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Synthesis Essays: A Step-by-Step How-To Guide

A synthesis essay is generally a short essay which brings two or more sources (or perspectives) into conversation with each other.

The word “synthesis” confuses every student a little bit. Fortunately, this step-by-step how-to guide will see you through to success!

Here’s a step-by-step how-to guide, with examples, that will help you write yours.

Before drafting your essay:

After reading the sources and before writing your essay, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the debate or issue that concerns all of the writers? In other words, what is the question they are trying to answer?
  • On what points do they agree?
  • On what points do they disagree?
  • If they were having a verbal discussion, how would writer number one respond to the arguments of writer number two?

In a way, writing a synthesis essay is similar to composing a summary. But a synthesis essay requires you to read more than one source and to identify the way the writers’ ideas and points of view are related.

Sometimes several sources will reach the same conclusion even though each source approaches the subject from a different point of view.

Other times, sources will discuss the same aspects of the problem/issue/debate but will reach different conclusions.

And sometimes, sources will simply repeat ideas you have read in other sources; however, this is unlikely in a high school or AP situation.

To better organize your thoughts about what you’ve read, do this:

  • Identify each writer’s thesis/claim/main idea
  • List the writers supporting ideas (think topic sentences or substantiating ideas)
  • List the types of support used by the writers that seem important. For example, if the writer uses a lot of statistics to support a claim, note this. If a writer uses historical facts, note this.

There’s one more thing to do before writing: You need to articulate for yourself the relationships and connections among these ideas.

Sometimes the relationships are easy to find. For example, after reading several articles about censorship in newspapers, you may notice that most of the writers refer to or in some way use the First Amendment to help support their arguments and help persuade readers. In this case, you would want to describe the different ways the writers use the First Amendment in their arguments. To do this, ask yourself, “How does this writer exploit the value of the First Amendment/use the First Amendment to help persuade or manipulate the readers into thinking that she is right?

Sometimes articulating the relationships between ideas is not as easy. If you have trouble articulating clear relationships among the shared ideas you have noted, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the ideas of one writer support the ideas of another? If so, how?
  • Do the writers who reach the same conclusion use the same ideas in their writing? If not, is there a different persuasive value to the ideas used by one writer than by the other?
  • Do the writers who disagree discuss similar points or did they approach the subject from a completely different angle and therefore use different points and different kinds of evidence to support their arguments?
  • Review your list of ideas. Are any of the ideas you have listed actually the same idea, just written in different words?

first paragraph synthesis essay

first paragraph synthesis essay

How to Write a Synthesis Essay: Your Guide From Start to Finish

first paragraph synthesis essay

Today, we're swamped with information, like reading 174 newspapers every day. It comes from all over—news, social media, science, and more. This flood might make you feel overwhelmed and lost in a sea of facts and opinions. But being able to make sense of it all is crucial.

This guide isn't just about handling all that info; it's about using it to write awesome essays. We'll show you step by step how to pick a topic and organize your essay. Let's dive in and learn how to turn scattered facts into powerful essays that really stand out.

What Is a Synthesis Essay

The synthesis essay is a powerful tool in writing. It's not just about gathering facts but about connecting them to make a clear and strong argument.

Writing a synthesis essay allows you to dive deep into ideas. You have to find similarities between different sources—like articles, studies, or arguments—and use them to tell a convincing story.

In today's world, where we're bombarded with information, synthesis essays are more important than ever. They let us explore how different ideas fit together and help us express our thoughts on complex topics. Whether you're writing about literature, science, history, or current events, a synthesis essay shows off your ability to analyze and understand a topic from all angles. And if you're struggling with this task, just ask us to ' write paper for me ,' and we'll handle your assignment for you.

Explanatory vs. Argumentative Synthesis Essays

In synthesis writing, there are two main types: explanatory and argumentative. Understanding these categories is key because they shape how you approach your essay.


An explanatory synthesis essay does just what it says—it explains. These essays aim to give a balanced view of a topic by gathering information from different sources and presenting it clearly. They don't try to persuade; instead, they focus on providing information and making things easier to understand. They're like comprehensive summaries, breaking down complex ideas for a broader audience. These essays rely heavily on facts and expert opinions, avoiding personal bias.


On the flip side, argumentative synthesis essays are all about persuasion. Their main goal is to take a stance on an issue and convince the reader. They gather information from various sources not only to present different views but also to build a strong argument. Argumentative essays aim to sway the reader's opinion by using gathered information as evidence. These essays express opinions and use rhetorical strategies to persuade.

And if you're keen on knowing how to write an informative essay , we've got you covered on that, too!

Synthesis Essay Structure

To craft a strong synthesis essay, you need a solid foundation. Here's a structured approach to help you nail it:

Introductory Paragraph:

  • To kick things off, grab your reader's attention with a catchy hook or interesting fact. Give a bit of background info about your topic and the sources you'll be using, as it can help readers understand your topic better! Then, lay out your main argument in a clear thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs:

  • Each paragraph should focus on a different aspect of your topic or source. Start with a topic sentence that links back to your thesis. Introduce the source you're discussing and highlight its main points. Also, using quotes, paraphrases, or summaries from your sources can make your arguments stronger.

Synthesis :

  • This part is where your essay comes together. Look for common themes or differences among your sources. Use your analysis to build a strong argument. Don't forget to address any opposing viewpoints if they're relevant!

Conclusion :

  • Wrap things up by restating your thesis and summarizing your main points. Explain why your argument is important and what it means in the bigger picture. End with a thought-provoking statement to leave a lasting impression.

References :

  • Finally, don't forget to list all your sources properly using the right citation style, like MLA or APA. Do you know that different citation styles have different rules? So, make sure you follow the right one!

Choosing a Synthesis Essay Topic

Picking essay topics is just the beginning. To write a great synthesis essay, you need to carefully evaluate and connect different sources to build a strong argument or viewpoint. Here's a step-by-step infographic guide to help you choose the right synthesis essay topics wisely.

choosing a synthesis essay topic

How to Write a Synthesis Essay with Easy Steps

Writing a synthesis essay is similar to a compare and contrast essay . It requires a methodical approach to blend information from different sources into a strong and persuasive argument. Here are some crucial steps and tips to help you along the way.

  • Clarify Your Purpose: First, decide if you're writing an explanatory or argumentative synthesis essay. This choice will set the tone and direction for your essay.
  • Source Selection and Analysis: Choose credible and relevant sources for your topic, balancing different types like articles, books, and websites. Analyze each source carefully, noting the main ideas and evidence presented.
  • Formulate a Strong Thesis Statement: Create a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your essay. It should express your main argument or perspective.
  • Structure Your Essay: Organize your essay with a clear synthesis essay outline, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of your topic.
  • Employ Effective Transition Sentences: Use transition sentences to connect your ideas and paragraphs smoothly, ensuring a cohesive flow in your essay.
  • Synthesize Information: Blend information from your sources within your paragraphs. Discuss how each source contributes to your thesis and highlight common themes or differences.
  • Avoid Simple Summarization: Don't just summarize your sources—analyze them critically and use them to build your argument.
  • Address Counterarguments (if applicable): Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and counter them with well-supported arguments, showing a deep understanding of the topic.
  • Craft a Resolute Conclusion: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Emphasize the importance of your argument or insights, and end with a thought-provoking statement or call to action. ‍
  • Revise and Proofread: Check your essay for clarity, coherence, and grammar mistakes. Ensure your citations are correct and follow the chosen citation style, like MLA or APA.

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Synthesis Essay Format

Choosing the right citation style can enhance the credibility and professionalism of your paper. The format of your synthesis paper depends on the specific guidelines given by your instructor. They usually fall into one of the popular styles: MLA, APA, or Chicago, each used in different academic fields.

synthesis essay format

1. MLA (Modern Language Association):

  • Uses in-text citations with the author's last name and page number.
  • Includes a 'Works Cited' page at the end listing all sources.
  • Focuses on the author and publication date.
  • Often used in humanities essays, research papers, and literary analyses.

2. APA (American Psychological Association):

  • Uses in-text citations with the author's last name and publication date in parentheses.
  • Includes a 'References' page listing all sources alphabetically.
  • Emphasizes the publication date and scientific precision.
  • Commonly used in research papers, scholarly articles, and scientific studies.

3. Chicago Style:

  • Offers two documentation styles: Notes-Bibliography and Author-Date.
  • Notes-Bibliography uses footnotes or endnotes for citations, while Author-Date uses in-text citations with a reference list.
  • Suitable for various academic writing, including research papers and historical studies.
  • Provides flexibility in formatting and citation methods, making it adaptable to different disciplines.

Synthesis Essay Example

Here are two examples of synthesis essays that demonstrate how to apply the synthesis process in real life. They explore interesting topics and offer practical guidance for mastering the art of writing this type of paper.

Synthesis Essay Tips

Crafting a strong synthesis essay requires careful planning and effective techniques. Here are five essential tips to help you write your best paper:

  • Diverse Source Selection : Choose a range of reliable sources that offer different viewpoints on your topic. Make sure they're recent and relevant to your subject.
  • Seamless Source Integration : Avoid just summarizing your sources. Instead, blend them into your essay by analyzing and comparing their ideas. Show how they connect to build your argument.
  • Balanced Tone : Maintain an impartial tone in your writing, even if you have personal opinions. Synthesis essays require objectivity, so they present different viewpoints without bias.
  • Focus on Synthesis : Remember, synthesis essays are about linking ideas, not just summarizing sources. Explore how your sources relate to each other to create a cohesive argument.
  • Address Counterarguments : Like in persuasive essays topics , acknowledge opposing viewpoints and explain why your perspective is stronger. This demonstrates your understanding of the topic and adds depth to your argument.

Concluding Thoughts

When writing a synthesis essay, it's essential to pick trustworthy sources, blend them effectively to build your argument and stay objective. Use smooth transitions, address counterarguments thoughtfully, and focus on analyzing rather than just summarizing. By following these steps, you'll create essays that inform, persuade, and engage your readers!

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How Should You Conclude a Synthesis Essay?

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

first paragraph synthesis essay

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

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How to Write a Synthesis Essay

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

4-minute read

  • 31st May 2023

Are you writing a synthesis essay? This is a paper that combines information from a variety of sources to form a new idea. Essentially, you’re synthesizing existing concepts and arguments to create something original.

As a student, you’ll probably have to write a synthesis essay at some point. Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to write one effectively.

Step 1. Define Your Idea or Argument

If you haven’t done so already, decide on a topic to write about. Read up about it using a variety of credible sources and make detailed notes while you research. Make sure you keep track of the sources you decide to pull information from so that you can cite them properly later.

Make a list of key points from your research. Once you have a good selection of material to work with, start developing your own idea or argument. This will be the focus of your essay.

Step 2. Create an Outline

Synthesis essays generally follow this format: an introduction, a handful of main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. It’s a good idea to come up with an essay plan before you start writing so that you can keep things organized while you work.

The outline is mainly helpful for deciding what to include in your body paragraphs. Decide what supporting points (and counterarguments ) from your research you want to include, and which order you want to discuss them in. You should have enough information to flesh out one paragraph for each point.

Step 3. Write Your Introduction

In your introduction, you should open with something that hooks the reader and captures their attention. Then, state your argument or idea (i.e., your thesis statement) and briefly summarize the material you’ll be including in your essay. You should also include any relevant background information here.

Step 4. Write the Body Paragraphs

Using your outline, discuss each point from your source material in more depth, devoting a body paragraph to each. Explain the information from the outside source, including appropriate citations, and discuss how it connects with your idea.

It’s a good idea to mostly focus on points that support your argument, but you should also include a paragraph with a counterargument or two. This means discussing a perspective that doesn’t necessarily align with your idea, and then explaining why your argument still works.

