Soaring to successful synthesis writing


  • Linlin Luo
  • Kenneth A. Kiewra



SOAR strategy system


Synthesis writing is a common college requirement. It is a reading-to-write task that involves selecting, organizing, and connecting information from more than one source to construct a new text. College students struggle with synthesis writing because they fail to organize and connect ideas. The present study investigated the synthesis writing benefits of a strategy system called SOAR that helps students select, organize, associate, and regulate information. Experiment 1 investigated the efficacy of SOAR-provided instructional materials. College students studied four texts about creativity with or without SOAR supplements in preparation for writing a synthesis essay. SOAR-aided students produced more complete essays (selecting), better categorically organized essays (organizing), and essays containing more intertextual connections (connecting) than non-SOAR-aided students. Experiment 2 investigated the trainability of SOAR and the effect of student-generated SOAR materials on synthesis writing. College students first completed a baseline synthesis writing task. Next, they either received SOAR training or did not receive SOAR training, instead practicing their preferred strategies. Finally, they performed another synthesis writing task. SOAR-trained students produced more complete and better organized essays than non-SOAR-trained students. Underlying cognitive mechanisms, study limitations, future research directions, and practical implications were discussed.



How to Cite

Luo, L., & Kiewra, K. A. (2019). Soaring to successful synthesis writing. Journal of Writing Research, 11(1), 163–209.