By: Barbara P.
20 min read
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: Mar 22, 2023
Are you tired of feeling lost and confused while trying to make sense of various sources for your essays? Do you struggle to bring together different perspectives and make a well-supported argument?
If so, you're in the right place!
This guide is here to take you on a journey to becoming a synthesis essay pro. With easy-to-follow tips, examples, and a comprehensive breakdown of the process, you'll be crafting top-notch synthesis essays in no time.
So buckle up, grab a pen, and let's dive into the exciting world of synthesis essay writing!
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A synthesis essay is the most common type of assignment in high school and college. As per it’s definition, it is an essay where a writer gathers information from several sources and then synthesizes it to support the thesis statement. So, for a great essay, you need to collect ideas that support your topic and claim.
Moreover, the essay is made up of ideas and conclusions based on the reviewed information. Also, synthesis essays can share similarities with analysis, argumentative, or compare and contrast essays.
A good essay is based on thorough research. The research helps to combine various previously conducted relevant studies. It provides you with the basis to create a strong perspective on a topic.
Synthesis essays are one of the most engaging types you can face. This type of essay for college or university students is designed to demonstrate that they're able to deal with extensive research.
The main purpose of this essay is to:
Synthesis essays can be categorized into two different types. Each type of essay has a unique purpose for writing. These are;
It is also known as a research synthesis essay. In this type, the author explains the issue in detail. Also, this type is normally used in social studies, literature, and history classes.
Take a look at this example and better understand this essay type.
This type focuses on the writer’s thoughts and explains a topic from an impartial viewpoint. Its main aim is to persuade the reader and support the argument with evidence.
The following is an example for your ease.
A synthesis essay typically follows the five-paragraph essay structure, but there are slight differences. Take a look at the below table and know how a synthesis essay is structured in different ways.
This is useful if the ideas are related. If the first ideas are easier to understand than the latest ones, it is helpful for people to understand the earlier ideas before getting to the later ones.
This cannot be used to argue, but it can be used to organize thoughts in essays that show how ideas are related. This is helpful when the writer wants readers to see how ideas are connected. The order of ideas can also be helpful for explaining why something happened.
You should present your arguments in this order: the least important or persuasive first, and the most important or persuasive last. This is because the reader will remember the last argument more clearly, and so will remember the most important point.
The essay begins by discussing the problem. The rest of the essay is used to provide solutions to the problem in any order you choose.
This is the order of ideas that are in the opposite way of an argumentative essay. The most important ideas will come first, and then the weaker ones. This can be helpful when you are trying to make your argument stronger.
Comparison and Contrast Order
There are two main ways to compare and contrast ideas in a synthesis essay. You can summarize each source and then talk about the similarities and differences. Or you can present each idea block by block.
Now with all that basic information down, lets get started on how to get started on your essay.
When you start writing the essay, make sure to know your purpose and develop your perspective on the subject. A perfect essay requires that you present information in an organized way.
The following are the steps you should follow to start your essay well.
1. Choose a Topic
The topic selection is the first step of starting the essay. When you choose the topic, you should know the audience’s interest and knowledge level. Also, the essay topic should never be too broad or narrow, so you can easily write about it.
Moreover, when you choose the essay topic, make sure that the data is easily available. Otherwise, you spend a lot of time in the research phase.
2. Gather Information
Once you select the essay topic, start collecting data for your essay. Again, read your sources carefully and gather pertinent information that helps to develop a strong thesis statement.
3. Synthesis Essay Thesis Statement
Synthesis writing always includes a thesis statement, which is the main argument of the essay. The thesis statement summarizes an essay's main point. It conveys your stance to the reader.
The following example gives you an idea of how to write the thesis statement for an essay.
Free College Education
Every year, the cost of higher education in the US rises by around 28%. This leads to over 55% of students not being able to afford college. If fees continue to rise, soon no one will be able to afford higher education. However, providing free education can significantly support society, ensure equality, and lead to a more educated and productive workforce.
4. Synthesis Essay Outline
An outline is essential for any essay. Without it, you will be writing your draft haphazardly and will have no idea what the purpose or focus of your essay is.
Creating a quality outline only takes time and research but will ultimately help you in your entire writing phase.
Here is an example outline to help get you started
I. Introductory Paragraph
A. Background Information
B. Thesis Statement
II. Body Paragraphs
A. Topic Sentence 1
B. Evidence 1
C. Analysis of Evidence 1
D. Transition to the Next Idea/Argument
E. Topic Sentence 2
F. Evidence 2
G. Analysis of Evidence 2
III . Concluding Paragraph
A . Restatement of Thesis
B . Final Thoughts on Argument
C . Call to Action (Optional)
After creating the outline of your essay, start writing the essay. Every well-structured essay has the following three parts.
1. Synthesis Essay Introduction
An essay introduction is the first and an important part where you can easily grab the reader’s attention. The introduction of the essay contains several elements:
Below is an example for your ease.
Should higher education be free?
Tuition fees for colleges and universities have been gradually increasing over many years. The main reason for the increase in tuition is that, a long time ago, people saw higher education as a privilege. However, things have changed a lot since then. Even though free higher education still sounds like a good idea, the wealth of one's family should not determine their future.
