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RESEARCH PROJECT
Instructions for Step 1: “The Synthesized Sources”
ENC 1101 – Prof. J. May
Topic:
A Social / Global / Political Issue
■ Social, political and/or global problems encompass everything from racial/ethnic
prejudices, to all forms of violence, moral controversies, even disease, so there are
many different avenues to explore for this paper.
■ Select a topic that is controversial so you can express your point of view / opinion.
■ Your goal is to develop a thesis; you must take a persuasive stand on the topic you
have chosen to research.
■ Your end product will be 6 fully synthesized “Excerpts from the Experts”
Sources
■ Find 3 sources.
■ Your “source” may be an article, a book, a website, a film, etc.
■ You will then find 2 quotable excerpts within each source (6 total).
■ Be selective—choose excerpts that are particularly interesting, appropriate,
important statistically, or so well-worded that you could not have said it better
yourself. You may want to deliberately choose excerpts that you disagree with so you
can later discuss why you disagree.
Bloom’s Taxonomy
■ This project is based on the teaching of a highly influential educator and psychologist
named Benjamin Bloom.
■ His “taxonomy” (list) of cognitive levels was developed in the late 1950’s and has
influenced educational theories for many decades since.
■ For each excerpt you select from your sources, (6 total) you must then go through the
following 6 step process (based on Bloom’s Taxonomy). You will do this 6 times.
– a. Knowledge
– b. Comprehension
– c. Application
– d. Analysis
– e. Synthesis
– f. Evaluation
A) KNOWLEDGE:
QUOTE FROM YOUR SOURCE
■ Find a good excerpt from your source—a sentence or more (possibly a paragraph).
■ When you decide which excerpt to cite (i.e., a quote from the source), be selective.
Cite only sentences that are particularly interesting, appropriate, important
statistically, or so well-worded that you could not have said it better yourself.
■ I strongly recommend the library database that can be accessed through the
“Electronic Library Resources” in Canvas. Search the databases by SUBJECT, then
NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS, then “Issues and Controversies.”
■ You may want to deliberately choose excerpts that you disagree with so you can later
discuss why you disagree.
■ Put quotations marks around the quoted citation and follow it with a correctly
formatted parenthetical in-text citation (MLA). Note that what goes in the
parentheses as a directly correlation with the Works Cited citation (see #6 to follow).
B) COMPREHENSION:
PARAPHRASE THE EXCERPT
■ Demonstrate that you understand exactly what the author is saying by putting into
your own words.
■ You may choose to use this paraphrase later in your research paper (Phase II) but
you will still need a parenthetical in-text citation to avoid plagiarism.
C) APPLICATION
■ APPLY the quoted excerpt to our society and/or your own personal experience.
■ Why is it relevant? How does this issue affect our lives? Do you have any personal
experience or observations that relate?
D) ANALYSIS
■ ANALYZE the quoted excerpt.
■ This involves separating the information into its component parts so that it can be
better understood.
■ For example: Distinguish between fact and opinion. Recognize logical fallacies.
Break down statistics. Compare and contrast viewpoints. Define vocabulary or
jargon used.
E) SYNTHESIS AND EVALUATION
■ SYNTHESIZE and EVALUATE what you have learned and understood from this
research.
■ Put together with new meaning the parts you have previously broken down.
■ For example: State your opinion on a controversial topic. Present a reasonable
solution to a problem. Identify patterns in societal problems. Make a value
judgment based on your informed opinion. Assess how this issue shapes our
culture.
F) CITATION
■ PROVIDE THE MLA CITATION for your source as it would appear on a Works Cited
page.
■ See the Purdue OWL website and make use of easybib.com for help with MLA
formatting.
■ Begin the citation on a new line and make sure to indent second line (called a
“hanging indent”).
■ Make use of standard abbreviations n.d., n.p., and n.pag. where applicable. If you
have used the electronic databases provided by the library (see #1 Knowledge—slide
5) the citation is provided for you—just copy and paste!
Confused?

This may seem overwhelming at this point, but relax!

Remember, these instructions are in PowerPoint format, but your “Synthesizes Sources” must be in
a WORD document. See the WORD document instructions.

There are 4 fully synthesized examples to follow.

This step is a lot of work, but “The Research Paper” and “PowerPoint” will be easy (mainly cut and
paste what has already been written).

Move systematically through the instructions and the steps, and you will find that the research
paper is the easiest research paper you have ever written.

The research paper will involve compiling the 6 steps (a through f) into essay format using
transitional phrases and paragraph structure.

