How to Write a Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay is an engaging and time-consuming task. Whether you study at college or university, this essay type serves to demonstrate your abilities to take big concepts apart, perform thorough research, and present a good argument.

Writing your essay is hardly ever simple, but if you have an interesting topic and time to complete it, you can get a high grade for it. If you don’t, you can always hire an essay writing service that not only knows how to write a synthesis essay, but has daily experience with this kind of paper.

Writing a synthesis essay requires that you collect data from various sources and summarize those sources during the writing process. Your main idea should be intertwined in a sentence called the thesis statement. This synthesis statement is usually located in the introduction of the essay and it is the strongest indicator that shows readers what your paper is all about.

Based on your research, you can create a synthesis paper outline to help you create a well-organized essay that impresses the reader. This article will teach you exactly that, as well as show you what a good synthesis essay format should look like.

What Is Synthesis Essay

There is no definite synthesis essay definition. Writing a synthesis paper is similar to crafting a thesis of any kind. This form of thesis is a writing that discusses ideas and draws on sources from speeches, academic papers, fiction sources, articles, observations, lectures, interviews, etc.

What does this mean?

It means that, to create an original and good synthesis essay, you need to find a good essay topic and perform thorough research. Based on what you find, you need to create arguments that show the readers what your findings are in a synthesized, cohesive matter.

This is a great way to demonstrate your writing and research skills, but also a chance to show your view of a selected topic and prove to others that you are right. In a way, it’s similar to an argumentative and persuasive essay, but in a more elaborate, descriptive way.

Synthesis Essay Types

Generally speaking, there are two main types of synthesis essay that students can choose from:

  • Explanatory synthesis essay. When you’re writing this essay type, you’re aiming to teach the readers about a topic. What does this mean? In this type of essay, you don’t argue a point, but you explain to the readers so that they can get a better understanding of your selected topic. To support any claim you make, you need material gathered through research.The body of an explanatory synthesis essay includes various sources that are all up-to-date, reliable and properly cited. Unless you do this, you will have a plagiarized paper that won’t go well with your instructor.
  • Argument synthesis essay. Your second option is an argument synthesis essay. As the name tells you, this is not a place where you simply explain a topic. Your task is to justify your arguments with evidence. This type of paper is very similar to the traditional argumentative essays you get frequently. You have three goals in it: state your point of view, find and present supporting claims, and provide credible evidence for each claim you make.

Synthesis Essay Formatting

There are different types of formatting you might choose when you write a synthesis essay. In many cases, this will be decided on behalf of your instructor and part of the formatting requirements. Most often, synthesis essays are written in formats such as MLA, APA, and Chicago Style.

These formats can vary based on what you’re studying. For those who study Science, Psychology, and Education, professors usually assign the APA style. For Humanities studies, you might be asked to use MLA. Lastly, Chicago style is most frequently used on behalf of institutions that teach History, Business, and Fine Arts.

Even so, there’s no written rule as to which style you’ll be asked to use when you’re writing an English paper. Here is some general information about the three popular synthesis essay formats:

  • APA formatting includes a page header on the top of every page and page number on the top right, it uses Times New Roman 12 pt font and 1’’ margins, and has four parts for synthesis essays (Title page, Abstract, Main body, and References).
  • MLA formatting has centered titles, 1’’ margins, uses Times New Roman 12 pt font, is double-spaced, requires your last name and page number at the top right corner of every page, has a ‘’Works Cited’’ page at the end, etc.
  • Chicago Style also uses Times New Roman 12 pt and 1’’ margins. It also uses ½ inch indents at the beginnings of paragraphs, full names or organizations and people mentioned in the essay, and have a separate page for the bibliography.

Synthesis Paper Outline

Making a synthesis essay outline can turn the writing part into a more enjoyable and faster experience. Whether you’re writing a synthesis essay or any other type of paper, you need to plan your work ahead in order to organize it properly.

Creating an outline includes many things such as the making of a thesis statement, which is essential for your paper. It will also show you what your central claim is and help you figure out which data belongs in which part of the paper in order to best prove your point.