Step 5. Tie It All Together With a Conclusion

The conclusion should leave the reader feeling convinced of your idea. Restate your point clearly and summarize the main points you’ve discussed. You could also offer any concluding reflections on the topic.

Different Types of Synthesis Essays

While you can follow our steps for any type of synthesis essay, yours will probably fall under one of two categories: explanatory or argumentative.

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Argumentative essays are as they sound – they present an argument. With an argumentative essay, you’ll take a more definitive stance on something and use your supporting material to persuade the reader.

Explanatory essays don’t necessarily take a side one way or the other. Rather, they focus on developing and explaining a concept thoroughly. Knowing which type of essay you’re writing will help you to gather more effective source material for your purpose.

Cite Your Sources

Since synthesis essays are particularly dependent on outside material, it’s especially important that you cite your sources correctly. Familiarize yourself with your referencing system before you start researching so you know what information you need to keep track of, and include appropriate citations whenever you use someone else’s work.

At the end of the essay, you’ll need to compile your sources into a reference list following the requirements of your style guide.

Summary: Writing a Synthesis Essay

Hopefully, this post has helped you to feel more confident in writing a synthesis essay. Choose a topic first, do your research, keep track of your sources, and develop an argument or idea. From there, you can organize your thoughts into an outline and get to writing!

Once you’ve created a first draft, make sure you send it our way! We’ll check it for errors in grammar, spelling, referencing, and more. Try it out for free today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a synthesis essay.

A synthesis essay gathers ideas and viewpoints from several different sources and ties them together to form a new concept.

How long is a synthesis essay?

Synthesis essays usually follow the five-paragraph format, with an introduction, three main body paragraphs discussing different points, and a conclusion.

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How to Write a Synthesis Essay

Last Updated: April 7, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,124,823 times.

Writing a synthesis essay requires the ability to digest information and present it in an organized fashion. While this skill is developed in high school and college classes, it translates to the business and advertising world as well. Scroll down to Step 1 to begin learning how to write a synthesis essay.

Examining Your Topic

Step 1 Understand the concept of a synthesis essay.

  • Argument synthesis: This type of essay has a strong thesis statement that presents the writer's point of view. It organizes relevant information gathered from research in a logical manner to support the thesis' point of view. Business white papers known as position papers often take this form. This is the type of synthesis essay that students will write during the AP test.
  • Review: Often written as a preliminary essay to an argument synthesis, a review essay is a discussion of what has been written previously on a topic, with a critical analysis of the sources covered. Its unstated thesis is usually that more research needs to be done in that area or that the topic problem has not been adequately addressed. This type of paper is common in social science classes and in medicine.
  • Explanatory/background synthesis: This type of essay helps readers understand a topic by categorizing facts and presenting them to further the reader's understanding. It does not advocate a particular point of view, and if it has a thesis statement, the thesis is a weak one. Some business white papers take this form, although they are more likely to have a point of view, if understated.

Step 2 Choose a topic suitable for a synthesis essay.

  • Example of a broad topic narrowed down into a reasonable synthesis essay topic: Instead of the broad topic of Social Media, you could discuss your view on the effects texting has had on the English language.
  • If you've been assigned a topic as part of a class, make sure you read the prompt carefully and fully understand it.

Step 3 Choose and read your sources carefully.

  • Keep in mind that it's better to do three sources well than to do five sources incompletely.
  • Annotate each source by writing notes in the margins. This allows you to keep track of your train of thought, developing ideas, etc.

Step 4 Develop a thesis...

  • Example: Texting has had a positive impact on the English language as it has helped the millennial generation create their own form of the language.

Step 5 Re-read your source material for items to support your thesis.

  • If you wish to take on a claim by an opponent of your idea, and to poke holes in it, you should also find some ideas or quotes that go against your thesis statement, and plan ways to disprove them. This is called a concession, refutation, or rebuttal, which can strengthen your argument if you do it well.
  • Example : For the thesis statement listed above, excellent sources would include quotes from linguists discussing the new words that have developed through 'text-speak', statistics that show the English language has evolved with almost every generation, and facts that show students still have the ability to write with the use of grammar and spelling (which your opponents would bring up as the main reason texting has had a negative effect on the English language).

Outlining Your Essay

Step 1 Outline the structure of your thesis.

  • The introductory paragraph: 1. An introductory sentence that acts as a hook, capturing the reader's interest. 2. Identification of the issue you will be discussing. 3. Your thesis statement.
  • The body paragraphs: 1. Topic sentence that gives one reason to support your thesis. 2. Your explanation and opinion of the topic sentence. 3. Support from your sources that backs up the claim you just made. 4. Explanation of the significance of the source(s).
  • The conclusion paragraph: 1. State further significance of your topic from the evidence and reasons you discussed in the essay. 2. A profound thought or thoughtful ending for your paper.

Step 2 Use a more creative structure to present your thesis.

  • Example/illustration. This may be a detailed recount, summary, or direct quote from your source material that provides major support for your point of view. You may use more than one example or illustration, if your paper calls for it. You should not, however, make your paper a series of examples at the expense of supporting your thesis.
  • Straw man. With this technique, you present an argument opposed to the argument stated in your thesis, then show the weaknesses and flaws of the counter-argument. This format shows your awareness of the opposition and your readiness to answer it. You present the counter-argument right after your thesis, followed by the evidence to refute it, and end with a positive argument that supports your thesis. [5] X Research source
  • Concession. Essays with concessions are structured similar to those using the straw man technique, but they acknowledge the validity of the counter-argument while showing that the original argument is stronger. This structure is good for presenting papers to readers who hold the opposing viewpoint.
  • Comparison and contrast. This structure compares similarities and contrasts differences between two subjects or sources to show the facets of both. Writing an essay with this structure requires a careful reading of your source material to find both subtle and major points of similarity and difference. This kind of essay can present its arguments source-by-source or by points of similarity or difference.

Step 3 Create an outline appropriate for a background or review synthesis essay.

  • Summary. This structure presents summaries of each of your relevant sources, making a progressively stronger argument for your thesis. It provides specific evidence to support your point of view, but usually omits presenting your own opinions. It's most commonly used for background and review essays.
  • List of reasons. This is a series of sub-points that flow from the main point of your paper as stated in its thesis. Each reason is supported with evidence. As with the summary method, reasons should become progressively more important, with the most important reason last.

Writing Your Essay

Step 1 Write your first draft according to your outline.

  • Your essay should have an introductory paragraph that includes your thesis , a body to present evidence that supports your thesis, and a conclusion that summarizes your point of view.

Step 2 Write in the third person.

  • Lengthy quotes of three lines or more should generally be set off as block quotes to better call attention to them. [7] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Finalizing Your Essay

Step 1 Revise your essay.

  • Ask someone else to proofread your paper. The saying “two heads are better than one” still holds true. Ask a friend or colleague what would they add or remove from the paper. Most importantly, does your argument make sense, and is it clearly supported by your sources?

Step 2 Proofread your paper.

  • Read the paper aloud to guarantee that you don't accidentally add in or take out words when reading in your head.
  • If you can, get a friend or classmate to proofread your essay as well.

Step 3  Cite your...

  • Example of citing in an AP synthesis essay: McPherson claims “texting has changed the English language in a positive way--it has given a new generation their own unique way to communicate” (Source E).
  • For college essays, you'll most likely use MLA format. Whichever format you use, be consistent in its use. You may also be asked to use APA or Chicago style.

Step 4 Title your essay.

  • Example title: : English and the iPhone: Exploring the Benefits of 'Text-Speak'

Outline Template

first paragraph synthesis essay

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Just as your title should fit your essay instead of writing your essay to fit the title, your thesis, once chosen, should direct your subsequent research instead of subsequent research altering your thesis � unless you find you've adopted an unsupportable thesis. Thanks Helpful 21 Not Helpful 8

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About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a synthesis essay, start by coming up with a thesis statement that you can support using all of the sources you've read for your essay. For example, your thesis statement could be "Texting has had a positive impact on the English language." Once you've got your thesis, go through your sources to find specific quotes, facts, and statistics that back up your claim. Structure your essay so it has an introduction that includes your thesis statement, a body that includes your arguments and evidence, and a conclusion that wraps everything up. For more tips on structuring your synthesis essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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27 How do I Write a Synthesis Essay?

A synthesis essay is a type of essay that gathers information from a variety of sources to form a new idea, question, or argumentative thesis. Writers composing a synthesis essay will discuss ideas, data, and evidence from a series of sources to either explain or argue something original.

Explanatory vs. Argumentative Synthesis Essays: How Are They Different?

Though the formatting is largely the same, there are two main types of synthesis essays: explanatory and argumentative.

  • 1.   Explanatory : The purpose of an explanatory synthesis essay is to use different sources to explain a particular point of view. These synthesis papers objectively examine the similarities and differences between ideas but don’t necessarily choose a side or attempt to sway the reader in any direction.
  • 2.   Argumentative : An argumentative synthesis essay follows the same structure as a typical argumentative essay. The thesis of an argumentative essay will argue one specific point.

Synthesis Essay Structure

Synthesis essays typically adhere to the five-paragraph essay structure, but there are slight nuances to structuring this type of essay. Here is how a synthesis essay is structured.

  •   Introduction : The foundational ideas of your essay are expressed in the introductory paragraph. You will address the general landscape of ideas around your topic, introducing some of your sources. You will also introduce the argument to be made through a thesis statement, which succinctly states your primary argument in a sentence or two. The thesis statement typically comes at the very end of your introductory paragraph.
  •   Body : The body of your synthesis essay is usually about three paragraphs long. This typically includes two paragraphs synthesizing your sources in a way that supports your argument, and one paragraph that acknowledges opposing arguments.
  • Conclusion : The conclusion of your synthesis essay reiterates the argument that you’ve made throughout your essay. It may emphasize how each of the points you made and the sources you’ve cited substantiate your point.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

A great synthesis essay walks readers through a series of ideas and sources to prove or explain a larger point.

Follow this step-by-step guide for writing your essay:

  • Choose a topic you’re curious about . Brainstorm a few ideas for your synthesis essay topic, prioritizing the subjects you feel passionate about.
  • Do your research . Once you’ve decided on a topic, use the internet, library, and other sources to perform extensive research. You can turn to academic primary sources to find quotes from scholars and experts, or look up statistics or scientific studies relevant to your topic. This research will help you develop a point of view that is backed up by concrete information. Use credible sources that are unbiased.
  • Outline your point . Your entire essay should focus on either explaining a certain perspective or making an argument. Outline how each of your sources relates to your theme and support your idea.
  • Write your introduction . An introduction is the first paragraph of a paper. Its main purpose is to present the general premise of the paper, provide any necessary background information, and hopefully, capture the reader’s attention. The introductory paragraph to your synthesis essay should be where you include a strong thesis statement. This is where you will state the point of view that you’re exploring or the argument you’re making.
  • Include your body paragraphs . Synthesis essays will typically contain three body paragraphs. A good body paragraph contains three main sections: a topic sentence (or key sentence), relevant supporting  sentences, and a closing (or transition)
  • sentence. This structure keeps your paragraph focused on the main idea, providing clear, concise information. Each body paragraph should discuss different elements and supporting arguments of your thesis, along with evidence drawn from each source. Explain the common theme between your resources, as well as how they are relevant to your text. Include counterarguments as well as how your source material can discredit those claims and support your own idea.
  • Wrap it up with a strong conclusion . A conclusion is a final piece of writing in a research paper, essay, or article that summarizes the entire work. The concluding paragraph of your synthesis essay will restate your thesis, summarize the key supporting ideas you discussed throughout the work, and offer your final impression of the central idea.
  • Proofread . Always proofread your writing a few times before submitting or presenting it. A few missed words or grammatical errors can sometimes change or discredit the entire crux of an argument or opinion. Make sure that your grammar, syntax, and flow are as accurate and clear as possible. This will help you come across as a credible source.

