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Webinar Transcripts

Incorporating Analysis & Synthesis

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Presented December 19, 2018

Last updated 2/18/2019

 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping 

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  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
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Audio:All right our meeting is all set, so I'm going to go ahead and move on to begin our presentation. So, we’ll be presenting with Kacy today. But before we get started, I wanted to go over a few housekeeping notes. First, I wanted to note that the recording for this webinar will be available online within 24 hours so if you’ve come in late or need to leave at any point during the webinar don't worry you will be able to go ahead and access it at that time. Additionally, throughout the presentation today all the polls, files and links in the PowerPoint are interactive so you can click on those links as the presentation is going along or if you’re watching the recording or if you want to bookmark some of them for later. Additionally, you can find some supplemental information in the files pod on the bottom right of the screen next to Kacy’s picture there. Throughout the webinar please ask any questions that you have in the Q&A box. I will be manning that box and do my best to answer. I will also save any particularly relevant questions for Kacy when we pause for questions. If you are watching this as a recording or think of a question later you can send that question to writingsupport@waldenu.edu or visit us during our live chat hours. If you run into any technical difficulties throughout the presentation please let me know in the Q&A box and I have a couple of tips and tricks to suggest for you. But if you are having major difficulties or just want to go straight to the source then you can hit help in the upper right corner of the room and that is Adobe connect support so they will be able to help with more detailed issues.

Alright, so with that I’ll go ahead and hand it over to our presenter today, Kacy.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Practical Skills: 
Incorporating Analysis and Synthesis” and the speaker’s name and information: Kacy WalzWriting Instructor, Walden University Writing Center

Audio:Thanks Claire and Thank you all for joining us today. I am actually kind of glad to know that there was a mistake on our part that you guys were not in, and because I was very sad that nobody was in the chat box. So, apologies again for that. Thank you so much for joining us to talk about incorporating analysis and synthesis in your writing. 

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives

  • Analysis
    • Define the term for better understanding
    • Demonstrate how analysis is an effective part of MEAL plan paragraphs  
    • Identify and incorporate analysis into your writing
  • Synthesis
    • Define the term for better understanding
    • Clarify the difference between local and global synthesis 
    • Demonstrate how synthesis can be an effective part of MEAL planparagraphs 
    • Identify and incorporate synthesis into your writing

Audio:So, our learning objectives for this webinar are going to be first to define both analysis and synthesis so we can get a better understanding of how they are different which will also help us make sure that we are including both of those really important pieces in our academic writing. You should be able to demonstrate how analysis is an effective part of the meal plan and we’ll talk a little more about what MEAL plan actually is and how you can use that in your writing. We will identify and incorporate analysis into your writing so there is going to be several activities at the end of this webinar where you will actually get to put some of these tips into practice. In terms of synthesis beyond the definition we want to clarify the difference between local and global synthesis. We’ll also talk about how to demonstrate, we will also demonstrate how synthesis can be an effective part of the meal plan as well and we will identify and incorporate synthesis into your writing through some more practice exercises.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: What are analysis and synthesis?

  • Both highlight critical thinking and are imperative to constructing academic arguments 
  • Analysis
    • Breaking down or interpreting pieces of evidence, so your readers will understand the individual pieces
  • Synthesis 
    • Combining individual pieces of evidence across sources, so your readers can understand how the individual pieces work together 

Audio:So, first off what do we mean when we say analysis and synthesis? These are two really crucial pieces of scholarly writing. They highlight your critical thinking and they are basically the building blocks for any academic argument. And you need both of them so first off you have analysis. Analysis is when you are breaking down or interpreting different pieces of evidence so that your readers can understand a piece of information itself, but also why you are including it. What is this information going to do for your specific argument? 

Synthesis is when you are combining multiple pieces of evidence across different sources so any time you are not writing just a book review or an article summary, you're going to want to do synthesis. And even in those assignments you often times end up bringing in other sources and that is what we talk about that is what we mean when we talk about synthesis.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Starting with Analysis

Interpreting, clarifying, commenting on, 

critiquing, contextualizing, explaining, or 

discussing the relevance of evidence for the reader.

Audio:So, we're going to start with analysis and again that’s just kind of interpreting, clarifying, commenting on, and just generally placing a piece of evidence into context for your reader. I often talk about floating quotations as something that students want to watch out for that’s when you see a quotation dropped in the middle of a paper as its own sentence. It’s completely apart from the writing and you really want to make sure you do not do this. That you are using analysis to make sure your readers understand exactly why you are including every piece of information.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Examples of Analysis

Critiquing:

  • Townsend (2015) found that the majority of online students are also nontraditional students. However, Townsend’s failure to clearly define nontraditional in the article makes such an assertion unclear and inconclusive. 

