How to Write a Synthesis Essay

How to write a synthesis essay

A synthesis essay involves excellent researching, processing, and organization skills. This essay aims to analyze multiple sources of information and extract their stance with your thesis. In other words, you need to show that you can link different work pieces to support or clarify an idea. 

Writing a synthesis essay could be challenging, as it involves combining different thought pieces to support a thesis. If you’re a student and need to understand how to formulate a synthesis essay, this article will guide you. Also, you can get the best essay writing services in the U.S.A from Grade Amplifier. Our professional writers can help you, and we offer cheap essay writing services in the U.S.A.

What is a Synthesis Essay?

Synthesis, as a word, means a combination of elements to form a whole. Thus, a synthesis paper employs multiple sources to build a viewpoint on a topic. These sources may include academic materials, lectures, videos, interviews, and so on. Writing a synthesis paper is like putting together every other form of essay. However, there’ll be a difference in the structure and organization of your synthesis essay.

In synthesis writing, you can present the main argument, along with the contra-arguments and their refuting. Also, don’t give an overview or summary. There should be a source which supports the main thought and an explanation of how it leads to your conclusion.

Types of Synthesis Essay

Argument Synthesis Essay 

For an argument synthesis, you present a strong thesis to defend your point of view. The goal here is to state your position in an argument and back it up with persuasive pieces of evidence. You’ll organize the information from your sources logically and clearly, to support your thesis.

This type of synthesis essay is similar to an argumentative paper but more sophisticated and complex. You can draw parallels if possible. Remember, you’re not trying to challenge the other side of the argument. You’re justifying your position with evidence from several sources. For a sophisticated approach, the first paragraph of your body should introduce the opposition. Then, refute their argument. 

Explanatory Synthesis Essay 

This type of synthesis essay is informative. Your goal here is to help the reader understand the topic. Present the discussion points and explain using credible sources.

In contrast to the argument essay, you shouldn’t try to take a position or defend a point of view. You must present the facts objectively without stating your opinion. Your aim should be to help the reader comprehend every part of a topic with the relevant information you provide. At the end of your thesis, in your conclusion, you should also stay neutral. 

Research and Choose a Topic

If your teacher or professor assigns a topic to you, make sure to read the prompt and understand it. There will be more on how to understand a prompt later. If your instructor requires you to select a topic, you’ll have to choose an appropriate one.

How to Choose a Suitable Topic:

  1. Browse and read different materials to give you an idea of what to write about in your essay.
  1. The topic you choose should be of interest. That way, you’d love to spend hours researching on it.
  1. The topic should be debatable. You don’t want to choose a topic, on which the majority of the people have similar views.
  1. Make sure there are enough materials to help you write the essay. Also, those resources should be accessible.
  1. Your topic should not be broad. For instance:
  • Drug abuse
  • Social media
  • Leadership
  • Cancer
  • Education
  • Global warming.
  • The pandemic

The above topics are general and have many interpretations. If you decide to write on them, you’ll find too many information. Instead, narrow them down to be more precise.

Sample Topic Ideas that are Specific: 

  • Does social media affect the writing skill of students?
  • Big data and privacy: the role of the government.
  • The effect of immigration on the economy.
  • Should health insurance cover complementary and alternative medicine?


Understanding the Prompt

  1. Read the entire prompt carefully. Prompts are often intricate with underlying meanings. If you don’t take your time to understand it, you’ll misinterpret and make your assumptions. 
  1. Distinguish the problem the prompt is trying to address.
  1. Identify the task. That is, what you are to do in the essay. Furthermore, what information do you need to complete it?
  1. Choose the best position. In a synthesis essay, your ability to conduct researches and recognize multiple views is essential.


Read your Sources and Make Notes

  1. Choose the sources that will be useful in supporting your thesis.
  2. You must read each source carefully, so you don’t take the author’s words out-of-context.
  3. Annotate each source as you read, by making notes on the margin.
  4. Analyze your sources and distinguish the viewpoints.
  5. Select the best evidence from sources that will support your synthesis essay.

Create an Outline

After you choose a topic and relevant materials, the next thing is to create an outline.

An outline will help you structure your essay and focus your writing on the arguments that support the topic.

You can go through your sources again and look for quotes or ideas that will support each section of your article. Be sure you choose only the necessary information. You don’t want to add unimportant points that will make the paper tedious.

Also pick out opposing viewpoints as this can help strengthen your thesis, and make it more persuasive.

The outline of your synthesis essay should have this format:

  • Introduction and thesis statement 
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Conclusion


You start your essay with an introduction. This section is one of the most critical parts of any writing, including essays. How you begin your essay will determine if the reader would want to read to the end.

The introduction tells the reader what your essay will be about and should contain your thesis statement. The thesis statement conveys the main idea of your essay. For an argumentative synthesis, your thesis should show your viewpoint on the topic.

Example of a thesis statement: 

The use of social media has a positive impact on college students, as it provides a platform for students to learn online, have better communication with instructors, and have access to reliable sources. 

The above thesis statement is for an argument synthesis. For an explanatory synthesis, it would look like this:

While the use of social platforms help students have access to online education and reliable materials, they also hurt the mental health of students and their self-esteem.  

Tips for Writing a Thesis Statement 

  1. Your thesis statement should be one sentence long, like in the above examples.
  2. Reveal your position, if it’s an argument synthesis.
  3. Be clear and concise. Your thesis statement should go straight to the point.
  4. Your thesis statement must be specific. The reader should read it and have an understanding of the problem you’re about to address.

