All you, probably, know what an essay means. But the word “synthesis” gets every student a little bit confused and lost. Well, fortunately, we know how to help you, and this article would be your ultimate writing guide explaining how to write a synthesis essay. Let’s start from the beginning.
What is a Synthesis Essay?
Many students wonder, “What is a synthesis essay?” A synthesis essay is all about combination. While writing this essay type, you stay focused on different factors and ideas at once. The task contains a sample text that an author should analyze.
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Actually, analysis of the given content is a key point in the entire synthesis essay writing. You need to work directly with that prompt and find its purpose, writing style, rhetoric, and the main argument. You must tell what the author of that prompt wanted to express and what his tools were. Your own essay should be built around that text and your main argument.
Having an answer to the question, “What is a synthesis essay?” is not enough to demonstrate the best results in your English writing class.
How to Write a Synthesis Essay?
To understand how to write a synthesis essay, it is necessary to memorize 4 basic elements of a synthesis paper:
- Synthesizing sources
- Working on a thesis/main argument
- Formatting the paper
- Talking about the content
A writer is given a prompt to study. These are the instructions prepared by the tutor (e.g., ‘argue to support your hobby which assists in challenging college assignments’).
Draft a tentative thesis statement – the main argument of the entire paper. It is the initial idea which comes to the writer’s mind on the proposed topic. Without a good research, it is impossible to make a candy out of this idea; support your words by the credible information you find either online or in the library. An example: “I think my passion for drinking Coke positively impacts my academic performance as caffeine stimulates brain activity.”
Once the thesis is ready, move to the time-consuming procedure of selecting sources. This is a primary research one must conduct to gather evidence. The sources make people believe the writer’s claim makes sense. You may study information from 6-7 good sources, but a couple of them will help to develop a powerful thesis statement. Among all sources, use credible, up-to-date pieces:
- Books and e-books
- Other essays
- Journal and scholarly articles
- Graphics and images
The credibility of sources depends on the relevance of chosen topic. The close reading is the process which follows any good research. Prepare annotated bibliography (list applied sources), highlight all main text ideas, and take notes during this procedure. Try to connect the best ideas with your synthesis essay writing.
Synthesis Essay Example (Sources)
Evaluating the value of the selected sources is the thing you should do before writing a synthesis essay. try to come up with innovative ideas for the prompt.
To understand how to interpret the prompt and choose sources, we have prepared several examples associated with Coke. You have chosen 8 different sources to speed up your writing. The writer decides Sources number 2, 3, and 4 agree with the main view (thesis). These sources help to prove drinking Coke assists in improving academic performance.
Source 2. Your synthesis paper writing benefits from choosing a documentary about the production of Coke. The documentary reflects the entire process, listing ingredients necessary for the proper human brain activity. The documentary provides necessary information to make your essay essential.
Source 3. One of the English synthesis essays you choose from the existing academic archives online explains the impacts Coke has on some other body parts.
Source 4. Select a source in English which breaks negative stereotypes about your favorite drink. Many parents do not allow their children drink this beverage because of the existing myths; try to prove the opposite using your essay’s arguments. An expert adds:
“If it is a presentation, use the graphic story to illustrate your thesis and supporting evidence. Show the never-ending confrontation between the Coke lovers and haters to prove you respect both sides. Do not ignore naming the negative effects of the drink! It is important to reply to any objections to provide the target audience with an unbiased point of view.”
Mary Ladder, Professor of Literature at GONZAGA UNIVERSITY, US
Types of Synthesis Essay Writing
Two types of synthesis essay writing exist:
- Explanatory synthesis essay
- Argument synthesis essay
The explanatory synthesis essay aims to make the reading audience understand the chosen topic. The writer makes an attempt to break the whole topic into separate parts to represent each of them clearly. The explanatory essay is made of the detailed interpretations of objects, locations, events, people, or state of affairs. The writer reflects information in an objective, sober manner. The writer skips obvious details of the analyzed text. Such paper tends to have different sections.
The argument synthesis essay is about proving your main claim is correct through using various effective persuasive methods. A student must apply credible sources in English to support his information. The argumentative synthesis essay writing involves many facts, statistics, in-text citations, quotes, and other techniques used to prove the specific view.
Synthesis Essay Topics
Your synthesis paper should be built around a prompt with perspective for negotiation and discussion. For example, you may analyze text written in Germany during WWII and get your argument with view on modern society and history of that period. It should be content with various views possible. Some good topics to write your synthesis essay:
Good synthesis essay topics would be ones that are debatable, for example:
- DST (Daylight Saving Time)
- Wage and its minimum
- Nature protection
- Weapon control
- Social media and its influence on humanity
How to Write a Thesis for a Synthesis Essay?