Contextualizing: 

  • Smith (2016) discovered a connection between birth order and personality traits. Smith’s results are less likely to be generalizable due to the use of a small, homogenous population of 11 siblings.
  • What do you want the reader to walk away from that paragraph knowing, understanding, or believing?

Audio:So, here’s some examples of analysis. One way we might analyze a source is to critique it so here we have, “Townsend found that the majority of online students are also nontraditional students. However, Townsend's failure to clearly define nontraditional in the article makes such an assertion unclear and inclusive.” So, we first have this piece that is from another scholar. Right? Townsend is making this claim and now we have to incorporate it into our own writing so you want to provide that analysis and in this case the writer is critiquing Townsend's argument. 

You can also contextualize. So, we have “Smith discovered a connection between birth order and personality traits. Smith's results are less likely to be generally sizable due to the use of a small homogenous population of 11 siblings.” This is another critical one but we can also see how this piece of information might be either built upon in the paper by using some other sources and we also get a little bit more information about what this writer is thinking about in terms of Smith's work because another writer might use that same source in a completely different way and might talk about the connection between birth order and personality traits and in that case that small population would be useful for that writer and so we want to make sure that we are really clear, our reader doesn’t have any questions about how we are using a source and our evidence.

And basically, you can think about analysis as what you want the reader to walk away from your writing, what you want them to walk away with. What do you want them to understand or know? Sometimes it seems really, really obvious because when you are the writer you are in your own head and you can see all the connections that you are making but you have to make sure that that is really clear for your reader, too. In US academic writing that onus is on the writer.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Examples of Analysis

Interpreting:

  • Recently, in the state of Georgia, 18.5% of youth were categorized as being overweight, and 16% were categorized as being obese (CAHMI, 2011). Although still high, these numbers have decreased significantly from 2007—when 16% of the youth in the state were categorized as overweight and 21.3% were categorized as obese (CAHMI, 2007)—indicating that the state’s healthy eating campaign is having a positive result

What do you want the reader to walk away from that paragraph knowing, understanding, or believing?

Audio:Another way you might produce some analysis is by interpreting so in this example, “Recently in the state of Georgia 18.5% of youth were categorized as being overweight and 15% were categorized as being obese. Although still high, these numbers have decreased significantly from 2007 when 16% of the youth in the state were categorized as overweight and 21.3% were categorized as obese indicating that the states healthy eating campaign is having a positive result.” So here you can kind of see also why it is so important to have that analysis because a different writer might look at those same numbers and make an argument that the healthy eating campaign is not having as positive a result as this writer wants to see that it is. We want to make sure there is no question from our reader about how and why we are using the information that we use.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Examples of Analysis

Learn more about the MEAL plan

Main Idea: Topic sentence

Evidence: Paraphrase or quote

Analysis: Explanation, interpretation, or adding to the evidence

Lead Out: Summarizing and concluding the paragraph

Sample paragraph construction:

  • Main idea
  • Evidence
  • Analysis
  • Evidence
  • Analysis
  • Analysis
  • Lead-out 

Audio:If you have not heard about the meal plan the meal plan is a kind of mnemonic device that we like to use to help students make sure they are including all the important pieces of academic writing in each paragraph. So, MEAL plan it basically stands for the main idea or your topic sentence making sure that is really clear, evidence, so a paraphrase or quote, and then analysis, explanation, interpretation or adding to the evidence and this is a piece that often gets missed so that is why we are talking about it so much today. And then you have your lead out which is either going to summarize or it’s going to move the reader to the next paragraph. 

Even though we say meal because it’s easier to remember, we can talk about it as if we are talking about food but you might actually construct your paper with these a little bit out of order so here we have an example, a writer who might start with the main idea and then they’re going to give some evidence, analyze the evidence, provide more evidence and then provides more analysis before the lead out. So really this is just to help you make sure that all those pieces are there rather than mandating specifically that this is how each paragraph should look, it should be one main idea in one piece of evidence. We don't want to suggest that.

If you would like to learn more about the meal plan you can click on this link, you can also just visit our website and search meal in the search bar you will get a lot of great resources. We have blog posts, we have podcast episodes so we really like the meal plan here at the writing center.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: MEALPlan Paragraph with Analysis

The deaths of many of the women who die while pregnant or during childbirth in developing countries can be prevented. Over 500,000 mothers die from pregnancy- or delivery-related complications annually; almost 99% of these occur in developing countries (Hill et al., 2007). The continued failures in implementing straightforward interventions targeting the root causes of mortalities have been responsible for these deaths (Hill et al. 2007).The medical community has not been able to come up with simple, cost-effective, and life-saving methods that would help save lives in developing countries. This lack of innovation in the medical field has resulted in the continued unnecessary deaths of thousands of women. Addressing this lack will require researchers and medical professionals to collaborate with people living in the most affected countries and among vulnerable populations. 

