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Gordon DesBrisay, History Faculty

Summary

How does a student avoid summarizing and start synthesizing information in an essay?

That's a great question and it's a classic problem. Thankfully there's a really simple answer and that is: they have to work hard and read a critical mass of sources. Ahat that means is, if you... problem is where people are simply giving you a blow by blow Af what happened or even based on one or two sources. This is where footnotes and endnotes come in. It's a dead give away, if the first three pages of your essay have eight footnotes and they're all from the first two or three pages of this book and then you Aignal that now we're going and then you have another book and you work from five pages of that for the next eight [footnotes]. You want to see that students, the notes can demonstrate this but, of course, it has to be real, that students Are picking and choosing. or their originality comes in and that's the only way, in a story about a well worn topic, origins of the first World War [for example], so that the only way they can leave their mark is to, and it's a real way, is to pick and choose from multiple sources. That gets you away from the problem of simply summarizing. You might be then building your... a more complex narrative.