College Reading & Writing: A Handbook for ENGL- 090/095 Students Copyright © by Yvonne Kane; Krista O'Brien; and Angela Wood. All Rights Reserved.

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Synthesis Essay Guide

Synthesis Essay Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

Synthesis Essay: Step by Step Guide With Easy Tips

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Published on: Apr 6, 2021

Synthesis Essay

Writing a synthesis essay is one skill that has been seen to translate easily from academia into all aspects of business and advertising. One way this plays out is through the ability to take on massive amounts of information quickly. So you can provide concise summaries or syntheses.

Scroll down below if you want some tips on how to write a perfect synthesis essay.

Synthesis Essay

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What is A Synthesis Essay?

For the synthesis essay, you need to combine different ideas from various sources and present them in an argument that reflects your point of view.

Synthesis essays are easier to write than argumentative ones because there is an abundance of ideas and arguments in your write-up for a strong impact. So don’t simply present a plain summary but use strong evidence from researchable sources to support them.

While drafting ideas and adding various arguments, you’ll need to gather information from multiple sources. Identify the relationships between the concepts and integrate them into a persuasive stance. Start by taking up an impactful stance, and build your arguments and topic sentences around it.

How to Start a Synthesis Essay?

When writing an essay, it is important to know your purpose and develop a well-organized perspective. To do this, you should follow some steps that will help in your writing phase. These are:

1. Choose a Topic

Before you start writing the synthesis essay, it is important to choose a good topic. When brainstorming for an essay topic, avoid topics that are too broad or narrow in scope.

2. Gather Information

Once you have chosen your essay topic, start collecting the data for it. Use several sources and gather relevant information that will help develop your thesis statement.

3. Synthesis Essay Thesis Statement

The thesis statement should summarize the main idea of your essay. It's a short but important sentence that will make it easier for readers to follow along and access all points in further reading material about this topic.

The structure for your essay will largely depend on the topic you choose and what side of the argument you support. You’ll express this in a thesis statement that will form a pivotal part of your write-up. It has to be clear and believable enough to impact mindsets.

Start by composing research ideas into a strong thesis statement that is a lucid description of your stance or paradigm. It has to be strong enough to convince your reader to read on clearly defining your stance. And how you’ll approach the topic with different perspectives and valid supporting material.

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How to Write a Synthesis Essay?

Here are the steps you need to follow for writing a great synthesis essay.

1. Create an Outline

Expand on your argument or thesis statement by creating a synthesis essay outline. It is a logical structuring of your collated information and concepts. Essentially your outline must indicate a multitude of sub-arguments extracted from your main argument and evidence to support your thesis.

2. Focus on Creating a Catchy Introduction

The purpose of writing an introduction is to offer a clear insight into the essence of your topic, argument basics, and the primary purpose of your write-up. The intro is essentially a reflection of your thesis statement. So the more eloquent your description, the higher your chances of impressing the readers with gripping content.

3. Organize Your Thoughts

Use the body paragraphs to organize your thoughts into a logical flow that clearly explains each perspective for your position. Ideally, the body of your essay should be divided into short paragraphs, each highlighting a specific point of view.

Make sure you provide ample supporting evidence to present your ideas convincingly. The good idea is to categorize or group concepts after you read your sources. Then present them as one unique theme or feature.

Focus on synthesizing ideas based on paradigms that highlight core features from your thesis statement. And use apposite words to create the right kind of impact.

4. Highlight Vital Concepts

Usually, synthesis essays are more descriptive and informative. So, the presented facts and ideas must explain the relationship between different sources and how they address the topic.

Look for similarities and differences in how various sources explain your position, analyze it, and examine it from different angles.

Similar to an argumentative essay, point out both sides of your chosen paradigm. Also, the favorable position and the opposing argument before reaching the final conclusion.

5. Include Influential Conclusive Remarks

Your conclusive paragraph must be a resounding culmination of your position for the synthesis. Include a summarized version of all the sub-arguments from your thesis statement and connect these with your concluding words.

Also, mention your specific thoughts and perspective on these highlighted sub-arguments that link back to your stance. In short, your essay should have a clear sense of direction, a coherent structure, and a compelling narrative.

6. Proofread and Edit

Lastly, the most important step for writing any type of essay is to proofread it.

This gives you a chance to perfect your paper by getting rid of grammar and spelling errors. Unfortunately, your first draft will have several irrelevant details and errors that need editing at this stage.

Synthesis Essay Outline

Before starting the actual writing process, it will be good to make an outline for the essay. A good outline will serve as the backbone for your essay, and it will help you keep track of all the information in the paper.

The basic structure of an outline is given below:

Synthesis Essay Examples

Completing a synthesis essay can sometimes become a tough task even for experienced students. If you want to make sure that your essay is perfect.



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Synthesis Essay Topics

Look for a sample synthesis essay or interesting synthesis essay topics that will attract the reader’s interest and attention.

There are a variety of topics that you can examine for your synthesis essay.

When it comes to synthesis essays, the main objective is to test the writer’s ability to conduct research and relating different information.

Here is a list of interesting synthesis essay ideas that you can have a look at.

  • Zero tolerance policies: pros and cons
  • Essay on global warming
  • How to encourage a reluctant reader?
  • Factors influencing fashion
  • Should high school athletes be drug tested?
  • Is war good or bad?
  • Should young people be allowed to use cell phones and tablets?
  • What’s more productive for children: homeschooling or public school?
  • Are video games an educational experience for kids?
  • Should cellphone use be banned while driving?

Tips for Writing a Good Synthesis Essay

Here are some expert synthesis essay writing tips that you can follow for writing a great essay on your own.

  • For a successful synthesis essay, you need to use sources with valuable information.
  • Coming up with a synthesis essay outline is an integral part of creating your argument. It will help you know if you have enough points to make the argument or whether it needs more material for people to understand what's going on.
  • The first thing you need to do is to study the topic carefully to understand its purpose. Go a little deeper to understand the idea and concept behind the topic.
  • Do read your sources carefully, then summarize and document them.
  • Do add examples and evidence from the source to support your ideas and claims. Do cite your sources as you go.
  • Do elaborate on main ideas and organize them logically.
  • Do aim to attract the reader’s attention by opening with an interesting thought. Set the right tone to make them want to read further.
  • Do make use of logical transitions to move from one idea to another smoothly. Logically connect your ideas.
  • Don’t present someone else’s work as your own. Do not copy! Plagiarism is a crime that you don’t want to get caught committing.
  • Don’t take help from a single source. Having more than one source provides you with more options. In addition, it helps you to compare and contrast different facts and evidence to support your argument.
  • Don’t expect to finish in an hour or even a day. Give yourself a flexible timeline to finish.
  • Don’t be rigid when it comes to making changes to an idea. There’s always room for improvement.
  • Don’t write using a passive voice and use simple English language words.

We hope that these steps and guidelines help you in crafting your essay. However, if you are faced with any confusion or difficulty in writing, you can contact us at  .

We have the best team of qualified and experienced writers. We can write any type of academic assignment, whether an argumentative essay or synthesis paper, with the quality writing that will score you well on your assignments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you use quotes in a synthesis essay.

A synthesis essay requires you to construct an argument by using sources and providing citations. If you use information from the sources, make sure to put it in quotes or cite them properly.

What is a topic sentence in a synthesis essay?

A topic sentence is a statement that expresses your main idea and helps you to keep track of the points in your paragraph. This type of sentence should introduce one reason supporting what you are saying without going into too much detail or repetition.

What should you not do in a synthesis essay?

You should not build your synthesis essay around the opinions of others, it would defeat the whole purpose of writing a synthesis paper where you are supposed to defend your stand by using evidence from both sides and formulating an opinion on what's right or wrong.

Nathan D.

Education, Research

Nathan completed his Ph.D. in journalism and has been writing articles for well-respected publications for many years now. His work is carefully researched and insightful, showing a true passion for the written word. Nathan's clients appreciate his expertise, deep understanding of the process, and ability to communicate difficult concepts clearly.

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How to Write a Synthesis Essay 🤓| Studyfy

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

first paragraph synthesis essay

it requires researching several sources to come up with your idea, but it isn’t very different than a research essay or other academic writing assignments that students will be familiar with. This article will guide you through all the elements of a synthesis essay, including the various types, formats, citation styles, outlines, topics, guides, and tips. 

At Studyfy, we understand that writing a synthesis essay can be a challenging task. That's why we offer a custom essay writing service to assist students with their assignments. Our team of expert writers has experience in writing various types of essays, including synthesis essays, and can help you with your assignment. With our online paper writing service , you can be sure that your paper will be well-researched, properly formatted, and tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today and let us help you write a top-quality synthesis essay that meets all your requirements.

What is a Synthesis Essay?

At its core, a synthesis essay asks the writer to analyze several sources and come up with their own opinion on a subject. Think of it as creating your thesis statement based on the information you have collected from several places. It’s actually not unlike any other essay. Synthesis means combining elements of separate materials or abstract entities into a single or unified entity, and that’s what a synthesis essay does. 

Types of Synthesis Essay

There are three main types of synthesis essays:

A Review Essay

A review essay collects available information about a topic to suggest what further research needs to be done. It focuses on analyzing available sources rather than making a point of its own. 

An Argument Essay

These types of essays use multiple sources to back up a claim or argument. Like a typical argumentative essay, the goal is to convince the reader that your viewpoint on an issue is correct providing evidence from research.

An Explanatory Essay

The goal of this type of essay is to present information about a specific topic from various perspectives. Do not make an argument, just explain the topic with every point of information backed by research. 

Synthesis Essay Structure 

A synthesis essay follows the traditional structure of a 5 paragraph essay but with a few modifications. An outline is always helpful to plan any form of writing, but it is especially useful when writing this type of essay because of the many sources and various arguments to keep track of. An outline helps plan an essay and ensures that all the major points are covered as well as helps develop a flow to the paper. 

The basic synthesis essay structure follows the 5 paragraph essay format. 

Introduction - Briefly describe what the paper will be about. Start with a hook to engage the reader from the very beginning, followed by a brief description, and make sure to include your thesis statement. 

Body Paragraphs - The first body paragraph typically contains a counterargument to your thesis. Comprehensive research and proper analysis of a subject requires understanding the issue from the opposing viewpoint as well. By presenting the most popular counterargument and debunking it, you make your overall case stronger. The next body paragraphs should present information supporting your thesis.

Conclusion - The conclusion wraps up your paper by summarizing the main points and stating how you proved your thesis with facts. 

Synthesis Essay Outline

Here’s an outline template for you to use. As you do your research and come up with arguments, fill this template with information. 


  • Background information
  • The importance of the issue
  • Thesis statement

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence with a counterargument
  • Evidence for the counterargument
  • Invalidate the counterargument
  • Evidence and facts backing your claim


  • Transition to body paragraph 2

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence supporting your thesis
  • Quote a source
  • Evidence for your claim
  • Analysis of your claim
  • How it connects to and supports your claim
  • One sentence summary
  • Transition to body paragraph 3

Body Paragraph 3

  • Quote a different source 
  • How it connects to and supports your claim 
  • One sentence summary 
  • Connect all research backing your claim
  • Transition to the conclusion
  • Summary of the main points made in the essay
  • Restate your thesis
  • Your main argument and the most important evidence
  • One sentence about why our view is important

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How to Write a Synthesis Paper

Now that you know what a synthesis essay is, what the structure should be, and have an outline to fill, let’s get to how to write a synthesis essay!

How to Start a Synthesis Essay

The first thing you need to do is come up with an appropriate topic. If you’ve been given a prompt, make sure to read it carefully and follow all the instructions.

If you have to choose your own topic make sure that the issue you choose has opposing views so that you can find research backing both sides. 

Find the sweet spot between a topic that’s too broad, which can be difficult to address fully, and a topic that’s too marrow, which might not have enough available information. 