Interpreting and Critique  

Audio:Here's an example of what a meal plan paragraph might look like with some analysis. [reading slide] We have the deaths of many of the women who die while pregnant or during childbirth developing countries can be prevented. So, it is very clear the student’s main topic. I also want to point out that it is in, this is their own idea. They are not quoting from somebody else. They're not providing outside evidence and in APA specifically that’s a really good practice is to start your paragraphs with your own thoughts and your own ideas and then move into the evidence. So here the evidence is that the italicized portion. Over 500,000 mothers die from pregnancy or delivery related complications annually. Almost 99% of these occur in developing countries. The continued failures and implement and straightforward interventions targeting the root causes of mortalities have been responsible for these deaths. And then the medical community has not been able to come up with simple cost-effective and life-saving methods that would help save lives in developing countries. This lack of innovation in the medical field has resulted in the continued unnecessary deaths of thousands of women. 

So that is where this reader is analyzing those pieces of evidence and we are not quite at synthesis yet because as you can tell from the citation that is coming from the same source. So, we have our evidence but we don't move into synthesis for this paragraph but we want to make sure we had that really clear analysis. And then you have your lead out and if you want to learn more about lead out sentences, we also and lead outs in general we also have some great resources on our website that you can look up. But generally, just giving the reader maybe a little bit of a conclusion and giving them a sense of where you are going.

So here in this example we have an analysis that is interpreting and critiquing, right? So, it’s talking about how what the medical community has not been able to do in terms of research or understanding and then what has happened as a result.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following:Interpreting and Critique  

Interpreting, commenting on, explaining, discussion of, or making connections between MULTIPLE sources’ ideas for the reader.

What do these things mean when put together?

Audio:Now we're going to talk a little bit about synthesis. Synthesis you can think of as when you are interpreting or commenting on multiple sources so you are kind of organizing the dinner party. You are making sure that everybody gets to talk and everybody is understanding what is going on at that table.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Examples of Synthesis

Multiple authors

Comparing/contrasting/ connecting / drawing conclusions

  • Ang (2016) foundthat small businesses that followed the theory of financial management reduced business costs by 12%, whileSonfield (2015) foundthat this theory reduced costs by 17%. These studies together confirmed that adopting the theory of financial management reduces costs for U.S. small businesses.
  • Sharpe (2016) observedan increase in students’ ability to focus after they had recess. Similarly,Barnes (2015)found that hands-on activities also helped students focus.Both of these techniques have worked well in my classroom, helping me to keep my students engaged in learning.

Audio:For some examples of synthesis, we have Ang found that small businesses that followed the theory of financial management reduced business costs by 12% while Sonfield found that this theory reduced costs by 17%. These studies together confirmed that a theory of financial management reduces costs for US small businesses. So, here we have a little bit of synthesis even in that one word that has been highlighted for you "while" it creates some connection between these two different sources. But we also need to make sure oftentimes when I am reading students papers, I will see them doing this and they do a great job of kind of putting these different pieces of evidence together for me but then they are not taking that extra step where they clearly explain what's going on, what they’ve done to create something new out of these multiple different sources. 

Another example, Sharp observed an increase in student’s ability to focus after they had recess. Similarly, Barnes found that hands-on activities also helped students focus. Both of these techniques have worked well in my classroom, helping me to keep my students engaged in learning. And so again we have that similarly that is going to cue your reader that these different sources are not arguing against each other instead they are collaborating they are agreeing with each other. And then the student has provided some more information about her own experience by including what she has actually used herself.

You can also, we have another resource here about using multiple authors and how to use those different words or different thinking phrases to make sure is really clear for your reader how you are combining these sources.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Examples of Synthesis

Learn more about the MEAL plan

Main Idea: Topic sentence

Evidence: Paraphrase or quote

Analysis: Explanation, interpretation, or adding to the evidence

Lead Out: Summarizing and concluding the paragraph

Synthesis is analysis that connects multiple pieces of evidence from different sources to compare, contrast, and draw conclusions

Audio:So, in synthesis you might see that somewhere in the analysis or the A of the meal plans you have your main idea, evidence and then in that analysis when you are explaining and providing interpretation for the evidence is where you may have multiple pieces of evidence from multiple different sources, that is the synthesis. That is where that is happening and then of course you have your lead out again.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following:ME[S]ALPlan Paragraph with Synthesis

