Caitlin Holmes, College Professor, Writing Teacher, Digital Rhetoric
Many of my students ask me about how to move from the synthesis stage of writing (bringing together the scholarship and works of others) to developing a legitimate point of engagement as a writer. I have a few tips and suggestions to help with this process:
Find sources that are deeply in conversation with one another. Specifically, pay attention to where writers are talking about/to one another about their research. Read in the introduction or "literature review" section. They will find points of concern with one another and build off the previous scholar's research. It can give you a better idea of what's been done on a particular area of inquiry. Those readings from your class are a place to begin - they can provide great context for an introductory paragraph! Consider trying some outside research to supplement your thoughts.
Try writing down each source's main point on a sticky note and grouping together sticky notes/writers according to similar ideas. Among those groups of writers, what hasn't been discussed? A point that hasn't been made?
A great text to try out is They Say/I Say, by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. Their book provides some smart ways - especially in the "Yes/No/Okay, But" chapter - on how to begin engaging with writers and developing a clear position between them. Their templates are very useful for new writers to start practicing skills related to source use and developing a thesis. This text is frequently assigned in first-year composition courses, where students are practicing the skills you mention in your question.
Learning these skills takes time and practice. That you are concerned about just regurgitating the same arguments as other writers tells me a lot about your sophistication as a thinker!