A person creates a pie by bringing together different ingredients. The base of any pie or cake is eggs, milk, sugar, and flour. Other ingredients are added for flavor such as vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and some fruit. What you choose to add for “other” ingredients depends upon the kind of pie or cake you want to make. No matter what kind of pie or cake you plan to create, you must have your base. Therefore, eggs, milk, sugar, and flour are your foundation. Without these key ingredients, your pie or cake can’t function as a pie or cake. All of the “other” ingredients will be in the bowl for aesthetic value alone.
When you keep the base and add in the “other,” and mix the base with the other ingredients, you no longer taste the base, but you can taste the cinnamon or the nutmeg. This is because the person mixes all of the ingredients together to form what the whole will taste like. If you plan to make a sweet potato pie, the final product should include nutmeg within this kind of pie. If nutmeg is missing as a key ingredient, then any grandmother, mother, or chef will know.
When you write a paper that has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, you have established your base. When you add “other” ingredients such as a thesis, a theme, and credible supporting information, you begin to make a specific type of pie or cake. If you write your paper (create your pie/cake) with the intention of developing it as an argument, then the final product needs to reflect this. If one ingredient is missing, then any teacher, professor, or rhetorician will know immediately that you do not have a fully prepared, fully baked paper.
For example, if you have only the thesis, or the support, these elements are just “other” ingredients in a bowl; they appear aesthetically pleasing, but they are not the “base.” If you have these ingredients, the foundational elements, and all of the pieces of an argument, then you have a fully developed paper.
With this in mind, to synthesize something is to put together purposely parts or elements with the intention of forming a whole. No one ever sits down to piece together a puzzle with the intention of leaving out the defining piece. When you receive the comment “Excellent Synthesis,” your paper reflects, as a final product, the five-paragraph format, the base; a clearly definable thesis; verifiable and credible support; appropriately transitioned paragraphs; proofread and revised content; and a well-developed argument, missing none of the standard pieces that form an argument.
Your paper also reflects a careful, conscious consideration of each element organized into a whole. “Excellent synthesis” means that your paper is whole, nothing missing, nothing forgotten, nothing left to be assumed.
Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.