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what they’re saying about “they say / i say”

“The best book that’s happened to teaching composition—
ever!” —Karen Gaffney, Raritan Valley Community College

“This book demystifies rhetorical moves, tricks of the trade that
many students are unsure about. It’s reasonable, helpful, nicely
written . . . and hey, it’s true. I would have found it immensely
helpful myself in high school and college.”

—Mike Rose, University of California, Los Angeles

“The argument of this book is important—that there are
‘moves’ to academic writing . . . and that knowledge of them
can be generative. The template format is a good way to teach
and demystify the moves that matter. I like this book a lot.”

—David Bartholomae, University of Pittsburgh

“My students are from diverse backgrounds and the topics in
this book help them to empathize with others who are differ-
ent from them.”

—Steven Bailey, Central Michigan University

“A beautifully lucid way to approach argument—different from
any rhetoric I’ve ever seen.”

—Anne-Marie Thomas, Austin Community College, Riverside

“Students need to walk a fine line between their work and that
of others, and this book helps them walk that line, providing
specific methods and techniques for introducing, explaining,
and integrating other voices with their own ideas.”

—Libby Miles, University of Vermont

“‘They Say’ with Readings is different from other rhetorics and
readers in that it really engages students in the act of writing
throughout the book. It’s less a ‘here’s how’ book and more of
a ‘do this with me’ kind of book.”

—Kelly Ritter, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“It offers students the formulas we, as academic writers, all carry
in our heads.” —Karen Gardiner, University of Alabama

“Many students say that it is the first book they’ve found that
actually helps them with writing in all disciplines.”

—Laura Sonderman, Marshall University

“As a WPA, I’m constantly thinking about how I can help
instructors teach their students to make specific rhetorical
moves on the page. This book offers a powerful way of teach-
ing students to do just that.” —Joseph Bizup, Boston University

“The best tribute to ‘They Say / I Say’ I’ve heard is this, from a
student: ‘This is one book I’m not selling back to the bookstore.’
Nods all around the room. The students love this book.”

—Christine Ross, Quinnipiac University

“My students love this book. They tell me that the idea of
‘entering a conversation’ really makes sense to them in a way
that academic writing hasn’t before.”

—Karen Henderson, Helena College University of Montana

“A concise and practical text at a great price; students love it.”
—Jeff Pruchnic, Wayne State University

“ ‘They Say’ contains the best collection of articles I have found.
Students respond very well to the readings.”

—Julia Ruengert, Pensacola State College

“It’s the anti-composition text: Fun, creative, humorous, bril-
liant, effective.”

—Perry Cumbie, Durham Technical Community College

“A brilliant book. . . . It’s like a membership card in the aca-
demic club.” —Eileen Seifert, DePaul University

“The ability to engage with the thoughts of others is one of the
most important skills taught in any college-level writing course,
and this book does as good a job teaching that skill as any text I
have ever encountered.” —William Smith, Weatherford College

F O U R T H E D I T I O N

“THEY SAY

I SAY”

T h e M o v e s T h a t M a t t e r
i n A c a d e m i c W r i t i n g

W I T H R E A D I N G S

H
G E R A L D G R A F F

C A T H Y B I R K E N S T E I N

both of the University of Illinois at Chicago

R U S S E L D U R S T

University of Cincinnati

B
w . w . n o r t o n & c o m p a n y

n e w y o r k | l o n d o n

W. W. Norton & Company has been independent since its founding in 1923, when
William Warder Norton and Mary D. Herter Norton first published lectures delivered
at the People’s Institute, the adult education division of New York City’s Cooper
Union. The firm soon expanded its program beyond the Institute, publishing books by
celebrated academics from America and abroad. By mid-century, the two major pillars of
Norton’s publishing program—trade books and college texts—were firmly established.
In the 1950s, the Norton family transferred control of the company to its employees,
and today—with a staff of four hundred and a comparable number of trade, college,
and professional titles published each year—W. W. Norton & Company stands as the
largest and oldest publishing house owned wholly by its employees.

Copyright © 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2006
by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America

Permission to use copyrighted material is included in the credits section of this
book, which begins on page 731.

