Basic Guidelines for Writing a Synthesis Essay

Well, writing a synthesis essay may be quite a challenging task, as it is really an advanced type of essay. It is really so because the student can`t always guess from the name what this work ought to be about. In this article, we are going to introduce you to the common features of the synthesis essay. Please, note that this brief guideline is only for general understanding, as it does not contain any special requirements. So, you should ask your instructor for any particular rules and instructions.

The Definition of the Synthesis Essay

 This paper should take a unique point of view about the fundamental idea, theme or topic. The writer is supposed to choose a topic and uphold the claim, search for various sources of information and combine them in a logical and persuasive manner. There are three basic components of a synthesis essay:

  • synthesis of the information sources;
  • creating a claim (a thesis);
  • the process of formatting the essay.

So, it is extremely significant to properly comprehend the meaning and the purpose of writing the synthesis essay. How do you understand the verb “to synthesize”? On the whole, it means to comprehensively form a single whole from separate pieces. Consequently, according to the approximate definition, the students should collect information and facts from various sources and create a single strong argument that discovers their position towards the topic of the essay.

The difficulty may arise, as you should not only sum up all the main matters but also tell the particular relationships between the data. Moreover, synthesis essays might have various objectives in mind as well as there are several types of synthesis writing. Here there are some of them:

  • Background Synthesis: This type of writing may be assigned at the beginning phase of your research project. The aim is to develop all the skills to become a real expert on the topic so that you are expected to carry out a thorough investigation of available credible sources of information. You ought to provide a clear systematization and deepen your knowledge of the topic. Of course, there are some supplementary peculiarities of this type of essay, so you need to explore it further if necessary. Ask your teacher in case of any unclear instructions and rules.
  • Argument (thesis-driven) Synthesis: Based on the name of the type of the essay, we may assume that such a synthesis paper should include a strong thesis statement. Similar to the background type of the essay, the writer should systematize the existing facts by the themes to maintain the position on the topic. There can be various purposes while writing this type of essay. For instance, you might need to compare something (as in the compare and contrast essay too), explain the cause and a consequence, estimate a text, demonstrate and prove your position towards the topic, etc. According to a specific aim, the writer can apply different techniques to present information. In case of interest in this type of a synthesis essay, you should study this subject further and check all the necessary requirements by asking your instructor.
  • Literature Review: While writing this type of essay, the student should provide a thorough analysis and examination of the previous research on the chosen topic (like when writing the previous two types). You may make an outline of the common literary themes as well as highlight the areas that are well-researched and those which are still poorly investigated. Find out some additional necessary points concerning the thesis statement and many other peculiarities of writing this type of a synthesis essay. Ask a teacher, if needed.

General Types of Synthesis

Get acquainted with the following basic types of synthesis before writing an essay.

  • Explanatory Synthesis. The key intention of such type is to inform and educate the readers on the topic. The topic ought to be subdivided into various components in order to present information in a clear manner. The main focus is on the facts; this format does not require any arguments or opinions.
  • Argumentative Synthesis. This type refers to the writer`s opinion regarding a particular point. In addition, you should support your thoughts with the help of evidence. The task is to explore the points of view from both sides of the argument and present your position.

Study these two general types in detail in order to precisely follow the essay format. Check all the necessary requirements. Ask your teacher if something is not understandable enough.

Synthesis Essay Outline

The process of creating an outline is really a helpful tool to keep your thoughts structured and well-organized. Here below you might find the main parts of the outline.

  • Introductory Part – (one paragraph); write a thesis statement that consists of 1-3 of your ideas on the chosen topic.
  • Main Body – (3-4 paragraphs); while writing a standard outline, you should write every new idea from a new paragraph (no less than 3 paragraphs here). Make sure that the information is credible; you ought to cite all the info that is not your own; list all the information sources in the bibliography or works cited page. Try to check the evidence, which you use to support your ideas, for being reliable. Whether you use the author`s phrases word for word, you should put them in quotes.
  • Conclusion – (1 paragraph); try to create this part logically. In this section, you should not add any new issues or ideas, sum up the thoughts that have been described in the previous parts.

The Structure of the Synthesis Essay

Indeed, before starting writing an outline, you should analyze the information that you have collected from different sources in a very in-depth way. Your paper ought to be well-organized and logical. Even if the content of the synthesis essay is perfect, the work may not get a good mark because of the inappropriate format. That`s why it is highly recommended learning all the requirements and instructions in advance.

Please, note that the number of paragraphs of the synthesis essay should be 5-6. In some cases, you might add some paragraphs to the main body. However, the student should always ask the teacher about all the rules. Additionally, the evidence that is used in the essay should be cited according to the professor`s requirements.

Check the existence of the smooth and clear transitions between the ideas and paragraphs. It is really of great importance, as a seamless transition may help you sound good.

Writing a Successful Synthesis Essay Introduction

Starting the essay may sometimes cause a slight difficulty. Try to brainstorm several ideas and answer the following question: “What would impress and attract me in case I was the reader of this paper?”

You can start with an intriguing and, maybe, quite an unknown fact for many people. Another option is to begin your essay with a quotation by a famous person related to the topic. Try to catch the reader`s attention as soon as possible, as the first impression always plays its role.

How to Create a Conclusion?

This section is a bit challenging too. So, try to summarize all the major points that you have made before and restate the thesis statement. Think of a strong final sentence in order to make a quality completion.

Basic Tips for Writing a Synthesis Essay

There is a great number of valuable advice and strategies for writing a successful paper. Here below you may find some of them.

  • Choose the right topic. It seems to be a good recommendation to select a topic that you are good at. You are writing a synthesis essay for getting a high grade so that it might be easier to explore the subject that is quite familiar to you. The topics may be like these ones: writing a synthesis essay on the issue of global warming, the influence of modern technology on various aspects of life and many more.
  • Trust the credible and verified sources of information. Try to give preference to scientific journals, books, academic websites, etc. Citing mass media is not a good way to choose.
  • Use all the sources appropriately and in the correct form. Keep in mind all the teacher`s requirements concerning the necessary formats of writing (MLA, Harvard, etc.), ask for help in case of any misunderstanding. Remember to stick with the professor`s instructions and do not omit any single required detail.
  • It`s time to proofread and edit the paper thoroughly. Please, note that there should be no grammar, punctuation, spelling or any other mistakes. Follow the necessary tone and style of writing. The essay should be flawless and without errors of any kind. Check the paper several times and make sure that the right flow of writing exists. Revise the correctness of the usage of the citations. If you want, you may ask somebody else, for example, your professor, a friend, to look at your synthesis essay and, thus, you might have a fresh view.

Drawing a Line

So, you should study all the available credible information and examine the topic of writing a synthesis essay in detail. Note that this brief guideline is only for a general understanding, so you ought to check all the necessary information by asking your instructor. Thoroughly learn all the requirements, start practicing and improve your writing skills. Good luck to you!

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