Middle school represents an inflection point in the nature, purpose, and interpretative consequence of the assessment of academic performance. First, middle school teachers are much more likely than elementary school teachers to use formal assessments (e.g., paper-and-pencil quizzes and exams), as opposed to informal observation, when determining report card grades (Brookhart, 1994; Gullickson, 1985).Additionally,as children enter middle school, academic performance becomes an increasingly important component of their personally-valued goals and overall self-esteem (Galotti, 2005; Harter, 1985); notably,self-esteem, school engagement, and report card grades may all decrease sharply during this transition (Eccles, 2004; Eccles et al., 1993; Simmons & Blyth, 1987).At the same time, children become much more sensitive to the distinction between intelligence and effort, with heightened attention to how they compare with other students (Stipek & Douglas, 1989).In sum, this developmental period is the earliest at which researchers would expect a measurable and consequential rift between standardized achievement test scores and report card grades. To understand the significance of this, it is important to consider…

Audio:Here is an example of a meal plan that has synthesis in it. We have middle school represents an inflection point in the nature, purpose and interpretive consequence of the assessment of academic performance. First, middle school teachers are much more likely than elementary school teachers to use formal assessments for example paper and pencil quizzes and exams, as opposed to informal observation when determining report card grades. Additionally, as children enter middle school, academic performance becomes an increasingly important component of their personally valued goals and overall self-esteem. Notably, self-esteem school engagement, and report card grades may all decreased sharply during this transition. At the same time, children become much more sensitive to the distinction between intelligence and effort, with heightened attention to how they compare with other students. In sum this developmental period is the earliest at which researchers would expect a measurable and consequential rift between standardized achievement test scores and report card grades. 

So you can kind of hear hopefully how all these different pieces of evidence if we do not really have this really clear in some portion you might be very lost as to what this reader is trying to do what they are trying to get you to understand because they are giving you lots of information you may see it as interesting or you might see what you have additionally, we have notably to connect these but we really need to make sure that that clear inclusion of our own argument and how we are connecting these different thoughts comes together and makes that all clear for your reader.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Localand GlobalSynthesis

Local synthesis occurs at the paragraph level, when writers connect individual pieces of evidence to support a paragraph’s main idea.

  • Example: Synthesis in MEAL plan paragraph

Global synthesis occurs at the paper (or sometimes section) level, when writers connect individual pieces across paragraphs or sections to create a new narrative whole. 

  • Example: Synthesis in Literature Review 

Audio:In terms of synthesis, there are two different forms, there is local and global synthesis. Local as you have guessed is that more specific smaller area, we are making sure the sentences of your paragraph are connecting. They are clear that the sources that you use in that paragraph your reader does not have any question as to why you put them together and how you're using them together.

Globally is when we are talking about maybe a paper as a whole or if you are working on a larger project maybe it’s different chapters even where you're making sure all the different sources and ideas are clearly connecting. One metaphor that some people used to think about synthesis is like baking a cake. You have these different ingredients and you have your eggs, your butter, your sugar and I'm not really a baker so I don't know what else would go in a cake but they are very different on their own, right? But when you put them together and put them in the oven you get this cake, this whole new thing so that is what you are doing when you are synthesizing. You're taking these different pieces, these different ideas from other scholars and you're making something new and that is what is key to your readers making sure they are understanding whatever that new thing is. You should not be able to cut your cake and still have the eggs and the butter and everything fall out, right?

So, some examples of local and global synthesis. Local synthesis would occur in that meal plan that we were talking about the meal plan paragraph and global synthesis is something that what happened maybe in a literature review or a longer document.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Faculty Input

  • Missing or poor analysis and synthesis are common errors
  • May be suggested by comments like:
    1. “Work on your connections” or “Connect these ideas.”
    2. “What is the significance of this?” 
    3. “Follow the MEAL plan”
    4. “Don't just string together citations. We need more of your voice here.”
    5. “Avoid just a book report in this assignment” or “You need to approach this like a dinner party.”

Audio:So how can you tell if synthesis is something that you maybe need to work on? These are some common examples of suggestions that you might receive if your reader or your faculty member is not seeing that synthesis in your work. Maybe you have got some suggestions to work on connections or to connect ideas. If you are getting questions about what is the significance of the piece of evidence, why have you used this here even something to consider in terms of synthesis. When people are talking about the meal plan oftentimes, they are focusing on the analysis and synthesis and just in general, I think it becomes a catch all for something is missing from this paragraph and you need to use that meal plan to make sure you have all those pieces. Don't just string together citations. We need more of your voice here. 

We, as readers, want to read your thoughts because if we wanted to read these other sources you are citing, we would just read them. Right? It is your ideas that are bringing us to this paper. And then avoid just a book report within assignment or you need to approach this like a dinner party. You can tell this might be from very specific pieces of feedback but making sure they are not just repeating or rephrasing what some other scholar has already said and that when you thinking about a dinner party you don't have one person stand up and speak for 15 minutes and sit down and someone else starts talking for another 10. It is a back-and-forth. So oftentimes when I would make a comment similar to this on a paper, it would be when I’m seeing these chunks of sources next to each other but they are not really in conversation and that is what we are talking about, we want you to think about an academic argument or synthesis as a dinner party.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Questions?

