Workshop Sheet: Synthesis/Response (McMahon)

As you workshop your partner's paper, answer the following questions as specifically as possible. Where they are needed, give at least one suggestion for improvement. These questions represent the criteria for an effective Synthesis/Response and will help you determine if the paper has met the requirements of the assignment. I will be asking the same kinds of questions when I read the Synthesis/Response essays.


  1. Does the introduction clearly present the main synthesis point that will be the focus of the essay? Do you as a reader have questions about the exact nature of the synthesis point? If so, note your confusion for the writer and suggest ways the synthesis point could be more clearly presented for the reader.
  2. Does the introduction clearly present the three authors whose perspectives will be developed within the synthesis? Does the introduction prepare the reader for these authors' perspectives toward the synthesis point? If not, suggest ways the writer can effectively and concisely introduce each author and each author's perspective toward the synthesis point.
  3. In the body of the synthesis, how explicitly and accurately are the authors' perspectives presented? If needed, suggest ways to improve the presentation of these perspectives.
  4. How clearly are the connections made among the authors' perspectives? Does the writer make use of "transition" words or phrases that allow the reader to see these connections clearly? If the connections among the authors' perspectives are unclear, make a note of this to the writer. Suggests ways the writer could make the connections among the authors' perspectives clearer.
  5. List below the similarities and/or differences among the authors' perspectives as found in the synthesis.


  1. Is there a clear transition from the synthesis to the response so it is obvious that the writer is now sharing his/her own ideas? What needs to be done to make this clearer?
  2. What is the writer's stance toward each of the author's perspectives? Is it easy to identify the writer's stance of agreement/disagreement or judgment of strong/weak in regard to each author's perspective? If not, suggest ways the writer can make his/her position clearer.
  3. How well does the writer develop his/her response? For each judgment of strong/weak is there a stance of agree/disagree or ample support? What kinds of support or evidence does the writer use to develop his/her response (personal experience, logical analysis, outside texts, etc.)? Write down the places where the response needs to be more fully developed.