Essay – Analysis/Synthesis

The final major assignment will build on strategies you developed while crafting the summary/strong response essay. For this essay, however, you’ll engage with two texts, each one contributing toward a greater understanding or awareness of an issue. You’ll summarize and analyze both articles, present your synthesis stance on the issue at hand, and then support your stance with sections, quotes, or ideas from both articles. Analysis/synthesis is an intellectual activity you’ll encounter in many academic settings. In fact, as you learn new theories and concepts, your worldview will change through these innovative understandings.

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· An introductory paragraph that gives context to the argument and includes a clear, specific question that drives your investigation/research.

· A paragraph for each article in which you summarize and analyze.

· At least 1 synthesis paragraph in which you explain your stance and provide support in the form of quotes and points from both articles.

· Use at least 4 short quotes, 2 from each article, to support your stance. Quotes must be correctly cited (please ask for help in citing if you are unsure).

· A conclusion that clearly and distinctly answers your initial question.

· 1000-1200 words

· Format must be MLA or APA.


Successful essays will accomplish the following:

1. Address a synthesis question and make a claim (thesis) about the readings.

2. Summarize and analyze both articles, focusing on key points and insightful information.

3. Express your stance and support it with discussion over points from each article. This can include rejecting some points, but the focus is upon which points you are building your stance upon.

4. Be cognizant of rhetoric, style, formality, and genre, along with shaping your writing toward a target audience (a writing instructor with broad, but limited knowledge, who is interested in your writing but also skeptical of unsupported statements or opinions)


In this essay, choose an issue that you want to research and discuss. I’m flexible on this, you can choose anything from gun control to your favorite movie. This freedom does come with a cost, you must find 2 well-written articles on this subject that hold differing perspectives. When in doubt, consult me for guidance. These articles can agree on an issue but show different angles of vision or they can be articles that disagree and show vastly different perspectives on the issue. You must read both articles, wallow in complexity on the points each makes, and then construct your stance based upon this new information. You are not comparing/contrasting these articles, nor are you using one to point out why the other is wrong. You are taking ideas from both, and the focus is upon your thoughts, revelations, and stance.


If you were to read an article on gun control and an article on gun freedom, you might write how you think that firearms should not be in the hands of the average citizen on the street but still hold a place in home defense. You would quote from each article to support your stance.


I am providing some samples that you may use if you are struggling to find an issue to write about.

1. The current phenomenon of big data has created big buzz and big business. It’s now possible for almost any action in our lives to be translated into digital data points for multiple applications, including tracking college students like you from entrance through graduation. What particular ethical considerations, responsibilities, and consequences do university administrators face as they gather and use (your) big data on college campuses?

a. “Big Data on Campus” – Marc Parry

b. “Ethics, Big Data, and Analytics: A Model for Application” – James E. Willis III, John P. Campbell, and Matthew D. Pistilli


2. Editors and journalists are grappling with when or whether to publish disturbing or violent images, particularly those involving victims. What kinds of ethical considerations influence decisions about publishing these kinds of images? What does the public have a right to see and what do the media have a right and/or obligation to publish or suppress?

a. “Victims of Violence” – Paul Martin Lester (Excerpt from his book, Photojournalism: An Ethical Approach, available in .pdf)

b. “How Newspapers Decided to Run Disturbing 9/11 Photos” – Renee Martin Kratzer and Brian Kratzer. Newspaper Research Journal 3.21, Winter 2003; available through the UH Library database, Communication & Mass Media Complete






3. Given the many social media and other digital platforms available to journalists, how should we rethink journalists’ ethical responsibilities to their readers and to each other?


a. “Is All of Twitter Fair Game for Journalists?” – Amanda Hess


b. “Digital Media Ethics” – Stephen J. A. Ward


4. How far are advertisers allowed to go? Companies spend untold amounts of money to manufacture arguments that rely on damaging norms (or conversely, the newest political or social movement) and pathos-driven rhetoric to sell a product. Does there need to be regulation on the kinds of advertisements product-makers release, or do consumers need to be more aware of how these advertisements work?


a. “The Psychology of Advertising” – Walter D. Scott


b. “Ethics and Advertising” – William M. O’Barr


5. Digitally manipulating photographs feels like normal practice now for anyone with Instagram, Photoshop, or even a simple cropping tool. How does the manipulated image create dilemmas for journalists and editors whose ethical standards require truthful depictions of reality?


a. “Distorted Picture” – Sherry Ricchiardi


b. “The Reality of a Fake Image: News Norms, Photojournalistic Craft, and Brian Walski’s Fabricated Photograph’” – Matt Carlson

Journalism Practice 3.2, 2009;



Include a Works Cited or References

· Gives the formal citation for your article in MLA (Works Cited) or APA (References) format.

· Cite both sources and any other sources you wish to include.

· Double check the hanging indent style required.


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