Synthesis & Narrowing a Topic Module

Tutorial Contains

Students work through a series of modules which contain text, video and interactive elements to become familiar with narrowing a topic, scanning an article, and synthesizing their sources.

Target Audience

Lower-division to upper-division undergraduates, or any students needing an introduction or review on synthesizing research.

Tutorial Objectives

  • Learn how to scan results in order to identify conversations and narrow their topic in interesting and current directions.
  • Learn how to quickly scan an article to determine if it will be useful to their topic
  • Learn how to explore the databases strategically in order to learn more about their topic
  • Identify main ideas, arguments, and concepts in an article
  • Identify relationships between several articles
  • Pull together main ideas of a topic


Post-Work: Review 2 articles using GISTS:
Students will watch the reading strategies video and apply the recommended strategies to scan two articles they found in the library that day. Then, they will answer the attached questions about both articles. We recommend having this posted as an assignment in Canvas.

Post-Work: Complete the synthesis matrix
Students will complete their own matrix during the session on their own, and upload their matrix in Canvas for credit. *Note: Instructors will need to hold students accountable (probably with points offered)

Canvas integration

  1. Click the Canvas Download button above and save the file onto your computer
  2. Within your Canvas course, click "Settings" in the left-hand menu
  3. On the right side of the resulting "Course Details" page, click the "Import Content into this Course" button"
  4. Within the "Content Type" drop-down, choose "Canvas Course Export Package"
  5. Click the Browse/Choose File button and browse to the downloaded file on your computer. Click "Open"
  6. Next to Content, choose the "Select Specific Content" button
  7. Click "Import." It will take a few minutes to upload
  8. When you see a blue "Select Content" button, click this button
  9. Check all the options EXCEPT Course Settings and Syllabus Body. Click the "Select Content" button
  10. When the import process is finished, you will see a green Completed button. At this point, you can go into your course modules and place the tutorial modules at the desired location(s) in your course