ISBN 978-0-393-63168-5

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
wwnorton.com

W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., 15 Carlisle Street, London W1D 3BS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

http://wwnorton.com

To the great rhetorician Wayne Booth,
who cared deeply

about the democratic art
of listening closely to what others say.

v i i

contents

preface to the fourth edition x i

preface: Demystifying Academic Conversation xvii

introduction: Entering the Conversation 1

PA R T 1 . “ T H E Y S AY ”
1 “they say”: Starting with What Others Are Saying 19
2 “her point is”: The Art of Summarizing 30
3 “as he himself puts it”: The Art of Quoting 43

PA R T 2 . “ I S AY ”

4 “yes / no / okay, but”: Three Ways to Respond 53
5 “and yet”: Distinguishing What You Say

from What They Say 67
6 “skeptics may object”:

Planting a Naysayer in Your Text 77
7 “so what? who cares?”: Saying Why It Matters 91

PA R T 3 . T Y I N G IT A L L TO G E T H E R

8 “as a result”: Connecting the Parts 101
9 “you mean i can just say it that way?”:

Academic Writing Doesn’t Mean Setting Aside
Your Own Voice 117

10 “but don’t get me wrong”:
The Art of Metacommentary 131

11 “he says contends”: Using the Templates to Revise 141

PA R T 4 . I N S P E C I F I C AC A D E M I C CO N T E X T S

12 “i take your point”: Entering Class Discussions 162
13 don’t make them scroll up:

Entering Online Conversations 166

v i i i

14 what’s motivating this writer?:
Reading for the Conversation 176

15 “analyze this”: Writing in the Social Sciences 187

readings

16 H OW C A N W E B R I D G E T H E D I F F E R E N C E S
T H AT D I V I D E U S ? 20 9

sean blanda, The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb 212

danah boyd, Why America Is Self-Segregating 219

michelle alexander, The New Jim Crow 230

j. d. vance, Hillbilly Elegy 251

gabriela moro, Minority Student Clubs: Segregation or
Integration? 269

robert leonard, Why Rural America Voted for Trump 279

joseph e. stiglitz, A Tax System Stacked against
the 99 Percent 286

barack obama, Howard University Commencement
Speech 296

17 I S CO L LE G E T H E B E S T O P T I O N ? 3 1 5

stephanie owen and isabel sawhill, Should Everyone
Go to College? 318

sanford j. ungar, The New Liberal Arts 336

charles murray, Are Too Many People
Going to College? 344

liz addison, Two Years Are Better Than Four 365

gerald graff, Hidden Intellectualism 369

mike rose, Blue-Collar Brilliance 377

ben casselman, Shut Up about Harvard 390

steve kolowich, On the Front Lines of a
New Culture War 398

C O N T E N T S

i x

18 A R E W E I N A R AC E AG A I N S T T H E M AC H I N E ? 42 1

nicholas carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid? 424

clive thompson, Smarter Than You Think: How
Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better 441

michaela cullington, Does Texting Affect Writing? 462

jenna wortham, How I Learned to Love Snapchat 474

carole cadwalladr, Google, Democracy, and the Truth
about Internet Search 480

kenneth goldsmith, Go Ahead: Waste Time on
the Internet 500

sherry turkle, No Need to Call 505

zeynep tufekci, Does a Protest’s Size Matter? 525

19 W H AT ’ S G E N D E R G OT TO D O W IT H IT ? 5 3 1

anne-marie slaughter, Why Women Still Can’t
Have It All 534

richard dorment, Why Men Still Can’t Have It All 555

raynard kington, I’m Gay and African American. As a
Dad, I Still Have It Easier Than Working Moms. 576

laurie frankel, From He to She in First Grade 583

andrew reiner, Teaching Men to Be
Emotionally Honest 589

stephen mays, What about Gender Roles in
Same-Sex Relationships? 596

kate crawford, Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy
Problem 599

nicholas eberstadt, Men without Work 605

20 W H AT ’ S T H E R E TO E AT ? 62 1

michael pollan, Escape from the Western Diet 624

olga khazan, Why Don’t Convenience Stores Sell
Better Food? 632

Contents

x

mary maxfield, Food as Thought: Resisting the
Moralization of Eating 641

david zinczenko, Don’t Blame the Eater 647

radley balko, What You Eat Is Your Business 651

michael moss, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive
Junk Food 656

