Synthesis Essay

How to Write a Synthesis Essay- with Example Outlines

Synthesis essays are sometimes called integrated essays. They are often assigned in the first-year university courses or on standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT exams. These types of essays ask students to synthesize material they have read by organizing information on a given topic into an essay. Students may also be asked to use outside sources to strengthen their claim in a synthesis essay.

As with other essays, the best way to write an effective synthesis essay is to use a clear thesis statement and provide specific details to strengthen claims made throughout the essay.

Types of Synthesis Essays

There are three different common types of synthesis essay, including:

Argument synthesis essays.

An argument synthesis essay invites the student to evaluate a claim. Students are to gather support for their evaluation of the claim by assessing information from outside sources. The student will then use evidence gathered throughout the essay to support an argument about how valid or invalid they find the claim to be.

Argument synthesis essays typically begin with a thesis statement that presents a clear argument. For example, a student might write: “Although some people believe that the concept of karma is part of traditional Hinduism, it was actually popularized by Allen Ginsberg in his 1966 poem ‘Howl.’ “

In this example, students find support from outside sources to determine whether the idea of karma is an original aspect of Hinduism.

Argument synthesis essays are commonly assigned to students in college courses or standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT exams. However, these essays can also be used effectively in high schools to help students strengthen reasoning skills.

Fact synthesis essays.

A fact synthesis essay presents facts that need to be discussed upon. Students are required to analyze facts and make sense out of them. They are asked to combine ideas, opinions, and personal thoughts with the facts presented to create their idea.

Fact synthesis essays typically begin with a thesis statement that presents the key fact that students will discuss throughout the essay. For example, “The first documented use of fingerprints as a means of identification was in 1892.”

In this example, students would be required to find support to determine how fingerprints have impacted society as a means of identification.

Fact synthesis essays are commonly assigned to students in college courses or standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT exams. However, these essays can also be used effectively in high schools to help students strengthen reasoning skills.

Explanatory synthesis

The third type of synthesis essay is called an explanatory synthesis. The student will use evidence to explain a complicated process or idea. This type of essay aims to present a complex topic in a simplified method that a reader can understand and analyze.

Explanatory synthesis essays typically begin with a thesis statement that presents the key concept to be explained throughout the essay. For example, students might write: “The process of completing an atom bomb is not as simple as it seems.”

Start by thinking about what you already know about this topic. What ideas do you already have that will need to be challenged or proven wrong? What is the truth behind the topic at hand that you need to discover?

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How to Choose a Topic for an Effective Synthesis Essay

It is important to choose a topic that you can support throughout the essay. The more complex the topic, the more sources students will need to find to support their claims.

Additionally, students must be able to determine how valid or invalid certain sources are by finding appropriate outside sources that will help them support their claim.

Consider the following while picking a topic for the synthesis essay assignment.

  • What is the assignment?

What kind of information and sources does your teacher want you to include in support of your claim? How many sources do you need to find, and what do they need to cover for them to be considered appropriate evidence?

  • Who is my audience?

Who will read this essay, and what are their backgrounds? What do they already know about the topic? Do you need to include any background information that your audience will find helpful in understanding the key concepts of the essay?

  • Your interests

What are you interested in? What do you find interesting or fun to write about? Consider your hobbies, interests, and what you enjoy reading. This can help determine the types of topics that will interest you while writing your essay.

Examples of Good Topics for a Synthesis Essay

  • How do greenhouse emissions affect global warming?
  • The impact of the Internet on society.
  • How has the invention of cell phones impacted society?
  • What is the effect of gun control on crime rates in America?
  • How have visas and passports been beneficial to international travel?
  • Should global warming be viewed as a problem?
  • How does gender affect the way students are taught in school?
  • The importance of recycling paper.
  • Is there life on Mars?
  • What are some examples of physical characteristics that help determine if an animal is aggressive or not?
  • What did ancient cultures use to treat illnesses before medicine was developed?
  • Who are the key players in the civil rights movement?
  • What are the factors that have led to an increase in gang-related crimes?

How to Structure an Outline for a Synthesis Essay

In general, synthesis essays deal with complicated topics that have many key points and ideas to consider. A good structure for a synthesis essay will help students organize their ideas so that they are easy to understand and follow.

There are three main sections of a synthesis paper: introduction, body, and conclusion. Each section is filled with information and ideas that help support the main idea of the paper. A good structure will also include a thesis statement in the introduction, which states what is to be explained throughout the body paragraphs.

A good synthesis essay outline includes several aspects:

  • An analysis of the information available to you. Synthesis means combining several parts to make a complete whole. You should use your synthesis essay outline as a guide to shape your writing. Look at all the sources you have used and select those that are most relevant.
  • A good understanding of the topic. In order to prove a point, it is important to be able to know what the topic is talking about. In some cases, you may need to research your specific subject in order to answer questions that come up throughout the essay.
  • Logical order of ideas related to the topic. It is important to organize your synthesis essay outline in a way that makes sense and follows the flow of the argument. A good organization allows your audience to follow along easily so they can understand the point you are making.

Synthesis essay outline


Synthesis essay introduction is where you present your thesis statement and give background information about the topic. It is important to hook the reader with an exciting introduction that makes them want to read further.

The function of an introduction is to:

  • State your claim (this is what you are going for, why should it be true?)
  • Give a brief overview of the topic.
  • Establish some context – why is this relevant?

Body paragraphs

After the introduction, several body paragraphs will explain different aspects of the thesis statement. It is important to write about 3-5 body paragraphs in order to give enough information and draw conclusions.