You need to read the prompt. Even if you are familiar with the target source, push yourself to read it once more; realize your position. Do you support the example text or have a negative review? Structure your claim and write it down for the whole synthesis essay; move to the synthesis essay outline.
Synthesis essay outline writing
Lots of students just don’t realize how important this step is for writing any type of essay or other academic papers. It is the best point to get your essay structure right. The outline is your road map. If you write a typical synthesis essay with three parts (Introduction, Body, Conclusion), you should write three different parts in your outline. Write down all the arguments, supporting facts, and evidence in a proper structure order.
Each argument should approve the statement you are supporting; acknowledge factors that go against your main thesis and idea. This step will make your essay even stronger and more diverse. Please note, that analysis does not mean summarizing - you need to answer related topic questions.
Synthesis essay structure
Synthesis has typical structure, and it looks like that:
- Main argument 1
- Main claim 2
- Main claim 3
Main argument 1
- Analysis of Evidence
Main claim 2
- Evidence Analysis of Evidence
Main claim 3
- Analysis of Evidence
- Restate your main idea and get your view straight
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Synthesis essay formatting
The formats of synthesis essay are also typical for all academic essays. Three most widespread formats include MLA, APA, and Chicago style. Each of these formats has their typical areas of use (APA is mostly used in Psychology, Education, and Science). Chicago style is a common format for business purposes; MLA works best for Humanities.
Synthesis Essay for AP English Language and Composition
AP English Language and Composition is a tough course of dealing with. The main goal of this course is to your knowledge of the subject and understanding of the material you are working with. And your grammar and perfect formatting do not pay that big role in your essay grade. The main factor that influences your grade is about defending your claim and point of view.
Three main areas of AP English and Composition course that you should focus on are:
- The argument is the starting and the simplest point. You just need to come up with your statement and get many supporting facts. It all should work to convince your reader that your view is right.
- Synthesis is the thing that requires some deep research and identifying various areas of one single text. You should identify the agreements and disagreements between sources. It will help to come up with your claim.
- Rhetorical analysis is the direct work with prompt and its author; find what was his rhetorical tools to appeal to the reader. What was the main idea about the text?
General Synthesis Essay Tips
We should talk about acronyms. Main ones that will help you to deal with this essay are:
Speaker: Write who was the speaker or writer of the original source. Tell what you know about his life and background.
Occasion: Identity what was the time and place when the source of your synthesis essay was created; get the reason why it was created. You may come up with your own suggestion and build your text around it.
Audience: Identify the audience of the original text
Purpose: Identify the tone and purpose of the text
Subject: What was the main claim in original piece?
Another strategy to write your synthesis essay: these three points appeal to different factors that you should identify and analyze.
Logos is the reason. If your sample text has various definitions and quotations, you need to constitute a wider range of backup info to get successful with your essay.
Ethos is philosophy: Apply to sources that demonstrate credibility and reliability of speaker.
Pathos is emotions. It works great for vivid imagery texts with strong language - connect your reader with your source emotionally. It is a tough task to change someone’s view if the person is already linked to the source emotionally.
It is a simple explanation of these three elements. To get a higher grade with your AP Lang, you need to read more about it.
1 last tip to write your synthetic essay well is to apply this scheme to your analysis. Get these five factors identified: Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Structure – feel free to add anything else to your analysis in case it is special.
How to get a higher grade with your essay?
Few main factors that influence your grade for synthetic essay writing:
- The effective statement about assigned source and its topic.
- Complete understanding of the source and its subject.
- Synthesis of sources and position identification.
- Writer appeals to his researched arguments, not the source itself.
- Convincing and effective arguments.
- Clear structure and writing style.
- Good organization.
- No grammar or structure mistakes.
- Quotation of the source.
You should note that the best essays with highest grades always are those with the strong writing style. It means that your essay should be a standalone piece - not just a simple exam essay to get it done. Try to develop your own writing style and get your soul into your essay. You may read some examples of the most popular and successful essays to borrow some ideas and other factors to make your own paper stronger.
Some Extra Essay Writing Advice
Well, these were basic tips and facts about s synthesis essay and its writing specifics. It is recommended to read more about analyzing AP English essays from other sources on the web - it will help you to develop a stronger view of the task itself. The most important thing you need to pay attention to is the thesis statement.
This point plays a great role in your essay, and you need to identify it perfectly; it will be a total failure if readers will not understand your view. All your arguments will look like no purpose and ridiculous.
What we want to advice is to ask yourself a question if your thesis statement is really about your feelings and view. If you are writing your essay with some too short deadline on an exam, you need to stress on your argument in every single paragraph. Then connect each of your ideas to the thesis statement. Write down your thesis statement and put it before dealing with your essay - it will help you to focus on it and add it every time you write a new paragraph.