Explore our lists of possible essay topics to get an idea of what you may want to write about and read some example essays to become familiar with the structure and style. 

Once you have a topic in mind, find at least 3 sources and read them thoroughly while taking notes on specific facts to help build your thesis statement.

Writing a Synthesis Essay Thesis

After you’ve found a topic you find interesting and that complies with the prompt, your research should guide your thesis statement. What does your research say about the topic you’ve chosen? Your thesis is the main claim you are making in the essay. This doesn’t have to mean that you follow what a majority of the research says, just make sure you have enough evidence to back up your perspective as well as evidence to refute the main counter-arguments. 

Your thesis statement should be written as a complete sentence, identifying the subject and stating your viewpoint on it. This will be the guiding idea and the main point you will try and prove through the body paragraphs. 

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs are the main text of your essay. This is where you will present your research, support your thesis, and build your case. 

The first body paragraph usually describes a major argument against your thesis to show why the argument is wrong, or why your argument is better. There are several different approaches you can take to achieve this.

The straw man technique involves presenting the main counterargument and then destroying it with evidence showing its flaws. It can be a powerful way to strengthen your claim and it shows that you have researched opposing views. End a body paragraph using this technique with a transition sentence that introduces your main statement supporting your thesis.
The concession technique can be thought of as a softer version of the straw man. You present evidence that goes against your thesis and acknowledges that it makes sense, but show that your argument is stronger. This technique is useful for convincing people that hold the opposing view to what you believe. By agreeing with and accepting that the opposing viewpoints have some merits, it put the reader in a less hostile frame of mind.
The comparison and contrast technique presents a nuanced analysis of both sides. This is the most difficult technique because it requires a deep understanding of the issue as well as careful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the argument. When pulled off successfully though, it is incredibly powerful and shows an in-depth understanding of the issue. 

The body paragraphs after the first should provide evidence supporting your thesis. These can contain direct quotes from your sources. Your analysis should be clear and flow logically from the research. Towards the end of each paragraph connect the evidence directly to the thesis statement to build a strong case for your claim.

Your conclusion should state all the main points of the essay as well as the main takeaways. Summarize the evidence that backs your claim and reiterate your thesis statement. Make sure to acknowledge the opposing viewpoint and state why your perspective is either correct or stronger.

Synthesis Essay Format

Citation is important for any paper, but especially for one that is research-driven. The three main citation styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Each one has its own synthesis essay format and conventions described below. 

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is a citation style used for papers in the Humanities like art, literature, and philology. These are the key formatting rules for MLA:

  • Font should be Times New Roman
  • Font size should be 12
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced
  • Margins should be 1 inch
  • Titles should be centered
  • Include your last name and the page number on each page
  • The header should contain your name, your professor’s name, the date, and the course code
  • The research page at the end should be titled “Works Cited”
  • Journal Citation Format: Last, First M. “Publication Title.” Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
  • Newspaper (Print) Citation Format: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Newspaper, Date of Publication, p. Page Number.
  • Newspaper (Online) Citation Format: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Title of Website, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.
  • Website Citation Format: Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Website, Name of Organization Affiliated with the Website, Date of copyright or date last modified/updated, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

APA stands for American Psychological Association and is a citation style used for science, education, and psychology. These are the key formatting rules for APA:

  • Include a Title Page
  • Include an Abstract
  • Include the page number on each page
  • The header should contain the page number and the paper’s title
  • The research page at the end should be titled “References”
  • Journal Citation Format: Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume (Issue), page number(s).
  • Newspaper Print Citation Format: Author, A. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, pp. Xx-xx.
  • Newspaper Online Citation Format: Author, A. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, Retrieved from newspaper homepage URL
  • Website Citation Format: Author’s last name, Initial(s). (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of work. Website. https://URL

The Chicago style is used for history, business, and the fine arts. These are the key formatting rules for the Chicago style:

  • The space between lines should be double-spaced
  • Use half-inch indents for the beginning of every paragraph
  • Use the full names of people and organizations
  • The research page at the end should be titled “Bibliography”
  • There are 2 main ways of citing sources, Author-Dates and Notes-Bibliography
  • Author-Dates uses parenthetical citations in the text referencing the source's author's last name and the year of publication.
  • Notes-Bibliography uses numbered footnotes in the text to direct readers to a short citation at the bottom of the page.
  • Both styles have a full bibliography as well
  • Full source citations are in alphabetical order

Did you like our inspiring Synthesis Essay Guide?

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Synthesis Essay Topics

Here are 30 topics to inspire you. You can think of these as brief synthesis essay thesis examples.

What is the impact of culture on academic success?
How does social media influence feelings of loneliness?
How does human crated sound pollution impact urban wildlife?
What will the impact of self-driving cars be on the trucking industry?
Were superheroes better role models in the past as compared to now?
How can private drones be policed?
Will machine learning ever be able to make human artists obsolete?
Does privatization of infrastructure make sense for developing countries?
What would be the best way to communicate with aliens?
Are there negative aspects of meditation?
What is the biggest potential reason for a potential World War III?
Do tall people make better leaders?
Self-fulfilling prophecies and confirmation bias explain why some predictions come true.
What can we learn from interactions with indigenous tribes?
What are the key steps developed countries must take to manage future pandemics?
How have volcanos shaped the Earth’s climate?
What is the impact of snow on overall mood?
Is it possible to reduce the wage gap fairly?
Does having pets enhance the quality of life?
Has the rise of visual media killed imagination?
Which societies in the past have been matriarchal?
How can video games help those with mental disorders?
Which is the worst seven deadly sin?
Why Anime is better than western animation
Is honor beneficial or detrimental in sports?
What are the problems with social Darwinism?
Can anyone become a model now?
What does it take to be considered an expert?
Where is the line between advertising and manipulation?
Is there an objective idea of ethical behavior?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your essay.

  • Write in the third person
  • Make sure your research comes from credible sources
  • Cite every fact
  • Write multiple drafts of your essay
  • Spend time editing and proofreading
  • Organize your arguments clearly
  • Think about your audience
  • Use technical terms
  • Use paragraph transitions
  • Use a synthesis essay outline template
  • Use present tense for MLA
  • Use past tense for APA

What Not To Do

  • Use informal language
  • Rely only on opinion
  • Use the passive voice
  • Stick to the outline template exactly
  • Use fewer than three sources
  • Use more than five sources
  • Submit the first draft

A synthesis essay might be more technical than the types of writing you’re used to, but don’t stress too much. If you think about it as any other essay, but just a little more research-intensive, it’ll be easy to write. Choose a topic that you are interested in to make the research more fun. If you know about the topic, it will guide your research and make the writing flow more smoothly as well. Citations may seem daunting, but using a citation generator will make it a cinch!

If you need assistance with writing a synthesis essay, Studyfy has a team of qualified coursework writers who can provide you with high-quality, custom essays. Whether you need to order an essay online, or require help with essay editing or proofreading, our experts are available to assist you. Don't hesitate to contact us and say " write my essay for me " if you need any kind of academic assistance.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write a perfect synthesis essay for the ap language exam.

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Advanced Placement (AP)


If you're planning to take the AP Language (or AP Lang) exam , you might already know that 55% of your overall exam score will be based on three essays. The first of the three essays you'll have to write on the AP Language exam is called the "synthesis essay." If you want to earn full points on this portion of the AP Lang Exam, you need to know what a synthesis essay is and what skills are assessed by the AP Lang synthesis essay.

In this article, we'll explain the different aspects of the AP Lang synthesis essay, including what skills you need to demonstrate in your synthesis essay response in order to achieve a good score. We'll also give you a full breakdown of a real AP Lang Synthesis Essay prompt, provide an analysis of an AP Lang synthesis essay example, and give you four tips for how to write a synthesis essay.

Let's get started by taking a closer look at how the AP Lang synthesis essay works!

Synthesis Essay AP Lang: What It Is and How It Works

The AP Lang synthesis essay is the first of three essays included in the Free Response section of the AP Lang exam.

The AP Lang synthesis essay portion of the Free Response section lasts for one hour total . This hour consists of a recommended 15 minute reading period and a 40 minute writing period. Keep in mind that these time allotments are merely recommendations, and that exam takers can parse out the allotted 60 minutes to complete the synthesis essay however they choose.

Now, here's what the structure of the AP Lang synthesis essay looks like. The exam presents six to seven sources that are organized around a specific topic (like alternative energy or eminent domain, which are both past synthesis exam topics).

Of these six to seven sources, at least two are visual , including at least one quantitative source (like a graph or pie chart, for example). The remaining four to five sources are print text-based, and each one contains approximately 500 words.

In addition to six to seven sources, the AP Lang exam provides a written prompt that consists of three paragraphs. The prompt will briefly explain the essay topic, then present a claim that students will respond to in an essay that synthesizes material from at least three of the sources provided.

Here's an example prompt provided by the College Board:

Directions : The following prompt is based on the accompanying six sources.

This question requires you to integrate a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. Refer to the sources to support your position; avoid mere paraphrase or summary. Your argument should be central; the sources should support this argument .

Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations.


Television has been influential in United States presidential elections since the 1960's. But just what is this influence, and how has it affected who is elected? Has it made elections fairer and more accessible, or has it moved candidates from pursuing issues to pursuing image?

Read the following sources (including any introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections.

Refer to the sources as Source A, Source B, etc.; titles are included for your convenience.

Source A (Campbell) Source B (Hart and Triece) Source C (Menand) Source D (Chart) Source E (Ranney) Source F (Koppel)

Like we mentioned earlier, this prompt gives you a topic — which it briefly explains — then asks you to take a position. In this case, you'll have to choose a stance on whether television has positively or negatively affected U.S. elections. You're also given six sources to evaluate and use in your response. Now that you have everything you need, now your job is to write an amazing synthesis essay.

But what does "synthesize" mean, exactly? According to the CollegeBoard, when an essay prompt asks you to synthesize, it means that you should "combine different perspectives from sources to form a support of a coherent position" in writing. In other words, a synthesis essay asks you to state your claim on a topic, then highlight the relationships between several sources that support your claim on that topic. Additionally, you'll need to cite specific evidence from your sources to prove your point.

The synthesis essay counts for six of the total points on the AP Lang exam . Students can receive 0-1 points for writing a thesis statement in the essay, 0-4 based on incorporation of evidence and commentary, and 0-1 points based on sophistication of thought and demonstrated complex understanding of the topic.

You'll be evaluated based on how effectively you do the following in your AP Lang synthesis essay:

Write a thesis that responds to the exam prompt with a defensible position

Provide specific evidence that to support all claims in your line of reasoning from at least three of the sources provided, and clearly and consistently explain how the evidence you include supports your line of reasoning

Demonstrate sophistication of thought by either crafting a thoughtful argument, situating the argument in a broader context, explaining the limitations of an argument

Make rhetorical choices that strengthen your argument and/or employ a vivid and persuasive style throughout your essay.

If your synthesis essay meets the criteria above, then there's a good chance you'll score well on this portion of the AP Lang exam!

If you're looking for even more information on scoring, the College Board has posted the AP Lang Free Response grading rubric on its website. ( You can find it here. ) We recommend taking a close look at it since it includes additional details about the synthesis essay scoring.


Don't be intimidated...we're going to teach you how to break down even the hardest AP synthesis essay prompt.

Full Breakdown of a Real AP Lang Synthesis Essay Prompt

In this section, we'll teach you how to analyze and respond to a synthesis essay prompt in five easy steps, including suggested time frames for each step of the process.

Step 1: Analyze the Prompt

The very first thing to do when the clock starts running is read and analyze the prompt. To demonstrate how to do this, we'll look at the sample AP Lang synthesis essay prompt below. This prompt comes straight from the 2018 AP Lang exam:

Eminent domain is the power governments have to acquire property from private owners for public use. The rationale behind eminent domain is that governments have greater legal authority over lands within their dominion than do private owners. Eminent domain has been instituted in one way or another throughout the world for hundreds of years.

