What is Synthesis Essay?
When you get an assignment to prepare a synthesis essay, it means you will have to work with multiple sources that contain info for your topic. The collected information should be presented as a united content. You have plenty of options for choosing the sources of info. It will depend on the topic you choose or given. It can be an article, a journal, a book, a magazine or any other type of written content. Moreover, you do not have to limit yourself with written sources as you can use the info from the lectures, interviews, videos, and your observations. Working on a synthesis essay, you have to research your topic deeply using any available sources of disclosing this particular topic. Your task is to study and combine information from them into a form that will be understandable to your reader.
Before starting working on your essay, you should be aware of the two different types of synthesis essays to follow the particular style and approach:
- Explanatory synthesis essay – this type of writing is mostly aimed at educating readers in the field of a particular topic. You may require dividing your topic into smaller parts in order to present the info in a clear and understandable way. In most cases, the essay of this type contains explanations of the phenomena and describes them. There is no purpose to persuade the reader or to prove the point. This essay will be based on facts without any arguments or personal opinions.
- Argumentative synthesis essay – this type, on the contrary, is aimed at maintaining a particular opinion. That is why in this case arguments and personal statements should be used. But every claim here should be proved with decent evidence. You can describe two sides but eventually, you have to stick to the one point of view and provide arguments for your position.
How to Write a Synthesis Essay?
Choose a Topic
Your success largely depends on the topic. If you have an opportunity to choose one, you might have some guidance. First of all, pay attention to the ideas that will be broad enough to provide you with multiple different sources of information to combine. You can search for ideas anywhere, so our main advice here is to read a lot, especially when you have some particular interests or directions. In some other cases, your choice may be limited by a school task or a list of topics to choose from. But even here you might put yourself in a more winning position if you:
- Narrow the broad topic – in case you are assigned to write an essay about social media, you can focus on one aspect of it, for instance, how texting affected the modern English or how much time people spend on watching someone’s lives.
- Investigate the given topic properly – as soon as you have a task, make sure you understand what it is about and what information can be used. This approach will help you to disclose the topic and make your essay relevant and interesting to your community.
Develop Your Thesis Statement
After decent research, investigation, and think you should come up with a thesis statement. It can be based on the info from sources you have researched or can be derived from your personal views. One thing is it should reflect the topic. This statement will be the basis, the main point of your essay. This idea should be presented as one complete sentence. You can make it an opening phrase or a concluding one. It is up to you and the character of the chosen topic. For instance: Texting has influenced modern communication a lot so the language has changed as well.
Outline Your Essay
Outlining is important for any type of writing task. It can be a written formal outline or simply a plan in your brain. The main task of it is to arrange your thoughts and the available material in its best to disclose the topic. Also, if your synthesis essay is a part of the AP test, you should pay more attention to its structure as your graders will estimate it as well. Here’s a description of each part of your outline:
The introduction part:
- the introductory sentence in order to attract the reader’s attention and motivate to keep reading;
- stating the issue that will be disclosed in the text below;
- thesis statement, if it can be used in the opening part.
The body parts:
- the sentence that can maintain your thesis and serve as an argument;
- the sentence to display your view on the topic and describe your opinion;
- the sentence to explain why the used sources are important for your topic.
The concluding part:
- a statement that proves that the topic is significant and deserves further investigation and attention of readers;
- a conclusion that will make your essay complete and the topic disclosed to its fullest.
Write the Introduction
This part of your essay should serve as a short description of what your essay is about and what to expect in the body sections. You can outline the main arguments, present the opposing points and state your opinion you are about to support. Also, it is important to provide the reason you consider this topic significant.
Write the Body Paragraphs
You should know that the structure of body paragraphs of your synthesis essay will depend on the purpose of your essay and the chosen topic. It is important to determine the proper option in order to suit the idea of your writing.
A claim of fact. In this case, you should collect, investigate and combine facts and researches on the chosen topic. There is no need to provide arguments along with counterarguments because there are no conflicts. You simply should present an objective view based on undisputable facts. In some cases, you can include arguments in intro or conclusion if your research is based on implications. Combine them according to factors, outcomes, and results and display the connection between materials and statements of your essay.
A claim of value. In this case, you need to estimate something or to support/reject particular views on the discussed issue. This essay will have body paragraphs that will be dedicated to different supporting ideas for your main claim. But also it is important to add a paragraph that will disclose counterarguments as well. This will show that you have investigated the topic properly and you are aware of various points of view so your position has a background.