Body Paragraphs

The body is where you’ll have the arguments and counter-arguments to your essay. Divide the body into different paragraphs, with each section explaining a distinct subject. You shouldn’t address more than one theme in a paragraph.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t have less than three paragraphs in your body. Three to four body paragraphs are standard. Remember to have information from more than one source for each section.

Your paragraph should have this format:

  • Topic sentence that addresses your thesis
  • Resources and evidence
  • Analysis of evidence


Furthermore, there is little evidence to show that spending time on social media leads to depression in students. According to the study by Larry ( as cited in Adam, 2017) to ascertain the disposition of students when and after online, 76% of young people aged 12 – 20 in Minnesota, feel exultant when they communicate with friends, read a funny media post, or watch videos. This study shows that the use of social media does not have a link to mental health conditions in young people. Also, to support this, a professor of psychology, reveals that students who spend more time on their devices do so to stay happy and content (Lawrence). By not using social accounts, it is easy to see that young people may not know how to escape during sullen times.  


This section is the final part of your essay. It should reiterate your main points, however, don’t go over everything you said in the body again. You can reaffirm your thesis statement. The conclusion paragraph is your last chance to convince the reader and demonstrate the significance of the thesis. You must conclude your essay with a thoughtful final sentence.

Conclusions, like the introduction, can be hard to write. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t introduce a new topic in your conclusion.
  • You can address any question you think the reader might have.
  • Your conclusion has the most impact on the reader. Leave a thoughtful impression.

Techniques for your Writing

Creating an outline is one part of the task, and writing is the other. For a more structured essay, you should use one or more of the following techniques:

Example or Illustration: You can either paraphrase your sources or quote them. Remember to credit your sources whenever you use an example.

Summary: This is the simplest way to develop your essay. You summarize the sources with the most relevance. The disadvantage of using this method is it doesn’t reveal your independent thoughts.   

Two or More Reasons: You state your thesis and give reasons why it is true. Support with evidence from your sources. This approach is simple yet effective. You should begin with the weakest evidence and finish with the strongest; that way holds the interest of the reader.

Straw Man: Here, you present a contra-argument to your thesis, and state reason it is flawed. Straw man technique shows the reader that you’re well aware of the opposing view and the weakness. Start by presenting an introduction and thesis, then the main contra-argument and a refutation. Finally, end with a positive argument.

Concession: This technique is similar to the Straw man technique. You acknowledge the opposing view. This approach shows the reader that you understand the contrary argument and accept it is true. Always remember that you shouldn’t defy the opposing viewpoints. Accept that the contra-argument is valid, then add reasons the original argument has more strength than it.

Comparison and Contrast: This method shows the features of both sides of the argument. You compare their similarities and contrast the differences. This technique requires that you study your sources carefully to discover subtle and significant points for your analysis. With this method, you can compare and contrast sources or by highlighting the features of both sources. 

Tips for Writing a Synthesis Essay

  1. Choose Credible Sources: When writing a synthesis essay, you do not cite any source that isn’t reliable. In other words, don’t use a social media post or blogs. Your sources can include books, documentaries, other essays, journals and academic articles.
  1. Always Write in the Third Person:  Avoid the use of “you” in your essay. Use pronouns like he, she, it, or they. 
  1. Write in Clear Sentences: Avoid the use of ambiguous sentences. Remove filler words or phrases. Try to write more in the active voice than passive voice. Also, keep your tone consistent throughout the essay.
  1. Use Transitions: To make your essay more logical, always use transitions between sentences and paragraphs. Transitions help show a change in topic or a continuation. Some examples of transition words and phrases include: Besides, hence, therefore, first, second, on the other hand, and so on. 
  1. Cite your Sources Correctly: You will fail your paper if you don’t cite correctly. The professor or teacher will always present the citation format for the essay, be sure to use it. You can always find resources online to help you cite your paper. 
  1. Proofread your Essay: You can have a brilliant idea for your essay, but fail because of grammatical mistakes. Correct any grammatical errors before you print or submit your paper. Also, you can have someone read it before you submit.
  1. Choose an Appropriate Title for your Synthesis Essay: The best practice is to choose your title at last, after writing. Your title should be brief and give the reader an idea of what your essay is. Remember to add the topic keywords to your essay title. Still not sure what title to give your paper? Summarize your essay in a few words. You have a title!

If you’re struggling with your synthesis essay, remember you can always hire from the best essay writing services in the U.S.A. Professional writers at Grade Amplifier can help you write high-quality papers.


Writing Styles

There are three main styles for formatting an academic paper:

  • APA Style
  • MLA Style
  • Chicago Manual of Style

APA Style 

APA is the preferred style if you’re in these fields: sociology, education, medicine, psychology.

Important tips:

  • Your synthesis essay should have these major sections: Title page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
  • There should be a page header at the top of every page.
  • Use a legible font: Times New Roman. Font size should be 12pt.
  • The top right corner of every page should have a page number.
  • Always include a header on the top of every page.

MLA Style

You’ll be familiar with this style if you’re in the Humanities.

Important Tips: 

  • Do not make a title page for your paper, except the teacher states so.
  • The upper right corner of every page should have the page number.
  • Use a legible font: Times New Roman. Font size should be 12pt.
  • The header should have your last name, professor’s name, course number and date.
  • Always double-space the text of your essay.
  • The last page is your Works Cited Page.

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is for Business, History and Arts.

Important Tips: 

  • Use double-spacing in your text except for block quotations.
  • You should set your margin at no less than 1 inch.
  • Use a legible font: Times New Roman. Font size should be 12pt.
  • Your bibliography should have a different page.
  • For the beginning of paragraphs, use 1/2 inch indent.
  • Your essay should have a title page, with the title centered in the middle of the page.

Need help with your synthesis essay?

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