david h. freedman, How Junk Food Can End Obesity 681

sara goldrick-rab, katharine broton, emily brunjes colo,
Expanding the National School Lunch Program to
Higher Education 713

credits 731

acknowledgments 737

index of templates 751

index of authors and titles 767

C O N T E N T S

x i

preface
to the fourth edition

H

When we first set out to write this book, our goal
was simple: to offer a version of “They Say / I Say”: The Moves
That Matter in Academic Writing with an anthology of readings
that would demonstrate the rhetorical moves “that matter.”
And because “They Say” teaches students that academic writ-
ing is a means of entering a conversation, we looked for read-
ings on topics that would engage students and inspire them to
respond—and to enter the conversations.
Our purpose in writing “They Say” has always been to
offer students a user-friendly model of writing that will help
them put into practice the important principle that writing
is a social activity. Proceeding from the premise that effec-
tive writers enter conversations of other writers and speakers,
this book encourages students to engage with those around
them—including those who disagree with them—instead of
just expressing their ideas “logically.” We believe it’s a model
more necessary than ever in today’s increasingly diverse—and
some might say divided—society. In this spirit, we have added
a new chapter, “How Can We Bridge the Differences That
Divide Us?,” with readings that represent different perspectives
on those divides—and what we might do to overcome them.
Our own experience teaching first-year writing students has
led us to believe that to be persuasive, arguments need not
only supporting evidence but also motivation and exigency,

x i

and that the surest way to achieve this motivation and exigency
is to generate one’s own arguments as a response to those of
others—to something “they say.” To help students write their
way into the often daunting conversations of academia and the
wider public sphere, the book provides templates to help them
make sophisticated rhetorical moves that they might otherwise
not think of attempting. And of course learning to make these
rhetorical moves in writing also helps students become better
readers of argument.
The two versions of “They Say / I Say” are now being taught
at more than 1,500 schools, which suggests that there is a wide-
spread desire for explicit instruction that is understandable but
not oversimplified, to help writers negotiate the basic moves
necessary to “enter the conversation.” Instructors have told us
how much this book helps their students learn how to write
academic discourse, and some students have written to us saying
that it’s helped them to “crack the code,” as one student put it.
This fourth edition of “They Say / I Say” with Readings
includes forty readings—half of them new—on five compel-
ling and controversial issues. The selections provide a glimpse
into some important conversations taking place today—and
will, we hope, provoke students to respond and thus to join in
those conversations.

highlights

Forty readings that will prompt students to think—and write.
Taken from a wide variety of sources, including the Chronicle
of Higher Education, the Washington Post, the New York Times,
the Wall Street Journal, medium.com, best-selling books, policy
reports, student-run journals, celebrated speeches, and more,

P R E F A C E T O T H E F O U R T H E D I T I O N

x i i

http://medium.com

the readings represent a range of perspectives on five important
issues:

• How Can We Bridge the Differences That Divide Us?
• Is College the Best Option?
• Are We in a Race against the Machine?
• What’s Gender Got to Do with It?
• What’s There to Eat?

The readings can function as sources for students’ own writing,
and the study questions that follow each reading focus students’
attention on how each author uses the key rhetorical moves
taught in the book. Additionally, one question invites students
to write, and often to respond with their own views.

Two books in one, with a rhetoric up front and readings
in the back. The two parts are linked by cross-references in
the margins, leading from the rhetoric to specific examples in
the readings and from the readings to the corresponding writ-
ing instruction. Teachers can therefore begin with either the
rhetoric or the readings, and the links will facilitate movement
between one section and the other.

A chapter on reading (Chapter 14) encourages students to
think of reading as an act of entering conversations. Instead
of teaching students merely to identify the author’s argument,
this chapter shows them how to read with an eye for what
arguments the author is responding to—in other words, to
think carefully about why the writer is making the argument in
the first place, and thus to recognize (and ultimately become
a part of) the larger conversation that gives meaning to read-
ing the text.

