Around the world, students are required to master the art of essay writing.
Some of us love essays, and some of us despise them. Wherever you sit on this spectrum, there’s no denying that essay writing is an integral part of academic development.
Essay writing helps students clarify and comprehend ideas and information, analyze material, and think critically. It also lets them sharpen their writing skills, structure arguments, and write logically and persuasively.
Synthesis essays can develop these skills even further.
To write a successful synthesis essay, you must:
It’s truly an exercise of intellect.
Before you get started on your next synthesis essay, read this post. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to write a persuasive and original synthesis essay.
A synthesis essay draws on information from various sources to create an original argument, idea, or question about some given topic. Synthesis essays are common assignments in high school and college classes.
When time is a factor like during exams, professors often give students a prompt and sources. Other times, students will have the freedom to choose their own topic.
In a synthesis essay, you should:
Synthesizing and summarizing are both important skills used in reading, research, and writing.
A synthesis combines ideas from more than one text or source to present a new idea or argument.
On the other hand, a summary identifies the significant elements of a source and condenses it into only the key information.
The two main differences are:
For example, say there was a study about a recent rise in the popularity of food trucks. A summary would capture the essence of the study. A synthesis would draw on other sources to make a new argument.
A summary would explain the key points of the study. Meanwhile, a synthesis essay may try to explain that the rise in food truck popularity is because of the rise in inflation, which is leading people to search for better bargains when dining out.
Here are some other differences between summary and synthesis:
There are three types of synthesis essays
We briefly explain each type below.
Two or more sources are synthesized in an argumentative synthesis essay to present a new argument.
An explanatory synthesis essay uses various sources to present a specific view backed by facts.
This type of synthesis essay is more objective than an argumentative essay. It examines and contrasts ideas but doesn’t typically choose a side or make a specific argument.
A literature review synthesis essay aims to present an overview of the existing research on a specific area of study.
A literature review can also present your overall perspective on the topic.
Synthesis essay formats are:
The synthesis essay format you use depends on the field you are writing about and your professor’s preference.
APA style is typically used for synthesis essays in:
Chicago style is typically used for synthesis essays in:
MLA style is typically used in the humanities.
Learn more about the standards of each formatting style below.
Here are the key points for using MLA format in your synthesis essay:
Here are the key points for using the Chicago format in your synthesis essay:
Here are the key points for using the APA format in your synthesis essay:
Writing a synthesis essay requires combining multiple sources into one unique idea, but that doesn’t mean the whole process needs to be complicated.
We’ve broken the process down into six steps below.
Like most other types of writing, you need to start your synthesis essay with research. When conducting research, analyze and evaluate your sources thoroughly.
Here are some questions you can ask about each source to help with your analysis:
After you’ve analyzed your sources, you should have a good idea of the stance you will take in your essay.
Also, remember to highlight the important text and take notes as you read. It’ll help you later!
Grab your reader’s attention from the get-go with an interesting title.
Your title should strike a balance between informative and intriguing. Make sure that it’s:
Before you put pen to paper, build an outline for your essay.
Creating an outline first allows you to sort out your ideas so you can focus on presenting those thoughts later on. It produces an essay that is more organized and less likely to ramble.
Your outline should create the framework for your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Here are some tips for building a synthesis essay outline:
The introduction is where you set the scene for your synthesis essay. It should hook the reader and make them want to know more.
Throughout your introduction paragraph, present the topic and provide a background of the issue. Discuss the relevance of your topic and stress its importance.
Then you need to add your thesis statement. It’s the last and most important part of your introduction paragraph. Think of it as the blueprint for your synthesis essay.
Your thesis statement should briefly articulate your argument, idea, or question. It should also address how you’ll support this perspective.
Most synthesis essays have three body paragraphs.
To create a strong body paragraph, you can follow this common formula:
Each body paragraph should discuss different points supporting your thesis. Throughout your body paragraphs, the reader should understand the common theme between your sources and their relevance to the text.
To make your writing more dynamic, include counterarguments.
Start by acknowledging evidence that differs from your argument. Then refute the stance by using sources to demonstrate why your position is more correct.
Using counterarguments helps make your essay more compelling because it shows the reader that you’ve examined multiple sides of the topic.
You’re almost at the finish line.
There’s just one thing left, and it’s pretty important: the conclusion paragraph!
Your synthesis essay’s conclusion paragraph should tie everything together and emphasize the significance of your findings. However, this is often easier said than done.
Start by restating your thesis. Make sure it’s paraphrased to present a new interpretation.
Then take the key points from each of your body paragraphs and wrap them up to illustrate their significance to your thesis.
Finally, the last sentence should be a clincher that compels the reader to take a refreshed view of the subject and give them a sense of closure.
Congrats, you now know how to write a synthesis essay!
However, if you want to take your synthesis essay writing to the next level, be sure to follow these 10 tips:
Synthesis essay topics can fall under a wide range of fields and disciplines. So, the prompt possibilities are endless!
If you need a synthesis essay topic or prompt to write about, check out our list of interesting ones below:
Among all the types of essays, few require the level of critical thinking and analysis as the synthesis essay.
By following this helpful roadmap, you can feel confident in knowing how to write a synthesis essay that seamlessly merges sources to create a powerful new idea, argument, or question.
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How to write a synthesis essay is part of an ongoing series of how to write that includes, but is not limited to the following topics:
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