If you are reading this article, you are probably looking for more info on what a synthesis essay is. Everyone who is getting a higher education has already submitted several essays on different subjects. However, a word “synthesis” may bewilder even a well-versed student who has completed loads of writing tasks. Below we are going to unscramble the process of writing a synthesis paper so that you will be able to create this essay with no sweat.
Let’s start off with the definition of a synthesis essay. When you think about a synthesis essay, you can think of it as being a kind of an argumentative essay. Actually, this essay has much in common with an argumentative paper but the key point of it is the task to analyze the sources provided by the instructor. In other words, you are offered a certain number of sources to interpret and discover the relationships between them. You do it to substantiate the argument.
You must understand that synthesis does not imply summarizing. Your goal is to make a strong point and support it with the evidence you have dug out from the sources.
A great skill is being able to draw the facts that directly support your argument because the information can be useful to back up different sides of the matter. Do not ignore the source or information that is contrary to your key points. You should consider it closely to show your argument from a stronger perspective.
Don’t get upset if that sounds a bit theoretical to you – you’ll sort it out with the examples of synthesizing process below.
Examples of how to make a synthesis
Before generating the information from the prompt sources you should go through a research stage during which you look for, investigate and select the facts that go with the subject of your essay. We can call this the evaluation of the obtained info. You'd better choose the facts that have the greatest value and are innovative to your topic. Only after evaluating the sources you may go further on.
For instance, your topic is associated with vegetarianism and the prompt gives you 7 different sources to analyze. Study them and select three or four sources that agree with your thesis. If your idea is to show that vegan diet is healthy rather than disastrous for the human body, the selected sources will help you to prove it.
Let’s assume that your choice falls under sources 3, 4, and 7. We will show you how they will contribute to the argument:
Source 3. You have selected a documentary source. Great choice! Your essay will benefit from it a lot as a scientific piece reflects the entire nature of the subject explaining how a human body consumes the vegetables and plants and why they are useful for healthy functioning. To be brief, a documentary provides your essay with the essential scientific-based information.
Source 4. You have decided to take some of the academic papers from the university archives or from the online college library. The information from these sources emphasizes the impact of vitamins and minerals found in vegetables on mental activity of a human. It is a good idea to use this evidence in your paper, too.
Source 7. Your final decision is to support your viewpoint with the article that debunks the existing myths about the negative effect of veganism on people of different age. Still, there are many of anti-vegetarian ideas that distract others from taking the side with vegetarians. The article will help you prove the opposite.
All of the examples above show that the sources were selected correctly and the writer can rely on them in the essay. However, don’t get too positive when proving your agreement and provide the readers with an unbiased standpoint.
Manage your writing effectively
A formula of success for every academic writing process is a step-by-step plan. If you are properly organized, you will save your time and focus the efforts on the research, synthesis and presentation of the achieved results.
Get started, proceed and finish writing using this plan:
- Select a topic
- Find credible and relevant sources on your topic
- Research and think of your point and arguments
- Determine the main idea and purpose of the essay
- Make sure that your arguments support the thesis
- Write the argument in the logical order
- Outline your ideas
- Design the first draft
- Rewrite (if needed)
Two types of synthesis papers
Synthesis essays are divided into two categories:
- Explanatory synthesis writing
In this essay, the writer’s main goal is to make the readers understand the topic.
To do this, you break the information into separate parts. Every section contains a clear explanation of the issue with the detailed presentation of facts, state of affairs, people or events. The manner of interpretation should be sober and objective.
- Argument synthesis writing
This type of essay has a thesis statement. The writer selects relevant data and organizes it in a logical way so that to represent his viewpoint. To prove the argument, the writer uses various persuasive techniques. He refers to the statistics, uses quotes and citations to support the opinion. This type of synthesis essay is a common task in the business area. The AP test also includes this format to evaluate student’s analytical skills.
Stunning and poor topics for synthesis essays
Once you understand the goals of a synthesis essay, you face another problem which is how to choose a suitable topic for this type of paper. It is quite easy to come with the idea for your topic as synthesis essays tend to have broad rather than narrow topics. Why? As your task is to analyze and synthesize several sources, it is natural for the topic to be broad. If you are not assigned the topic by your instructor, feel free to compose it on your own. However, some preliminary practice is required so that you will be able to distinguish between strong and weak topics for a synthesis essay.
