How To Write A Synthesis Essay Step By Step


Writing a synthesis essay is something that you will usually learn to do in high school, or perhaps in the early stages of college. However, it may not have been explained as a synthesis essay leaving you at a loss to what your professor is looking for when you are actually set one of these essays as an assignment! With that in mind we have created this guide on how to write a synthesis essay.

What Is a Synthesis Essay?

In the most basic of terms, a synthesis essay is a piece of writing which draws on information from multiple different sources and ties them together in one coherent composition. The purpose of such an essay is to demonstrate your ability to make meaningful connections between different sources and materials. A successful synthesis essay should be objective and highlight the relationship between different viewpoints. Your thesis should be based on those relationships.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

So now that you have a better understanding of what a synthesis essay actually is, the next question is ‘how do I write on’. If you follow the steps outlined in our guide below, you will be well on your way to producing a good quality essay that will earn you a grade that you can be proud of.

Choosing Your Topic & Style of Synthesis

There are several different types of synthesis essays that you can choose from depending on your assignment and on the types of evidence available. The main types are as follows:

  • Argument Synthesis – An argument synthesis essay should have a strong thesis presenting your own point of view on the topic. You should gather evidence from multiple sources to support your thesis.
  • Review Synthesis – This is most often carried out before an argument synthesis. It is basically a critical analysis of what others have written on the topic at hand. This type of essay is best suited to social science and medicine classes.
  • Explanatory Synthesis – This type of essay is one which does not usually have a thesis statement, or advocate any particular point of view. Instead, it is designed to help the reader understand the topic by presenting background information and facts about it gathered from a variety of sources.

If you have not been allocated a particular topic to work on, then you need to choose carefully. The topic needs to be something broad enough to allow you to find multiple sources. It is likely that you will be given an assigned topic or a list to choose from, but you will still need to narrow it down into a thesis for the essay. The best approach is to read through your research materials and see which aspect has the most evidence to work with.

Creating An Outline

No matter what type of assignment you are writing, we cannot overstate the importance of creating an outline. A good synthesis essay depends on a good solid structure. It is important to get that down from the outset as it will help you to keep on track and create a coherent essay that answers your thesis statement. You will need an introductory paragraph which acts as the hook to pull the reader in and explains your thesis and identifies what aspects of the topic you will be examining.

The body of your essay is where you will explore your evidence and present your thoughts. You can divide this into paragraphs based on the evidence that you have picked out in order to make sure it is in the right order. Finally, you will need to draw your conclusions by pulling together all of your thoughts and stating how they support your thesis statement.

Writing Your Synthesis Essay

Once you have your outline plan you can sit down and start to get your essay written. Follow the plan as closely as possible, but do not be afraid to deviate slightly if you come across some new information or source material. You should usually write a synthesis essay in the third person (he, she, it etc.). You will want to use an active voice and offer clear and accurate information in order to establish credibility. It is important to make transitions between your paragraphs as this will help to make your essay flow logically from one point to the next.

Finalize Your Essay

Once you have written your first draft of the synthesis essay, read through it and make all necessary revisions. You should also take time to proofread your work so that you do not lose points for silly spelling errors. It is worth keeping in mind that if your synthesis essay is part of an AP test, then you will be able to make one draft. You may not be able to revise your essay, but you can still proofread it and correct any minor errors if you have time.

Hopefully this guide for writing a synthesis essay will give you the pointers to make a start on your assignment. If you can get the structure down then as long as you do plenty of research and have a sound argument, you should complete a good synthesis essay.

All you, probably, know what an essay means. But the word “synthesis” gets every student a little bit confused and lost. Well, fortunately, we know how to help you, and this article would be your ultimate writing guide explaining how to write a synthesis essay. Let’s start from the beginning.

What is a Synthesis Essay?

Many students wonder, “What is a synthesis essay?” A synthesis essay is all about combination. While writing this essay type, you stay focused on different factors and ideas at once. The task contains a sample text that an author should analyze.

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Actually, analysis of the given content is a key point in the entire synthesis essay writing. You need to work directly with that prompt and find its purpose, writing style, rhetoric, and the main argument. You must tell what the author of that prompt wanted to express and what his tools were. Your own essay should be built around that text and your main argument.

Having an answer to the question, “What is a synthesis essay?” is not enough to demonstrate the best results in your English writing class.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay?

To understand how to write a synthesis essay, it is necessary to memorize 4 basic elements of a synthesis paper:

  1. Synthesizing sources
  2. Working on a thesis/main argument
  3. Formatting the paper
  4. Talking about the content

A writer is given a prompt to study. These are the instructions prepared by the tutor (e.g., ‘argue to support your hobby which assists in challenging college assignments’).