2. Synthesis Essay Body Paragraphs
After the introduction, write the essay’s body paragraphs and use the MEAL approach - Main Idea, Evidence, Analysis, and Link back.
Now, let's look at some examples of synthesis essays to help you write your own.
Should higher education be free?
We need to provide free higher education to improve our societies. When people have access to education, they can learn more and solve problems better. This will help reduce the gap between different social classes.
3. Synthesis Essay Conclusion
The conclusion is the last step of the essay, where you summarize the entire essay and answer whether or not your thesis statement makes sense. The essay conclusion should contain several elements:
Below is an example that gives you an idea of how to conclude your essay.
Should higher education be free?
The cost of higher education has gotten too expensive for many students. This leads to more people working jobs they don't want and makes it difficult for them to make ends meet. This creates a bigger gap between the classes and increases the rate of poverty. We need to make sure that everyone has a choice and make higher education free and accessible for everyone in order to fix this problem.
When you finish writing the essay, start the proofreading phase. First, remove all the complex words or sentences that are difficult for the readers. Also, eliminate all the grammatical, vocabulary, and punctuation mistakes.
An essential part of writing a synthesis essay is to format it in the style that is required by your teacher or professor. The three most common formats are MLA, APA, and Chicago style. Here’s a brief look at each of these styles:
Once you’ve chosen the format, make sure to follow the guidelines and make any necessary changes.
Take a look at these synthesis essay examples to see how you can make your own essay more interesting and engaging.
For an engaging and creative essay, it's important to find the right topic - one that will make people take notice.
For your help, we gathered some great topics that you can use for your essay.
Let’s take a look at how to go about choosing the perfect topic for your synthesis essay.
A good way to come up with ideas for your synthesis essay is to brainstorm a lot of topics. To do this well, it helps to break each idea down into smaller parts.
For example, if you want to write about how technology affects society, break that down into smaller topics like cyber security, social media, or artificial intelligence. Once you have your list of ideas, make it smaller by only keeping the topics that are most relevant and interesting to you.
Now that you have a list of possible topics, it is time to learn more about them. Research is important when you are trying to find the right topic. It helps you understand the issue better and figure out what would make an interesting analysis.
When you are researching your topics, look for studies or findings that might be helpful, and take notes. This will be useful when you are writing your argument later on!
Now that you have chosen a topic for your essay, it is time to find sources that will help support your argument. Make sure that all of the sources are reliable.
If you use unreliable or old sources, it could invalidate your main points. Additionally, make sure to cite all of the sources using the correct formatting style.
With these steps broken down into simpler tasks – finding the perfect topic shouldn't be too challenging after all!
Check out this video on how to properly read your sources for a synthesis essay.
Here are some tips from our experts on how to write a synthesis essay. Follow them and create a great essay in no time.
Research: When looking for information to use in your research, it is important to make sure that the data is valid and has not been disproven elsewhere. Do not be afraid to do extensive research, and read widely before synthesizing the information.
Create an Outline: You will be able to organize your thoughts better by creating an outline for your synthesis essay.
Use Hook Statement: To write an effective essay, you need to hook your reader from the first line.
Use Good Words: The goal of an essay is to communicate your ideas clearly and make a convincing argument. This is done by using precise, vivid words.
Paragraph Structure: A paragraph should be neither too long nor too short. It should have a topic sentence that introduces the main idea.
Use Transition Words: In order to create a well-organized and cohesive essay, it is important to use transition words that will smoothly connect one sentence or paragraph to the next.
Proofreading: No matter how well-written your synthesis essay is, if there are mistakes in grammar and sentence structure, people may not bother to look for your points. Thus, try to remove all the mistakes.
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!
Cite Sources: You should always cite your sources when you write something. This is because plagiarism is bad and can get you in trouble.
Here is a table that outlines the synthesis essay rubric with point ranges and descriptions:
Effectively develops a position, demonstrates full understanding of sources, synthesizes sources, and is convincing
Adequately develops a position, demonstrates sufficient understanding of sources, synthesizes sources, and is sufficient but less developed
Inadequately develops a position, misunderstands or oversimplifies sources, and has weak control of organization and syntax
This rubric can help you assess your synthesis essay and determine where there are areas for improvement. When you review the rubric, be sure to look at each point range in order to understand what is expected. This will help you ensure that you have met all of the criteria needed to create an effective synthesis essay.
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There are several ways to get started with writing it. One way is by offering some intriguing fact that may not be well known or something you find interesting about your topic. Then, share it in an opening sentence for the introduction paragraph. Another option would be to start the essay with a famous quote related to your topic.
A synthesis essay is a written discussion of ideas. It involves gathering information from several sources and then synthesizing it.
Here are some ways that will help you to introduce a synthesis essay.
The five-paragraph structure is a basic starting point for synthesizing essays. There is a slight variation; however, it depends on your topic and teacher requirements.
Here are some steps that you should follow while ending the essay.
No, they both are different. The synthesis paper is like creating any other type of thesis, and a synthesis essay is a written discussion of ideas.
Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.