First Draft: Synthesis Essay (Informative Report)

First Draft: Synthesis Essay (Informative Report)

A Note on Grading and Feedback for First Drafts

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Please note that you will not receive written feedback from me on the essay’s first draft. You will get written feedback from me on the essay’s revision. You will also conduct peer review of other students’ drafts and receive peer feedback on your draft. The first draft serves as a checkpoint in this crucial stage of the writing process. Writing a draft ensures that you can produce your best writing when you work on the revision. Consequently, the first draft will be graded complete / incomplete.

If you have any questions at all about your essay, please ask me.

Due Date

Submit your first draft to this assignment space as a Word document by 11:59pm Wednesday, 5/27. If you don’t have Word on your computer, you can access it on the Office 365 account given to you by the college.


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.


900 -1200 words (MLA headings and works cited lists are excluded from the word count)


The assignment requires you to conduct research and present an objective report for a general audience. These skills are necessary for navigating general academic research across fields, as well as professional development. Gathering quality information and presenting it clearly for a general audience is a basic necessity of professional development.

Assignment Guidelines

Write an informative report incorporating at least four research sources. You must incorporate at least one academic (peer-reviewed) source, although all sources must be credible. Do not synthesize or cite sources like Wikipedia andsimilar websites; dictionaries; encyclopedias; or other reference works.

The goal is to thoroughly and objectively give an account of a situation, phenomenon, event, or trend for a general audience. Of course, you will still need to compose a central thesis, but your thesis should help you focus your subject instead of arguing a particular position. That is, this document should be more of a news item than an editorial.

To provide a proper overview, you must note not only what experts in the field agree on, but also what they do not agree on.

See pages 146-47 for the key features of reports. See pages 148-56 for a guide to writing reports. Use one of the strategies on pages 151-52 to organize your essay.

Essay Topic

For this essay, you will explore and report on a topic related to Artificial Intelligence (AI). While you won’t write about David Byrne’s “Eliminating the Human,(Links to an external site.)”in this essay, we are using it a sort of springboard for this essay’s topic. Byrne discusses several different topics related to AI, so you may consider reading his article again to help generate ideas about AI.

You may not yet know much about AI. That’s ok! That’s what research is for. College-level research is a process through which you learn new information, not a process with which you locate information you already know. You’ll learn more about AI as you conduct research.

Here are some possible topic starters for your essay. You must narrow from these categories:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and

  • medicine
  • religion
  • literature
  • philosophy
  • politics
  • film
  • agriculture
  • (something else)

For instance, you may want to write a report on how writers use AI thematically in literature. Or you may want to write a report on AI innovations the future of crop management, or how philosophers use AI to talk about free-will, or an overview of the critiques of transhumanism.

Essay Checklist


  • Accurate interpretation and incorporation of source texts
  • Minimum of four credible sources synthesized in the essay, at least one of which must be an academic (peer-reviewed) source
  • Direct quotations and examples from sources

Body Paragraphs

  • Unified and cohesive paragraphs
  • Topic sentences
  • Logical transitions between paragraphs
  • 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)

A Few Writing Resources You May Find Useful

Quotation tips: to an external site.)

Purdue Owl (grammar/MLA/general writing tips): to an external site.)

Title punctuation: to an external site.)

(Scroll up this page for the essay instructions.)

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