Writing a synthesis essay may look a bit more complicated than a narrative or compare and contrast ones. It demands solid research and assembling the different results into a single topic. Synthetic essays teach us to find connections between seemingly not connected issues and see the underlined similarities, causes, and results of something hidden.
This is one of the most serious types of essays because it demands extra research and assembling work. It may be a good idea to look for examples of synthesis in writing before you start to understand how the whole thing works. But if you are ready to start right away – let’s go!
What is a synthesis essay?
As we said before, a synthesis essay is an attempt to create something whole and integral from the scattered parts. If you look for examples of a synthesis essay, you’ll see that they are mostly divided into three types: argument synthesis essays, review essays, and background synthesis essays. Let’s look closer at each of the three types.
The argument synthesis essay starts from the initial statement. You say something in the very introduction and then make big research to prove it right. The main idea here isn’t only to find different sources supporting your idea but to organize them in a logical manner. Show the connections between the facts you gathered. Do they have something in common, can they cause each other, or are they all just manifestations of a bigger idea?
The review essay can be used if you are going to continue research on the topic. The review essay is dedicated more to gathering sources than to organize them. Reviewing something is one of the most popular topics for synthesis essays because it needs less work in comparison with the other types. The goal of the review synthesis essay is to show that the topic is important and there are enough papers to support your claim. If you need a deeper look at the topic, you may write a review essay first and the argument one later.
An explanatory or background synthesis essay may look similar to the argumentative one, but the main difference is that it doesn’t advocate any point of view. You work as an independent observer, presenting the topic from all angles. It doesn’t need a strong thesis statement, the readers are free to make their own conclusion after learning all the material you gathered for them. This type isn’t very popular in the college, because you are expected to show your own opinion, but in the future, while analyzing business ideas or new projects, the skill of background synthesis may be priceless.
In general, all the types of synthesis essays are connected with a single purpose: making insightful connections between different sources and creating a full picture, with or without a personal attitude. By the way, we used synthesis in the previous sentence, finding the main similarity in the different types. See, it’s easy!
How to start a synthesis essay?
Each essay starts with the topic, but the topic of a good synthesis essay should fulfill some extra requirements. It should be broad and well-researched to let you find different sources and different points of view. The narrow topic will usually be synthesized all along, so you won’t do any work (and won’t earn a good mark though). Free choice of topic is the trickiest here because you’ll need extra time for preliminary reading and preparing your sources. Unless you are writing a review essay and this is your main task.
A good synthesis essay outline consists of an introduction with a good thesis statement (with or without showing your point of view, depending on the type), 5 or 6 paragraphs describing different sources with a clear logical transition between them, and the conclusion that actually synthesizes the sources, putting them together and outlining all the connection. Don’t stick to the number of paragraphs: if you have a word limit but too few good sources it’s better to use only the best ones but work with them thoroughly.
The thesis statement is the most personal part of your essay and it should catch the attention of the audience instantly. It is the main idea of your essay and the source choice will greatly depend on it. Dedicate some extra time to brainstorming your good thesis statement. It may be as daring as thought-provoking as you wish if you can support it with credible sources. Remember, that the thesis statement is a single complete sentence, and try to put the essence of your paper into one.
Choose your sources depending on your thesis statements. It’s important to study both supporting and opposing sources because disproving the main arguments against your thesis statement can also become an important part of your paper (especially with the lack of good supporting sources). Write down the key quotes and use them to enhance your statements. A good rule of thumb is to use one quote per paragraph to show the teacher that you did the research and not to overload your text with extra quotes.
Starting a synthesis essay is important, but the conclusion should be an equally powerful part of your text. To figure out how to conclude a synthesis essay you should re-read all the logical connections you put into the text and merge them into one strong statement. Your conclusion should be very descriptive and full. To check if you have a good conclusion, send the introduction and conclusion paragraphs to your friend, omitting all the sources part. If they are able to understand what it is all about and agree that you may have a point with your thesis statement, you did well.
Synthesis essays are the task that should be done thoroughly and with great attention to the details. But they are one of the most rewarding tasks: to write a synthesis essay you should use all your logic, all your information-searching skills, and the ability to see the hidden connections behind the obvious facts. Synthesis essays develop your critical thinking: a skill that is essential in our modern world, overloaded with information.
Good Tips for Your Writing
- Analyze no more than two sources within one paragraph. If you write too many references, the reader may get confused and lose the logical argumentation.
- Give your opinion to each viewpoint. Don’t rely on the other’s words only. You need to explain how certain authors treat the topic of discussion and give your evaluative thought.
- If you analyze the idea which is opposite to yours, describe it without offense.State its strong and weak sides. You should try to be objective as much as possible.
- Prepare a strong thesis statement which is based on your opinion.
- Don’t lose your voice while evaluating other thoughts.It means that you have to begin and finish with one clear tentative objective. A synthesis essay is not a production for reflection. You should be sure in what you are convincing the reader.
Interesting Methodologies for Your Paper
There are lots of techniques which can help you cope with writing synthesis essay examples.
Some students like to use only one methodology. However, it is the best variant to combine several techniques in one paper.
It is not the most difficult means of writing a sample synthesis essay, but it does require lots of efforts. You need to know the main information about each source and select the most significant data.
The negative side of the summary is that there is no critical approach. You don’t analyze the facts but just mention them. The positive aspect is that it gives you a basic ground for relevant examples and proofs.
You can use each reference as a source for examples and specific evidence.
Choose several reasons which prove your thesis and use them as examples. It is an effective method for research paper because you are never run out of instances. Furthermore, by citing other works, you show that your work is based on thorough research.
It is an interesting strategy which can be useful not only for a synthesis essay.
Here you need to use an argument which is opposite to your tentative objective. And you don’t use it to show that you are wrong. You add it to show that other opinions are flawed. The most considerable advantage of the Strawman methodology is that you illustrate your awareness of other sides of the argument and you show weak as well as strong sides.
In the end, you need to prove the reader that the counterargument is not effective enough to change your strong thesis.