Generally speaking, there are three main parts of a synthesis essay outline template:


Every essay starts with an introduction. This is the part where you introduce the topic, but also the place to entice readers to keep going through your assignment. You should place the most interesting information, as well as some background data in your outline for a synthesis essay to be used in this precise location. In addition to such information, an introduction should include a thesis statement.

If you don’t know how to write a synthesis statement, you should read some samples and use your notes. This one sentence needs to include your point of view and introduce the readers to the rest of the essay.  The next part includes some information about it.


Any synthesis writing will include one capital argument that applies to the entire paper. This is called the thesis. There will be various arguments to be made, as well as theses to be discussed, but there’s one thing that makes your paper unique – your key point.


Any synthesis format, regardless of the instructions, will have body paragraphs. These are the main parts of your essays where you need to provide all those ideas and arguments you found during your research.

The first paragraph of a synthesize paper should include a counterargument to the thesis you provided before this. Such an approach will show readers that you can think from both sides, both points of views.

After this, you need to create following body paragraphs that present arguments in favour of your thesis. They have a specific format, too: supporting argument – topic sentence – supporting evidence – evidence analysis. Make sure that all paragraphs are interlinked and connected.


Any academic paper ends with a conclusion. This is a summary of everything you’ve done and written so far in regards to the essay. In this part, you need to restate your main points, address some questions that might not be answered, and provide guidance for future research.

Step-by-step Guide on Writing a Synthesis Essay

To help you with this process, our writers have created a step-by-step guide for writing a synthesis essay. Here is how it goes:

  1. Create an outline. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have an outline for the paper you are writing. In the outline, you need to explore the topic, organize the research data, and create a thesis statement.
  2. Make a catchy introduction. Introductions should offer a clear insight into what your paper is about. This is why the main argument belongs in the introduction – to tell the reader what the purpose of your assignment is. This is essentially background information and an introduction for your thesis statement. Try to make this part as enticing and catchy as you can.
  3. Separate your arguments into body paragraphs. The body paragraphs of your synthesize essay should represent a logical flow of connected information. For every thought you have and idea you present, you need supporting information.For starters, you might want to begin by presenting a counter-argument for your thesis statement. This will show the reader that you know all points of view, but performed research and decided on the best one. The following paragraphs should discuss the remaining arguments for your idea.
  4. Make influential remarks in the conclusion. The conclusion of a synthesis essay needs to be a resounding culmination of the writer’s position on the topic. This is basically an argumentative and persuasive, as well as descriptive essay all in one. Include a summary of all your arguments to complete your assignment.
  5. Edit and proofread. This is crucial for your academic success. All papers need to be polished before they are sent out. A paper full of mistakes such as grammar and spelling errors can kill at least one grade, if not more.

Writing Tips

In addition to our step-by-step guide, we’ve come up with some useful writing tips:

  • Address your readers in an academic way. Even though this is a descriptive paper that shows your point of view, be professional.
  • Make your sentences clear and avoid using passive voice.
  • Ensure that all of your citations are correct.
  • Provide examples by using paraphrasing, quotations, etc. In any case, cite your source.
  • Use at least two supporting materials for every argument you make.
  • Separate your arguments and points of view in different body paragraphs.
  • Provide information on the opposing viewpoint.
  • Compare and contrast different arguments, points of views, as well as sources of data.

Good Synthesis Essay Topics

Before you do any of this, you need to choose a topic for your synthesis essay. Any synthesis essay needs to be debatable. Once you choose a topic, you can gather useful and relevant sources to support your arguments. If your topic is poorly selected or lacks research data, you won’t be able to create a quality paper.

When choosing a topic, you need to look for one that’s debatable and can make the reader emotionally-charged. You can talk about immigration policy, income inequality, gun control, drug legalization, abortion legalization, etc. However, you shouldn’t choose topics that are already answered and long over such as the Flat Earth theory, existence of gravity, racial supremacy, etc.

With all this in mind, we’ve created a short, yet very good list of ideas for your synthesis essay. Feel free to choose any of these for your next project:

  • Public schools or homeschooling: which is more productive and effective for a child?
  • Tattoos in the workplace: should they be allowed or not?
  • Video games and how they affect the education of children
  • Mobile phones: should they be completely banned when a person is driving?
  • Gun control policies: should there be a more thorough background check for gun owners?
  • At what age should a child be allowed to use a smartphone?

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