Writing Assignment #4
The Multiple-Source Synthesis Essay:
Literature Review
Summary of assignment
• Task: The multiple-source essay asks you to synthesize the arguments of at least 10
sources
• Length: 2000-3000 words
• Format: APA
• Sources: a total of at least 10 sources, all of which you will find through library
searches. Please use the same topic that you used for writing assignment #3 (Cyber Security). It is
recommended that you focus on or expand on the essay that you wrote for writing
assignment #3. You will continue with the topic you have selected and will conduct
additional searches in the library databases, hopefully focus the topic more, and
determine the 10 or more sources to use in this essay.
Strategies in Developing the Topic for this Essay
Up to this point in the semester, you have completed an annotated bibliography. You have also
incorporated and synthesized four sources into writing assignment #2 and six sources into
writing assignment #3. The work you have completed for these assignments provides a solid
foundation for writing assignment #4. In this assignment you will synthesize the ideas of at least
10 sources in a synthesis essay, or literature review.
For your annotated bibliography, you selected a topic based on your interests and, possibly, your
major. You constructed a list of five references and summarized and critically analyzed them in
150-200 words each. You then completed the four-source essay and the six-source essay.
Through this process, you may have seen patterns in the scholarly literature in the topic on which
you conducted research. For example, consider the following examples:
•You may have researched studies in criminal justice and found that there are varying
opinions on how to respond to criminal behavior among youth.
•You may have researched studies in psychology and found that counseling strategies
for victims of domestic abuse tend to fall into four categories.
•You may have researched articles on gerontology and found studies that answered
three basic questions on how older adults respond to training for physical performance.
•You may have researched articles on environmental management and found studies
on climate change. You noticed that various demographic factors influence whether
individuals believe in climate change and, if so, whether they believe it is caused by
human activity.
In the synthesis essay, you will focus your research efforts in a particular area, perhaps as a
response to what you found while writing the annotated bibliography and in constructing the
four-source and six-source essays. You will then conduct more research and synthesize your
findings in this literature review.
Please note that the annotated bibliography, the four-source essay, and the six-source essay
represent a journey in your research.
You might decide to disregard several of the articles you analyzed in the critical annotated
bibliography or in the following two essays because they don’t speak to the specific area on
which you have decided to write your multiple-source literature review. You might select one
article that you analyzed in the critical annotated bibliography, look up the articles cited in that
article, and “snowball” your research in that way.
In other words, this process is a recursive one. You might find reasons to hone in on and narrow
your topic even further after you have written the annotated bibliography.
For these reasons, you are strongly encouraged to write on the same general topic on which you
wrote writing assignment #3. You might focus the topic more for writing assignment #4. Or you
might expand on the topic for writing assignment #4.
How to organize the multiple-source essay:
You will divide the essay into categories. Each category will be labelled with a heading.
In order for you to see this concept with a real-life example, you can access a sample synthesis
or literature review from a psychology student by clicking here. The student writes her paper
on the following topic: Emotional Eating: The Perpetual Cycle of Mood-Food Influence. She
divides her literature into the following categories, which are used as headings throughout the
paper:
•Influence of Mood on Eating Behavior
•Gender Differences
•Influence of Eating Behavior on Later Moods
•Chronic Stress Response Network
Notice how she synthesizes and integrates the research into the different categories, labelled by
headings.
Strategies in Developing Categories
When you have focused on your topic, determine how you will divide the literature. In other
words, consider the following examples we described above:
You may have researched studies in criminal justice and found that there are varying opinions
on how to respond to criminal behavior among youth.
You might divide the paper as follows:
Introduction
Body
•Category 1: “A” view on responding to criminal behavior.
•Category 2: “B” view on responding to criminal behavior.
•Category 3: “C” view on responding to criminal behavior.
•Category 4: “D” view on responding to criminal behavior.
Conclusion
You may have researched studies in psychology and found that counseling strategies for
victims of domestic abuse tend to fall into four categories.
You might divide the paper as follows:
Introduction
Body
•Category 1: “A” counseling strategy for victims of child abuse
•Category 2: “B” counseling strategy for victims of child abuse
•Category 3: “C” counseling strategy for victims of child abuse
•Category 4: “D” counseling strategy for victims of child abuse
Conclusion
You may have researched articles on gerontology and found studies that answered three basic
questions on how older adults respond to training for physical performance.
You might divide the paper as follows:
Introduction
Body
•Question 1
•Question 2
•Question 3
Conclusion
You may have researched articles on environmental management and found studies on
climate change. You noticed that various demographic factors influence whether individuals
believe in climate change and, if so, whether they believe it is caused by human activity.
You might divide the paper as follows:
Introduction
Body
•Political affiliation and its impact on belief in climate change
•Socio-economic status and its impact on belief in climate change
•Religious and other influences on belief in climate change
Conclusion
Point of view
For this essay, you will use third-person point of view.
Please do not use first person point of view (e.g., “I,” “me,” “we”) in writing this essay.
In addition, please do not use second-person point of view (“you” or “your”) in writing this
essay. For example, instead of “Smith argues that, as a director, you have a duty to coordinate
cybersecurity efforts…” you would write, “Smith argues that directors have a duty to coordinate
cybersecurity efforts…”
APA Style
The paper should be formatted in APA style. The video How to format your paper according to
APA style might be helpful to watch. In summary, you should observe the following:
• Use one-inch margins.
• Double space.
• Use size 12 Times New Roman font.
• Include a running head.
• Include page numbers.
• Include a title page.
• Include a “References” page on which you list the articles in APA style
• Do not include an abstract. This paper is not long enough to warrant an abstract.
Submitting the assignment:
You will submit a first draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The first draft will not be
graded. The instructor will provide comments to it.
After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft
will be graded.
Helpful Resources
• Graff, G. and Birkenstein, C., They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic
Writing with Readings. This chapter in in the e-reserves of our class. It mentions
various techniques to apply in stating what an author said and your response to the
author. It is recommended that you read through that chapter so that you might apply
these techniques to this essay.

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