Draft a tentative thesis statement – the main argument of the entire paper. It is the initial idea which comes to the writer’s mind on the proposed topic. Without a good research, it is impossible to make a candy out of this idea; support your words by the credible information you find either online or in the library. An example: “I think my passion for drinking Coke positively impacts my academic performance as caffeine stimulates brain activity.”

Once the thesis is ready, move to the time-consuming procedure of selecting sources. This is a primary research one must conduct to gather evidence. The sources make people believe the writer’s claim makes sense. You may study information from 6-7 good sources, but a couple of them will help to develop a powerful thesis statement. Among all sources, use credible, up-to-date pieces:

  • Books and e-books
  • Other essays
  • Journal and scholarly articles
  • Graphics and images
  • Documentaries
  • Websites

The credibility of sources depends on the relevance of chosen topic. The close reading is the process which follows any good research. Prepare annotated bibliography (list applied sources), highlight all main text ideas, and take notes during this procedure. Try to connect the best ideas with your synthesis essay writing.

Synthesis Essay Example (Sources)

Evaluating the value of the selected sources is the thing you should do before writing a synthesis essay. try to come up with innovative ideas for the prompt.

To understand how to interpret the prompt and choose sources, we have prepared several examples associated with Coke. You have chosen 8 different sources to speed up your writing. The writer decides Sources number 2, 3, and 4 agree with the main view (thesis). These sources help to prove drinking Coke assists in improving academic performance.

Source 2. Your synthesis paper writing benefits from choosing a documentary about the production of Coke. The documentary reflects the entire process, listing ingredients necessary for the proper human brain activity. The documentary provides necessary information to make your essay essential.

Source 3. One of the English synthesis essays you choose from the existing academic archives online explains the impacts Coke has on some other body parts.

Source 4. Select a source in English which breaks negative stereotypes about your favorite drink. Many parents do not allow their children drink this beverage because of the existing myths; try to prove the opposite using your essay’s arguments. An expert adds:

“If it is a presentation, use the graphic story to illustrate your thesis and supporting evidence. Show the never-ending confrontation between the Coke lovers and haters to prove you respect both sides. Do not ignore naming the negative effects of the drink! It is important to reply to any objections to provide the target audience with an unbiased point of view.”

Mary Ladder, Professor of Literature at GONZAGA UNIVERSITY, US

Types of Synthesis Essay Writing

Two types of synthesis essay writing exist:

  • Explanatory synthesis essay
  • Argument synthesis essay

The explanatory synthesis essay aims to make the reading audience understand the chosen topic. The writer makes an attempt to break the whole topic into separate parts to represent each of them clearly. The explanatory essay is made of the detailed interpretations of objects, locations, events, people, or state of affairs. The writer reflects information in an objective, sober manner. The writer skips obvious details of the analyzed text. Such paper tends to have different sections.

The argument synthesis essay is about proving your main claim is correct through using various effective persuasive methods. A student must apply credible sources in English to support his information. The argumentative synthesis essay writing involves many facts, statistics, in-text citations, quotes, and other techniques used to prove the specific view.

Synthesis Essay Topics

Your synthesis paper should be built around a prompt with perspective for negotiation and discussion. For example, you may analyze text written in Germany during WWII and get your argument with view on modern society and history of that period. It should be content with various views possible. Some good topics to write your synthesis essay:

Good synthesis essay topics would be ones that are debatable, for example:

  • DST (Daylight Saving Time)
  • Abortions
  • Wage and its minimum
  • Immigration
  • Globalization
  • Nature protection
  • Weapon control
  • Social media and its influence on humanity

How to Write a Thesis for a Synthesis Essay?

You need to read the prompt. Even if you are familiar with the target source, push yourself to read it once more; realize your position. Do you support the example text or have a negative review? Structure your claim and write it down for the whole synthesis essay; move to the synthesis essay outline.

Synthesis essay outline writing

Lots of students just don’t realize how important this step is for writing any type of essay or other academic papers. It is the best point to get your essay structure right. The outline is your road map. If you write a typical synthesis essay with three parts (Introduction, Body, Conclusion), you should write three different parts in your outline. Write down all the arguments, supporting facts, and evidence in a proper structure order.

Each argument should approve the statement you are supporting; acknowledge factors that go against your main thesis and idea. This step will make your essay even stronger and more diverse. Please note, that analysis does not mean summarizing - you need to answer related topic questions.

