can compromise the integrity of the paper and the writer.

What kind of additional support can be added?

  • Quantitative data, such as statistics
    • Example: Present the percentage of a specific ethnic population in low-income housing units when making a claim related to racial poverty.
  • Empirical evidence from scientific research
    • Example: Provide data from qualitative research when comparing the effectiveness of different methods for teaching young children to read.
  • Quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from experts and specialists
    • Example: Use a quote from General Petraeus of the U.S. Army when discussing the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Anecdotal evidence and relevant narrative
    • Example: Interview a health food store owner to learn more about his or her experience with vegetarian food choices; include relevant narrative about personal experience with choosing a vegetarian lifestyle.

 What actions can be taken to locate additional support?

  • Search reputable academic databases: These databases, such as Academic Search Premier and JSTOR, include searchable collections of scholarly works, academic journals, online encyclopedias, and helpful bibliographies that can usually be accessed through a college library website.
  • Search credible news sources: Databases, such as Access World News, can be used to locate news articles from around the world. Articles from reputable news sources may also be found through careful Internet searches.
  • Search academic peer-reviewed journals: Journal articles that have been peer-reviewed are generally considered reliable because they have been examined by experts in their field for accuracy and quality.
  • Search Google scholar: This Internet search engine helps the user locate scholarly literature in the form of articles and books, professional societies’ websites, online academic websites, and more.
  • Ask for help at the library research desk: Library staff can provide useful services, such as assistance with the use of library research tools, guidance with identifying credible and non-credible sources, and personalized assistance with the selection of reliable sources.

Avoid the Use of Unsupported Opinions as Evidence

provided by Writing Commons

Why is it important to avoid the use of unsupported opinions as evidence?*

  • Unsupported opinions can weaken the credibility of the writer because the reader may lose their trust in the writer.
  • Strong opinions may offend the reader, who may feel differently about the issue or have a personal connection to the opposing view.
  • Opinions without supporting evidence can compromise the strength and perceived validity of the paper’s argument because such opinions may overshadow other trustworthy evidence.

When should an opinion be left out?

An opinion should be left out of an academic paper when it:

  • cannot be supported by credible sources or reliable research.
  • is informed only by personal experiences, religious beliefs, or strong emotions and not by relevant date.
  • can be replaced with a more compelling point.

How can an opinion be properly stated and supported?

  • Identify the root of your opinion: What is your opinion based on? If the answer is related only to personal experiences, religious beliefs, or strong emotions, you will need to do some research to ensure that credible sources are available to back your opinion.
  • Locate credible evidence that supports your opinion: Look for specific evidence in your research that supports your opinion. Citing an authority in conjunction with communicating your opinion will help strengthen the credibility of your claim.
  • Establish a connection between your opinion and reliable evidence: Demonstrate to your reader that an opinion used to support a point has been informed by research and credible sources. Connect relevant research to the opinion as clearly as possible.

Let’s look at an example:

Unsupported opinion: I believe that the current ‘anti-bullying’ campaigns aimed at today’s adolescents are useless and will only create a future society that is full of wimps.

Supported opinion: ‘Anti-bullying’ campaigns targeting today’s adolescents may create a future society that is unprepared to cope with conflict. In support of this idea, noted psychologist Peter Smith explains that while reports of bullying decrease with age, the frequency of bullying remains the same across different age groups. He attributes this decline in reported bullying incidents to the fact that older victims have developed valuable coping mechanisms to help deal with bullying (Smith 336). Smith’s idea suggests that bullying may not always be detrimental to the victim, since building coping skills during adolescence may contribute to greater resiliency in adulthood. [5]

Important Concepts



writers should utilize the latest, most significant and credible sources

interrelationships among sources

synthesis notes

identifying your thesis

evidence from reliable sources

quantitative data

empirical evidence

unsupported opinions

strong opinions

opinions without supporting evidence

Licenses and Attributions


Composing Ourselves and Our World,  Provided by: the authors. License: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


This chapter contains an excerpt from Incorporating Evidence into a Research PaperAuthored by: Jennifer Janechek. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Connecting Source Material to ClaimsAuthored by: Eir-Anne Edgar. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Synthesizing Your Research FindingsAuthored by: Christine Photinos. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Synthesis Notes: Working With Sources To Create a First DraftAuthored by: Erika Szymanski. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Introduce EvidenceAuthored by: Jennifer Janechek. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Analyzing Evidence)Authored by: Jennifer Janechek. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Provide Additional Support for This PointAuthored by: Writing Commons. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This chapter contains an excerpt from Avoid the Use of Unsupported Opinions as EvidenceAuthored by: Writing Commons. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Video 1: Crime Scene Evidence | National GeographicAuthored by: National Geographic License: Standard YouTube License.

Video 2: Using Evidence to Support Claims. Authored by: markobooko License Standard YouTube License.

Works Cited

[1] Burke, Kenneth. “Burke’s ‘Unending Conversation’ Metaphor.” Texas Tech University. Texas Tech U, 18 May 2011. Web. 27 May 2011. See < https://english.ttu.edu/kairos/2.1/features/brent/burke.htm;.

[2] Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994. Print.

[3] Price Herndl, Diane. “The Writing Cure: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anna O., and ‘Hysterical’ Writing.” NWSA Journal 1.1 (1988): 52–74. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 30 April 2011.

[4] Malcom, Andrew. “What Sarah Palin Told Republicans—Full Video.” Top of the Ticket. Los Angeles Times, 9 April 2011. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. See <https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/04/sarah-palin-southern-republican-leadership-speech-video.html.

[5] Smith, Peter, Shu Shu, and Kirsten Madsen. “Characteristics of Victims of School Bullying: Developmental Changes in Coping Strategies and Skills.”

Peer Harassment in School: The Plight of the Vulnerable and Victimized. Ed. Jaana Juvonen, Sandra Graham. New York: Guilford Press, 2001. 332-351. Print.


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Composing Ourselves and Our World by Elizabeth Burrows; Angela Fowler; Heath Fowler; and Amy Locklear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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