Synthesis is different from summarizing. A section of your paper will be devoted to summarizing each article (problem/purpose, design, sample, methods, findings, implications, limitations), but the most important part of your paper will be a synthesis of the relevant information from the studies into a cohesive whole, which you apply to your problem/purpose. Here’s a good definition (Shellenbarger, 2016):
[Synthesis] involves taking information from a variety of sources, evaluating that information and forming new ideas or insights in an original way.
When reading your studies, keep these critical questions in mind, and be prepared to answer in your synthesis (Shellenbarger, 2016):
When you write the synthesis portion of your paper, you will focus on the ideas or themes from the different articles within the body of your paragraphs. You will NOT summarize the information from each study for this part.
For more guidance on synthesis, the following links may help:
As you read your research studies, it may be helpful to use a matrix to take notes to help you analyze, organize, and synthesize your thoughts about the studies. The first matrix (below) can be used to collect relevant information about each study, showing you at a glance how they pertain to your question/purpose. The second matrix can be used once you’ve identified the key themes or ideas from the studies and want an overview of how they compare and complement each other.
A print copy of the most recent edition of the APA Style is kept behind the Circulation Desk, on the first floor of the Library, for in-library use. Ask for it by call number.
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