A claim of policy. Here you will be asked to offer a recommendation or suggest changes in some policies of states of affairs. As usual, your body paragraphs should contain the facts and statements that will maintain your claims. But do not forget about the opposing points of view and outline them as well in one of the body paragraphs.
Write the Conclusion
In this step of your essay, you should summarize the text and its ideas. Generally speaking, you restate here the main issues and arguments of your writing. You should finish your essay with a strong final sentence that can be either revealing or repeating of your synthesis essay thesis.
Cite Your Sources
In most types of academic writing when you do some research before working on your text, you should give a credit to all used materials. This is a professional courtesy, first of all. But also this is a requirement for papers and some essays. So, we are talking about the citation of the phrases, ideas, and statements taken from various relevant sources. There are a few specific formats for marking citations. For instance, in college, you might be told to follow the requirements of the MLA, APA or Chicago formats.
But is your synthesis essay is a part of your AP test, you do not have to worry about formatting. Anyway, a citation is obligatory as you should use relevant sources of information according to your writing task. There is nothing wrong with repeating someone’s ideas as soon as you mention the author of the statement. Moreover, you will show the depth of your investigation of you will provide a decent number of citations and quotes.
Revise and Proofread
Do not neglect the revision of your almost completed essay. You always can improve your writing and strengthen your claims. So the decent revision of your essay will help to improve the text in general as well as separate ideas and arguments. You can start by checking the transitions between ideas and paragraphs. Make sure that they are connected and coherent. Check whether it is easy and understandable for a reader to follow your thoughts. Read your essay out loud. This approach helps to spot weird word combinations, weak and awkward sentences or to detect bad and irrelevant argumentations.
One more trick here is to apply for somebody’s help. Ask your friend, parent or teacher (if possible) to re-read your text. They will definitely have a fresh look at your writing and it will be easier for them to find weak parts and missing elements. But also you will get an additional view on your topic and might receive precious recommendations and guidelines.
Proofreading is important as well. When you are satisfied with the content of your essay, you should check the text in order to correct any possible spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. Check the correctness of the mentioned names, terms and tenses. Check the prepositions as well as they can mislead or simply confuse the reader. After all, this is academic writing and any mistakes are unacceptable here. Your reader should be focused on the content but not on the errors.
Use the available tools and services to exclude any cases of mistakes. Also, the old good approach “ask a friend for help” still works today. Remember, that new look at the text can be valuable in any case.
Additional Tips for Your Synthesis Essay
Now you are aware of the basic aspect of working on the synthesis essay. But we advise you to read the following recommendations that can help you a lot. In some cases, they can simplify the writing or research process while in others they can save you from falling or getting bed results.
- After defining the thesis of your essay, choose the purpose of your writing and select what approach you will use to perform your arguments. This move will help you to follow the one mood and the direction in your text. If you decide to defend the unpopular point of view so you might choose more warrior language. While for a less controversial topic you might sound friendly enough to encourage your reader to agree with you.
- Investigate the sources you are about to use and estimate their importance for supporting your thesis. It is not enough simply to quote someone’s ideas that are connected with a topic. In this case, you might risk to mislead your readers or simply to confuse them. You should be well aware of the meaning and the purpose of the sources you use. Do not let them control your essay but use them in a way you need. Do not let your reader misinterpret your ideas and evidence.
- Organize your work. Do not limit yourself with one source per argument. The more relevant sources you quote, the more credibility your essay will have. Also, you will add some points to your paper if you will show how different sources agree or disagree with each other and how their controversial statements support your main idea.
- Estimate every source you use. Provide your personal view on the arguments you have found there. Also, do not forget to display the correlation between them and how they refer to your thesis.
- Write down each source you investigate. Note the name, author, page and other info about the book, magazine, article and so on. This will be useful in a few ways. Firstly, it will be easier for you to get back to the previous material. Secondly, the collected info about the source will help you in a citation. As you know, marking quotations is important of you do not want to be accused of plagiarism. Even if you paraphrase the sentence, this is still a citation of someone’s thoughts so be professional and give a credit to those who inspire you and help you in your research.
- Analyze the available materials. Only deep research and thinking will help you to create a strong and meaningful essay that will serve its purpose and will be engaging for your readers. Taking look at any argument or claim you find relevant to your thesis, ask a question “So what?” and then build your personal claims around the answer.
And here are some tips on how to write a synthesis essay:
- Use the proper language for addressing to your readers;
- Diverse your language;
- Use active voice and try to avoid passive constructions;
- Check grammar and spelling, especially in names and unknown words;
- Check the compliance with the style and format requirements when you write a synthesis essay.