Ultmate Guide for Writing a Synthesis Essay the Right Way

Last Updated: 03 July 2023

That frown on your face when wondering how to write a synthesis essay seems familiar. When it comes to writing a synthesis essay, students always get bewildered. Yes, that is pretty natural, given the complexity of synthesis essays.

Synthesis essays require critical thinking, reasoning, and presentation skills. High school, college, and university can develop these skills, but a synthesis essay will remain what it is “a fear point for students.”

If and when assigned to write an essay of this stature, and you simply lack the motivation or just do not know what to write, you can always refer to this guide and write an outstanding synthesis essay.

You probably are now conversant with writing argumentative essays, and now that you are already good at it, you can also hone your synthesis essay writing skills.  With the intimidating name, we make it simpler to understand how to write a synthesis essay. Scroll down below and get to learn how to write a synthesis essay. There is no simpler way ever explained than we have done.

Synthesis essay definition/ what is a Synthesis Essay?

A synthesis essay is a type of formal academic writing task that entails the presentation of a unique point of view or perspective about a topic, central theme, or an idea while using a set of multiple related sources.

The purpose of a synthesis essay is to present an insightful connection between multiple or parts of a given literary piece with the general thought of arguing and supporting the argument or claim about a topic.

In academic writing, synthesis essay writing encompasses combining thoughts from either part of a source or multiple sources with the intention of explaining a point or a general idea.

So, when writing a synthesis essay, you are taking ideas from two or more different texts and combining them into a single position to which the paper tries to argue.

For university students, the essence is to test your ability to get ideas from different sources and combine them into one.

For example, if you are writing a paper on why cheetahs hunt alone, and why elephants heard alone, you could combine the ideas into why animals like feeding with their own species.

Types of Synthesis Essays you will Encounter in Class

There are three types of synthesis essays that you might encounter during your high school, college, undergraduate, masters, or doctorate life. They can be categorized as:

  1. Exploratory Synthesis Essays – exploratory synthesis essay is focused on helping readers understand a topic. It entails divided component parts of a subject presented in an expounded, cogent, concise, and orderly fashion to the audience. In most cases, an explanatory synthesis essay seeks to present facts reasonably and coherently while maintaining objectivity.
  2. Argument Synthesis Essays – One salient feature of this type of synthesis is its strong thesis statement, which presents the point of view/perspective of the essay writer. In this synthesis essay, the relevant information is gathered and organized systematically to support the thesis. Often, the thesis of an argument synthesis paper is debatable as it makes a proposition resonating with reasonable people. Position papers or business white papers are an example of argument synthesis papers. Mostly, students encounter the argument synthesis essays in AP tests.
  3. Review synthesis – A review synthesis can precede an argument synthesis. Review essays are meant to discuss the literature available in a given topic. It incorporates a critical analysis of evidence from different sources on a given topic. When writing social sciences, business, psychology, and medicine as well as nursing research papers, term papers, research proposals, or capstone projects, you will encounter review synthesis more often.

How to write a good synthesis essay in Simple Steps

You are off a good start now that you understand its definition. But just how do you write an outstanding synthesis essay? Well, our expert recommendation is pegged on the best practices for writing top-grade academic papers. We would like you to wear the cap of a learner and read every line as though your life depends on it. After all, grades and GPAs are determinants of the type of life you will live. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Begin by Choosing a Great Topic

You can choose the topic for your synthesis essay from the prompt, rubric, or essay instructions. The topic for a synthesis essay should be broad such that it pulls in different resources, but not so broad that it brings many sources that water down the content.  If your professor does not provide one, conduct some preliminary reading and decide on what to write your synthesis essay about. For instance, if you are writing a synthesis essay for an English class, you can choose topics such as:

In short, choose a topic that resonates with what has been taught in class. And, it should come after reading the assignment prompt.

  1. Select and Read the sources Actively

It does not matter if it is an AP test or just an essay for a regular class; you have to read and evaluate the sources. Always select three to four out of the provided list of potential scholarly sources. Carefully look at each material and relate it to the topic you have chosen. If you have time, you can use the notes on the PDF readers or even make notes on the sources.