Audio:So, we are at about the midpoint here. I'm going to take a moment. Do we have any questions that would be helpful to go over?

Claire: Thanks, we do have a couple but I want to encourage all of our participants to go ahead and type in any that have occurred to them as well because I’ll keep an eye on that. I had a good question about what if an assignment is to summarize something that students have read? Do they still need analysis in a summary of an article?

Kacy: That’s a tricky one and I am probably going to give you the annoying answer of that is something you would definitely want to talk to your faculty member about because sometimes the goal of the assignment really is to just show that you understood whatever this other scholar was saying and in that case is probably going to be perfectly relevant and even maybe that is what you should do rather than straying and writing your own ideas to just reiterate and work on rephrasing their arguments. But I would say generally I don't often see assignments like that here at Walden. It’s usually at least wanting you to make some kind of comment of your own on that source so if you are just using one source, then you're not going to have synthesis because you are not taking different pieces or different ingredients and making something new. But for the majority of assignments you are going to want to have some kind of voice in the paper where your reader is going to understand what you’re making of the argument, how you’re interpreting it. Right? I don't know that I have seen any assignments from Walden students that are specific straightforward just tell me what this other scholar has said. But again, I always want to defer to your faculty member. They are the ones that are going to grade you. They will be the best resource if you have questions in that area.

Claire: Thanks Kacy. I have a couple other questions for you as well. So how in-depth should the meal plan be in a discussion post?

Kacy: That is a great question. We actually have a blog post about using the meal plan in discussion posts. Maybe Claire can search for that I’m trying to put it in the box. Hopefully I am not making that up. I am pretty sure we have a blog post about that. The meal plan is really meant to be a tool for you to use however it’s going to be most helpful and so when thinking about different types of assignments like a discussion post you still want to have that clear statement where you have a main idea. Maybe your evidence is not going to be from some academic source or a peer-reviewed journal. Maybe you're talking about your own experience but it is usually important to include some kind of example are something that your readers can draw from to better understand what is going on. In a discussion post maybe where the meal plan wouldn’t be as relevant or on-topic would be the analysis portion but again I think you are still going to be doing some kind of interpreting or maybe even it is questioning rather than giving an argument. Maybe you are just joining the conversation by bringing up good points that another scholar or peer has not thought of yet. But that is still an example of analysis because you are taking somebody else's ideas or other idea in general and making meaning of it by pointing out that there can be questions. 

So, the meal plan is not meant to be a hard template. It is just supposed to be something that can help you, make sure that you have all these really important pieces in each piece of your writing. That’s a great question. Discussion posts are so fascinating. I like reviewing them and working with them because they are such, an adaptive assignment so there I think you would definitely be maybe taking certain portions of the meal plan advice and adapting it for your own needs. I hope that answers your question. Claire do you have any suggestions on that point?

Claire: I think you definitely did answer the question and I would just add too that especially in a shorter form like a discussion post I will often see evidence of the meal plan that are combined so just because there are multiple elements of the meal plan does not mean you can’t have evidence and analysis in the same sentence or analysis and lead out in the same sentence. I think that’s the most common one I probably see. And like Kacy said, keep in mind that in a discussion post evidence might be your own experience with the course reading that week and analysis might tie into that suggest double checking that you have those different elements that you are not just expecting your reader to understand things is really good practice for your course papers as well.

I do have another question for you if we have time.

Kacy: Great, go for it.

Claire: Does the main topic, does the topic sentence always need to appear first in a paragraph or could a student start with evidence like as a hook and then have that topic sentence afterwards?

Kacy: That is a good question and like I was saying earlier in general with APA writing you want the first sentence of a paragraph to be your own thoughts and ideas so at least for Walden writing and in general APA I would say that most of the time that first sentence should be your own thoughts and should probably be that topic sentence. I always come, I never want to say this is always the case or never the case because inevitably there are going to be exceptions, but in general a good rule to follow is your first sentence of a paragraph should be what you are thinking and what you want the reader to understand and you are using that evidence to support that claim.

Claire: Definitely and part of that kind of deals with the philosophy of analysis too, Right? If you just start off with evidence your reader is not going to know why that evidence is important or how to contextualize it for your work and it might seem easy to pull up a piece of evidence because you did the reading and know why it is important just like you want to add analysis for evidence in your paper you are going to want to start out with a topic sentence so your reader really understands the context.

Kacy: That is a great point. So, should I move on?

Claire: I have one more question actually.

Kacy: Okay.

Claire: So, is a lead out like a conclusion? That is the question.

Kacy: That is a really good question and I think, in some ways the lead out we talk about the lead out can be a lead out or it can be conclusion because maybe it is the last sentence of your paper and you're not leading into anything else. That is a really, really good question and I feel like it's going to be tricky to answer. Claire do you have any thoughts on how to answer that one?

