In academic life, you need to do some research on already existing studies. You sometimes need to make claims and add new knowledge to these already existing findings. Synthesis essays help you for making these unique claims and then back them with research sources. If you also want to write a synthesis essay, but you have no idea how to go about it. The following is a complete guide of how to write a synthesis essay and some tips to write a perfect synthesis essay.
Sometimes your tutor will ask you to write a synthesis essay which basically means you have to synthesize sources. Synthesizing means you must link together everything to form an opinion about a certain topic and back it. You may think this is an argumentative essay, but it is a little different as you will already have sources to work on. In short, you will not have to do the research bit. You will just provide your claims on a given topic by using information from the sources provided to you.
What is a Synthesis Essay?
A synthesis essay makes unique claims to add new knowledge to a theme of an already researched topic and back up these claims with sources.
Types of a Synthesis Essay
There are three types of synthesis essays you need to be familiar with if you plan on writing one. Following are the types with detailed explanations.
Explanatory Synthesis Essay
An explanatory synthesis essay is basically providing your audience with the facts to educate them on a certain topic. The purpose is merely informing so it does not require you to do extra research or back your said statements, as they are explicit facts that are stated in the sources. Similarly, it just convinces the audience of the main idea of a topic without diving into any arguments.
Review Synthesis Essay
In a review synthesis topic, the writer convinces the audience that there was a need to do extensive research on the given topic. So, this essay involves analyzing the articles that discuss the same topic and then provide the readers your point of view.
Argumentative Synthesis Essay
Unlike an explanatory synthesis essay, the argumentative essay requires all the sides of an argument about a topic. You need to present both sides of an argument and then take a side. You also need to back your points by using information from the given sources. It is more like a debate where you need to convince your audience of your point of view.
Example of Synthesis Essay Topics
In most cases, you have enough information and techniques to write a perfect essay, but do not have a good topic for your essay. Deciding a good topic for your essay requires a little bit of creativity and effort. While deciding the topic for your essay you need to take care of the following things.
- It should be interesting.
- It should not be too general, try narrowing it.
- It should be something debatable.
The examples of synthesis essays on educational topics are as follows.
- Should students be allowed to choose their fields?
- Should school athletes be rewarded for their performance?
- How bullying affects the academic of students?
- Should there be mental health therapy in schools?
Synthesis essays can also be on social topics.
- Talent or hard work, what is more, important for success?
- Is reading a newspaper better than watching the news?
- Should marijuana be legal?
- Should it be okay to test new products on animals?
Examples of synthesis essays on society topics are as follows.
- Should voting be mandatory for every individual?
- Should parents keep a check on their kids’ content watching?
- How modern workplace rules affect the minorities groups?
- Do the new US laws support women as much as they support men?
How to write a Synthesis Essay
Writing a synthesis essay requires you to follow a specific guide and format which is as follows.
- Understand the theme
The first and foremost step in writing a synthesis essay is to understand the topic you are writing on. You need to do enough research to establish a basic idea about your topic. You will be making unique claims and ideas on your topic later, so you need to have enough knowledge about it.
- Read all the sources thoroughly
You have to read all the sources thoroughly to make any claim on the topic. Go over all the readings you have been provided with, so you fully understand the topic. You will be extracting information from these sources later to back your claims. Keep highlighting the important points you think will be helpful for your essay. This will later save your time, as you will be simply reading the highlighted part. Before writing, everybody has an idea of what they plan on writing and how they plan to go about it. Similarly, you can also highlight parts that you think relate to the storm of information in your mind.
- Draft the thesis
After reading the sources thoroughly and having a general idea about the topic, you will propose a first statement including the main idea of the topic. This first statement is a thesis statement which is an important part of the essay. The thesis statement comes at the end of the introduction and gives your readers an idea of what will you be covering in your essay.
- Stand firm on your opinion
Providing your audience insight about the topic or adding claims in your essay from them is not enough. You need to back your ideas by using information from the given sources. You also need to provide the other side of the argument, but again defends your stated arguments. You should be able to defend what you say by using other writers’ claims and make sure that this argument is strong enough to prove your point to the readers.
