How to write a synthesis essay in 2021

How to write a synthesis essay in 2021

What is a synthesis essay? A synthesis essay is a type of academic paper that draws ideas from two or more sources. The sources can be articles, journals, academic papers, speeches, fiction books, or interviews.

To understand how to write a synthesis essay, it is important to know its purpose. This type of academic paper enables college and university students to demonstrate their ability to extensively research concepts.

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Students will combine and summarize ideas from different sources and form a single thesis statement and discuss it. The work students produce as a result of the synthesis process should be a cohesive synthesis paper.

Preparation process

The key feature in this type of paper is to present information from different sources in an organized manner. Present your synthesis essay so that readers can understand your work and follow your line of reasoning. 

The preparation process should enable you to identify the themes and traits you need to look for in your text. A writing prompt is a good way to get direction on themes and other requirements.

Your assignment may involve synthesizing two or more sources. In this case, you need to develop your purpose, perspectives, and interpretations of the text. Summarize the common traits and themes in the text and present your information in an organized manner.

How to select a synthesis essay topic

A good synthesis essay topic should be debatable. Conduct research on a book or different texts with opposing viewpoints to get a topic for your paper. The following steps will help you in researching and finding a topic for your synthesis essay

1.   Research your topic ideas

Read source materials like books, journals, or websites and go through different topic ideas. Look for topics that are in-depth and interest you. An interesting topic will motivate you to research, learn and write about it.

2.   Make a selection

Select the best topic out of the list of topics you have analyzed in your research. Get relevant information about the topic you have selected and note them down.

Perform thorough research and organize all the useful information you have gathered in your synthesis essay outline. Research at least three sources that have been provided for your AP test.

Learn from one or two more sources to further understand your subject and the arguments you will be presenting. Do your research only on the number of sources you can handle. It is better to do thorough work on three sources instead of presenting incomplete work from five sources.

3.   Choose a debatable topic

Make sure the topic you select is debatable and can be emotionally charged when argued from both sides. A current topic that is debatable will probably have a lot of information and evidence that you can include in your essay.

Avoid topics that are not debatable, or the debate already has an objective answer. Other examples of topics that will not be good for your paper are topics with a yes or no answer. After identifying your topic and performing thorough research, present your ideas in the following synthesis essay format

Create a synthesis essay outline

Create an outline and use it to present your researched ideas from different source materials. An outline will help you to organize your thoughts logically and to remember your major points from the research work. This is how to write a synthesis essay that will help you to work faster and save time.

1.   Synthesis essay introduction

Write an introduction to your synthesis paper and summarize the focus of what you are synthesizing. Introduce your text and provide a title for the source. Follow the formatting instructions your instructor has provided.

The most common formats are APA, MLA style, or Chicago. Provide background information about the writer, text, and the topic you will discuss.

2.   How to write a thesis statement for a synthesis essay

Develop a synthesis essay thesis statement from the information you have gathered from sources. This will be the main idea and the theme of your entire paper. Make sure it includes the topic and states the viewpoint.

3.   How to write a synthesis essay body paragraph

The body section of your synthesis essay is where you will include all your arguments, sub-arguments, and specific examples. You will need to structure your arguments appropriately so that your readers can follow your line of reasoning.

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. This is the sentence that informs your readers of what you are about to present in the paragraph.

Present your supporting arguments and information from more than one source. Provide evidence from credible sources to support your claim using relevant examples to add depth to your argument.

Transition smoothly from one paragraph to another and present your arguments logically to allow readers to follow your trail of thought. When writing ensure you avoid accidental plagiarism, which is a common problem when students are writing their synthesis essay.

Clearly indicate where the synthesis ends and where your comments begin. Make your paper as informative as possible by clearly showing similarities and differences as required. Make sure you represent the text you are working on fairly.

4.   How to conclude a synthesis essay

Conclude your paper after presenting and exhaustively addressing all your main points with evidence and relevant examples. Remind your readers of the major points by briefly highlighting them in this section.

Let the audience know the significance of your paper and theme and show how it connects to the topic. Suggest to your readers further research on issues you could not address in your synthesis essay. Make a final impact on the minds of your readers by leaving them with a final thought regarding the subject of discussion.

Techniques for writing a synthesis essay

There are various writing techniques to present your synthesis essay. The following are some of the techniques you can use

1.   Summarizing

One of the simple ways you can organize your work is by summarizing your sources. Summarize the most relevant information from sources of your work but do not include your independent thoughts.

