Menacing as it sounds, a synthesis essay often becomes a task found on the plate of English students (and not only students studying English as their major). So to approach it safely and securely one should understand what is a synthesis paper, what it is not and what should and should not go into the mixture. To begin with, synthesis stands for ‘putting together, fusing’ thus an essay should combine several elements into a coherent and persuasive whole.
Now the essential question is: what is it that has to be fused in writing a synthesis essay? There are several answers to this enquiry depending on the instructions that are given. First, it may be the task to incorporate various theories and ideas studied during the whole course into a final essay on a common predetermined topic. Next, it may be a task to select a topic independently and find a few relevant sources highlighting and discussing the issue. Finally, it may be an argumentative piece that relies on both primary and secondary sources (or secondary only) to defend a firmly taken point of view.
So, it looks like synthesis papers generally overlap with other typical kinds of essays because synthesis is rather a method of approaching the research and organizing ideas than a type of essay as such. So one can find argumentative, descriptive/review essays and exploratory/explanatory essays to be also synthesis paper examples. It is totally OK, and once you master synthesizing information you master these mentioned kinds of essays by default.
So what are the keys to successful writing? First, it is finding good reliable sources that provide opposing views (in order not to make an essay look biased). Second, it is shaping your thesis and main arguments (including counterarguments and their refuting) that you will illustrate across the paper (3-4, typically). Next step is to draft an outline, polish it, add references and proofread.
Synthesis Essay Examples
So how does synthesis essay example look in real life? Is it possible to have a look at it? Yes, absolutely, and many students have already benefited from using solidly and professionally written sample synthesis essay, because seeing a good sample is the first step on the path to writing a good essay of your own. Here you can get many perfectly crafted samples that belong to different areas of science and represent various kinds of synthesis papers like the ones mentioned above. You browse the website or ask us about a specific kind of sample and get it really fast. When you see it ‘in flesh’ – sections, argumentation, transitions, conclusions, overall message and use of sources or material that fuses together – you can start planning your own essay and do so in confidence of not missing out some important parts. So looking for a good essay sample is a completely legitimate step that will help you improve your writing skills and build up a valid synthesis paper. But as you read through the sample, the most reasonable activity is to start compiling at least a schematic outline of your own essay and then fill it with specific content.
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Synthesis Essay Outline and Format
Now what about a synthesis essay outline? Is it really necessary? Is it difficult to write? Yes, it is helpful in organizing your thinking and ultimately in selecting the best and strongest arguments and facts for the final variant. And no, it is not that difficult.
After you score your sources for facts and theories, you need to put them together.
How do you do that? As in almost all the papers, you develop a thesis that you will develop and defend across the essay. It is recommended that a thesis is debatable and contains 2-3 specific points to be elaborated on. But not all the topics allow dissecting thesis into separate points, so just be careful to make a thesis debatable – that is, the one that can be proven and supported with evidence. So it should be an assumption and not the established fact.
Now that there is a thesis you list main arguments to use. They will be your paper sections. Each section will contain a topic sentence – the argument, evidence, theories applied and discussed, thoughts developed and elaborated, and transitioning conclusions. A useful tip: use the strongest arguments with the most persuasive evidence close to the end. This is what readers usually remember of the whole paper. Sum it up with neat conclusion.
So basically, the structure of a research paper will look like this:
- Introduction with a thesis
- Section 1: argument 1 + evidence + explanation + conclusions/transitions
- Section 2: argument 2 + evidence + explanation + conclusions/transitions
- Section 3: argument 3 + evidence + explanation + conclusions/transitions
- References (according to assigned synthesis essay format)
The number of sections will depend on a number of arguments you plan to use. So where is the synthesis, you might ask? Does it look like another research paper for you? Well, research papers are actually synthetic papers since they mix various sources into a single text. But synthesis goes beyond that: it fuses ideas and evidence, even contradicting ones, and leads to conclusions that demonstrate this fusion.
For example: the theory says one thing, this evidence says the same, but the evidence from a different reliable study contradicts the previous one. So more research is needed because the things are not what they seem to be, or the truth lies somewhere in between, or the second study was flawed in some aspect, and the evidence does not count. This is how to write a synthesis essay. Putting everything together and making it work, basically.