Claire: Sure. So, I would say that a lead out is like a conclusion in that you are sort of repeating information and bringing it all together for the reader just like you would in your final conclusion paragraph. Where you are going to go back over the information and in a lot of ways a lead out is like the analysis portion as well where you are just bringing all that together and making sure that the reader understands what to walk away with which is why I said that oftentimes the analysis and lead out will end up being one sentence in shorter works.

Kacy: That is a great point and I think, thinking about the lead out, I like that phrasing of lead out, Right? Because it gives the idea that you are directing your reader and so you want to make sure that they understand the move you are making from one paragraph to another and that is what you're doing with that lead out to. As Claire was mentioning in a shorter piece maybe that lead out is actually going to be part of the analysis because that is where you are making that connections for the reader. Yeah, that is a great question. Stumping me a little bit. 

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Let’s Practice! #1

Chat:

Is the following an example of analysis, synthesis, or neither?

It has been shown that nurses are interrupted more frequently than other staff groups (Biron et al., 2009) and that the interruptions are often instigated by nurse colleagues (Kreckler et al., 2008). Brixey et al. (2007) warned of the consequences of a poor understanding of the nature of interruptions and their causes and effects.

Audio:So, we are going to have our first practice. This is just kind of a yes or no or neither question. Is the following example of analysis, synthesis or neither? I am going to go on mute for a minute let you guys read through that and write your answers.

[silence while students are doing practice assignment]

It does look like a few more people are typing. We have a little bit of debate here. A lot of you are saying its synthesis. Some are saying analysis and we have some people saying neither so we have all the answers on the board. This actually is not an example of synthesis or analysis so probably what you are picking up on when saying synthesis is, we have different sources. Right? So clearly there is some kind of attempt at connection being made but if we look at these different pieces it has been shown that nurses are interrupted more frequently than other staff groups and the interruptions are often instigated by nurse colleagues. Warned of the consequence of a poor understanding of the nature of interruptions and their causes and effects. And you as a reader might actually be doing a lot of extra work that this writer should not be making you do so you might be picking up on these connections but the problem comes in whether you are making the same connections that the writer is trying to make and so that is why you need to make sure that that synthesis is a piece of that. So, we definitely have different pieces of evidence but they are not being put together in any meaningful way. We don't have a cake. It is just the ingredients are next to each other but they have not been combined yet.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Revision

Brixey et al. (2007) warned of the consequences of a poor understanding of the nature of interruptions and their causes and effects. In professional settings, this lack of understanding can lead to major problems. For instance, it has been shown that nurses are interrupted more frequently than other staff groups (Biron et al., 2009) and that the interruptions are often instigated by nurse colleagues (Kreckler et al., 2008). These studies raise important questions about collaboration amongst peers, and the need for further research into why interruptions occur and how they impact individuals’ work and well-being. 

Audio:In this revision we Brixey et al. warned of the consequences of a poor understanding of the nature of interruptions in their causes and effects. In professional settings this lack of understanding can lead to major problems. For instance, it has been shown that nurses are interrupted more frequently than other staff groups and that the interruptions are often instigated by nurse colleagues. These studies raise important questions about collaboration amongst peers and the need for further research into why interruptions occur and how they impact individuals work and well-being. 

And so, maybe when reading that you were able to put all of those pieces together and make those same connections but as writers, we don't want to assume that the readers going to be able to do that. We want to make sure that we are making it very clear how this individual paper and our individual argument is using these different pieces of evidence. The italicized portion here is where that synthesis has been added so now, we see why this writer included that information from Brixey et al and then we have a little bit more synthesis in this bolded section where we get the writer's own arguments and how they have interpreted these pieces of evidence.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Let’s Practice! #2

Chat:

Consider the following evidence. Write a sentence of analysis to go with it.

Student success in online classes has been closely linked to a student’s ability to work independently, including time management skills, multitasking skills, and internal motivation (Kauffman, 2015). 

Audio:Practice number two. So, using this evidence write a sentence of analysis to go with that and you can be as creative as you want with this one. I'm going to give you a little bit longer for this one because it will take longer. I will go on mute for a couple of minutes and you can type your answers in the chat box.

