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Kinesiology & Health Education

Information Synthesis

Summarizing vs. Synthesizing

While a summary is a way of concisely relating important themes and elements from a larger work or works in a condensed form, a synthesis takes the information from a variety of works and combines them together to create something new.

Synthesis:

"Synthesis is similar to putting a puzzle together—piecing together information to create a whole. The outcome of this synthesis might be numeric, such as in an overall rating perhaps best typified in a quantitative weight and sum strategy, or through the use of meta-analysis, or the synthesis might be textual, such as in an analytic conclusion."

Synthesis. (2005). In Mathison, S. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412950558

More on synthesizing information

Examples

Summary of 1 article:

Vague pointed out abdominal fat toxicity to be responsible for severe obesities and serious associated prognosis in adults, in opposition to the gynoid shapes which do not expose to similar hazardous health complications [44].

44. Vague J. The degree of masculine differentiation of obesities: a factor determining predisposition to diabetes, atherosclerosis, gout, and uric calculous disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1956;4(1):20–34. 
 

Summary of 2 articles:

Moreover, beyond global excess weight, the role of the abdominovisceral adiposity as independent cardiometabolic Gillum [18] also showed an improvement in blood pressure prediction in youths (6–17 y) by adding WHR to BMI. Maffeis et al. [20] showed significant associations between Waist C and Apo lipoproteins, HDL-cholesterol, total/HDL cholesterol ratio, blood pressure, after BMI, age and sex adjustments in prepubertal children aged 3 to 11 years old.

18. Gillum RF. The association of the ratio of waist to hip girth with blood pressure, serum cholesterol and serum uric acid in children and youths aged 6–17 years. J Chronic Dis. 1987;40(5):413–20.

20. Maffeis C, Pietrobelli A, Grezzani A, Provera S, Tato L. Waist circumference and cardiovascular risk factors in prepubertal children. Obes Res. 2001;9(3):179–87. 

Synthesis of multiple articles:

Actually, some studies used continuous data [15, 18–20, 28], while others analysed categorical data [13, 24, 26, 27, 45]. Indeed, using categorical rather than continuous data might result in information loss. The lack of standardized international thresholds to define weight status in children (e.g., for normal-weight versus overweight and obesity) may also impact data interpretations…. The lack of a specific national percentile distribution of anthropometric data in youths appears to be an undeniable issue.

13. Garnett SP, Baur LA, Srinivasan S, Lee JW, Cowell CT. Body mass index and waist circumference in midchildhood and adverse cardiovascular disease risk clustering in adolescence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(3):549–55.

15. Lawlor DA, Benfield L, Logue J, Tilling K, Howe LD, Fraser A, et al. Association between general and central adiposity in childhood, and change in these, with cardiovascular risk factors in adolescence: prospective cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed). 2010;341:c6224

18. Gillum RF. The association of the ratio of waist to hip girth with blood pressure, serum cholesterol and serum uric acid in children and youths aged 6–17 years. J Chronic Dis. 1987;40(5):413–20.

19. Gillum RF. Distribution of waist-to-hip ratio, other indices of body fat distribution and obesity and associations with HDL cholesterol in children and young adults aged 4–19 years: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999;23(6):556–63.

20. Maffeis C, Pietrobelli A, Grezzani A, Provera S, Tato L. Waist circumference and cardiovascular risk factors in prepubertal children. Obes Res. 2001;9(3):179–87.

24. Gillum RF. Association of serum C-reactive protein and indices of body fat distribution and overweight in Mexican American children. J Natl Med Assoc. 2003;95(7):545–52.

26. Freedman DS, Kahn HS, Mei Z, Grummer-Strawn LM, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SR, et al. Relation of body mass index and waist-to-height ratio to cardiovascular disease risk factors in children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(1):33–40.

27. Savva SC, Tornaritis M, Savva ME, Kourides Y, Panagi A, Silikiotou N, et al. Waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio are better predictors of cardiovascular disease risk factors in children than body mass index. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000;24(11):1453–8.

28. Gillum RF. Indices of adipose tissue distribution, apolipoproteins B and AI, lipoprotein (a), and triglyceride concentration in children aged 4–11 years: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Clin Epidemiol. 2001;54(4):367–75

45. Maximova K, Chiolero A, O’Loughliin J, Tremblay A, Lambert M, Paradis G. Ability of different adiposity indicators to identify children with elevated blood pressure. J Hypertens. 2011;29(11):2075–83. 

References

Samouda H, Beaufort C, Stranges S, et al. Adding anthropometric measures of regional adiposity to BMI improves prediction of cardiometabolic, inflammatory and adipokines profiles in youths: a cross-sectional study. BMC Pediatr. 2015;15(168):1–9. doi: 10.1186/s12887-015-0486-5 

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How to Synthesize

Basic steps for synthesizing information:

  1. Highlight the main themes/ideas of each article
  2. Note which themes and ideas appear across multiple articles
  3. Discuss how each article deals similarly or differently with each theme
  4. Discuss how combining the information from all three articles can better address your research question than a single article alone
  5. Write your deductions from combining this information in your own words using all three articles

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