National Writing Project

TR 17. Written Rhetorical Syntheses: Processes and Products

By: Margaret Kantz
Publication: National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report
Date: January 1989

Summary: Kantz analyzes the composing processes and written products of three undergraduates and gives quantitative analyses of a group of seventeen undergraduate research papers.


Excerpt from Article

When students with similar academic achievement levels write a researched synthesis, how do their composing processes differ? Are composing processes so similar that one can speak of a generic "synthesizing process," or do many different processes appear? What different kinds of decisions do students make about how to do the task, and how do these decisions affect the quality of their essays? Finally, how do successful rhetorical syntheses differ from less successful syntheses, and how are these differences related to differences in composing process? This paper offers three case studies, quantitative analyses of papers written by seventeen undergraduates, and a tentative model of a synthesizing process as partial answers to these questions.

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