I’m working on a spanish writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Guidelines for final project: SYNTHESIS PAPER
For this project, you will search for and collect academic articles relevant to a specific topic in the area of Spanish bilingualism, and then use the information in these articles to compose your own synthesis paper . You should first select an appropriate topic (see possible topics below) and make sure that (a) it is balanced in terms of its scope (i.e., neither too broad nor too narrow) and (b) you can find enough articles on the topic selected (by conducting a preliminary search) in order to develop your synthesis paper. Once you have a topic, it is recommended that you formulate some specific questions to guide your exploration of the literature. It would be a good idea to check with me, your instructor, before you start reviewing the literature, so that we both agree that the topic is feasible, relevant, and properly defined.
Sample topics in Spanish bilingualism:
(c) Language maintenance among Hispanic-Latino bilingual families in the U.S.
What factors affect maintenance of the home language?
What conditions favor language maintenance?
What do families do to maintain the home language?
What are the consequences of (not) maintaining the home language?
How do family members feel about their heritage language?
Notice that the questions after each topic heading above help to focus the review of the literature, so I would encourage you to formulate your topic in such a way. At first, you may want to have more than one potential topic in case your first choice turns out difficult to research. A preliminary survey of the literature should give you a good idea as to whether or not you can find enough information on your chosen topic. To do this, you should be able to conduct efficient library searches, using not only the library catalog, but also its electronic databases (e.g., Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts) and specialized search engines (e.g., Google Scholar).
Selecting bibliographic sources:
For this project, you should start by locating about 10-12 relevant academic sources (references), preferably published within the last 15 years. They should be, for the most part, academic journal articles and/or book chapters. You may include no more than three references from other sources (monographs, websites, blogs, newspaper articles, general interest magazines). Make an effort to locate up-to-date research reports rather than opinion or argumentative papers. I advise you to locate around 10-12 potential sources / articles from which to select the most relevant 8-10, since not all of your sources may end up being relevant and/or included in your synthesis paper. The selection of the final sources would be, to a certain extent, dependent on the sub-topics or aspects you decide to focus on in your synthesis paper. My suggestion would be to try to select the 8-10 articles that can be grouped more easily into sub-topics. This would help you organize your synthesis paper since these aspects can actually become sections (sub-topics) in the paper.
Reading, summarizing and/or annotating your preliminary bibliography:
Once you have selected your articles, summarize and/or annotate them, highlighting the most important information, i.e., what specific aspects / issues are being addressed by the author(s) in each article. Then, organize the information into possible sub-topics and start outlining your synthesis paper. You may want to keep a reading log in which you keep summaries, interesting excerpts and quotes, your own questions and comments, etc. In your reading log, you may also include your own evaluation of each article: Did you learn anything new or interesting from it? Did it help you better understand the issue at hand? Are the results meaningful, important, relevant? Once you have read, summarized, and annotated your sources, you should be in good shape to start drafting your synthesis paper.
Composing your synthesis paper:
Based on your reading of the articles you collect (and additional sources if relevant, e.g., our textbook), write a paper where you define the topic, discuss what is known about it according to the authors you read, and synthesize the information collected in a logical, coherent manner. This paper should be your own paper with references made to the literature, NOT a mere summary of the information annotated NOR a series of quotes with commentary. Your paper should reflect not only your understanding of the topic but also your critical thinking about the articles read and the issues related to the topic selected. Therefore, the paper should be organized around key issues emerging from your reading of sources and end up with a critical evaluation and/or a reflection of your own learning / understanding of the topic. It is expected that the paper will make use of properly formatted in-text citations and include a list of references at the end (preferably APA format). The expected length is 2500-2800 words (excluding references), i.e., about 7-8 pages (font 12, 1.5 spacing).<lastname+firstname+synthesis></lastname+firstname+synthesis>