Preface to the Fourth Edition

x i i i

x i v

P R E F A C E T O T H E F O U R T H E D I T I O N

what’s new

A new chapter, “How Can We Bridge the Differences That
Divide Us?,” brings together diverse perspectives on some of
the issues that have been a source of division in our country,
with readings that offer possible ways to overcome those divi-
sions—from Sean Blanda’s “The Other Side Is Not Dumb” to J. D.
Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.

Half of the readings are new, with at least one documented
piece and one student essay in each chapter, added in response
to requests from many teachers who wanted more complex and
documented writing. In the technology and gender chapters,
half of the readings are new, with essays on fake news, wasting
time online (and why that’s a good thing), and men without
work, among others. The education chapter now includes an
essay on problematic elitism in some circles of higher education
and another on one college’s quest to foster tolerance among
its diverse student body. Finally, the food chapter now asks a
slightly different question: what (if anything) is there to eat?

An updated chapter on academic language (now called “You
Mean I Can Just Say It That Way?”) underscores the need to
bridge spheres that are too often kept separate: everyday lan-
guage and academic writing.

A new chapter on entering online conversations further
underscores the importance of including a “they say” when
responding to others on blogs, class discussion boards, and the
like, showing how the rhetorical moves taught in this book can
help students contribute clearly and respectfully to conversa-
tions in digital spaces.

x v

New examples—15 in total—appear throughout the rhetoric,
from Deborah Tannen and Charles Murray to Nicholas Carr
and Michelle Alexander.

An updated chapter on writing in the social sciences reflects
a broader range of writing assignments with examples from aca-
demic publications in sociology, psychology, and political science.

what’s online

Online tutorials give students hands-on practice recognizing
and using the rhetorical moves taught in this book both as
readers and writers. Each tutorial helps students read a full
essay with an eye on these moves and then respond to a writing
prompt using templates from the book.

They Say / I Blog. Updated monthly, this blog provides up-to-
the-minute readings on the issues covered in the book, along
with questions that prompt students to literally join the con-
versation. Check it out at theysayiblog.com.

Instructor’s Guide. Now available in print, the guide includes
expanded in-class activities, sample syllabi, summaries of
each chapter and reading, and a chapter on using the online
resources, including They Say / I Blog.

Ebook. Searchable, portable, and interactive. The complete
textbook for a fraction of the price. Students can interact with
the text—take notes, bookmark, search, and highlight. The
ebook can be viewed on—and synced between—all computers
and mobile devices.

Preface to the Fourth Edition

http://theysayiblog.com

x v i

InQuizitive for Writers. Adaptive, game-like exercises help
students practice editing, focusing especially on the errors that
matter.

Coursepack. Norton resources you can add to your online,
hybrid, or lecture course—all at no cost. Norton Coursepacks
work within your existing learning management system; there’s
no new system to learn, and access is free and easy. Customizable
resources include assignable writing prompts from theysayiblog
.com, quizzes on grammar and documentation, documentation
guides, model student essays, and more.

Find it all at digital.wwnorton.com/theysayreadings4 or contact
your Norton representative for more information.

We hope that this new edition of “They Say / I Say” with Read-
ings will spark students’ interest in some of the most pressing
conversations of our day and provide them with some of the
tools they need to engage in those conversations with dexterity
and confidence.
Gerald Graff
Cathy Birkenstein
Russel Durst