Great synthesis topics are the ones that refer to general knowledge, for example, Yoga Develops You Both Physically and Mentally. Many of the readers would support this idea plus there are plenty of sources that prove this fact.
Your topic may seem weak if it is not clear enough. Here are some examples of the not-so-great synthesis topics:
- Write about cancer
- Argue on obesity
- Carbon emissions
- Alternative power stations
- Violence at schools
- Sport for disabled people
- Teenagers and drugs
- Fake mass media
Your topic will not be interesting if it evidently reveals only one good side of the argument. That means you have taken the information from one source and there is just nothing to synthesize. Make sure that you choose two or more sources if your task is to create a synthesis paper.
A great deal of synthesis essay topics is centred on current social issues. Pick these examples of great topics that talk about the social woes:
- Should schools allow cell phones in class?
- Do disabled children feel more comfortable in public or boarding schools?
- Do sitcoms promote idly lifestyle?
- Should the world governments institute death penalty?
- Should there be more Geography lessons for junior students?
- How feminism ideas affect women’s minds?
- Should smoking be banned everywhere except for private areas?
How Complex is a Synthesis Essay Structure?
A person who is inquiring how to write a synthesis essay should also figure out the key elements of its structure.
A typical essay structure – introduction, body and conclusion - is good for your synthesis paper. However, it has one more element that we call a claim and include it in the introduction and each body paragraph.
A claim is information from one source. As you have more than one source – frequently two or three – there should be the same number of claims. An effective way to show your synthesis is to take information from one source – claim 1 and support it with the evidence from another source – claim 2.
The introduction has the following sentence order:
- Thesis statement
- Claim 1
- Claim 2
In the opening paragraph, you talk on the topic in general, avoiding too much-cited material. You address the topic more specifically and provide arguments in the body paragraphs.
A synthesis paper body is often comprised of one paragraph. However, one paragraph is not enough to cover the information from several sources. So the body needs more than one paragraph.
Each paragraph follows a strict algorithm:
- Main argument
- Analysis of Evidence
- Main claim 1 (2)
A distinctive feature of synthesis essay writing is using quotes. According to academic requirements, the writer should use a direct quote. Therefore, you need not mention the title of the resource you are citing. This information can be found in the reference section.
The conclusion is the last part of your essay where you address the reading audience. Therefore, be careful to write it as skillfully as you can to make the reader know exactly what you wanted to prove about the topic. In a synthesis paper, you do not need to repeat the information; you have to explain how these ideas contribute to the thesis. That is why you should have a point based on the sources. If you have not come with it, your synthesis paper needs rewriting.
How to craft the essay most accurately
Writing a synthesis paper is not such a big challenge as it may seem at the beginning. Once acquainted with the structure of the essay and the procedure of synthesizing the material, one should master the art of writing. So it is high time to figure out the factors that will make your essay successful:
- Format. For a synthesis essay APA, MLA and Chicago style are most common formats.
- Audience. Identify your audience at the stage of selecting the topic.
- Tone. Use formal language and appropriate topic vocabulary.
- Credible sources. Also, it is desirable to pick vivid texts because strong emotions can connect the audience with the presented material.
- Examples. If possible draw examples from the real life so that not to sound too theoretically.
- Perfect grammar and style. Edit and proofread your text thoroughly paying special attention to proper citation.
- Claim. Try to develop and defend your claim. Note that a claim is the key criteria evaluated by the instructor in a synthesis paper.
- A good thesis statement. Design it with a strong connection to your point of view. Write your thesis during the preparation stage.
- Paraphrasing technique. Your essay should include only paraphrased information which must be cited according to the format of the paper.
- Cohesive devices that are transition words, synonyms, parallel sentence constructions, verbal bridges, etc.
Your synthesis essay will be perfect if you act like this:
- Design convincing arguments
- Appeal to the researched facts, not the source
- Be organized while writing
- Identify your position when synthesizing the sources
- Use quotations
- Be creative
- Avoid plagiarism
- Have your own writing style
- Write about the topic that fits your interests
- Stay dedicated and inspired
Still, there are some students who find it impossible to start writing without having a look at the matchless example of a synthesis essay. Online essay services including ours provide essay samples free of charge. All you need is to find the category and subject of the paper. On our website you may read multiple articles on how to write a synthesis essay. Besides this, everyone is welcome to order any type of essay from our competent writing team. We solve the most difficult tasks and write stunning papers that will surely impress both you and your teacher.
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