Synthesis essay structure

Synthesis has typical structure, and it looks like that:

Introduction

Thesis

  • Main argument 1
  • Main claim 2
  • Main claim 3

Body

Main argument 1

  • Evidence
  • Analysis of Evidence

Main claim 2

  • Evidence Analysis of Evidence

Main claim 3

  • Evidence
  • Analysis of Evidence

Conclusion

  • Restate your main idea and get your view straight

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Synthesis essay formatting

The formats of synthesis essay are also typical for all academic essays. Three most widespread formats include MLA, APA, and Chicago style. Each of these formats has their typical areas of use (APA is mostly used in Psychology, Education, and Science). Chicago style is a common format for business purposes; MLA works best for Humanities.

Synthesis Essay for AP English Language and Composition

AP English Language and Composition is a tough course of dealing with. The main goal of this course is to your knowledge of the subject and understanding of the material you are working with. And your grammar and perfect formatting do not pay that big role in your essay grade. The main factor that influences your grade is about defending your claim and point of view.

Three main areas of AP English and Composition course that you should focus on are:

  • The argument is the starting and the simplest point. You just need to come up with your statement and get many supporting facts. It all should work to convince your reader that your view is right.
  • Synthesis is the thing that requires some deep research and identifying various areas of one single text. You should identify the agreements and disagreements between sources. It will help to come up with your claim.
  • Rhetorical analysis is the direct work with prompt and its author; find what was his rhetorical tools to appeal to the reader. What was the main idea about the text?

General Synthesis Essay Tips

We should talk about acronyms. Main ones that will help you to deal with this essay are:

Speaker: Write who was the speaker or writer of the original source. Tell what you know about his life and background.

Occasion: Identity what was the time and place when the source of your synthesis essay was created; get the reason why it was created. You may come up with your own suggestion and build your text around it.

Audience: Identify the audience of the original text

Purpose: Identify the tone and purpose of the text

Subject: What was the main claim in original piece?

Another strategy to write your synthesis essay: these three points appeal to different factors that you should identify and analyze.

Logos is the reason. If your sample text has various definitions and quotations, you need to constitute a wider range of backup info to get successful with your essay.

Ethos is philosophy: Apply to sources that demonstrate credibility and reliability of speaker.

Pathos is emotions. It works great for vivid imagery texts with strong language - connect your reader with your source emotionally. It is a tough task to change someone’s view if the person is already linked to the source emotionally.

It is a simple explanation of these three elements. To get a higher grade with your AP Lang, you need to read more about it.

1 last tip to write your synthetic essay well is to apply this scheme to your analysis. Get these five factors identified: Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Structure – feel free to add anything else to your analysis in case it is special.

How to get a higher grade with your essay?

Few main factors that influence your grade for synthetic essay writing:

  • The effective statement about assigned source and its topic.
  • Complete understanding of the source and its subject.
  • Synthesis of sources and position identification.
  • Writer appeals to his researched arguments, not the source itself.
  • Convincing and effective arguments.
  • Clear structure and writing style.
  • Good organization.
  • No grammar or structure mistakes.
  • Quotation of the source.

You should note that the best essays with highest grades always are those with the strong writing style. It means that your essay should be a standalone piece - not just a simple exam essay to get it done. Try to develop your own writing style and get your soul into your essay. You may read some examples of the most popular and successful essays to borrow some ideas and other factors to make your own paper stronger.

Some Extra Essay Writing Advice

Well, these were basic tips and facts about s synthesis essay and its writing specifics. It is recommended to read more about analyzing AP English essays from other sources on the web - it will help you to develop a stronger view of the task itself. The most important thing you need to pay attention to is the thesis statement.

This point plays a great role in your essay, and you need to identify it perfectly; it will be a total failure if readers will not understand your view. All your arguments will look like no purpose and ridiculous.

What we want to advice is to ask yourself a question if your thesis statement is really about your feelings and view. If you are writing your essay with some too short deadline on an exam, you need to stress on your argument in every single paragraph. Then connect each of your ideas to the thesis statement. Write down your thesis statement and put it before dealing with your essay - it will help you to focus on it and add it every time you write a new paragraph.

How does a Great Synthesis Essay Example look?

Synthesis essay writing in English is difficult without having a high-quality synthesis essay example in front of your eyes. Students find many free samples of synthesis essay writing in English online. Keep in mind it is important to decide on the synthesis essay type. Mind topic before searching the examples.

If you’re looking for someone to help you with this tough task, you can always call our professionals. Fill in the simplest order form, and all your academic troubles will be solved immediately.

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