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WRTG 391 7970 Advanced Research Writing
Four-Source Essay
Writing Assignment        #2          
The        Four-Source       Essay:                   
Basic      Synthesis            
Summary             of            assignment        
• Task: The four-source essay asks you to synthesize the arguments of four sources.
• Length: minimum of 1000 words. The instructor will give you comments on the first
draft and let you know if you need more development beyond 1000 words.
• Format: APA
• Sources: four sources, all of which you will find through library searches. You will
select a topic of your choice, conduct searches in the library databases, focus the topic,
and determine four sources to use in this essay.
o Please use only four sources. Please do not incorporate more than four sources
into this essay.
Articles to            Use        for          the         Essay    
For this essay, you will select four articles on a topic of your choice. The articles should be on
the same topic but feature different perspectives, opinions, or conclusions about some aspects of
the topic.
For example, if you are majoring in cybersecurity, you might locate four articles about the need
for improved training for employees on mobile security issues. The four articles might take
different angles on the topic, perhaps even disagreeing in some respects.
To use another example, if you are majoring in criminal justice, you might locate four articles on
the CSI Effect. The articles should take different perspectives on the topic. Perhaps one or two
of them say that the CSI Effect exists and one or two say that it does not exist. Or perhaps all
agree that it exists but they all take slightly different approaches to addressing the problem.
Organization for this Essay
You will write an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement. Your thesis statement will
demonstrate what the various sources say on the topic. You might use the Forrest Gump
exercise as an example, although keep in mind that that essay was written in a less formal style
than you want to use for this assignment.
You will also have various body paragraphs that show synthesis. In synthesizing sources, you
will divide your paper into themes.
For example, let us assume that you find four articles on the need for improved training for
employees on mobile security issues. In this situation, assume that the four articles emphasize
different issues. One emphasizes the costs of data breaches to companies. Another emphasizes
reasons that employees do not practice safe cybersecurity practices. Another discusses methods
for training employees. Another mentions costs of training for such initiatives.
You might divide the paper into two categories:
• Reasons for implementing a training program
• Methods of and costs involved in implementing a training program
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 four 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
• Kennedy, M.L. and Kennedy, W., “Synthesis,” from Writing in the disciplines: A reader and rhetoric for academic writers. This chapter in in the e-reserves of our class. It provides an excellent description of an exploratory synthesis essay, a literature review, and a thesis-driven synthesis essay.
• 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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