The function of a body paragraph is to:

  • Explain one idea
  • Give examples
  • Cede (back up your claim) with evidence

A body paragraph starts with an introductory sentence that briefly describes the topic of that paragraph. Supporting evidence comes next, which can be expressed using statistics, definitions, or examples/ anecdotes. The evidence should relate directly to the thesis statement of your paper. There is a separate concluding sentence that restates the topic and ties it back to the thesis statement.


The final paragraph is where you restate your thesis statement from the introduction and summarize what has been discussed in the body paragraphs. The conclusion ends on a strong note that leaves a good impression on the audience. A firm conclusion will:

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarize main points from each body paragraph
  • Make a final point that proves your thesis statement or presents a new idea related to the topic.

Perfect synthesis essay outline template

1). Introduction

  • Hook
  • Thesis statement
  • Mention your main points (briefly)
  • Concluding sentence

2). Body Section

A). Body paragraph 1

  • Introductory sentence
  • State main point
  • Evidence 1
  • Evidence 2 (if any)……
  • Analysis
  • Concluding sentence

B). Body paragraph 2

  • Introductory sentence
  • State main point
  • Evidence 1
  • Evidence 2 (if any)……
  • Analysis
  • Concluding sentence

C). Body paragraph 3

  • Introductory sentence
  • State main point
  • Evidence 1
  • Evidence 2 (if any)……
  • Analysis
  • Concluding sentence

3). Conclusion

  • Give a summary of the main points.
  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Provide a takeaway

Synthesis Essay Writing Guidelines

A synthesis essay must:

Be well written in proper English with correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

It is of vital importance that essays be well written. The same rules apply whether you are writing a synthesis essay for an English course or an online purpose. Remember that your audience will be reading your paper because they are interested in what you have to say and how you present your information.

Your job is to demonstrate to the reader that you can communicate professionally. Many tutors require that students write well-constructed essays so your proficiency in this area will be evident to the instructor.

Properly analyze information from various sources.

The synthesis paper is designed as a way of reviewing and integrating information. Therefore, your job is to synthesize the information you have gathered from your sources. The main body of the synthesis essay should be an analysis of information. This means that you will need to analyze each source individually and then integrate them to create a coherent paper that makes sense.

You should be able to clearly state how each source contributes to your information and support your analysis with specific examples from the sources. Instructors want to see that you have read, understood, and synthesized all of the information you have gathered in order to be successful at this paper.

Have a position on the topic

The synthesis essay has a point of view. It is not only reporting the latest news but also asking if this information proves something. Therefore, you should be able to ask questions about your topic and state how it relates to your position.

For example, you can begin with a hypothesis and then ask questions that relate to this hypothesis throughout the essay.

The synthesis essay is designed for critical-thinking students who can create connections between information from different sources. The instructor wants to see how well you understand how information changes if analyzed in different ways.

Be appropriately formatted according to the guidelines of your instructor.

The required format will depend on the institution. If you are writing an academic paper, specific guidelines need to be followed.

Some institutions may require that students use specific formatting styles such as MLA, APA, or the Chicago Style. There may even be some rules about font size and margins that must be observed.

The format will also determine the number of pages a synthesis essay must have. Check with your instructor if you are unsure about what should be included in this type of college essay.

Have a professional conclusion that reflects your position

The conclusion should summarize the main points of your paper, and it must have a clearly stated position. You can also include a suggestion if you think there is a need for further research on this topic, or perhaps you feel there are better ways to organize information from various sources.

In general, the conclusion needs to show that you understand what you have written about.

Be clear and concise.

A synthesis essay must be clear and concise. You should present your information in the best way possible while focusing on the main point of this paper.

This type of writing is not an excuse for you to write extensively about something you like or dislike. Do not ramble on too much without providing specific details that support your analysis or position.

Your goal is to give information and examples from the sources you gathered in an organized manner. You will still need to follow specific writing rules, such as introducing your topic, stating your main points, and concluding with a reflection about them.

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Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Synthesis Essay:

1. Not providing clear evidence: Your information and examples need to be precise and relevant.

2. Using unnecessary words: Do not add extra words that don’t help you get your message across. Be concise while writing a synthesis essay.

3. Introducing new concepts unrelated to the topic: Stick to the main focus of your synthesis essay.

4. Failure to provide a clear conclusion: The readers need to know what you think after analyzing the information provided in this paper.

5. Not being organized: Make sure that the information from various sources is well-defined and easily found throughout your paper.

6. Avoiding plagiarism: Identify the sources you use correctly and provide a proper citation if needed.

Tips for Writing a Synthesis Essay

These tips will help you write a synthesis essay that is clear and effective:

  • Come up with your position on the topic early on.
  • Do not include irrelevant information about the issue.
  • Discuss both sides of the argument without taking one side or another; decide what makes more sense to you after comparing arguments.
  • Use your paper to explain why you feel this way about the topic.
  • Provide specific examples that support your position
  • Be organized while writing a synthesis essay; divide the information into smaller paragraphs.
  • Keep sentences short and straightforward.
  • Provide a title that reflects the main idea of your paper

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We discussed how to write a synthesis essay and explained some steps on how to achieve this. Some mistakes were also identified and explained, as well as provided some guidelines for writing this type of paper. It should be noted that choosing the right topic for this paper is an essential step because it will determine the success of your paper.

At, we can help you write a synthesis essay that is clear, concise, and factual.

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