How does a Great Synthesis Essay Example look?
Synthesis essay writing in English is difficult without having a high-quality synthesis essay example in front of your eyes. Students find many free samples of synthesis essay writing in English online. Keep in mind it is important to decide on the synthesis essay type. Mind topic before searching the examples.
If you’re looking for someone to help you with this tough task, you can always call our professionals. Fill in the simplest order form, and all your academic troubles will be solved immediately.
The word “synthesis” is defined as a combination of elements to form a connected whole. Thus, a synthesis essay definition is an essay that combines different ideas into a whole to prove a point (otherwise called the thesis). Often, it comes with a text that you should analyze.
Table Of Contents
A key factor of writing a synthesis essay is an analysis of a given text or a prompt. In order to successfully analyze it, you must comprehend the text’s purpose, rhetoric, and the argument that the author’s claim, in other words, you are answering the question: “So what?”. Then, you must build your own claim, and write an essay around that.
Most Common Topics
A synthesis essay prompt must be negotiable. Like in the EssayPro's example above, Andrew Jackson’s negative views on Native American people were widely supported, today, however, they would be appalling. Depending on your assignment, you may have to choose a primary text. Choose a text that might have opposing viewpoints.
Good topics would be ones that are debatable, for example:
- Daylight savings
- Minimum wage
- Immigration policy
- Global warming
- Gun control
- Social media
How Do I Write A Thesis?
Once you pick a topic of your paper, read your sources and establish your position. Make sure you thoroughly analyze the sources and get a good understanding of them, structure your claim or argument and write your thesis.
Example: Andrew Jackson’s fear of the Native American “savages” reflects the prejudices and ideas of the colonist people in the Union and the Congress.*
How Do I Write An Outline?
Creating an outline will help maintain the structure of your paper. If your essay is split into three parts, split your outline into three chunks. Paste supporting evidence, sub-arguments, and specific points in the appropriate sections. Make sure that every point somehow proves the claim in your thesis. Extra information or tangents will only hinder your essay. However, if information goes against your central claim, then you should acknowledge it as it will make your essay stronger. Make sure you have read all of your sources. When writing about the sources, do not summarize them; synthesis denotes analysis, not plot-summary.
- Main point 1
- Main point 2
- Main point 3
- Main point 1
- Evidence (quote from a source)
- Analysis of Evidence
- Main point 2
- Evidence (quote from a source)
- Analysis of Evidence
- Main point 3
- Evidence (quote from a source)
- Analysis of Evidence
- Restate main points and answer unanswered questions
Read more about how to write a great INTRODUCTION
How Do I Format My Essay?
The format depends on what style is required by your teacher or professor. The most common formats are: MLA, APA, and Chicago style. APA is used by fields of Education, Psychology, and Science. MLA is used for citing Humanities, and Chicago style is used for Business, History, and Fine Arts. Purdue Owl is a format guide that focuses mainly on MLA and APA, and Easybib is a citation multitool for any of your external sources.
Some key points are:
- Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced
- 1” margins
- Top right includes last name and page number on every page
- Titles are centered
- The header should include your name, your professor’s name, course number and the date (dd/mm/yy)
- The last page includes a Works Cited
Some key points are:
- Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced 1” margins
- Include a page header on the top of every page
- Insert page number on the right
- An essay should be divided into four parts: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
How do I write an AP English Synthesis Essay?
AP English Language and Composition is an extremely rigorous course that requires you to write essays that demonstrate deep understanding of the subject matter. In fact, if on the AP exam, your essay has perfect grammar and structure, you might still be awarded just 1 out of 9 points for not “defending, challenging, or qualifying your claim.” Sounds difficult, but it is doable. Before entering any AP class, it is best to read over the course overview and become familiar with the exam.
While writing, focus on the three branches of the AP English and Composition course: argument, synthesis, and rhetorical analysis.
Argument is the easiest component; create your claim and find specific supporting evidence. Convince your reader that you are right.
Synthesis requires you to read into multiple perspectives and identify an agreement and a disagreement between sources. This step is crucial to finding your own claim.
Rhetorical analysis deals with the author and his intentions. What was their purpose for writing this? Who is their intended audience? How does the author appeal to the audience and how does he structure his claim?
There are two acronyms that are helpful with the three AP Lang writing branches.
Tip #1: SOAPS
Example text: Andrew Jackson’s speech to the Congress about sending Native Americans to the West.
Speaker: Identify the speaker of the piece, then analyze for bias and apply any prior knowledge that you have on the speaker.
Example: President Andrew Jackson had a bias against Native Americans. A piece written by Andrew Jackson about Native Americans will probably be written with a bias against him.
