It follows that your ability to write syntheses depends on your ability to infer relationships among sources - essays, articles, fiction, and also nonwritten sources, such as lectures, interviews, observations.
Title pageAbstractTable of contentsIntroductionThesis statementApproach/methodsPreliminary results and discussionWork plan including time tableImplications of ResearchList of references
Explain why it's not clear which of these interpretations is correct.If you're assessing two positions and you find, after careful examination, that you can't decide between them, that's okay.
And you should say something about how the question might be answered, and about what makes the question interesting and relevant to the issue at hand.
In the second place, since the author hasn't figured out what the text means well enough to express it in his own words, there's a danger that his paraphrase may inadvertently change the meaning of the text.
And when you do quote an author, you still have to explain what the quotation says If the quoted passage contains an argument, reconstruct the argument in more explicit, straightforward terms.
Try to figure out what reasonable position the philosopher could have had in mind, and direct your arguments against In your paper, you always have to explain what a position says before you criticize it.
If you don't explain what you take Philosopher X's view to be, your reader cannot judge whether the criticism you offer of X is a good criticism, or whether it is simply based on a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of X's views.
Philosophers sometimes do say outrageous things, but if the view you're attributing to a philosopher seems to be then you should think hard about whether he really does say what you think he says.
For we don't know what the author by calling a fetus "a person." On some interpretations of "person," it might be quite obvious that a fetus is a person; but quite controversial whether it's always wrong to kill persons, in that sense of "person." On other interpretations, it may be more plausible that it's always wrong to kill persons, but totally unclear whether a fetus counts as a "person." So everything turns here on what the author means by "person." The author should be explicit about how he is using this notion.
(For example, if something you say admits of more than one interpretation, he's going to assume you meant the less plausible thing.) If you understand the material you're writing about, and if you aim your paper at such a reader, you'll probably get an A.
But if you write as if it were true, it will force you to explain any technical terms, to illustrate strange or obscure distinctions, and to be as explicit as possible when you summarize what some other philosopher said.
Part of what you're being graded on is how well you can do that.Pretend that your reader has not read the material you're discussing, and has not given the topic much thought in advance.
Explain it; give an example; make it clear how the point helps your argument.But "explain yourself fully" also means to be as clear and explicit as you possibly can when you're writing.
(It's as if the first said "Don't talk too much," and the second said "Talk a lot.") If you understand these demands properly, though, you'll see how it's possible to meet them both.