P R E F A C E T O T H E F O U R T H E D I T I O N

http://theysayiblog.com

http://theysayiblog.com

http://digital.wwnorton.com/theysayreadings4

x v i i

preface

Demystifying Academic Conversation

H

Experienced writing instructors have long recognized
that writing well means entering into conversation with others.
Academic writing in particular calls upon writers not simply to
express their own ideas, but to do so as a response to what others
have said. The first-year writing program at our own university,
according to its mission statement, asks “students to partici-
pate in ongoing conversations about vitally important academic
and public issues.” A similar statement by another program
holds that “intellectual writing is almost always composed in
response to others’ texts.” These statements echo the ideas
of rhetorical theorists like Kenneth Burke, Mikhail Bakhtin,
and Wayne Booth as well as recent composition scholars like
David Bartholomae, John Bean, Patricia Bizzell, Irene Clark,
Greg Colomb, Lisa Ede, Peter Elbow, Joseph Harris, Andrea
Lunsford, Elaine Maimon, Gary Olson, Mike Rose, John Swales
and Christine Feak, Tilly Warnock, and others who argue that
writing well means engaging the voices of others and letting
them in turn engage us.
Yet despite this growing consensus that writing is a social,
conversational act, helping student writers actually partici-
pate in these conversations remains a formidable challenge.
This book aims to meet that challenge. Its goal is to demys-
tify academic writing by isolating its basic moves, explaining

P R E F A C E

x v i i i

them clearly, and representing them in the form of templates.
In this way, we hope to help students become active partici-
pants in the important conversations of the academic world
and the wider public sphere.

highlights

• Shows that writing well means entering a conversation, sum-
marizing others (“they say”) to set up one’s own argument
(“I say”).

• Demystifies academic writing, showing students “the moves
that matter” in language they can readily apply.

• Provides user-friendly templates to help writers make those
moves in their own writing.

• Includes a chapter on reading, showing students how the
authors they read are part of a conversation that they them-
selves can enter—and thus to see reading as a matter not
of passively absorbing information but of understanding and
actively entering dialogues and debates.

how this book came to be

The original idea for this book grew out of our shared interest in
democratizing academic culture. First, it grew out of arguments
that Gerald Graff has been making throughout his career that
schools and colleges need to invite students into the conversa-
tions and debates that surround them. More specifically, it is a
practical, hands-on companion to his recent book, Clueless in
Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind, in which
he looks at academic conversations from the perspective of
those who find them mysterious and proposes ways in which

Demystifying Academic Conversation

x i x

such mystification can be overcome. Second, this book grew
out of writing templates that Cathy Birkenstein developed in
the 1990s, for use in writing and literature courses she was
teaching. Many students, she found, could readily grasp what it
meant to support a thesis with evidence, to entertain a counter-
argument, to identify a textual contradiction, and ultimately
to summarize and respond to challenging arguments, but they
often had trouble putting these concepts into practice in their
own writing. When Cathy sketched out templates on the board,
however, giving her students some of the language and patterns
that these sophisticated moves require, their writing—and even
their quality of thought—significantly improved.
This book began, then, when we put our ideas together and
realized that these templates might have the potential to open
up and clarify academic conversation. We proceeded from the
premise that all writers rely on certain stock formulas that they
themselves didn’t invent—and that many of these formulas
are so commonly used that they can be represented in model
templates that students can use to structure and even generate
what they want to say.
As we developed a working draft of this book, we began using
it in first-year writing courses that we teach at UIC. In class-
room exercises and writing assignments, we found that students
who otherwise struggled to organize their thoughts, or even to
think of something to say, did much better when we provided
them with templates like the following.

j In discussions of , a controversial issue is whether

. While some argue that , others contend

that .

j This is not to say that .

P R E F A C E

x x

One virtue of such templates, we found, is that they focus
writers’ attention not just on what is being said, but on the
forms that structure what is being said. In other words, they
make students more conscious of the rhetorical patterns that
are key to academic success but often pass under the classroom
radar.

the centrality of “they say / i say”

The central rhetorical move that we focus on in this book is
the “they say / I say” template that gives our book its title. In our
view, this template represents the deep, underlying structure,
the internal DNA as it were, of all effective argument. Effective
persuasive writers do more than make well-supported claims
(“I say”); they also map those claims relative to the claims of
others (“they say”).
Here, for example, the “they say / I say” pattern structures a
passage from an essay by the media and technology critic Steven
Johnson.

For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass cul-
ture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common-
denominator standards, presumably because the “masses” want
dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the
masses what they want. But . . . the exact opposite is happening:
the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less.

Steven Johnson, “Watching TV Makes You Smarter”

In generating his own argument from something “they say,”
Johnson suggests why he needs to say what he is saying: to
correct a popular misconception.