Occasion: Determine the time and the place of the written text, then identify the reason the text was written. Even if you aren’t sure of the reason, assume one and make your claim around it.
Example: Andrew Jackson was in office from 1829 to 1837. At this time, the Congress sent Native Americans to the West in order to clear the land for the colonists. Jackson was the one who made the proposal.
Audience: Who was the text directed to?
Example: Andrew Jackson’s speech was directed to a council.
Purpose: What is the text trying to say? Here, you analyze the tone of the text.
Example: Andrew Jackson appeals to pathos by calling Indians “savages”. His purpose is to portray Native Americans in a negative light, so the Congress passes the Indian Removal Act.
Subject: What is the main idea? What is the claim?
Example: Andrew Jackson wants the Congress to pass the Indian Removal Act because he believes Native Americans are uncultured and savage people.
Tip #2: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos
As you’ve probably learned before, Logos appeals to reason, Pathos appeals to emotion, and Ethos appeals to moral philosophy or credibility. However, for the AP Lang exam requires a wider understanding of the three.
If the text uses facts, statistics, quotations, and definitions, the speaker is appealing to Logos. Constituting various backup information is an extremely effective for people who want to persuade.
If the text uses vivid imagery and strong language it denotes Pathos, which is used to connect the audience to a piece emotionally; it is hardest to change the mind of a person who is linked to a subject via a strong emotion.
If the text attempts to demonstrate the speakers reliability or credibility, it is a direct appeal to Ethos. Using the example above, Andrew Jackson could have appealed to Ethos by stating the fact that he is the President of the United States, and thus, knows what is best for the union.
Often, Logos, Ethos, and Pathos lead to the use of logical fallacies.
Tip #3: DIDLS
This is a good shorthand for all textual analysis. While reading a text, try to pinpoint Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Sentence Structure in a piece. If anything stands out, add it to your analysis.
- High range essay (8-9 points)
- Effectively develops a position on the assigned topic.
- Demonstrates full understanding of the sources or text.
- Correctly synthesizes sources and develops a position. The writer drives the argument, not the sources.
- The writer’s argument is convincing.
- The writer makes no general assertions and cites specific evidence for each point. His/her evidence is developed and answers the “so what?” question.
- The essay is clear, well-organized, and coherent. It is a stand alone piece rather than an exam response.
- Contains very few grammatical and spelling errors or flaws, if any.
Note: 8-9 essays are an extreme rarity. A strong ‘7’ paper can jump to an 8-9 if the writing style is mature and perceptive.
Middle-Range Essay (57)
- Adequately develops a position on the assigned topic.
- Demonstrates sufficient understanding of the ideas developed in sources
- Sufficiently summarizes the sources and assumes some control of the argument. ‘5’ essays are less focused than ‘6’ and ‘7’.
- The writer's argument is sufficient but less developed.
- Writer successfully synthesizes the sources and cites them.
- Writer answers the “So what?” question but may use generalizations or assertions of universal truth. Writer cites own experience and specific evidence.
- Essay is clear and well organized. ‘5’ essays less so.
- Contains few minor errors of grammar or syntax.
Note: A ‘7’ is awarded to papers of college-level writing.
A ‘5’ on one of the AP English Language and Composition essays designates a 3 on the AP exam. It most likely relies on generalizations has limited control of the claim and argument. ‘5’ essays often lose focus and digress.
Low-Range Essays (1-4)
- Inadequately develops a position on the assigned topic.
- The author misunderstands and simplifies the ideas developed in the sources.
- Over-summarizes the sources, lets the sources drive the argument.
- Writer has weak control of organization and syntax. Essay contains numerous grammatical/spelling errors.
- Writer does not cite the sources correctly, skips a citation, or cites fewer than the required minimum of the sources.
- Notes: ‘4’ or ‘3’ essays do assert an argument but do not sufficiently develop it.
- A ‘2’ essay does not develop an argument.
- A 1-2 essay has severe writing errors and do not assert a claim.
Synthesis Essay Example
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
James Owen, online essay writer from EssayPro
The article reviews the basics of how to write a synthesis essay as well as how to dissect and analyze text when writing an AP English essay. One thing I would like to reemphasize is the importance of your thesis statement. When you write an essay for class or exam, make sure to state your argument clearly. If the reader of your essay doesn’t understand your point of view then what you’ve written is futile.
My advice is: when writing an essay in a short period (such as in an exam room) make sure to articulate your argument in every paragraph and connect every single one of your ideas to the thesis. My tip is to write your thesis down on a piece of paper and reread it at every point to ensure that the information applies and reinforces what you’ve stated in your thesis. This tip also goes for when you are writing a longer piece of writing, as it is very easy to lose focus and stray away from your main point.
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