Explanation of article collection synthesis assignments

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Reference no: EM13731152

Explanation of Article Collection Synthesis Assignments

This activity helps for building your skill at using multiple sources to reach a deeper understanding about the subject you are investigating and about possible managerial applications.

What you are doing and are not doing, when doing a synthesis - You are not looking at a set of articles about a given topic as competitors, from among which you pick one to follow. Treating multiple articles you read about a given subject as competitors, with all but one effectively being discarded after reading, would be a poor way to pick out ideas upon which you intend to further your career as a manager. Instead, you synthesize what is true and helpful in all of them together to reach a deeper state of understanding about the questions being raised.
Also, a written synthesis of ideas contained in multiple sources is organized around issues. It is never organized around individual articles and it is almost never organized around a single author. Thus, each paragraph in the body of your written synthesis focuses on one or more issues. Not one paragraph is ever focused solely on analyzing or summarizing ideas presented in a single article. Devoting one or more whole paragraphs to summarizing / analyzing individual written works is what you did for book reports in high school or as a college freshman, and this assignment is aimed at strengthening a higher-order set of critical thinking skills, skills that are much more like the kind you will want to have developed well by the time you graduate.

• A simple "rule of thumb" you can use to predict your grade, with a fair amount of accuracy, is to ask if you have one or more paragraphs that are wholly focused on one article. If your answer to this question is "yes", then you are all but certain to receive a "D" or "F" if you submit your assignment for grading, without further editing and revision.

An example of an "issue"-focused synthesis - If your first paragraph about the assigned articles summarizes key issues addressed in all articles, and raises one or a few points of difference for the purpose of showing how the articles are different, then you are well on your way to doing a good synthesis. If your second and following paragraphs focus, in turn, on one or more of the issues raised in your introductory paragraph in greater detail, then you're likely to be on the right track. If your concluding paragraph contains a summary of ideas discussed earlier, and presents a summary of what the articles you are synthesizing, taken together, are telling us about a subject (ie: how to make good decisions, how to handle inclusiveness / diversity issues, how to lead effectively, handling teams, ...), then you are likely to be on the right track.

Remember your larger purpose - You always address a larger managerial challenge when looking at multiple sources about a topic--possible subjects could be decision making, motivation, performance management, leadership, change management, and a variety of other topics. Always remember your larger purpose because that becomes the most natural your "compass" for organizing your synthesis -- what's the managerial challenge you'd like to address better, after synthesizing ideas you find in multiple sources? This overall objective is true for this assignment and similar, later assignments, true for the "Synthesis of Current Literature" assignment due later in the semester, and true for the Literature Review portion of your team's research project.

What do I do? - First, take the time to read everything above this set of instructions. It is crucial for understanding what you need to do, for identifying what skills you are practicing by doing this assignment, and for identifying how the skills you are practicing here will help you later in this course. Second, read the articles assigned as readings for this week. Third, upload a MS Word file containing a four to five paragraph written synthesis of no more than 600 words to the assignment upload point. You should have an introductory paragraph that summarize the issues you will raise, one or two paragraphs about issues raised in the articles, and a concluding paragraph about what the articles taken together teach us about the issues they raise, and about how managers can respond to the challenges those articles address.

This assignment is intended to be done individually, without reference to the thoughts of others beforehand, as that is how you would be likely to do this kind of reading after graduation.

Reference no: EM13731152

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