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How To Write a Synthesis Essay

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Even though essay writing is a common academic exercise, many students are yet to master this art. Before starting any writing project, you have to understand the demands of that project fully.

Writing a synthesis essay requires exploration and fact-finding. You will need to study the information gathered and present it logically. But before you can do this, you need to understand what a synthesis essay is.

Understanding a Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay involves providing a central idea and a peculiar opinion from various sources. Writing a synthesis essay consists of building a principal argument from different views and facts from other sources.

For beginners especially, writing a synthesis essay will be one of the most engaging and challenging exercises you may face. You need extensive research on different related ideas and develop a brilliant, synthesized evaluation.

Types of Synthesis Essays

There are two types of synthesis essays:

  • Expository synthesis essay
  • Argumentative synthesis essay

You need to know the type of synthesis essay you are about to write before you start. Each type of synthesis essay has different demands and approaches.

1. Expository Synthesis Essay

This type is also known as an explanatory essay. This type aims to give the reader a better understanding of the topic. You will need to explain the issue of concern in as much detail as possible.

An expository synthesis essay will give the readers an in-depth explanation of all the facts surrounding the subject. An expository essay explains clearly every idea or information on the topic.

Besides, every type of academic paper contains a form of expository writing. A perfect example of an expository essay is reviewing matters relating to the social sciences and history. 

2. Argumentative Synthesis Essay

Unlike the expository type, the argumentative essay involves:

  • Taking your stand on a particular issue.
  • Giving supporting claims.
  • Backing these claims up with reliable evidence.

When writing an argumentative essay, you are not seeking to explain facts but to persuade your readers. However, an argumentative essay is not strictly a persuasive one. Whatever arguments you have must be from credible sources, backed up by valid evidence.

Being able to put forth your argument in an articulate fashion is an essential skill. At the end of your paper, you should make readers see things from your perspective without being biased.

Steps to Writing A Synthesis Essays

You will have a smoother experience writing a synthesis essay if you follow specific easy steps. Let us look at some of those steps.

1.Choose a suitable topic

Typically, college students get a topic assigned to them by their instructor. However, in some cases, you get to choose your topic.

If you get to choose your topic, make sure you make an intelligent decision. It is natural for most students to want to write something they know little about, but this may not be the best option.

When choosing a topic, go for something that interests you. That way, you don’t lose interest along the line. Also, your case should be on something analytical but relevant. When doing your research, you are bound to make new findings.

2.Pick your sources carefully

A synthesis essay involves analyzing and evaluating ideas from different sources. If you’re taking the AP test, you won’t get to choose your references. But if you’re choosing your sources, then make sure they are credible.

One of the biggest challenges many college students face is not knowing what a credible source is. For an academic paper such as this, stick with sourcing information from academic journals, books, popular magazines, and websites.

3.Conduct thorough research

After choosing reliable sources, the next step to take is to conduct research. One of the main demands of a synthesis essay is doing proper research on the different issues you are to synthesize.

You need an in-depth understanding of the central theme and other supporting ideas to write an expository essay. You cannot hope to explain the topic in detail if you don’t understand it yourself.

If you are writing an argumentative essay, you need to comprehend the whole topic to present your arguments and opinions confidently. The reader will need to see solid reasons why you have specific ideas, and this is not possible if you haven’t done extensive research.

4.Create an outline

An outline will help give your writing an organized flow. In your outline, you should clearly state how you will arrange the information gathered from your research. Try to go with the flow as dictated by your outline when you eventually start writing your draft.

5.Write a draft

When writing a draft, use your outline as a guide. Your draft will contain an introduction, the body of the essay, and a conclusion.

The introductory part of your essay will contain a hook and your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central thought and idea of your work. It is this statement that will be the basis for further analysis in the body of your writing.

The main body will contain paragraphs of evaluation. In this part of your writing, you will analyze your sources and put forth your arguments. Every section in the body of your essay should support your thesis statement.

The conclusion of your piece will summarize everything you have written in the essay. This part of your essay is to be concise.

6.Polish your work

After writing your draft, you will need to proofread and edit. Read through your essay as many times as necessary to pick out and correct any grammatical or punctuation errors. Also, ensure to do a plagiarism check.

Proofread your essay and check all the facts again. Make sure to arrange your ideas and arguments in a well-organized flow.


To improve your synthesis essays, you will need to familiarize yourself with research. You cannot write an excellent synthesis essay without doing proper research. Make time to discover more about how to do adequate research.