You will also create a PowerPoint of 7-10 slides presenting the key points of your research. (again,
mostly copy and paste from the synthesized sources).
Format and Cover Page
■ Create a cover page with your topic and your thesis statement (they are not the
same thing). For the cover page you can be creative with font and picture(s) if you
choose.
■ Your thesis should be an arguable point which people could reasonably agree or
disagree with. A strong thesis takes a stand and is supported by the discussion you
have presented (in this case, in your synthesized quotations). A good thesis should
pass the “so what?” or “who cares?” test. It should do more than state the obvious.
■ After the cover page, use the same format I have provided in the examples here,
labeling and numbering each section. In accordance with MLA format, use Times
New Roman 12 point font.
Important Note!
■ The next few slides provide examples of fully synthesized quotations (“excerpts”) on
a variety of different topics.
■ However, you will do your project on ONE TOPIC only.
■ It is a good idea to address causes, effects, and potential solutions when look at a
social problem. This way your quotes will reflect a variety of subtopics under your
umbrella topic, and you will not end up repeating yourself in your
synthesis/evaluation sections.
Example #1 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ a) Quotation: “After the Sept. 11 attacks, authorities tried to find any people who
might have been connected to the participants in those acts, and sought to forestall
any further terrorism. As a part of that effort, they began to use immigration
violations to detain noncitizens who had aroused suspicion that they might be
involved in terrorism. According to Justice Department figures, in the 11 months
after the attacks, 762 people were detained for violating immigration laws. The vast
majority of them were eventually deported to their home countries. Almost none of
those detained on immigration charges were found to have any link to terrorism”
(“Immigration Law”).
Example #1 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ b) Paraphrase: After 9/11 the government tried to avoid future terrorist attacks by
suspecting that immigrants could be possible terrorists. In the year after 9/11,
about 800 immigrants were arrested and sent back to their home countries, even
though later it was found that they had no ties to terrorism.
■ c) Apply: As an immigrant from South Africa, I understand how it feels to be grouped
together with the ideologies of my home country. I was assumed to be a racist when
I arrived in America in 1988 because of the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa
at the time. If I was not an immigrant, I would apply this quote by considering
whether I had any presumptions (prejudices?) about people from other countries. I
would also share any interactions I had (or the lack thereof) with people of other
cultures.
Example #1 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ d) Analyze: The article vaguely refers to “authorities” as being responsible for
rounding up these “suspected terrorists” but it does not identify whether the
authorities were the local police, the FBI, the INS, or other unidentified agencies.
The article does not specify what these alleged immigration violations were, so we
do not know if they were indeed threatening, or simple a result of post-9/11
paranoia. The article states that “almost none” were found to have any link with
terrorism, but does not provide information on those that did have links.
Example #1 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ e) Synthesize & Evaluate: This highlights a controversial and inflammatory issue in
American society. Are immigrants ruining “our” country? At what point does an
immigrant become an American? There are people who have lived in America for
decades, but do not have legal citizenship; they consider themselves Americans
because they have been here so long and have become immersed in American
culture. However, when problems such as crime and terrorism come up, immigrants
are often unfairly scapegoated even if the statistics do not support these prejudices.
The problem, however, is that some illegal immigrants have indeed committed acts
of terrorism: as the quote indicates, “Almost none of those detained on immigration
charges were found to have any link to terrorism.” But that indicates that some do
indeed have links to terrorism. This presents American society with a dilemma—we
must find the balance between standing for freedom and democracy, and protecting
ourselves from individuals with ideologies that seek to destroy us.
Example #1 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ f) Citation: (double space and begin on a new line)
“Immigration Law and Terrorism.” Issues & Controversies. Infobase Learning, 24 Mar.
2008. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.
Example #2 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ a) Quotation: “Roughly speaking, American society is torn between two broad
perspectives. One sees traditional morality as enshrining a legacy of wisdom about
how we should live together and therefore challengers to that legacy as deserving of
a skeptical or jaundiced examination. Another view looks on morality as enshrining a
host of prejudices from which we need to be liberated—indeed it considers the
proudest moments of recent history to be those when people were liberated from
inherited prejudices” (Soukup 226).
Example #2 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ b) Paraphrase: There are two opposing viewpoints about traditional morality in
America. One side sees it as preserving wisdom about the right way to live, and
another side sees it as holding onto outdated prejudices that people need to free
themselves from.
■ c) Apply: The idea of morality in America is relevant because it shapes how people
live their lives and raise their children. So many of the problems in our society today
can be attributed to either a breakdown in morality, or to the difference between
people with liberated views in conflict with more traditional (sometimes prejudiced)
views.
Example #2 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ d) Analyze: The quote discusses two opposing views on “traditional” morality. One
view implies that morality is “wisdom” and that this is a “legacy” that we must hold
onto in order to know how to “live together.” This is a favorable view on the benefits
of conforming to a certain code of behavior in order to uphold decency and structure
in our society. The other view presents the non-conformists who have challenged
and liberated themselves from this code as “the proudest moments of recent
history.” This is a favorable view of those who question tradition and shun prejudice.
Example #2 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ e) Synthesis and Evaluation: Our society today sees morality as outdated.
Individualism has always been the essence of being an American and today that
translates into creating one’s own system of morality that refuses to conform to oldfashioned ideas. There is no longer a sense of “doing the right thing.” Rightness or
wrongness is all dependent upon the individual; there is no across the board
standard of morality to uphold. One instance is in the rising divorce rate. Whereas
divorce used to be look down on, today people feel liberated enough to leave an
unhappy marriage if it is no longer serving their needs. However, the overall impact
of these new values can be destructive. When people consistently and collectively
make decisions based on self-indulgence rather than self-control, society as a whole
will degenerate and crumble from within.
Example #2 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ f) Citation:
Soukup, Paul, A. “Church, Media, and Scandal.” Media Scandals: Morality and Desire
in the Popular Culture Marketplace. Ed. James Lull and Stephen Hinerman.
New York: Columbia UP, 1997. 222-239. Print.
Example #3 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ a) Quotation: “Fights in the stands at football games are now frequent occurrences.
So are obscene chanting and the flinging by spectators of beer cans, toilet paper
rolls, ice and all other sorts of trash at opposing players […] if the team is losing,
both players and hometown fans feel frustrated and angry. Such feelings can easily
boil up into a rage, and the target of the fury becomes the visiting team and its
supporters” (Berger 82).
■ b) Paraphrase: Violence in sports has become a problem today, especially at football
games. In some examples, if the home-team is losing, the fans get so angry that they
start throwing things.
Example #3 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ c) Apply: I have seen violence at home football games at my high school. One night
a fight broke out among the players but some of the spectators that were on the
field also got involved. It shows how some people are so angry all the time and
always looking for a fight.