Carefully read the following six sources, including the introductory information for each source. Then synthesize material from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-developed essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies the notion that eminent domain is productive and beneficial.

Your argument should be the focus of your essay. Use the sources to develop your argument and explain the reasoning for it. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from, whether through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. You may cite the sources as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the descriptions in parentheses.

On first read, you might be nervous about how to answer this prompt...especially if you don't know what eminent domain is! But if you break the prompt down into chunks, you'll be able to figure out what the prompt is asking you to do in no time flat.

To get a full understanding of what this prompt wants you to do, you need to identify the most important details in this prompt, paragraph by paragraph. Here's what each paragraph is asking you to do:

  • Paragraph 1: The prompt presents and briefly explains the topic that you'll be writing your synthesis essay about. That topic is the concept of eminent domain.
  • Paragraph 2: The prompt presents a specific claim about the concept of eminent domain in this paragraph: Eminent domain is productive and beneficial. This paragraph instructs you to decide whether you want to defend, challenge, or qualify that claim in your synthesis essay , and use material from at least three of the sources provided in order to do so.
  • Paragraph 3: In the last paragraph of the prompt, the exam gives you clear instructions about how to approach writing your synthesis essay . First, make your argument the focus of the essay. Second, use material from at least three of the sources to develop and explain your argument. Third, provide commentary on the material you include, and provide proper citations when you incorporate quotations, paraphrases, or summaries from the sources provided.

So basically, you'll have to agree with, disagree with, or qualify the claim stated in the prompt, then use at least three sources substantiate your answer. Since you probably don't know much about eminent domain, you'll probably decide on your position after you read the provided sources.

To make good use of your time on the exam, you should spend around 2 minutes reading the prompt and making note of what it's asking you to do. That will leave you plenty of time to read the sources provided, which is the next step to writing a synthesis essay.

Step 2: Read the Sources Carefully

After you closely read the prompt and make note of the most important details, you need to read all of the sources provided. It's tempting to skip one or two sources to save time--but we recommend you don't do this. That's because you'll need a thorough understanding of the topic before you can accurately address the prompt!

For the sample exam prompt included above, there are six sources provided. We're not going to include all of the sources in this article, but you can view the six sources from this question on the 2018 AP Lang exam here . The sources include five print-text sources and one visual source, which is a cartoon.

As you read the sources, it's important to read quickly and carefully. Don't rush! Keep your pencil in hand to quickly mark important passages that you might want to use as evidence in your synthesis. While you're reading the sources and marking passages, you want to think about how the information you're reading influences your stance on the issue (in this case, eminent domain).

When you finish reading, take a few seconds to summarize, in a phrase or sentence, whether the source defends, challenges, or qualifies whether eminent domain is beneficial (which is the claim in the prompt) . Though it might not feel like you have time for this, it's important to give yourself these notes about each source so you know how you can use each one as evidence in your essay.

Here's what we mean: say you want to challenge the idea that eminent domain is useful. If you've jotted down notes about each source and what it's saying, it will be easier for you to pull the relevant information into your outline and your essay.

So how much time should you spend reading the provided sources? The AP Lang exam recommends taking 15 minutes to read the sources . If you spend around two of those minutes reading and breaking down the essay prompt, it makes sense to spend the remaining 13 minutes reading and annotating the sources.

If you finish reading and annotating early, you can always move on to drafting your synthesis essay. But make sure you're taking your time and reading carefully! It's better to use a little extra time reading and understanding the sources now so that you don't have to go back and re-read the sources later.


A strong thesis will do a lot of heavy lifting in your essay. (See what we did there?)

Step 3: Write a Strong Thesis Statement

After you've analyzed the prompt and thoroughly read the sources, the next thing you need to do in order to write a good synthesis essay is write a strong thesis statement .

The great news about writing a thesis statement for this synthesis essay is that you have all the tools you need to do it at your fingertips. All you have to do in order to write your thesis statement is decide what your stance is in relationship to the topic provided.

In the example prompt provided earlier, you're essentially given three choices for how to frame your thesis statement: you can either defend, challenge, or qualify a claim that's been provided by the prompt, that eminent domain is productive and beneficial . Here's what that means for each option:

If you choose to defend the claim, your job will be to prove that the claim is correct . In this case, you'll have to show that eminent domain is a good thing.

If you choose to challenge the claim, you'll argue that the claim is incorrect. In other words, you'll argue that eminent domain isn't productive or beneficial.

If you choose to qualify, that means you'll agree with part of the claim, but disagree with another part of the claim. For instance, you may argue that eminent domain can be a productive tool for governments, but it's not beneficial for property owners. Or maybe you argue that eminent domain is useful in certain circumstances, but not in others.

When you decide whether you want your synthesis essay to defend, challenge, or qualify that claim, you need to convey that stance clearly in your thesis statement. You want to avoid simply restating the claim provided in the prompt, summarizing the issue without making a coherent claim, or writing a thesis that doesn't respond to the prompt.

Here's an example of a thesis statement that received full points on the eminent domain synthesis essay:

Although eminent domain can be misused to benefit private interests at the expense of citizens, it is a vital tool of any government that intends to have any influence on the land it governs beyond that of written law.

This thesis statement received full points because it states a defensible position and establishes a line of reasoning on the issue of eminent domain. It states the author's position (that some parts of eminent domain are good, but others are bad), then goes on to explain why the author thinks that (it's good because it allows the government to do its job, but it's bad because the government can misuse its power.)

Because this example thesis statement states a defensible position and establishes a line of reasoning, it can be elaborated upon in the body of the essay through sub-claims, supporting evidence, and commentary. And a solid argument is key to getting a six on your synthesis essay for AP Lang!

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Step 4: Create a Bare-Bones Essay Outline

Once you've got your thesis statement drafted, you have the foundation you need to develop a bare bones outline for your synthesis essay. Developing an outline might seem like it's a waste of your precious time, but if you develop your outline well, it will actually save you time when you start writing your essay.

With that in mind, we recommend spending 5 to 10 minutes outlining your synthesis essay . If you use a bare-bones outline like the one below, labeling each piece of content that you need to include in your essay draft, you should be able to develop out the most important pieces of the synthesis before you even draft the actual essay.

To help you see how this can work on test day, we've created a sample outline for you. You can even memorize this outline to help you out on test day! In the outline below, you'll find places to fill in a thesis statement, body paragraph topic sentences, evidence from the sources provided, and commentary :

  • Present the context surrounding the essay topic in a couple of sentences (this is a good place to use what you learned about the major opinions or controversies about the topic from reading your sources).
  • Write a straightforward, clear, and concise thesis statement that presents your stance on the topic
  • Topic sentence presenting first supporting point or claim
  • Evidence #1
  • Commentary on Evidence #1
  • Evidence #2 (if needed)
  • Commentary on Evidence #2 (if needed)
  • Topic sentence presenting second supporting point or claim
  • Topic sentence presenting three supporting point or claim
  • Sums up the main line of reasoning that you developed and defended throughout the essay
  • Reiterates the thesis statement

Taking the time to develop these crucial pieces of the synthesis in a bare-bones outline will give you a map for your final essay. Once you have a map, writing the essay will be much easier.

Step 5: Draft Your Essay Response

The great thing about taking a few minutes to develop an outline is that you can develop it out into your essay draft. After you take about 5 to 10 minutes to outline your synthesis essay, you can use the remaining 30 to 35 minutes to draft your essay and review it.

Since you'll outline your essay before you start drafting, writing the essay should be pretty straightforward. You'll already know how many paragraphs you're going to write, what the topic of each paragraph will be, and what quotations, paraphrases, or summaries you're going to include in each paragraph from the sources provided. You'll just have to fill in one of the most important parts of your synthesis—your commentary.

Commentaries are your explanation of why your evidence supports the argument you've outlined in your thesis. Your commentary is where you actually make your argument, which is why it's such a critical part of your synthesis essay.

When thinking about what to say in your commentary, remember one thing the AP Lang synthesis essay prompt specifies: don't just summarize the sources. Instead, as you provide commentary on the evidence you incorporate, you need to explain how that evidence supports or undermines your thesis statement . You should include commentary that offers a thoughtful or novel perspective on the evidence from your sources to develop your argument.

One very important thing to remember as you draft out your essay is to cite your sources. The AP Lang exam synthesis essay prompt indicates that you can use generic labels for the sources provided (e.g. "Source 1," "Source 2," "Source 3," etc.). The exam prompt will indicate which label corresponds with which source, so you'll need to make sure you pay attention and cite sources accurately. You can cite your sources in the sentence where you introduce a quote, summary, or paraphrase, or you can use a parenthetical citation. Citing your sources affects your score on the synthesis essay, so remembering to do this is important.


Keep reading for a real-life example of a great AP synthesis essay response!

Real-Life AP Synthesis Essay Example and Analysis

If you're still wondering how to write a synthesis essay, examples of real essays from past AP Lang exams can make things clearer. These real-life student AP synthesis essay responses can be great for helping you understand how to write a synthesis essay that will knock the graders' socks off .

While there are multiple essay examples online, we've chosen one to take a closer look at. We're going to give you a brief analysis of one of these example student synthesis essays from the 2019 AP Lang Exam below!

Example Synthesis Essay AP Lang Response

To get started, let's look at the official prompt for the 2019 synthesis essay:

In response to our society's increasing demand for energy, large-scale wind power has drawn attention from governments and consumers as a potential alternative to traditional materials that fuel our power grids, such as coal, oil, natural gas, water, or even newer sources such as nuclear or solar power. Yet the establishment of large-scale, commercial-grade wind farms is often the subject of controversy for a variety of reasons.

Carefully read the six sources, found on the AP English Language and Composition 2019 Exam (Question 1), including the introductory information for each source. Write an essay that synthesizes material from at least three of the sources and develops your position on the most important factors that an individual or agency should consider when deciding whether to establish a wind farm.

Source A (photo) Source B (Layton) Source C (Seltenrich) Source D (Brown) Source E (Rule) Source F (Molla)

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis presents a defensible position.
  • Select and use evidence from at least 3 of the provided sources to support your line of reasoning. Indicate clearly the sources used through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. Sources may be cited as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the description in parentheses.
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

Now that you know exactly what the prompt asked students to do on the 2019 AP Lang synthesis essay, here's an AP Lang synthesis essay example, written by a real student on the AP Lang exam in 2019:

[1] The situation has been known for years, and still very little is being done: alternative power is the only way to reliably power the changing world. The draw of power coming from industry and private life is overwhelming current sources of non-renewable power, and with dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, it is merely a matter of time before coal and gas fuel plants are no longer in operation. So one viable alternative is wind power. But as with all things, there are pros and cons. The main factors for power companies to consider when building wind farms are environmental boon, aesthetic, and economic factors.

[2] The environmental benefits of using wind power are well-known and proven. Wind power is, as qualified by Source B, undeniably clean and renewable. From their production requiring very little in the way of dangerous materials to their lack of fuel, besides that which occurs naturally, wind power is by far one of the least environmentally impactful sources of power available. In addition, wind power by way of gearbox and advanced blade materials, has the highest percentage of energy retention. According to Source F, wind power retains 1,164% of the energy put into the system – meaning that it increases the energy converted from fuel (wind) to electricity 10 times! No other method of electricity production is even half that efficient. The efficiency and clean nature of wind power are important to consider, especially because they contribute back to power companies economically.

[3] Economically, wind power is both a boon and a bone to electric companies and other users. For consumers, wind power is very cheap, leading to lower bills than from any other source. Consumers also get an indirect reimbursement by way of taxes (Source D). In one Texan town, McCamey, tax revenue increased 30% from a wind farm being erected in the town. This helps to finance improvements to the town. But, there is no doubt that wind power is also hurting the power companies. Although, as renewable power goes, wind is incredibly cheap, it is still significantly more expensive than fossil fuels. So, while it is helping to cut down on emissions, it costs electric companies more than traditional fossil fuel plants. While the general economic trend is positive, there are some setbacks which must be overcome before wind power can take over as truly more effective than fossil fuels.