2.   Examples

In this method, paraphrase your sources. Make use of your own words to present information from your sources.

You can also quote sources when you are using the example method. Use the format that your instructor has provided when quoting the sources. The examples that you use should be cited as well.

3.   Multiple reasons

This technique uses two or more reasons to synthesize information. It is a highly effective method of producing quality synthesis essays.

4.   Strawman method

In this method, you are allowed to present an argument that is against your thesis statement. The argument you present against the thesis should not be a strong one.

This way, you can create awareness of the opposite side of the argument you are presenting. This method includes evidence with an introduction and a description. The next step is to present the opposing view and give a decisive fact.

5.   Concession method

This is a technique that describes the opposing side of an argument. It illustrates how the positive points are stronger compared to the negative ones.

6.   Compare and contrast method

In this method, you look at two subjects at the same time. The points that you get from comparing two subjects show similarities.

The differences are shown using the points you get from contrasting two subjects. It takes an in-depth analysis of two subjects to come up with a compare and contrast synthesis essay.

The process of writing a synthesis essay

Tips on how to write a synthesis essay

This involves creating an outline that enables you to plan and organize your workflow smoothly. It helps you to work faster as you logically move from one point to the next.

When you come across a new idea that connects to your thesis statement, then you can deviate from your plan a little. Make sure your essay has the main components, which are an introduction, body, and a conclusion paragraph. Include the following as well

1.   Write your work in the third person

Complete sentences will make your paper easy to read and understand. Make sure your synthesis essay is in the third person. You should use words like” it, she, he” when you are writing.

Study your topic thoroughly so that you can find enough information to support your thesis. This will make your essay more credible.

2.   Add transitions

Including transitions in your text will make it flow logically from one idea to the next. The smooth flow of your thoughts makes your work easy to read and follow your line of reasoning.

3.   Cite sources

Cite the source materials that you have used to develop your essay. Footnotes are used in the body section of your essay, while a bibliography is placed at the end of your essay to show cited works.

Quoted text or paraphrased can be cited as in-text citations. The citing style that you will use will depend on the instructions you have received.

Synthesis essay format

The common formatting styles that you may be required to use are MLA format, APA, or Chicago. Here are the different formatting styles

1.   MLA format

This style uses Times New Roman and 12 points format with double space and a margin of 1 inch. At the top right corner, indicate your last name and page number on every side.

The title should be centered. In the header section, write your name, professor’s name, and the course number and date. The last page of your paper should have cited works.

2.   How to write a synthesis essay APA

This style of formatting uses Times New Roman with a font of 12 points and double space. It also uses a 1-inch margin. Add a page header on every page, and page numbers should be on the top and on the left side.

Divide your synthesis essay outline into four sections. These sections include a title page, abstract, the main body section, and references.

3.   Chicago style

In your text, use Times New Roman with a font of 12 points. Format your work using double space, 1-inch margin, ½ inch indent at the beginning of your paragraphs.

Left justify your text when writing. The names of people or organizations in your synthesis essay should be written in full. A separate page should be used for your bibliography.

Proofread your work

The final and most crucial step on how to write a synthesis essay is to counter-check and correct your writing. The first thing is to ensure you have followed all the guidelines provided by your instructor.

The next step is to ensure you have listed all your sources correctly and that your synthesizing process is clear to the readers. Check your thesis statement and make sure it is clear and concise.

Counter-check your key points and ensure none is missing. Look to see if they have been adequately addressed in the body section and, if not, address them.

Confirm your evidence and make sure they are accurate and appropriately placed within the text. If not, make corrections. Correct any grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistake to improve the quality of your work.

Read your synthesis essay out loud and try to notice any awkward sentences, and make corrections. Ask your friend to help you proofread and check if you have missed anything.

Types of synthesis essays

Various synthesis essays aim to make connections between multiple works and present a thesis statement. A connection that forms a solid argument is created, and the essay can be presented in the following ways

1.   Argumentative essay

A strong thesis statement that shows the writer’s viewpoint is formed to justify a topic with relevant evidence. A writer uses important information from research to present his or her arguments logically and support the thesis.

In this type of essay, you take a position regarding the topic, present supporting claims, and support it using credible evidence. Students write this type of paper during their AP tests. This form of approach is also used to write business white-papers.

