Synthesis Matrix Assignment

Please read the entire assignment before beginning.

Directions: Your synthesis matrix provides an opportunity to make sense of all your research by synthesizing it in the form of a matrix. In addition, it functions as an outline of your project as a whole.  You should use at least 8 scholarly or substantive sources (no other kinds of sources!), of which at least 3 must be scholarly, and provide the 3 or more answers to your research question that we worked on this week. Include all answers to your research question that you think you will use in your argument. Keep in mind that each answer to your research question will become one subclaim/reason in your project. Thus, it is VERY important that the answers to your RQ are the best answers you can write and support with research. Your choice of answers to your research question is the MOST important part of this assignment. That is why we worked on it together prior to you beginning this assignment.

You will need to create your own table/chart that looks like the one below. In each of the small boxes that are under the numbers 1-8, write in the name of one author whose work you will use in this matrix. If you have multiple sources by the same author, you will need to differentiate between them by also including a few words from the title.  If a source has multiple authors, you can just write the name of the first author. In each of the boxes across the top, you should delete where it says “answer #1 or #2,” and write each of your because clauses. Then, in the boxes, you will fulfill the central mission of the synthesis matrix– explain how each of your sources support each answer to your research question. Fill in the research in phrase form. You do not need to write complete sentences, but I should be able to understand your matrix. Never fill in a cell with just a quote. The majority of the content should be your own words. In this way, you synthesize and organize your research and prepare to create the written argument that is central to your inquiry project.

Note: Not every source will provide support for every answer to your research question. Thus, you will see blanks in the matrix.


Step I: Write your formal, revised research question beginning with “how” or “why” at the top of the matrix.

Step II: Write your revised main claim that I approved this week.

Step III: The Synthesis Matrix Create your own table in whatever way you prefer. You can use excel, a Google Spreadsheet, a table in Microsoft Word, etc. Two options: 1) You may include an answer (after the first three or more answers) that expresses the counter argument, but be sure to state the actual counter argument. Don’t just write “counter argument.”  You may also add yourself as the last author and state your own point of view.

Step IV: Provide a full MLA or APA citation for each source used in the matrix. Use PURDUE OWL to write your citations correctly.

Step V: Additional Research?

When the matrix is completely done, write a thorough paragraph in which you explain the gaps you see in your matrix. Do you have enough evidence to fully support each subclaim/reason in your paper? What additional research/evidence do you still need to find?  It is normal to have some gaps in your matrix, but if you have too many, then you know you need more research in those areas.


 To Submit: Create a blog post called Synthesis Matrix. Try to copy and paste your synthesis matrix into the blog post. Surprisingly, that worked for me when I tried it! If that won’t work though, you can provide a link. If you use a Google Doc, be sure it is open to the public, as it defaults to private.


Names of Authors Answer #1 Answer #2 Answer #3 Answer #4 Answer #5
Author 1



Author 2



Author 3



Author 4



Author 5



Author 6



Author 7



Author 8







One thought on “Synthesis Matrix Assignment”

  1. A synthesis matrix can take many different forms. In the example table below, the sources are listed in the left column of the table, and the main ideas or themes about the topic are listed along the top of the table.
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UNIV 200: Inquiry and the Craft of Argument, 006

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