This lesson is going to look at synthesis. What it is, and how to do it in your discussion. You may know the word synthesizer. This is an electronic instrument that has many different instrument sounds in it. When you use a synthesizer, you are pulling together the different sounds that you want to create a piece of music. If we take a closer look at the word we see syn, which means same or together, and thesis, which means put forward or propose. So a synthesis is a pulling together of elements to create something new. You may think of a research paper when you think of synthesis, because there's a lot of information about how to write a synthesis. In a research paper you gathered together information from various sources, decide what supports your main idea and combine your ideas with supporting facts and data from experts to write your paper. The same kind of process happens in a good discussion. You gather together information beforehand, from various sources, such as class lecture, reading or online data, and form your own ideas about the topic. Then you bring that whole mix of information to your conversation. As you share your data and your own ideas, you synthesize. Synthesis should happen during your discussion, and at the end. In a typical discussion, many ideas are put forward. There are exchanges in the conversation. Some people will adjust their comments, and some people will change their minds according to how the discussion progresses. A lot is said, and through it all, there is a natural process of synthesis. Part of this process is editing, both during and at the end of the discussion. Some ideas will be rejected as the discussion unfolds. You don't want to have happen is a conversation that is just summary. Summarizing and synthesizing are both skills that you use a lot in an academic environment, but what's the difference? A summary is a brief version of a longer text, it includes main ideas that are restated. A synthesis is more involved. It involves pulling together information from different sources to support one's own ideas, and in the end create something new. Summary and synthesis naturally happen in an academic discussion, but you want to make sure that your conversation isn't all summary. Let's take a look. Here is a discussion where people are only summarizing. Each person gives an idea, but there's no building on the other ideas. We just have a string of ideas like a line of bricks, it's shallow. The end result of this conversation will not be a cohesive new idea. It will only be a brief review of main points. In a good discussion, there is back and forth sharing, questioning, agreeing, and disagreeing. You hear a lot of transitions like, I think, I agree and I also want to point out. Let's remember that, I don't see how that's relevant if, what about, I want to add. And I see what you're saying. It looks messier than the previous conversation, but this discussion is more dynamic. There is building on each other's ideas. The group members add information, accept and reject ideas, and work together to create a cohesive response to the discussion questions. Now let's take a look at synthesis at the end of a discussion. Remember, a lot was said during the conversation. The last step is to come to a consensus and develop a coherent and concise response. Try to leave some time at the end of the discussion to reflect. Here, everyone has taken a moment to go back over their notes, and also look back at the discussion questions to make sure they touched on everything. It's time to come to a consensus. Consensus means that everyone agrees on the responses to the questions, but remember, everyone doesn't have to agree with each other. You can agree to disagree. This may sound strange, but the important point here is that everyone is satisfied with the conclusions, and those conclusions may be mixed. Your responses should be coherent and concise. Coherent means relevant, logical, organized, they make sense. And concise means brief but complete. Make sure that your answers are not too long, but thoroughly address the questions. To sum up the main points of this lesson, in a good academic discussion you should pull together information from resources, such as class lectures and your own research. Then you should share your ideas with the group, using this data as support. As you share and listen, you should edit. Decide which ideas are most important. And finally, you should pull those ideas together into a coherent and concise response to the discussion questions. This whole process is called synthesis.