academic argument synthesis essay | English homework help



Format your essay using MLA style guidelines in 12-point type, use Times New Roman font, and use MLA citations. See pages 586-87 of our textbook for more information about formatting a paper using MLA style. See pages 588-96 for an example of an essay formatted in MLA style. 


1500-2000 words (MLA headings and works cited lists are excluded from the word count) 

Assignment Purpose

The skills required to complete the research paper are the skills necessary to complete your college degree and to work within the larger contemporary culture. The ability to find quality, reliable information and use that information to address contemporary problems large and small is the most valued skill in most professional cultures. You will use every skill we have worked on this semester: summary, analysis, evaluation, synthesis, and argument. The research paper marks the culmination of your work in critical thinking and writing.

Essay Topic

You must make an argument about artificial intelligence based on your research. That means you must compose a clear, limited thesis. The thesis must be arguable. You must support your thesis with strong chains of reasoning based in evidence. All claims must be supported by evidence. You must also make it clear to your audience why your argument matters. Why should they care about this? Persuade us that reading your paper is worthwhile.

You must also address doubts and questions about, as well as counterarguments to, your position. Addressing opposing viewpoints builds your credibility as a writer. You must assume that your audience is skeptical of your claims. Avoid broad generalizations and supposedly self-evident claims. Be precise and exhaustive in your explanations.

You must synthesize a minimum of three academic sources (scholarly, peer-reviewed sources) to use as evidence in support of your argument (you may also include other sources to provide context). Use this evidence concretely and with specificity. That is, simply parroting someone else’s general opinion is not evidence in itself. You must synthesize a minimum of six sources total in the research paper. 

Essay Checklist

Essay Opening 

The opening paragraphs of you essay should provide thorough background and context about your essay’s topic. Your thesis should be presented in this opening section. The opening may consist of several paragraphs.


  • Accurate interpretation and incorporation of source texts
  • Minimum of six credible sources synthesized in the essay, at least three of which must be academic (peer-reviewed) sources 
  • A convincing chain of reasoning supported by concrete evidence
  • Direct quotations and examples from sources

Body Paragraphs

  • A sensible organization that builds on your thesis.
  • Topic sentences must develop the thesis throughout.
  • Unified and cohesive paragraphs
  • Logical transitions between paragraphs
  • Effective incorporation of quoted support, with proper formatting of in-text citation and a works cited page
  • Concise sentences free from grammar and punctuation errors


  • 12-point type
  • Times New Roman (or equivalent)
  • MLA format (heading, parenthetical quotations, works cited page)
  • Relevant title (you must craft a title that succinctly indicates the content of your essay)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph
  • Left-justified (do not center or right-justify your text)
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