[silence as students respond]

Some really nice examples you are creating it also I think it also serves to illustrate my point I was making earlier that analysis is so important because different writers might use the same piece of evidence in vastly different ways and they might come up with different arguments to use that piece of evidence so I selected just a couple here and I created one of my own as some examples we can talk through and thank you all for participating. Keep typing as we talk. Some have utilizing multitasking as a means of time management may be a successful tool towards a student success and tying that into that piece of evidence about student success and online classes has been closely linked to a student's ability to work independently. So, making sure that’s really clear for your reader. Online student success depends on ability to work a dependently and I think maybe that writer is going to make an argument for different skill set that online students will need or, but we can see that they're moving towards an argument and using that specific piece of evidence to craft a different kind of argument. Similarly, online students need time management to be successful during their course of study and this piece of evidence is going to support that claim. The one that I wrote myself, online universities should provide students with resources that will help them build good self-motivational practices. That is kind of my take on how I could use this piece of information to build something new, to provide advice in a different way. Thank you so much for participating.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Revision

Focus: Students

Student success in online classes has been closely linked to a student’s ability to work independently, including time management skills, multitasking skills, and internal motivation (Kauffman, 2015). Thus, online students should actively work on improving these kinds of soft skills to ensure their success.

Focus:

Faculty

Student success in online classes has been closely linked to a student’s ability to work independently, including time management skills, multitasking skills, and internal motivation (Kauffman, 2015). When developing introductory courses, online faculty should implement discussion of these skills to encourage students to develop them early in their program.

Audio:These are two different examples and again we see different writers be able to use the same piece of evidence in different ways so the first is the focus on students. And I saw a couple of examples that were student focused as well. Student success in online classes has been closely linked to a student's ability to work independently, including time management skills, multitasking skills and internal motivation. Thus, online students should actively work on improving these kinds of soft skills to ensure their success. So, we understand what this writer in particular wants us to do with that piece of evidence. They want us to understand that building these skills is going to be important.

Alternatively, the focus is on the faculty then you might have analysis that something like when developing introductory courses, online faculty should implement discussion of these skills to encourage students to develop them early in their program. And so definitely connected ideas but you could probably guess how these two different papers would go in different directions and it would become very different. As we move away from this piece of evidence.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Let’s Practice! #3

Chat:

Consider the following evidence. Write a sentence of synthesis to go with it.

The National Center for Education Statistics (2008) estimated

that the number of online students grew by 65% between 2002 and 2005. More recently, Picciano and Seaman (2009) estimated that more than a million students took online courses in 2008.

Audio:Alright, this is our last practice so considering the following evidence write a sentence of synthesis to go with it. So, you have a couple of different sources here and you are going to put them together to make some kind of cohesive argument or claim or piece of analysis. 

[silence as students respond]

For this one you can just write a sentence that you would maybe add after this portion of evidence. You don't have to write out these two different pieces of evidence as well.

[silence as students respond]

Nice job guys. I pulled a couple random examples from what you were typing. We have, it is clear that online courses are increasing in popularity as a means to gain higher education. So maybe this writer would be writing something about graduate students experience with online education and so they want to make sure that this reader is going to understand how to use these pieces of evidence in terms of a specific portion of online student population. 

Another example is online classes are an important part of a student's study and this is bringing in an interesting piece about maybe not all of these students are 100% online. They might be taking some courses in a traditional brick and mortar classroom but that this increase is showing may be a growing need or a growing desire to take courses online. They might be talking about some skills that students might build in online courses that they wouldn’t be able to build or wouldn’t need to build maybe in the same way in a traditional brick and mortar classroom. And as a result, universities have virtual degrees. That may be more, depending on more research what you found out different pieces or maybe this is actually an argument. More universities need to have virtual degrees or should develop virtual degrees because there is this clear trend in online education becoming very popular and of course we also, there is kind of this interesting disconnect between these pieces of evidence because we have a percentage and then we have a more specific definitive estimated numbers. We have the number of online students grew by 65% but then we also have that more than 1 million students took online courses in 2008 so it can be, maybe that piece of synthesis would be clarifying how those numbers relate to each other, what does it mean, what does that 65% actually represent? Are they maybe even saying that there are fewer students in online courses in 2008? So, you can see how that connection of those two pieces of information be really important for your reader who does not have the access to all of the information and all of the evidence that you have compiled as a writer.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Revision

Focus: Students

The National Center for Education Statistics (2008) estimated

that the number of online students grew by 65% between 2002 and 2005. More recently, Picciano and Seaman (2009) estimated that more than a million students took online courses in 2008. Clearly, the research shows that as time progresses, more students are taking courses online.

Focus:

Faculty

The National Center for Education Statistics (2008) estimated

that the number of online students grew by 65% between 2002 and 2005. More recently, Picciano and Seaman (2009) estimated that more than a million students took online courses in 2008. However, these studies were completed more than 5 years ago, and more recent research on the prevalence of students taking courses online is needed.

