Sunday, April 16, 2017

IRP Synthesis Research 2017

The Synthesis Research-Our very own prompt!

*There are many working parts to this research so please stop/ask/clarify at any point*
Now we enter into Phase 2 of the project. Here we will simulate the research and process of creating the materials for a thoughtful synthesis essay. This will include focused research that requires critical thinking regarding the inclusion of evidence you will use for your eventual synthesis essay.  Your research will be excerpted into a Google Classroom Template. These are very easy steps meant to free you up so that you can drill down on the creative connections necessary for solid research and rich connections among your sources.
The following research tech tools will facilitate your work:

Step 1- Synthesis Prompt- You have just finished a work of non-fiction that raises several issues. Crafting a prompt will be almost too easy; however, the formation of your synthesis needs to be on your mind as you assemble your evidence. Which of these issues from the book appear the most interesting and rich enough for research? So start here by laying out several possible threads for debate. Remember that this is a very fluid process this early in the research. I will help you hone this question over the next few days.
Let's revisit your question and think how it might fit into any of these possible synthesis prompt templates:

...write an essay in which you...
1)...develop a position on the effect of...
2) ...develop a position on whether or not...
3) ...develop a position about what issues should be considered most important in making decisions about …
4)...argue the extent to which _____ should support ____
5) ...evaluate the most important factors that [one] should consider before….
6) ...develop a position on…

7)...evaluates_____and offers a recommendation about….

You can review past synthesis essay prompts here starting in 2007 to get a feeling as to the types of evidence and the range of views included.  

Step 2- Research
Time to use those amazing LRC databases to pin down some possible leads for research. Consider the following themes to target in your sources:

  • past, present, and future prospects central to your issue
  • sources will reflect an understanding of the issue and its implications
  • sources may "provoke, inspire, and challenge" ideas central to the issue
  • sources will address both sides of the issue-may potentially be in conversation or build off each other.
Required sources-
  • 1 Visual-Embedded video clip/political cartoon/ photo/art
  • 2nd visual-Optional if it is a data set/graphic
  • Background summary- to provide context to issue
  • Pro-(1+ examples)
  • Con-(1+ examples)
  • Alternative idea/solution
Total Minimum Sources-8

Possible sources-Editorials, Long Form Journalism, Feature articles from reputable publications, etc.  
Only the visual can come from web.  Special consideration for sources from foundations, policy centers, think tanks, etc.

Use the available subscriptions offered through our LRC database as these are vetted journalistic sources.  The haystack has been "de-needled" via these research databases rather than Ze Google.   
As you sift through your research you will add to this Easybib project to build your work cited. 

One tool you may want to consider as you begin your research is the Chrome App Evernote Clipper.  It looks to be a fantastic research annotation tool that could help you trap your research.  

Step 3- Evidence Portfolio via Classroom

 So right about now you have:
 A) filtered through several sources that meet the aforementioned criteria 
B) shared with me and completed a work cited via Easybib 
C) access to Classroom Assignment IRP 2017 Synthesis Sources.  Great!  Let's tie it all together in a portfolio that reflects your research and bridges your ideas towards the synthesis essay.  
  The consecutive sources labeled Source A-Source H will be excerpts similar to the AP Synthesis materials (See above).  The "Meta-commentary" step will keep you honest so that you deeply reflect on the inclusion of these sources.     

Solid Source vs. Weak Source

Step 4- Meta-commentary

At the bottom of the page you will provide a commentary as to how and why this evidence was selected.  Make no mistake that this is the most important part of the evidence as this reflects the strategy of how this will eventually fit into your synthesis.  This is a mirror into your critical evaluation of evidence.  Selecting weak evidence will be immediately sniffed out as there can be no way to authentically defend it.  
So simply comment on the following as they fit your concept of the evidence.  
a)  Explain how the evidence might further explore/confirm the evidence of the issue.  Provoke/Inspire  
b)  Explain how the evidence complicates the issue-and how this may be leveraged into your essay.