d) Analyze: The quote mentions that this kind of violence is “now frequent”
meaning that it is happening more often now than it used to. The quote also
mentions “obscene chanting” which is like verbal violence and often makes people
so angry that they want to fight. The quote also shows that it is usually the
hometown fans that start the fight because they think they “own” the stadium.
Example #3 of Synthesized Excerpt
■ e) Synthesis and Evaluation: Violence in sports is an increasing problem because
our society has lost a sense of courtesy and respect for others. It happens
everywhere, such as on the roads and in the hallways at school. We are a very
competitive society and we have been taught to win at all costs, so when we lose we
get ugly. Coaches need to emphasize character building with athletes, and
spectators need to support their team even if they are losing. These values require
people to be gracious, loyal, courteous and respectful, and sadly these seem to be
diminishing nowadays.
■ f) Citation:
(begin on a new line)
Berger, Gilda. Violence and Sports. New York: Franklin Watts, 1990. Print.
Example #4 of Synthesized Excerpt
a) Quote:
“The 21 minimum drinking age law alone has helped reduce the incidence and harms
of underage drinking. NHTSA estimates that these laws have saved an estimated
21,887 lives since 1975 (through 2002). In 2002, an estimated 917 lives were saved by
minimum drinking age laws. (NHTSA, 2003) […] However, underage people still have
easy access to alcohol. Over 94 percent of twelfth graders and almost 68 percent of
eighth graders report that alcohol is ‘very easy’ or ‘fairly easy’ to get” (“Underage”).
Example #4 of Synthesized Excerpt
b) Paraphrase:
Many lives have been saved since the legal drinking age was raised to 21. However, just
because the law changed doesn’t mean that people under 21 are not able to buy
alcohol. Most teens say that alcohol is easy to get.
c) Apply:
I often hear students at school talking about how much they drank at a party or that
they are hung-over, so obviously there is a lot of drinking going on. I have also seen kids
packed in cars racing down Highway 54 and they are driving recklessly, as if they have
been drinking. I have a friend who… (you provide the rest☺)
Example #4 of Synthesized Excerpt
d) Analyze:
The quote indicates that the legal drinking age was changed to 21 in 1975. It appears
that about 1000 lives are saved a year because of this. These statistics are verifiable
because they are provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Another
statistical study is provided with regard to kids having access to alcohol—this is highly
related to the first statistic because many teens drink illegally. The second statistic
shows that almost all 12th graders are able to get alcohol if they try. This is about 1/3
less true for 8th graders, probably because they look a lot younger, do not drive, and are
more closely supervised by parents.
Example #4 of Synthesized Excerpt
e) Synthesis and Evaluation:
The legal drinking age should be 21 because young people under 21 do not have the
maturity and sense of responsibility to drink alcohol with caution. For many young people,
drinking alcohol is all about getting drunk, not using moderation. This is a potentially deadly
problem because many people then get behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much,
and as a consequence could kill themselves or someone else. A drunk driver could become
a murderer if he or she kills an innocent person just because of a “really good time” at a
party. This is selfish and ignorant. It is frightening to think that so many young people have
easy access to alcohol, without the full understanding of how destructive it can be.
f) Citation:
“Underage Drinking.” MADD -Why 21. MADD, 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

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