Demystifying Academic Conversation

x x i

Even when writers do not explicitly identify the views they
are responding to, as Johnson does, an implicit “they say” can
often be discerned, as in the following passage by Zora Neale
Hurston.

I remember the day I became colored.
Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”

In order to grasp Hurston’s point here, we need to be able to
reconstruct the implicit view she is responding to and question-
ing: that racial identity is an innate quality we are simply born
with. On the contrary, Hurston suggests, our race is imposed
on us by society—something we “become” by virtue of how
we are treated.
As these examples suggest, the “they say / I say” model can
improve not just student writing, but student reading compre-
hension as well. Since reading and writing are deeply recipro-
cal activities, students who learn to make the rhetorical moves
represented by the templates in this book figure to become more
adept at identifying these same moves in the texts they read. And
if we are right that effective arguments are always in dialogue
with other arguments, then it follows that in order to understand
the types of challenging texts assigned in college, students need
to identify the views to which those texts are responding.
Working with the “they say / I say” model can also help with
invention, finding something to say. In our experience, students
best discover what they want to say not by thinking about a
subject in an isolation booth, but by reading texts, listening
closely to what other writers say, and looking for an opening
through which they can enter the conversation. In other words,
listening closely to others and summarizing what they have to
say can help writers generate their own ideas.

P R E F A C E

x x i i

the usefulness of templates

Our templates also have a generative quality, prompting stu-
dents to make moves in their writing that they might not oth-
erwise make or even know they should make. The templates
in this book can be particularly helpful for students who are
unsure about what to say, or who have trouble finding enough
to say, often because they consider their own beliefs so
self-evident that they need not be argued for. Students like this
are often helped, we’ve found, when we give them a simple tem-
plate like the following one for entertaining a counterargument
(or planting a naysayer, as we call it in Chapter 6).

j Of course some might object that . Although I concede

that , I still maintain that .

What this particular template helps students do is make the
seemingly counterintuitive move of questioning their own
beliefs, of looking at them from the perspective of those who
disagree. In so doing, templates can bring out aspects of stu-
dents’ thoughts that, as they themselves sometimes remark,
they didn’t even realize were there.
Other templates in this book help students make a host of
sophisticated moves that they might not otherwise make: sum-
marizing what someone else says, framing a quotation in one’s
own words, indicating the view that the writer is responding to,
marking the shift from a source’s view to the writer’s own view,
offering evidence for that view, entertaining and answering
counterarguments, and explaining what is at stake in the first
place. In showing students how to make such moves, templates
do more than organize students’ ideas; they help bring those
ideas …

ELI 198

Assignment #2: Synthesis Essay

For your second assignment, you will write a synthesis essay about a current controversial

topic in society. You can choose your own topic, or you can choose a topic based on the

readings in They Say, I Say (TSIS):

• How Can We Bridge the Differences that Divide Us? (pp. 209-313)
• Is College the Best Option? (pp. 315-419)
• Are We in a Race Against the Machine? (pp. 421-529)
• What’s Gender Got to Do with It? (pp. 531-619)
• What’s There to Eat? (pp. 621-729)

For a synthesis essay, you are NOT arguing a certain position; you are just informing the

reader about a current debate. Therefore, do not show your opinion or bias in the paper.

Show all sides of the issue, not just the ones that you agree with. You are recreating a

debate without taking a side, so the paper is informative (not argumentative) since you are

simply informing the readers about a current controversy. It’s as if you are in a room with

all of the authors and you listen to them debate each other. Your job is to retell the

argument that you heard. Since you are simply reporting what other people have said, you

will be using many signal phrases throughout your paper: “According to Smith (2015)…

Likewise, Miller (2016) proposed… On the contrary, Jones (2009) argued…”

When you “hear” (or read about) the argument, there will be multiple issues that are

discussed. For example, if the authors are discussing the death penalty, they might discuss

these questions: Is it ever moral to kill someone? Does it prevent other people from

committing future crimes? Does it cost more to execute someone or imprison them for life?

What about innocent people who end up being executed? You would then need to tell the

reader what each author said about each issue and compare their viewpoints. You would

not simply summarize each author’s opinions one a time. Instead, you would make

headings for each topic of debate, and then recreate what each author said about that

specific topic of debate. For some topics of debate, perhaps all of the authors said

something, but for other topics of debate, maybe only two of the authors discussed that

topic, so then you would only discuss those two authors for that topic.

