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Literature Review Survival Library Guide: Thesis, antithesis and synthesis

created by Alex D'Angelo

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis

The classic pattern of academic arguments is:

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

An Idea (Thesis) is proposed, an opposing Idea (Antithesis) is proposed, and a revised Idea incorporating (Synthesis) the opposing Idea is arrived at. This revised idea sometimes sparks another opposing idea, another synthesis, and so on…

If you can show this pattern at work in your literature review, and, above all, if you can suggest a new synthesis of two opposing views, or demolish one of the opposing views, then you are almost certainly on the right track.

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