In order to have a clear understanding how to create a decent synthesis essay, let’s start with the basics and find out what a synthesis essay means. Synthesis is a collection of elements that together form a connected whole. The whole in this situation is the thesis statement, and separate elements are different points that you use to prove your position noted in a thesis statement. More often than not, an assignment for a synthesis essay will include an object that a student needs to observe and analyze.
The objective of a good synthesis essay is to thoroughly analyze the point using reliable sources. A good way to remember what you are expected to do in your synthesis essay is the question: “So what?”. In order to answer that question, you need to investigate the goal of the content you are asked to analyze, as well as the arguments provided by the author. State your opinion in the thesis statement and build the rest of your synthesis essay around it.
Choosing a Topic for Your Synthesis Essay
There is a chance you will be given a topic for your essay by your teacher, that means you don’t need to choose on your own. In case this approach is not used in your school, you will have to deal with choosing the topic yourself. Most importantly, you need to select a topic that you have a lot of thoughts about, so that while writing, you don’t struggle with providing enough arguments for your statement. Usually it takes between 3 and 5 arguments to write a good synthesis essay.
Another common requirement for a synthesis essay topic is that it needs to be thought-provoking and be a subject for debate. By choosing a topic that everyone agrees on you will not give your readers any food for thought, and the ultimate goal of writing a synthesis essay is to present readers with information that they will continue to think about long after they finish reading the essay. Good examples of synthesis essay topics include topics that often cause polarizing opinions in the society. Here are some of the most effective topics for synthesis essay for your inspiration:
- The effect of social media on youth
- Should abortion be legalized?
- What causes anorexia
- The future of artificial intelligence
- Corruption on politics
- Regulating the immigration
- Should gun control be imposed?
- Causes and solutions of the drug abuse problem
- How minimal salary should be calculated
These topics are not only some of the widely discussed aspects of the modern society, but also thought-provoking statements that perform great as topics for a successful synthesis essay.
Write Thesis Statement and Outline
Once you’ve settled on the topic for your synthesis essay, it’s time to move on to gathering the sources. All sources used in your work should be highly relevant to the topic and no more than 5-10 years old to be considered credible. Carefully study each source you’ve selected and pick some of the most relevant ones to use as quotations to support your own point. By the time you’ve studied every source you’ve found, you probably have an even clearer idea about your topic. This is when you need to write your thesis statement.
The thesis statement of a synthesis essay is the cornerstone of the whole work. It needs to be thoroughly formulated and structured to be more accessible to the readers. The statement doesn’t need to be too long – usually it’s just one long sentence, although the number of words you can use is not limited.
If the thesis statement is the cornerstone of your synthesis essay, then the outline is its backbone. The outline of the essay has a dual purpose. Firstly, it allows readers to quickly find the chapter they’re most interested in. Secondly, the outline helps you maintain the chosen structure of your writing.
The most common outline of a synthesis essay contains the following parts: introduction, 3 main chapters, and conclusion. The main chapters should have their own names and contain arguments supporting your thesis statement. Persuasive synthesis essays also contain arguments that contradict their thesis statement – that way you can demonstrate your well-rounded approach to the topic.
Synthesis Essay Formatting
You shouldn’t take formatting as a key requirement to success of your essay. There are numerous formatting styles used in American schools, and you’re probably familiar with the one used in yours. Generally, most of the essays written today follow one of the next formats:
Cases of application of these formats are different: for example, MLA is commonly used in Humanities, while APA is a popular choice for Education, Science, and Psychology.
If you’re having trouble with proper formatting your essay and don’t want incorrect formatting to affect your overall grade, there are many helpful sources that will help you get the formatting of your essay just right. There are even services that will turn any external source into a complete citation formatted according to your preferences, so that you could simply copy and paste it into your work.
Even though the formatting requirements in different schools may vary, there are some features of essays that remain the same regardless of the format. When you’re asked to write an essay, here are some formatting rules for you to remember:
- Times New Roman 12pt font
- Double-spaced text
- 1-inch margins on all sides
- Centered titles and headings
- The last page needs to contain bibliography
Many formatting styles also require every page of your essay to have a running head, containing your name, work title, and page. You can get more detailed instructions from your teacher.
AP English Synthesis Essay
AP English have even more requirements for their work, since the AP English requires you to have advanced knowledge of English and outstanding writing skills. Even the most grammatically correct, properly structured, and correctly formatted paper won’t guarantee you the highest grade if it doesn’t contain high quality writing that is able to defend and challenge the claim in your thesis statement. A good way to know what your synthesis essay needs to contain is to remember three pillars that AP English and Composition stands on: argument, synthesis, and rhetoric. Let’s take a closer look at each of the three aspects of essay writing.
The argument is the easiest part. Here you are required to set up your point of view with the help of a thesis statement and then provide compelling arguments that support your point of view.
Synthesis is an important part of writing an essay, where you need to study as many sources as possible to justify your position. At this stage you should have clear pros and cons concerning your topic.
The rhetoric aspect of essay writing is all about the author’s personality, his relationship with the readers, and how well the author is able to translate his views for a wider audience.
3 Prompts for Writing a Synthesis Essay
Synthesis essay isn’t the easiest piece of writing you’ll have to deal with throughout your academic career, but there are three writing prompts that have helped thousands of students do a better job.
- SOAPS, which stands for Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, and Subject. By taking all these five factors into account while working on your synthesis essay, you will meet the criteria for excellent writing.
- Logos, Ethos, and Pathos are a writing prompt that has been known for centuries. These Latin words stand for reasons, philosophy, and emotion, and define the requirements for persuasive synthesis essay creation.
- DIDLS is a less known writing strategy that stands for Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Sentence Structure. Of course, you don’t have to 100% follow the writing prompt – feel free to add anything you feel may enhance your work.
Writing a synthesis essay is famously not an easy job: every day thousands of students struggle with this aspect of their studying process. Whether you’re having troubles with conceiving the idea for your essay, analyzing your sources, writing, or formatting, don’t worry, because high quality help with your essay is just within a few clicks! You’re not alone in your challenging studies – we are always here to help.