Audio:Here we have some examples of revisions and again with two different focuses depending on what the writer wants to say. The first, clearly the research shows that as time progresses, more students are taking courses online. So maybe this seems really, really obvious that these pieces of evidence are showing that online courses, more students are taking them. But you again want to make sure that that point is really clear for your reader and also just in general help them understand why they should care about these pieces of evidence that you've included in your writing. With the focus on faculty we have however, these studies were completed more than five years ago and more recent research on the prevalence of students taking courses online is needed. And so now we see that this person is using these pieces of evidence is a way to illustrate that need for more so these are clear examples that people have been paying attention to this rise in the past that the writer wants to point out that these might be dated studies and something else needs to be looked at for more contemporary online students.

 

Visual:Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later

writingsupport@waldenu.edu•  Live Chat Hours

Learn More:

Check out the recorded webinars Paraphrasing Source Information, Writing Strong Thesis Statements, Using and Integrating Quotes.

Audio:So, Claire do we have any more questions on the second half of our webinar?

Claire: Thanks Kacy we did have a couple and it is not too late to add one if any came up. One good question that I saw was how does a thesis statement fit into the meal plan?

Kacy: That is a good question and the thesis sentence is generally going to be part of that global synthesis. Your thesis sentence is that statement of purpose, what the paper, the document as a whole is trying to get across to the reader. And so, you want to make sure that every main topic sentence or main idea is clearly connected to that thesis sentence because that’s what is going to make sure that we have that global synthesis. So that is a great question and thesis sentences are very important to meal plans. That is also why we think of meal plans more of an example for a body paragraph because we don't have a T in there but you might even think about when you're doing your thesis sentence that is kind of your general analysis your general synthesis so it's really important to make sure that that does exist in your paper when going through and checking for those different important pieces.

Claire: Great, thanks Kacy. I do have another one which was how do I avoid being opinionated or biased in my analysis and synthesis?

Kacy: Great question, too. I think sometimes I be confusing about what we mean when we say that you should not be biased. Right? When we say you shall be biased it does not mean that you should not have opinions or make an argument about something. You want to make sure is that your claim whatever it is can be supported by clear tangible peer-reviewed evidence so you don't want to make some just generalized claim about a group of people or about a specific piece of history or I'm trying to come up with something out the top of my head but you don't want to make just some broad claim that you cannot support with clear evidence. So, when you are analyzing your sources and you’re making arguments about how you interpret them or how that piece of information can be used, that is when you want to make sure you are not taking something out of context, right? Or you are not making up something or just not supporting your claim at all and that is how you avoid bias. Whatever it is you are arguing should relate and connect clearly to some good pieces of evidence that your reader can look at and can also find that scholar is using this evidence the way that this other scholar has presented it. That is a great question. I think we also have some great blog posts about the difference between bias and argumentation in academic writing. Something we are definitely paying attention to in the writing center.

Claire: Thanks, Kacy, we have just a couple more minutes here so I’m wondering if you could talk for just a moment about our paper review service and how it might in particular benefit students looking for analysis and synthesis assistance.

Kacy: Definitely so Claire and I both work on the graduate student board so if you make an appointment at the writing center you could choose to work with one of us. But we also have a lot of great other online writing instructors and basically when we make an appointment you, they are all asynchronous. You submit your paper through the my pass system which does require you to register the first time you use it and it can be look clunky but if you ever need help with it that writingsupport@waldenu.edu email we are there to help you out. You upload your paper and within 48 hours she will get a response emailed back to you with some general thoughts and comments from a writing instructor at the Walden writing center and what we look for in specific are those bigger writing concerns specifically synthesis and analysis looking for places where maybe the ideas are not connecting is ideally for us as outside readers as they may be for the writers themselves and I think it is so helpful to have an outside pair of eyes look over your writing because it is really easy to just make those connections in your head and assume that they are there when you are an expert or know a lot about a certain topic. So, in your writing appointment we could be that additional set of eyes that can maybe point out something that an expert like you or a scholar studying that topic would not be able to see.

Claire: Thanks so much. I just want to add one clarification which is that we will get back to you within two days of your appointment. So, you can make an appointment up to two weeks in advance so on your appointment date you can expect to hear back from us. The day of the appointment or the day after the appointment. We just don't have the capacity to look that far ahead in the schedule at this point. 

Alright, so, thank you so much for being here everyone and thank you Kacy for presenting. Again, if you do have questions later after this presentation if something comes up or if you are watching the recording please let us know at writingsupport@waldenu.edu or you can use our after hours to learn about anything more. You can also look at these suggested additional webinars if this format works well for you. You can try our paraphrasing source information webinar which is a really great one to kind of help ensure that you are presenting the source information in a clear way. Writing strong thesis statements, I know we have that thesis statement question so that is a really good one to help with that global synthesis and using and integrating quotation can be really helpful to make sure that you are using those quotations sparingly and with integrated analysis as well.

Thank you all for being here so much today everyone. And I hope you have a wonderful rest of your evening, morning or whatever time of day it is where you are tuning in from. 

[End of webinar]