[4] Aesthetics may be the greatest setback for power companies. Although there may be significant economic and environmental benefit to wind power, people will always fight to preserve pure, unspoiled land. Unfortunately, not much can be done to improve the visual aesthetics of the turbines. White paint is the most common choice because it "[is] associated with cleanliness." (Source E). But, this can make it stand out like a sore thumb, and make the gargantuan machines seem more out of place. The site can also not be altered because it affects generating capacity. Sound is almost worse of a concern because it interrupts personal productivity by interrupting people's sleep patterns. One thing for power companies to consider is working with turbine manufacturing to make the machines less aesthetically impactful, so as to garner greater public support.

[5] As with most things, wind power has no easy answer. It is the responsibility of the companies building them to weigh the benefits and the consequences. But, by balancing economics, efficiency, and aesthetics, power companies can create a solution which balances human impact with environmental preservation.

And that's an entire AP Lang synthesis essay example, written in response to a real AP Lang exam prompt! It's important to remember AP Lang exam synthesis essay prompts are always similarly structured and worded, and students often respond in around the same number of paragraphs as what you see in the example essay response above.

Next, let's analyze this example essay and talk about what it does effectively, where it could be improved upon, and what score past exam scorers awarded it.

To get started on an analysis of the sample synthesis essay, let's look at the scoring commentary provided by the College Board:

  • For development of thesis, the essay received 1 out of 1 possible points
  • For evidence and commentary, the essay received 4 out of 4 possible points
  • For sophistication of thought, the essay received 0 out of 1 possible points.

This means that the final score for this example essay was a 5 out of 6 possible points . Let's look more closely at the content of the example essay to figure out why it received this score breakdown.

Thesis Development

The thesis statement is one of the three main categories that is taken into consideration when you're awarded points on this portion of the exam. This sample essay received 1 out of 1 total points.

Now, here's why: the thesis statement clearly and concisely conveys a position on the topic presented in the prompt--alternative energy and wind power--and defines the most important factors that power companies should consider when deciding whether to establish a wind farm.

Evidence and Commentary

The second key category taken into consideration when synthesis exams are evaluated is incorporation of evidence and commentary. This sample received 4 out of 4 possible points for this portion of the synthesis essay. At bare minimum, this sample essay meets the requirement mentioned in the prompt that the writer incorporate evidence from at least three of the sources provided.

On top of that, the writer does a good job of connecting the incorporated evidence back to the claim made in the thesis statement through effective commentary. The commentary in this sample essay is effective because it goes beyond just summarizing what the provided sources say. Instead, it explains and analyzes the evidence presented in the selected sources and connects them back to supporting points the writer makes in each body paragraph.

Finally, the writer of the essay also received points for evidence and commentary because the writer developed and supported a consistent line of reasoning throughout the essay . This line of reasoning is summed up in the fourth paragraph in the following sentence: "One thing for power companies to consider is working with turbine manufacturing to make the machines less aesthetically impactful, so as to garner greater public support."

Because the writer did a good job consistently developing their argument and incorporating evidence, they received full marks in this category. So far, so good!

Sophistication of Thought

Now, we know that this essay received a score of 5 out of 6 total points, and the place where the writer lost a point was on the basis of sophistication of thought, for which the writer received 0 out of 1 points. That's because this sample essay makes several generalizations and vague claims where it could have instead made specific claims that support a more balanced argument.

For example, in the following sentence from the 5th paragraph of the sample essay, the writer misses the opportunity to state specific possibilities that power companies should consider for wind energy . Instead, the writer is ambiguous and non-committal, saying, "As with most things, wind power has no easy answer. It is the responsibility of the companies building them to weigh the benefits and consequences."

If the writer of this essay was interested in trying to get that 6th point on the synthesis essay response, they could consider making more specific claims. For instance, they could state the specific benefits and consequences power companies should consider when deciding whether to establish a wind farm. These could include things like environmental impacts, economic impacts, or even population density!

Despite losing one point in the last category, this example synthesis essay is a strong one. It's well-developed, thoughtfully written, and advances an argument on the exam topic using evidence and support throughout.


4 Tips for How to Write a Synthesis Essay

AP Lang is a timed exam, so you have to pick and choose what you want to focus on in the limited time you're given to write the synthesis essay. Keep reading to get our expert advice on what you should focus on during your exam.

Tip 1: Read the Prompt First

It may sound obvious, but when you're pressed for time, it's easy to get flustered. Just remember: when it comes time to write the synthesis essay, read the prompt first !

Why is it so important to read the prompt before you read the sources? Because when you're aware of what kind of question you're trying to answer, you'll be able to read the sources more strategically. The prompt will help give you a sense of what claims, points, facts, or opinions to be looking for as you read the sources.

Reading the sources without having read the prompt first is kind of like trying to drive while wearing a blindfold: you can probably do it, but it's likely not going to end well!

Tip 2: Make Notes While You Read

During the 15-minute reading period at the beginning of the synthesis essay, you'll be reading through the sources as quickly as you can. After all, you're probably anxious to start writing!

While it's definitely important to make good use of your time, it's also important to read closely enough that you understand your sources. Careful reading will allow you to identify parts of the sources that will help you support your thesis statement in your essay, too.

As you read the sources, consider marking helpful passages with a star or check mark in the margins of the exam so you know which parts of the text to quickly re-read as you form your synthesis essay. You might also consider summing up the key points or position of each source in a sentence or a few words when you finish reading each source during the reading period. Doing so will help you know where each source stands on the topic given and help you pick the three (or more!) that will bolster your synthesis argument.

Tip 3: Start With the Thesis Statement

If you don't start your synthesis essay with a strong thesis statement, it's going to be tough to write an effective synthesis essay. As soon as you finish reading and annotating the provided sources, the thing you want to do next is write a strong thesis statement.

According to the CollegeBoard grading guidelines for the AP Lang synthesis essay, a strong thesis statement will respond to the prompt— not restate or rephrase the prompt. A good thesis will take a clear, defensible position on the topic presented in the prompt and the sources.

In other words, to write a solid thesis statement to guide the rest of your synthesis essay, you need to think about your position on the topic at hand and then make a claim about the topic based on your position. This position will either be defending, challenging, or qualifying the claim made in the essay's prompt.

The defensible position that you establish in your thesis statement will guide your argument in the rest of the essay, so it's important to do this first. Once you have a strong thesis statement, you can begin outlining your essay.

Tip 4: Focus on Your Commentary

Writing thoughtful, original commentary that explains your argument and your sources is important. In fact, doing this well will earn you four points (out of a total of six)!

AP Lang provides six to seven sources for you on the exam, and you'll be expected to incorporate quotations, paraphrases, or summaries from at least three of those sources into your synthesis essay and interpret that evidence for the reader.

While incorporating evidence is very important, in order to get the extra point for "sophistication of thought" on the synthesis essay, it's important to spend more time thinking about your commentary on the evidence you choose to incorporate. The commentary is your chance to show original thinking, strong rhetorical skills, and clearly explain how the evidence you've included supports the stance you laid out in your thesis statement.

To earn the 6th possible point on the synthesis essay, make sure your commentary demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the source material, explains this nuanced understanding, and places the evidence incorporated from the sources in conversation with each other. To do this, make sure you're avoiding vague language. Be specific when you can, and always tie your commentary back to your thesis!


What's Next?

There's a lot more to the AP Language exam than just the synthesis essay. Be sure to check out our expert guide to the entire exam , then learn more about the tricky multiple choice section .

Is the AP Lang exam hard...or is it easy? See how it stacks up to other AP tests on our list of the hardest AP exams .

Did you know there are technically two English AP exams? You can learn more about the second English AP test, the AP Literature exam, in this article . And if you're confused about whether you should take the AP Lang or AP Lit test , we can help you make that decision, too.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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How to write a synthesis essay

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  • January 1, 2024

Synthesis essay is a challenging form of academic writing in which you combine multiple sources into a coherent and persuasive argument.

When writing one, better follow a series of basic steps that we will explain in the next paragraphs to write a great essay.

So let’s quickly start learning how to write a great synthesis essay.

Quick summary

  • Take the time to understand the essay prompt to grasp the requirements of the assignment.
  • Engage in extensive research and gather information from a variety of reputable sources.
  • Develop a strong thesis statement and outline.
  • Start writing your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Make sure to include smooth transitions between these paragraphs.
  • Use the proper citation or formatting (APA, MLA, etc.) and make sure you proofread your essay.

Synthesis essay definition

What is a synthesis essay?

Your primary goal with a synthesis essay is to provide a unique perspective, supported by evidence. For example, suppose you have two distinct essays or research papers on “excessive social media usage” and “the effects of social media on psychology.”

In your synthesis essay, you can blend these two sources into a cohesive argument like “the psychological impacts of excessive social media usage on individuals.”

Synthesis essay introduction

The introduction is the opening paragraph of a synthesis essay, where you present the topic and provide background information. Like a usual introduction , it should not be more than 10% of your essay.

  • It should include a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main argument or viewpoint of the essay.
  • It should reflect the synthesis of information from multiple sources.

Now let’s have a look at the introduction example below. 

Synthesis essay introduction example

Introduction, body paragraphs.

The body paragraphs form the core of the synthesis essay. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the argument and present evidence and analysis from the sources to support the thesis statement. When writing body paragraphs: 

  • Use topic sentences to introduce the main idea of each paragraph
  • Make use of transition words to create a smooth flow between paragraphs.

Let’s have a look at a body paragraph example.

Synthesis essay body paragraph example

Synthesis essay conclusion.

The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay. A compelling conclusion leaves a lasting impact on the reader, reinforcing the essay’s main message. 

  • Restate the thesis statement slightly different.
  • Summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs and emphasize the significance of the overall synthesis 

Let’s have a look at the components of a conclusion paragraph below. 

Synthesis essay conclusion example

Now that we’ve seen a short example of synthesis essay, let’s continue with the steps to write a great one.

Steps on writing a synthesis essay

In this section, we’ll guide you through the writing process with each steps explained in detail and examples. 

steps of synthesis essay

Step 1 - Understand your assignment

  • Depending on your field of study, you may need to adhere to standard formatting styles such as MLA , APA , or Chicago.
  • Consider that formatting expectations may be different. Pay attention to certain guidelines provided by your instructor.

Example of a synthesis essay assignment

  • Investigate the impact of artificial intelligence on the job market and society.
  • Synthesize at least three different sources, including academic articles, news reports, and opinion pieces, to discuss the benefits and challenges posed by AI's integration into various industries.
  • Consider the ethical implications, potential job displacement, and the role of policymakers in addressing these changes.
  • Use correct APA 7 citation format and make sure the essay is at least 1000 words.

So you see an example above, take some time to carefully review the prompt, and give particular attention to the formatting requirements. 

Step 2 - Read and annotate the sources

After finding relevant sources, read each one critically by highlighting key ideas and arguments. Annotating sources with concise summaries and evaluative comments helps in later stages of the essay writing process.

  • Academic Journals and Research Papers: These are scholarly articles written by experts in a particular field.
  • Books: Books: written by reputable authors and published by well-known publishers can be valuable sources of information.
  • Government Publications: Reports, statistics, and studies published by government agencies can be reliable sources of data.
  • Newspapers and Magazines: Articles from reputable newspapers and magazines can offer current and relevant information on various topics.

Step 3 - Draft a thesis statement

A well-crafted thesis statement forms the basis of any synthesis paper. It serves as the central argument, summarizing the synthesis of information gathered from selected sources. 