- Do not summarize your sources
One common mistake that people do while writing a synthesis essay is to think that we already have all the content to summarize. This is wrong to summarize other writers’ work and not providing something new. In this way, you will be ignoring the important purpose of writing a synthesis essay which is stating unique claims. Thus, instead of simply summarizing your sources, make your own comments about the topic. The provided sources are just there to help you back your said words.
- Draft an outline
After writing the thesis statement, you will have an idea of what to write and how to cover all the main points in your essay. By keeping this in mind, you will prepare an outline for your essay. This outline is important for organizing your thoughts in one place, so later you will be just completing sentences and giving a proper structure to your phrases. Drafting an outline is a time-saving step you should not miss.
Structure of Synthesis Essay
Outlining your essay is so important before writing the final draft. Outlining will save you a lot of time, as you will already have a structure to follow and ideas to elaborate on. Write incomplete sentences and phrases in your outline, so that you can complete them later and elaborate while writing the final draft. Most of the essays have five paragraphs that are an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The outline for most of the essays is similar with slight differences according to the nature of the essay. The essay outline for the synthesis essay is mentioned below.
- Hook to grab attention
- Background information about the topic
- Thesis statement
- Topic sentence
- Explanation and argument of the topic sentence
- Evidence and examples
- Significance of the source
All three of the body paragraphs follow the exact same format.
- State significance of topic from sources you used in your essay
- Profound ending
Synthesis Paper Body
In the synthesis paper body, you should include claims and evidence from the sources provided to you. While writing the body of the essay, the first step is to write a statement that is more like a theme discussed in that specific paragraph. Then, you will have to provide evidence to back the statement, because it is not credible to leave your said statements hanging without backing them with evidence. In the end, you will make your personal comments, or you can add your experience with the discussed topic to make it more credible. We can say that a good body paragraph contains the following three components.
Important Things to Remember
If you follow the essay outline and structure, you are good to write a synthesis essay. There are a few important tips or techniques to keep in mind for writing a synthesis essay. The following are some useful tips.
Write the first draft following the outline
It is very helpful to write your first draft following the outline where you will only be writing your ideas. These ideas will be incomplete sentences and you will be elaborating them in the final draft. Writing the final draft directly is not a good idea, as you will skip many of the important points. It is not possible to keep all the good points in mind, they need to be somewhere on a piece of paper organized in a specific format. You will have disorganized thoughts if you skip writing the first draft.
An important step to give your thoughts and ideas a logical flow is to use appropriate transitions. Choosing the right transitions will make your audience understand your points easily. You can also make a list of appropriate transitions and then place them in the most relevant positions while you write. Adding transitions will make it easier for your audience to follow your thoughts.
- Add transitions in addition to, moreover, additionally to add further to your thoughts and ideas.
- Add transitions like in contrast, in comparison, comparatively for proposing an opposite thought.
- Add transitions like as a result, in conclusion, concluding, summing up for your final thoughts in the concluding paragraph.
Review the essay
Reviewing the essay is always advisable, as it will help you analyze what is lacking in your essay. You will proofread your work, so you can identify any mistakes in your essay. At this time, you can also make some changes to strengthen your arguments. Look for mistakes like punctuation, use of vocabulary, and transitions. Reading your essay out loud before submission will also help you to point out mistakes like skipping a word or adding an extra word while reading in your head.
Cite the sources
The final step in your essay is always citing the work you have extracted from other sources. Some citation formats require side-by-side citations, while some require a bibliography or work cited page at the end. In-text citations and footnotes are for any kind of information that you extracted from some source and either you paraphrased it or quoted it. Citations can be according to your preferred format, or the format instructed to you. The formats for citations include MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.
Write using the third person
You should always write your academic essays using third persons. Similarly, a synthesis essay also requires writing in the third person he/she/they. It also means that you should avoid using personal pronouns like I/we. It shows that you are referring to the work of other writers, authors, researchers and not referring to your personal viewpoints, this adds credibility to your work.
In conclusion, writing a synthesis essay is a little different from writing any other type of essay, as it requires you to use the sources already provided to you. There is no research work instead you just have to back your claims with evidence extracted from the sources. However, you also need to add your personal evaluation on the point being discussed. You just cannot leave the statements you make hanging, backing up is the key to a credible essay. Follow the outline, structure and tips mentioned for the synthesis essay and you will be good to write.