Organization

As mentioned above, you will arrange the paper by issues, not by articles or authors. Do

not summarize or discuss one article in each paragraph. Each body paragraph should have

at least two different sources about the same topic of debate (though they can and

should be saying different things about the topic). For example, you’ll have a section in your

paper on the morality of the death penalty, and then you’ll say everything that all of the

authors said about morality. Then you’ll move on to the issue of cost and state each

author’s viewpoint on cost. Within each section, you will be comparing and contrasting the

different authors’ views. Who agreed with each other? Who didn’t? What were the

similarities and differences? Most of the authors will show up in several different places in

your paper since they may talk about several of the issues related to your topic.

Requirements

• 1,750-2,250 words
• 7 to 10 sources (at least 2 sources must be from outside of TSIS)
• Use past tense verbs in signal phrases (Smith argued…)
• typed using 12-point font (Times New Roman)
• 1-inch margins, double spaced
• in-text citations in APA format for paraphrases and quotes
• References page for all sources in APA format

Transition Words & Phrases

To Compare To Contrast To Explain or Give Examples

In the same way, However, For example,

Likewise, In contrast, For instance,

Similarly, On the contrary, Specifically,

Also, On the other hand, As an illustration,

Another… Conversely, To illustrate,

In addition, Although… …., such as….

Moreover, On the opposite side, In other words,

Furthermore,

Moreover,

Example of Synthesis Paragraph about One Topic of Debate

Heading for Topic of Debate

In terms of [point of debate], many authors have different opinions on whether

___________. Some authors believe ______________. For example, [AUTHOR 1] argued

________________________. In other words, _________________________. [AUTHOR 2] would likely

support [AUTHOR 1] because he asserted that ___________________________. In other words, he

believes that ______________________.

Others take a different approach and argued that ___________________. For instance,

[AUTHOR 3) stated that ___________________. This means that ______________. She would likely

disagree with [AUTHOR 1] because of __________________________. On the other hand, [AUTHOR

4] might disagree with [AUTHOR 1], but for very different reasons than [AUTHOR 3]. They

think ___________. This is important because _____________________. Indeed, there are various

opinions on [point of debate]. Some people believe [one side of debate] whereas others

believe [other side of debate].

Grading Rubric for the Synthesis Essay

Introduction & Thesis _____ /10

− Does the introduction of the essay contain a comprehensive and unbiased summary or
introduction of the issue and the main points of debate?

− Does the thesis clearly state the topic and list the points of debate without bias?

Body (Synthesis of Sources) _____ /40

− Does each paragraph (or each section) contain at least two sources with different
viewpoints?

− Are paraphrases and quotes introduced with a signal phrase and explained to the reader?
− Are the opinions of each author clear?
− Are comparisons and contrasts made between the different viewpoints?
− Are both sides of each point given approximately the same amount of coverage?
− Are the body paragraphs unbiased (do not show your opinion)?

Conclusion _____ /10

− Does the conclusion contain an insightful summary of the main points of debate?
− Is the future of the issue discussed?

Organization/Logic/Transitions _____ /20

− Are headings used for each point of debate?
− Does every paragraph have a topic sentence?
− Do the sentences (including paraphrases and quotes) in the paragraph support the topic

sentence?

− Are transitional phrases used between sentences and paragraphs?
− Does the organization of the paragraphs make sense?
− Does the organization of sentences within each paragraph make sense?

Presentation & Citations _____ /20

− Is the essay free of grammatical, punctuation, spelling?
− Is the essay formatted correctly (12-point Times New Roman, one-inch margins, double

spaced)?

− Are there a variety of sentence structures and varied, sophisticated vocabulary?
− Are in-text citations in APA format used for all paraphrases and quotes?
− Do quotes make up no more than 15% of the paper?
− Is there a References page that is formatted in APA format?

Total points: _____ /100

Is the essay at least 1,750 words?

Did the student use at least 7 sources?

Are at least two sources not from They Say, I Say?

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