A compelling thesis statement should be clear, concise, and debatable as it sets the tone for the entire paper. 

Synthesis essay thesis statement example

....(introduction starts) ....(introduction continues) ....(introduction continues) The pursuit of space exploration has had profound effects on scientific advancement, global cooperation, and technological innovation, and has also raised ethical considerations. Thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of your introduction

Step 4 - Create an outline

Creating an outline helps to organize the structure of the essay systematically. Using a formal approach with Roman numerals allows for an orderly arrangement of topics and supporting details.

With an outline , you can use subcategories to cite specific points and integrate references to various sources. Or simply structure your whole essay before you start. 

Synthesis essay outline example

Outline sample

  • Hook sentence
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement (Your argument & claim)
  • Topic sentene
  • Supporting detail 1
  • Supporting detail 2
  • Supporting evidence
  • Topic sentence
  • Counterpoint
  • Restatement of thesis
  • Summarize main points
  • Closing sentence

Step 5 - Start writing your essay

essay outline structure

With the outline, structure your essay into introduction , body paragraphs , and conclusion .  

First draft won’t be perfect, no worries. Here you simply start writing your essay from intro to the conclusion. 

Refer to our Introduction-Body-Conclusion examples above to complete this step!

Step 6 - Proofread your essay

  • Make sure your grammar is accurate and clear. If possible, use tools like Grammarly .
  • Read aloud your essay to notice details and mistakes.
  • Let your essay sit for a couple days and make someone else read it. They may notice the mistakes you've overseen.
  • Utilize an AI paraphrasing tool to check for any potential improvements in sentence structure and wording.

5-Paragraph Synthesis Essay Example

So now that you’ve seen all steps of writing a synthesis essay, it’s time to analyze a 5-paragraph example to have practical information. Simply see the essay example below and analyze how each sentence contributes to overall structure of essay. 

The Rise of Telecommuting: A Blessing or a Curse?

And that’s all for today. If you want to keep learning more about academic writing, feel free to visit our extensive Learning Center or YouTube Channel . 

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  • First Paragraph

How do you begin an essay? You grab the reader's attention and introduce them to your topic! You can do this with a great first paragraph, also known as the introductory paragraph. The first paragraph is an important part of any essay. It sets up the argument and prepares the reader for what you will be writing about. Good first paragraphs include an eye-catching hook to start things off, an overview of the topic, and a statement of your main point.

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Meaning of the First Paragraph

The First Paragraph is the introductory paragraph of an essay. It appears at the very beginning of the essay to introduce the topic, provide background information, convey the thesis statement , and provide a roadmap to the essay.

The first paragraph sets the stage for your essay. It is the first thing the reader sees and plays a crucial role in setting the stage for the entire piece. It gives you space to capture the reader's attention and let them know what you'll be writing about.

Importance of a First Paragraph

The first paragraph is important because it grabs the reader's attention, provides necessary background information on your topic, and prepares the reader for what is coming later in the essay. Without the first paragraph, you risk dropping the reader into your argument without any introduction. This makes things more difficult to understand. The first paragraph is prime real estate for getting your reader into the mindset.

You can use the first paragraph to make sure the reader is interested in what you have to say.

Functions of the First Paragraph

The first paragraph of a synthesis essay serves several key functions:

Introduction of the Topic: It provides background information on the topic to set the context .

Presentation of Diverse Views: It may briefly present different perspectives on the topic, which will later be synthesized in the essay.

Thesis Statement: Most importantly, the first paragraph should include the thesis statement – a concise summary of the main argument or point of view that the essay will defend.

Engagement: The opening paragraph should also be crafted to engage the reader's interest and provide a clear roadmap for what to expect in the following sections.

By fulfilling these functions, the first paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the synthesis essay and guides the reader through the writer's thought process.

Benefits of the First Paragraph

It grabs the reader's attention

  • It introduces the reader to your topic
  • It gives necessary background information
  • It prepares the reader for what is coming
  • It provides a roadmap for the essay

First Paragraph Sentence Starters

The first paragraph should include a hook, an introduction to the topic, a statement or question of your purpose, and a thesis statement. Together, these elements grab your reader's attention and prepare them for the rest of the essay.

To begin, you need a sentence starter. Really, this means you need a hook.

Attention-Grabbing Hook

Imagine you are fishing. You carefully dig through your tackle box, looking for the perfect lure. The lure you choose is meant to catch the eye of big fish. It will bring the fish to your hook so you can capture it!

In writing, an attention-grabbing opening is called an essay hook. It captures the attention of your reader. It draws them to your argument. It makes them want to read more.

Climate change currently causes over 150,000 deaths per year. Clearly, climate change is not a problem of the future. It is a problem right now.

Once you've gotten your reader, you need to craft the rest of your first paragraph. Here's how.

Writing the First Paragraph

To write the first paragraph, start with a broad overview, narrow it down by explaining your topic, and then get specific with your purpose and thesis statement. Think of writing the first paragraph as working from a broad subject to a specific argument. Each sentence should make your topic more specific.

Take a look at the graphic below to get an idea of how you should approach the first paragraph. Then, follow the steps listed below to try and write your own.

First Paragraph Steps for Writing the First Paragraph Vaia

1. Start Broad

Imagine someone asked you what you are writing about. You would start out with a broad overview of the subject, right? For example, you might say "I'm writing about climate change." Then, you might give some interesting facts about climate change to show this person why your subject matters.

Approach the first paragraph in the same way. Take 5 minutes to write down the basics of your subject. What is your subject in general? Don't think about the specifics or the argument just yet. Focus on the big picture.

Add a hook to the beginning of the paragraph. This should be broad too. For example, you might state a surprising fact about climate change.

Ask yourself: What would get the reader in the right mindset for your essay?

2. Narrow It Down

Now that you've got the reader's interest, it's time to be clear about the specific topic of your paper. Take another five minutes to write down the following:

  • Who are you writing about?
  • What are you writing about?
  • When are you writing about?
  • Where are you writing about?

Summarize your answers in 1-3 sentences. This is the introduction part of the first paragraph.

Make it clear what your topic is about exactly. For example, you might explain the positions of the authors you are comparing. You might describe the problem you are solving. Or you might summarize the text you are analyzing. Keep your introduction direct and simple.

3. Get Specific

Now it's time to get to the point. Exactly what will you say in this essay?

Write 1-2 sentences summarizing the purpose of your essay. Are you comparing texts? Analyzing the character usage in a novel? Offering a solution to a problem? Make it clear what you intend to do in this essay.

Now, state your main point in a one-sentence thesis statement. What is the one idea you want your reader to get from this essay? This sentence can be a little longer than the others. It should be very clear what your main point is. The rest of the essay will all connect to it.

4. Put It All Together

Take the sentences you created for Steps 1-3, and put them together into one paragraph. You might need to tweak some things, but that's okay! You can always revise the first paragraph to make it flow smoothly. The important thing is that you have the important stuff written out. Take a moment to celebrate!

Examples of First Paragraphs

No two examples of a first paragraph look the same. As you review the example, think about which type of first paragraph you need.

Each part of the first paragraph is a different color. Pay attention to these different parts. How do they work together to grab the reader's attention and introduce the subject?

Use this color key to identify the different parts of each example:

Expository First Paragraph Example

Have you ever concentrated on something so hard that you lose track of time and don't even notice? You are not alone! The psychological concept of flow is a state of mind in which one is fully immersed in an activity or experience. When in a state of flow, things might seem more interesting, energizing, or engaging than expected. What causes flow, and what are its effects? According to scientists, flow is only achieved by the correct balance of skill, enjoyment, and challenge; it influences how people choose to spend their time, and it is a key factor in whether a person pursues a challenge or not.

Argumentative First Paragraph Example

Despite common belief, healthcare workers do not always love their jobs. Although there are personal rewards that come from helping people, many healthcare workers suffer from burnout early in their careers. Mismanagement, limited funds, overcrowded hospitals, and long hours are just a few of the hardships they face every day. One might argue that the best solution to this problem is to simply pay healthcare workers more money. However, people in healthcare professions need more than just money; they need healthier work environments that include more support, increased communication, and extra funding for supplies and assistance.

Analytical First Paragraph Example

"Your only shame is to have shame." These are the words Amy Tan's mother says to her in her essay, "Fish Cheeks." In "Fish Cheeks," Tan tells the story of an embarrassing Christmas Eve dinner when she was fourteen years old . The author's use of imagery and a sentimental tone illustrate her complicated relationship with her family's culture . To convey the lessons her mother taught her about loving herself with her culture rather than despite her culture, Tan uses the imagery of "strange" foods that embarrassed her, even though she later admits they are her favorites.

Comparative First Paragraph Example

Climate change currently causes over 150,000 deaths per year. Clearly, climate change is not a problem of the future. It is a problem right now. In his article on the need for climate-focused business practice, Author A argues climate change can be slowed down by sustainable business practices. In her article on the future of climate change, Author B suggests businesses alone cannot impact the future of climate change. In comparing the arguments of Author A and Author B, it becomes clear that this issue is much more complicated than one might think. Both authors agree that sustainable practices are important for addressing climate change, but while Author A believes businesses should be the biggest contributors to that change, Author B believes it is too late to expect them to do so; she argues that everybody will have to work toward sustainability together.

Transitioning from the First Paragraph

To transition from the first paragraph, consider what point you want to make first. The second paragraph (the first body paragraph ) should focus on one subpoint.

To transition is to use a word or phrase as a bridge from one idea to the next. To transition between paragraphs, use words that show the connections between the paragraphs.

To transition from the first paragraph, write a topic sentence that states the point of your second paragraph . What is the one idea you want the reader to understand from the second paragraph ?

A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. It states the main point of that paragraph, which should be a subpoint of the thesis statement.

Now, look at the topic sentence of your second paragraph. Does it clearly connect to the thesis statement in the first paragraph? If not, think of ways to tweak either the topic sentence or the thesis statement. It should always be clear how they relate to each other.

Once you understand the relationship, use a transition to bind the ideas together!

First Paragraph - Key Takeaways

  • The first paragraph is the introductory paragraph of an essay.
  • The first paragraph is important because it grabs the reader's attention, provides necessary background information on your topic, and prepares the reader for what is coming later in the essay.
  • The first paragraph should include a hook, an introduction to the topic, a statement or question of your purpose, and a thesis statement.
  • To write the first paragraph, start with a broad overview, narrow it down by explaining your topic, and then get specific with your purpose and thesis statement.
  • To transition from the first paragraph, consider what point you want to make first.

Flashcards in First Paragraph 20

What is the definition of First Paragraph? 

The first paragraph is defined as the introductory paragraph of an essay. It appears at the very beginning of the essay. It introduces the topic, provides background information, and provides a roadmap to the essay.

One can think of the first paragraph of an essay as an opening to a ______.


What are some of the benefits of the first paragraph? 

What parts should the first paragraph include? 

What is a hook? 

A hook is an attention-grabbing opening of an essay.

What are some of the different types of hooks? 

A surprising fact or statistic relating to the topic

First Paragraph

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Frequently Asked Questions about First Paragraph

What is a first paragraph?

The first paragraph   is the introductory paragraph of an essay. It appears at the very beginning of the essay. It introduces the topic, provides background information, and provides a roadmap to the essay. 

How do you start a first paragraph?

You start the first paragraph of an essay with an attention-grabbing hook to get the reader's attention.

Do you indent the first paragraph?

Yes, you should indent the first line of every paragraph one half-inch from the margin of the paper.

What is an example of a first paragraph in an essay?

An example of a first paragraph in an essay is as follows: 

Climate change is a shift in temperature and weather patterns over time. This shift has both natural and man-made causes. In his article on the need for climate-focused business practice, Author A argues climate change can be slowed down by sustainable business practices. In her article on the future of climate change, Author B suggests businesses alone cannot impact the future of climate change.   

What does the first paragraph show in an essay?

