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A Synthesis Essay: the Essence, Features, and Writing Tips

The variety of essays is overwhelming. Any student will write hundreds of them on every level of studies. Teachers and professors favor this format, but students might not. Any essay requires lots of work and consumes lots of time. Besides, the types of essays are so many that the first challenge is to understand what precisely you have to do with that essay. 

Writing a synthesis essay has its specificity. That’s why we at prepared this article on how to write a good synthesis essay. We’ll explain what is a synthesis paper, how it differs from other assignments, and what you should focus on to succeed. 

What is a Synthesis Essay and Why You Should Worry About It?

Any assignment starts from understanding. You’d be surprised to learn how many students fail the tasks because of being inattentive when working on their pieces. To determine how to write a synthesis, we need to clarify what this assignment means and demands. 

The synthesis essay definition is a specific essay type that presents an idea on the subject backed by information from many different sources. Hence, you must explore multiple resources related to the topic (they can be printed pieces, videos, podcasts, speeches, etc.). Your goal is to define their cores and synthesize the information on the subject to develop an integral opinion and, preferably, a new prospect. 

Such essays are traditional tasks during the AP tests and other classes. A student must conduct extensive research, apply the analytical skills at full capacity, and then use the synthesis methods to build a comprehensive concept on the subject. Hence, you need to know how to write a synthesis essay, as, most likely, you won’t have a chance to omit this assignment during your studies. 

2 Types of Synthesis 

As we can see, the essence of a synthesis essay is similar to preparing any research paper. You have to research a topic in-depth, determine the leading points of view of any sources, and thus develop some general line. However, it is more demanding to the background and evidence. The primary goal of a researcher is to define the connections between various sources, how they support each other, and which points they focus on. 

Depending on the focus, we define the following types of synthesis: 

  • explanatory synthesis focuses on collecting and sorting facts about the subject. It presents the information to readers and lets them make conclusions instead of advocating some definite point of view;
  • argument synthesis grounds on the writer’s opinion about the topic. It presents the evidence and relates them logically to the thesis statement to support the fundamental point of view in the essay. 

When writing a synthesis essay, you will also need to review the sources. The Review aims to present leading opinions about the topics that are currently in place. It deals with the sources used for the essay and analyzes them all critically. 

What You Should Consider When Developing the Synthesis Essay Structure?

The synthesis essay structure matches the same three-part pattern we apply to all other essay types. You need the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion parts. Each of those parts has its specific requirements for the contents. 

The Introduction is about one paragraph in size (rarely more, if your essay must be prolonged). In this part, we need the following elements: 

  • the hook. It is the opening sentence or a couple of sentences. They aim to grab the readers’ attention – it may be a quote, a question, some interesting fact, etc. Of course, it must be relevant to the topic; 
  • the issue. Here you explain the topic and why you consider this research valuable. Also, it is the right place for highlighting the background of the problem and presenting the review of the leading opinion; 
  • the thesis statement. It is the central idea of your essay, which you will prove further. This statement may also serve as a transition to the Body section. 

The Body is the largest part of an essay. The number of paragraphs depends on the task requirements. Still, this part consumes about 75% of the entire essay. When writing a synthesis, pay attention to the following features: 

  • each Body paragraph must be complete, with an opening sentence and mini-conclusion in the end. After the opening sentence, you have to provide the evidence to support the claim, both your reasoning and references to a reputable source;
  • all paragraphs must be logically related to each other and the thesis statement. You should use transitions to connect all elements into one whole;
  • the selection of facts and the way of presenting them must match the chosen synthesis type, explanatory or argument. Pay attention that you need to analyze them all thoroughly instead of summarizing only. 

The Conclusion paragraph should draw the bottom line to your findings. Pay attention to the closing sentences – they must engage the audience too and leave the people considering the topic. You may use the same methods as for the opening hook. 

The Practical Approach to Writing a Synthesis Essay

The precise approach to how to write a synthesis paper depends on the life circumstances. This assignment may be a part of your homework or a practical task in classes. Hence, your methods will get determined by those conditions. There will be obligatory steps in both cases. Other approaches may vary. 

  1. Start with the topic. The homework assignments usually allow more freedom of choice. In classes, you may have a predefined prompt. When you take it, read the prompts carefully and make sure that all details are clear for you. 
  2. Research the issue. If writing a synthesis paper is a part of the exam, you will have the ready sources to use. In other cases, you will look for resources and examine them. Make notes and mark the fragments that you are going to use. It is better to avoid direct quotations, so summarize and paraphrase the statements. Always include the source details for in-text references and bibliography at once – it will save you time later. 
  3. Outline the essay. Don’t skip this stage even if you are writing a synthesis essay during the lesson. It will take several minutes only, but it will help you organize your thoughts and develop the proper structure. Therefore, further writing will be faster. 
  4. Write according to that outline. Depending on the environment and the time limit you have, you may have several drafts. However, you will always have at least one. You may deviate from the initial plans – it is normal if it matches your goal better. 

It helps when you use specific techniques to make your synthesis essay more impressive. 

  • the illustration technique is appealing to the concrete examples from the sources; 
  • the “straw man” technique is presenting arguments for the opposite point of view and disproving them;
  • the concession technique is comparing your arguments with counter-arguments to prove your position stronger;
  • the “compare and contrast” technique appeals to similarities and differences between the subjects.

These methods demand more time, so they might be more appropriate for homework assignments. However, you can train yourself well and apply these approaches on exams too – it will show your proficiency. 

Appropriate Synthesis Essay Topics and Their Significance 

When you select topics for your synthesis essay writing, follow the usual recommendations: 

  • give preferences to those that are appealing to you personally, as they motivate you better;
  • stick to more concrete topics. If you have broader ones, narrow them down to focus on some aspects;
  • avoid unequivocal topics. There should be a valid opposite point of view that you would argue. 

Here we can offer you some topic suggestions for your synthesis essay:

  1. How social networks impact socializing?
  2. How did the phenomenon of TikTok stars rise? 
  3. How did social media change journalism? 
  4. Can distant education replace the traditional forms? 
  5. Should college education become free?
  6. How does Twitter influence modern morality? 
  7. Does the inequity gender problem still exist? 
  8. How does modern cinema reflect the latest social trends? 
  9. How did streaming services change the traditional gender roles in movies?
  10. Does the escapism tendency exist in society? 

Also read: 70+ new synthesis essay topics and ideas

More Writing Tips to Help You with the Synthesis Essay

  1. Write your synthesis essay in the third person.
  2. Use the active voice. However, in some cases, passive voice is acceptable if the sentence context demands it. 
  3. The sentences must be complete. Refer to dictionaries for more robust vocabulary, but avoid rare and over-complicated terms. 
  4. Revise the essay. Ideally, put it aside for some time and give yourself some rest. If you are in a classroom, try to have at least a couple of minutes to refresh your mind before revising the piece. 
  5. Proofread the paper, track, and correct mistakes of all types. 

Remember that you can always get professional help with your synthesis essay or any other assignment. On  WriteAnyPapers, the team of specialists will gladly consult you on each stage or even complete the task for you. You only need to ask, do my assignment, and we’ll be here in a flash to support you.

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