How to Write a Connection Paper

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Writing a connection paper, also known as a synthesis paper, requires drawing conclusions about multiple sources. These sources can vary --- from fiction to academic articles. In any case, drawing strong connections, as well as differences, between multiple sources is a valuable exercise in learning how to construct an argument and develop an understanding of the value of the sources you are dissecting. Connection papers are a great way to investigate a new topic and learn about the work, which has already been done in the field.

  • Create an outline of the sources you want to draw connections between. Note down the main arguments, plots and content of the sources. For fiction, think about the plot and the characters; for academic items, note down the main argument and the use of sources. The idea behind this step is to get a sense of the overarching arguments and goals the authors have.

  • Open the paper with a clear introduction. The introduction should introduce the items you will be making connections between and end with a clear statement that reflects your overall view of the connection paper. For example, if the connection paper is about two novels, a clear thesis statement would be: "These two novels, while both set in nineteenth century Russia, approach the topic of forced labor in vastly differing ways, suggesting that the authors have divergent views on government reform." This main thesis statement will be the platform from which you build the rest of the connection paper.

  • Write the body of the connection paper by using a single point of comparison or contrast for each paragraph. For example, if you are discussing two novels, you may use a paragraph to contrast the two leading characters of the novel. Other topics could be the overarching plot, the use of language or the organization of the two novels. In each case, begin the paragraph with a clear topic sentence, which introduces the element you will be discussing. An example topic sentence would be: "The leading female characters in 'The Idiot' and 'Fathers and Sons' both threaten society in conspicuous ways, yet their intentions are markedly different." Give specific examples to support your main topic sentence.

  • Conclude the connection paper by restating your main thesis from the introduction. At this point in time, you can do a recap of the main connections between the sources but refrain from recapping every topic sentence; only include major points that bolster your main thesis statement. The conclusion should also suggest other themes, which could be discussed in future connection papers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have a peer or colleague edit your paper for grammatical mistakes and clarity.
  • Edit the paper a few times by reading the text out loud to yourself.

References

  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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