Create Create

Skill #2: Critical thinking - Synthesize ideas and information.

You will continque an inquiry-based research process by applying the critical thinking skill of synthesis in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge. You will need to develop expertise with a topic so that you can restructure and present its parts from your own perspective.  When you synthesize ideas and information, you identify patterns, interpret themes, see connections, and chart ideas and information. Pulling together your ideas alongside the information you have gathered is time intensive. Reflection and reconsideration are needed, so you will need to continue applying your critical thinking skills to help you persist through this phase.

Skill-builders & Tools


  • Use web-based and ther technology tools to show connections and patterns in the ideas and information collected.
  • Imagine how the meaning you have constructed can be useful in the world. 
  • Select a tool that will display important connections among ideas by using productivity tools to categorize and analyze information.
  • Restate concepts in your own words and select appropriate data accurately.
  • Integrate new information presented in various formats with previous information or knowledge.
  • Analyze initial synthesis of findings and construct new hypotheses or generalizations if reasonable.
  • Challenge ideas represented and make notes of questions to pursue in additional sources.
  • Refine your understanding of questioning technique.

Watch this video about synthesizing information:

what is synthesis video

Complete the Putting Information Together activity.

Chart your ideas and information. Examine this example of a researcher's scaffold.


higher level thinking/questioning


emotional resilience

Student Resources

Tools for this step: Explore tools to determine which one works best for your research project as well as for your learning style.

text mind mapping tool

gliffy productivity tool

exploratree organizational tool

lucid chart tool

mind meister organizational tool

coggle organizational tool

popplet organizational tool

write design online organization tool

mind map art mapping tool

Teacher Resources

Gr 9-12 Research Guide Standards Alignment

P21 Skills and Tools

Do Now: Gauge your progress by responding thoughtfully to these synthesis questions.
  1. What new understandings did I develop about the topic or idea?
  2. How do those new understandings apply to other situations or contexts?
  3. Have I begun to identify relationships and patterns and thoughtfully reacted to the information I have found?
  4. What new questions do I now want to answer about the topic do I now want to answer about the topic or ideas?
  5. How can I make sense of information that is scattered among many different sources, both in print and online?
  6. How does this compare to other things I’ve read or viewed?

Do Next: Go to the next skill for Step 3: Create