Chapter 8: Arguing Academically

What Is An Argumentative Synthesis?

An argumentative synthesis essay uses various sources in order to illustrate a conversation surrounding a debatable or controversial topic before joining the conversation by delivering your own argument based on those credible sources. This essay provides a space for students to show their culmination of writing skills learned over the entire semester because it asks students to summarize, connect, respond, and provide rebuttals and/or concessions, which encapsulates skills practiced in each of the prior three essays.

“In composition courses, ‘synthesis’ commonly refers to writing about multiple texts, drawing together particular themes or traits that you observe in those texts, and organizing the material from each text according to those themes or traits” (Jamieson), while Argument is commonly understood as the asserting, supporting, and defending of informed opinions on a relevant and debatable topic.   Argument is connected to synthesis in that the full consideration of various other opinions on a subject (synthesis) helps a writer assert his or her most informed opinions. Another way to think of it is to illustrate the conversation surrounding the topic before using those voices to support you own opinion.

In This Chapter

This chapter includes various sources meant to help you understand synthesis and argument and to guide you in the creation of your academic argument.