Re-read the sources and make mental summaries of the concepts presented. Also, identify the parts of the sources that stand to support your topic.

  1. Develop a Thesis

Time and again, we have reiterated the importance of having a clear thesis statement. It should be the last two or one sentences of your first paragraph. The thesis must be a complete sentence and includes the main idea of the synthesis essay. While writing the thesis assert your stand on the topic.

For instance, when writing about whether Facebook as a social media is a surveillance tool, an excellent thesis would read: While Facebook enables people from different backgrounds interact and share self-generated content, it has also emerged as a vital surveillance tool both for governments and corporates.

Well, sometimes, the thesis can come as your opening sentence. But let it stand out, bear your point of view, and have the main topic.

  1. Choose the sources to support your ideas

You have the thesis, so the next thing is to decide which sources suffice for the discussion. It is essential to re-read the sources, evaluate each one of them, and choose the parts of the sources that align with the main topic or idea of your synthesis essay.

  1. Outline your Synthesis Essay – Make a Killer Outline

With the information at hand, you can now craft the best synthesis essay outline. Your outline should begin with the thesis statement; it should also contain the topic sentences of the body. It should also feature sub-arguments and followed by supporting information from the sources.

Structure of a Synthesis Essay/ Synthesis Essay Outline

A synthesis essay has an introduction that is brief. It should describe what the paper is about. It should also have a hook/grabber, the relevance of the topic or background information, and the thesis statement.

Below is a simple outline structure for Synthesis Essay:

A. The Introduction

State the topic sentence

Create the hook

State the thesis statement. You can have up to 3 points.

Claim 1

Claim 2

Claim 3

B. The Body

Claim 1

Supporting Evidence (quote/reference the source)

Present an analysis of the evidence

Claim 2

Supporting Evidence (quote/reference the source)

Present an analysis of the evidence

Claim 3

Supporting Evidence (quote/reference the source)

Present an analysis of the evidence

C. Conclusion

Reiterate the central arguments/claims and answer any queries that may not have been answered. The conclusion of your synthesis essay should summarize the entire paper. Have proper transitions that signal the conclusion of a paper. The closing paragraph should bear a restated thesis and a summary of the main points. Sometimes, it is also vital to point unanswered questions.

Sample conclusion to a synthesis essay: In summary, considering the evidence presented above, it is conclusive that social media platforms are a leading channel for online bullies. Evidence indicates that bullies construct a fear factor environment that traps their targets. Once in the trap, the bullies use their influence and power to destabilize the self-confidence of their subjects.

  1. Write the Essay

The next step after the outline is to write the synthesis essay. When writing your fast draft, fill in the parts of the outline. Ensure that you also write in the third person. While writing, it also ensures that you use unambiguous sentences and that every sentence and paragraph is complete. It is also a great time to utilize transition words. For instance, when sources concur on an idea make use of the right transitions to show agreement.

  1. Finalize the Synthesis Essay

After writing the first draft, you can take a break. Then, you should carefully revise the essay, and when revising try to strengthen arguments, develop and maintain the flow of ideas, and correct mistakes. Besides, countercheck that each argument is succinct and well-supported. If it is MLA, ensure that the in-text citations have the right page number.

  1. Proofread the Essay

Finally, go through the entire paper as though you are marking it. Your focus should be on grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. The moment you weed all these out, you will have an excellent synthesis paper. Sometimes, it is great to have a professional proofreader work on your paper. Alternatively, your classmate or roommate can help you with proofreading.

Ensure that your source material is all cited in the bibliography, reference list, or works-cited section. Also, ensure you have the right title page for your essay. If there are footnotes, provide the pages given match the information paraphrased in your synthesis paper.


If you were initially worried about how to start and conclude a synthesis essay, we are sure you do not feel the same. Synthesis essays are excellent academic papers albeit demanding. Writing a synthesis essay is a chance to hone your reasoning, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

We are hopeful that this blogpost inspired confidence in you to write a synthesis essay on your own.

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