2.   Review essay

This is a type of essay that requires a discussion review of what has already been written on a specific topic. It involves critically analyzing the sources of the topics as a preliminary process to your argument synthesis.

This essay aims to reveal areas where more research needs to be done on the topic or prove that the topic has not been adequately covered. This paper is common in social sciences and humanities fields.

3.   Explanatory essay

This type of paper helps readers to understand the subject of discussion. The goal is to explain a topic in-depth instead of arguing a viewpoint.

The body section is where you will explain your topic using information from various sources objectively. The claims you make in your presentation should have two or three pieces of evidence from credible sources. You can also add relevant examples in your discussions.

Tips for writing your synthesis paper

An analysis of the text or the prompts you are working on will enable you to produce a high-quality synthesis paper. Make sure you fully comprehend the purpose of the text, rhetoric arguments, and the thesis statement the author has used. Understand the “so what” of the text and write your essay around it using these tips

1.   Title your work appropriately

A unique and engaging title will attract your readers and motivate them to read your work. Do not use the words “synthesis essay” before or after your chosen title. Instead, do in-depth research and craft an interesting and relevant title to your text.

2.   Address your reader appropriately

Engage your readers. Do not lose them by using complex words in your writing. The right tone of voice will ensure that you address your audience appropriately and they resonate with you.

3.   Use a dictionary

Make your essay interesting by using the right vocabulary that fits well in your text. Make sure you use a dictionary to confirm the words and vocabulary you choose to use.

4.   Structure your sentences

Make sure your sentence structure is clear. Avoid passive voice and instead, use active and engaging voice in your writing.

5.   Proofread your work

how to write a synthesis essay-proofreading

Check your work and correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Check the verbs, possessives, and plurals and correct them accordingly.

6.   Proper citations

Make sure you have used the correct format for your citation and follow the citation rules. Consult your professor if you are not sure of the style you need to use.

7.   Use transitions

The paragraphs and sentences of your synthesis essay should have a good flow.

Transitions create a smooth flow that will enable you to move logically from one point to the next

AP lang synthesis essay

A score of 55% in your AP language exam will be based on three types of essays. Out of the three essays you are required to write, the first one is the synthesis essay.

This section of your AP lang exams requires you to understand what is a synthesis essay and the skills that will be assessed. This understanding will enable you to score full points in your AP lang synthesis essay exam.

How AP lang synthesis essay works

In the AP lang exam, the first essay out of three that you will write is the ap lang synthesis essay. The total time allotted for this essay is 1 hour, with the first 15 minutes for reading and the next 40 minutes for writing your paper.

These time allotments are recommendations, and you can use your 1 hour exam period the way you choose. In the exam, you will be provided with 6 or 7 sources of material about a topic.

Out of the materials provided, 2 are visual, and 1 is a quantitative source such as a graph or a pie chart. The remaining sources are text-based, consisting of 500 words each.

A written prompt will also be provided in this exam. The prompt has 3 paragraphs that will explain the topic and the claim you need to respond to. Out of the 6 or 7 source materials provided, you are expected to respond to at least 3 sources.

How to write a synthesis essay ap lang

To get good grades in your AP exam, you need to understand how points will be awarded. This will help you to write a high-quality paper and meet the requirements of writing this type of essay.

  • The points for writing the synthesis essay starts from 0-1
  • Points for including evidence and comments are 0-4
  • Demonstration of how you understand the topic and sophisticated thinking will earn you 0-1 point

The evaluation of your synthesis essay will include these key points. You will need to effectively write your essay in the following manner

Write a strong thesis for your ap lang synthesis essay. Make sure your essay responds to the essay prompts with a position.

Provide evidence to support your claim and reasoning from the three sources you selected. Clearly explain how the evidence supports your claim and line of thought.

Present a strong argument, place it in a wider context and when needed, explain how an argument is limited. Demonstrate the use of clear and persuasive methods throughout your paper.

Make sure you follow the requirements of the AP exam and the instructions that your instructor has provided. This will help you to score higher marks in your exam.

Key takeaway

To understand how to write a synthesis essay, you need to know what it means to synthesize. Synthesizing is combining different perspectives from different source materials and coming up with a coherent position. You will state the claim of your topic and show the relationships between several sources. A synthesis essay outline will enable you to plan and present your information in an organized way. To score higher marks in your exam, understand the evaluation process and meet the criteria of the exam. To learn more or get help on how to write a synthesis essay, visit us today at

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