The first paragraph of an essay shows the reader what the subject of your essay will be, some background information on the subject, and your main argument about that subject. 

How do you transition from the introductory paragraph to the first body paragraph?

To transition from the introductory paragraph to the first body paragraph, write a topic sentence that states the point of that body paragraph. You can use sentence starters like First, Before, Currently, Importantly, and Clearly  for a   smoother transition.

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How to Write a Synthesis Essay: Examples, Topics, & Outline

A synthesis essay requires you to work with multiple sources. You combine the information gathered from them to present a well-rounded argument on a topic. Are you looking for the ultimate guide on synthesis essay writing? You’ve come to the right place!

In this guide by our custom writing team, you will find:

  • a step-by-step writing guide;
  • a list of 34 synthesis essay topics;
  • a full essay sample in MLA format.
  • 📚 Synthesis Essay Definition
  • 📝 Essay Types
  • ✅ Step-by-Step Guide
  • ✍️ Topics & Prompts
  • 📑 Example & Formatting Tips

📚 What Is a Synthesis Essay?

A synthesis essay is an assignment that requires a unique interpretation of a particular topic using several reliable sources. To write it, you need to understand, analyze, and synthesize information. That is why this type of essay is used in the AP Lang exam to assess students’ reasoning skills.

The key features of the synthesis essay are:

  • Debatable topic . If your goal is to write a good synthesis essay, it’s necessary to choose an arguable topic. It’s best to choose something that people have different opinions about. This will allow you to use many sources with various viewpoints for your synthesis.
  • Clear thesis statement. It’s a sentence that briefly describes the main idea of your essay.
  • Reliable sources to prove your thesis . For a synthesis essay, your opinion is not enough. You also need to find the evidence. Keep in mind that simply reading an online encyclopedia won’t do; make sure to choose only reliable sources.

What Does It Mean to Synthesize Information?

Synthesis is a process that has huge importance in nature, science, and our everyday life. The word stems from Ancient Greek “synthesis,” which means “putting together.” In general, synthesis is the combination of components to form a connected whole.

The picture shows examples of synthesis usage in various spheres: biochemistry, physics, and sound creation.

In everyday life, we usually resort to it to synthesize information . This means taking the data from different sources and bringing it together. This process is the opposite of analyzing:

  • For an analysis , you break problems into pieces,
  • For a synthesis , you combine separate elements into a whole.

We use synthesis for analysis papers, research papers, argument papers, and business reports.

What Does Synthesis Mean in Writing?

Synthesis in writing means summarizing and connecting different sources considering a particular topic. Although synthesis and analysis are two opposite things, they usually go together in synthesis essays. The process consists of 2 stages:

  • Conduct the analysis. For that, you break down a problem into parts and analyze the sources. It’s helpful to highlight everything regarding your topic while reading.
  • Carry out the synthesis. The next step is to formulate an opinion and combine the highlighted information from the sources.

Synthesis is not only used in writing but also in reading comprehension . It’s useful to do this kind of reading while studying your sources. There are three reading comprehension stages:

  • Your previous knowledge about the topic.
  • Expansion of your knowledge while you are reading.
  • Understanding of the problem when you have finished reading.

So, synthesized reading comprehension means combining three stages in one and formulating one statement.

Synthesis vs Summary: What Is the Difference?

A summary is a paraphrasing of the written source in your own words. For a good summary, it’s necessary to include all of the text’s key elements. Meanwhile, synthesis means combining different ideas from different sources. You don’t have to include all the key points; just choose everything related to your topic.

The picture explains the difference between a synthesis and a summary.

Both of these techniques are used for the synthesis essay:

  • The summary goes in the conclusion. You briefly sum up your paper’s main ideas.
  • Synthesis goes in the body paragraphs. Here, you combine multiple sources to prove a point.

📝 Synthesis Essay Types

There are two main types of a synthesis essay: argument and explanatory synthesis.

Both of them require working with multiple reliable sources and analyzing information. The only difference is that an argument synthesis essay requires your own opinion, while an explanatory synthesis essay does not.

Argument Synthesis Essay: Outline and Definition

As you already know, an argument synthesis essay requires you to state your own opinion about the given topic and back it up with several reliable sources. The purpose of such an essay is to persuade the reader that your point is correct.

Here’s what an argument synthesis essay consists of:

Explanatory Synthesis Essay: Definition and How to Write

An explanatory informative synthesis essay requires you to stay neutral towards the problem you are discussing. This means you cannot express your own opinion considering the given question or a problem. Your task is just to inform the reader. That’s why this essay type is also called informative synthesis.

Check out this explanatory essay outline:

✅ How to Write a Synthesis Essay Step by Step

When it comes to the synthesis essay outline, it’s not too different from other assignments. Have a look at this template:

The picture shows a synthesis essay outline: introduction, main body, and conclusion.

How to Synthesize: Working with Sources

After you’ve decided on your topic, it’s time to figure out how to synthesize articles into one text. This is how you do it:

  • Choose reliable sources: the ones printed in journals or published on academic websites.
  • Become familiar with them and see if they fit into your essay.
  • Try to find a few sources for each point. It will increase your essay’s reliability.
  • Relate each source to your arguments and see similarities between them.
  • Don’t forget to list every source in the references.

When you are done with a comprehensive analysis of related literature, try to step back and imagine a person who has a different opinion on this topic. Think of some arguments that they can provide to prove their opinion. After you have the list of arguments, find the written evidence of why they are wrong and put them in your essay.

Analyzing and organizing sources is the first and very important step for the synthesis essay. So make sure you do understand what the text means before using it as a reference.

Synthesis Essay Outline: How to Write

For structuring your essay, it’s useful to try mapping . This technique means combining the information from different sources and rearranging it to create a new direction. To do it, you need to analyze the authors’ ideas and come up with your own conclusions.

The best way to do that is called synthesis matrix or graphic organizer. It’s a chart that you can make when you start working on your essay. Here you have a horizontal column that states the main ideas and a few vertical columns that present sources. Your task is to take sources you have chosen and write down the main ideas from them.

Here’s an example of a matrix chart:

Topic: The influence of technologies on teenagers

While doing that, you will see how many sources contain the same ideas. When you analyze them, you will be able to formulate your thesis backed up with evidence. The synthesis matrix also helps to see new arguments you can cover in your synthesis paper.

How to Write an Introduction for a Synthesis Essay

Now it’s time to start writing the paper. In the introductory part of the essay, you can include:

  • A short yet catchy sentence or a quotation that would present the topic. The start of your essay should make people interested. It’s best to make the first sentence not only informative but also easy to understand.
  • The texts that are used for the essay. Provide the titles and the authors’ names (use the appropriate guidelines depending on the writing style.)
  • The background information which is needed to understand your essay. Definitions of terms or unknown words considering the topic can be included in this part. Otherwise, people may find it hard to understand what they are reading about.

How to Write a Thesis for a Synthesis Essay

A thesis statement is a point of view on a certain problem that you will defend in your essay. It should contain the key points that you want to include in your paper. Here’s how to create a perfect thesis statement:

  • Find several central ideas in the chart.
  • Choose the ones that are repeated the most often and the ones that you feel need to be in your essay.
  • Combine them, and you have a thesis statement with all the key points.
  • Make a draft of the thesis statement. Try to formulate the main idea you want to present in your essay.
  • Elaborate on this idea. Add some details and expand it a bit further.

If the whole picture is coherent, and it conveys exactly what you wanted, then this is your perfect thesis statement. See the example below:

Gender inequality still exists at the workplace: women are less likely to get the most responsible positions, easily lose careers due to maternity leave, and often receive less pay for the same amount of work.

How to Write Synthesis Paragraphs for the Main Body

Your essay’s main body consists of a few paragraphs. Each of them presents a different argument considering the topic. When you start a paragraph, make sure to begin with a topic sentence, which informs the reader about the paragraph’s main idea. Then, include the synthesized sources and elaborate on them.

Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when writing the main body:

✔️ Dos❌ Don’ts
Make sure you make the essay as informative as possible. Try to show various opinions of the authors. Avoid shuffling unrelated information into it. Try to make smooth transitions from one paragraph to another. Instead, show your understanding and present the conclusions you’ve drawn from the texts. If you do that, you are involved in plagiarism. This would damage your credibility.

You can use the following words to present the ideas from your sources. They will help you reflect the authors’ tone:

Talking about argumentsTalking about researchAdding emphasis
The author: The author: The author:

How to Conclude a Synthesis Essay

There are quite a few ways to conclude the synthesis paper. Have a look at some of the options:

  • Paraphrase the thesis. As you remember, the thesis is the main idea of your essay. The conclusion is a good place to remind your readers about it. When they are done with the reading, they remember the most important thing from your essay.
  • Synthesize the arguments. There is no need to repeat everything you wrote in your essay. Just briefly summarize the most crucial points.
  • Answer the “So what” question. Tell the readers why this topic matters, why you’ve chosen it, and why it’s valuable for the reader.
  • Provide a closure. It’s an effective strategy when you want to make the reader think. Leave them with a strong statement at the end of your essay.

Synthesis Paper Proofreading Tips

When you have finally written your paper, there is still one important thing left to do. You need to check your paper for any grammatical and contextual mistakes. You certainly can do it yourself, but it would be perfect if you could ask somebody else to read it.

The first thing you need to check grammar-wise is the tense you are using. There is no single tense you need to use for the synthesis essay. It depends on the format:

  • If you’re writing in MLA format, use the present tense;
  • For APA essays, you use the past tense.

The next step is to check whether your synthesis essay has everything that’s required. For that, we have prepared the checklist of questions you can ask yourself to proofread your essays.

  • Is there a clear thesis statement?
  • Did you include all of the key points from the synthesis?
  • Are there clear transitions between paragraphs?
  • Did you organize a paragraph around a single idea?
  • Did you use reliable and up-to-date sources?
  • Did you analyze sources rather than just summarize them?
  • Did you mention every source you’ve used?

If you’ve answered “yes” to all the questions—congratulations, you are done with the essay! Otherwise, you need to come back and fix everything that you’ve answered “no” to.

✍️ Synthesis Essay Topics and Prompts

Sometimes, when you don’t have a topic , it is tough to come up with a suitable idea. That is why we have prepared two lists of topics that you can use for any synthesis essay type.

Explanatory Synthesis Essay Topics

The topics below are suitable for an explanatory synthesis essay:

  • The beginning of Hollywood cinema. Cinema is a huge industry in the USA. Tell the readers about its history. Describe what it was like in the beginning, which movie was the first one, and who started this industry.
  • Tactics on dealing with noisy children. Sometimes kids can be very loud, especially in public places. Write about different tactics that can help with this issue.
  • The effects of climate change on the water cycle.  Climate change has affected the water cycle significantly. Your task is to explain how.
  • The best American cities to live in. Provide the list of the best cities and explain why you’ve included them.
  • The importance of a healthy diet . Keeping a healthy diet is beneficial in many ways. Write about all the advantages it brings.
  • Who can become an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurship is not for everybody. In this essay, you can describe the qualities needed for having your own business.
  • The correlation between overpopulation and poverty . Describe how overpopulation leads to poverty and vice versa.
  • The advantages of taking an active vacation.
  • Cultural shock as a part of moving to a different country.
  • The consequences of the first wave of feminism.
  • Synthesis of Tan and Rodriguez’ essays ideas. 
  • Difficulties you may encounter during the job interview.
  • How does reading prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
  • The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
  • The connection between religion and politics in ruling the country.
  • What can non-verbal signals tell you about a person?
  • The psychology of leadership .
  • The origins of the most common  stereotypes  about Americans.
  • Role of social media in business communication.
  • The synthesis of personal nursing philosophy concept. 
  • Behavioral components of schizophrenia and psychosis.
  • Main components of successful entrepreneurship.
  • Critical components of scientific research.
  • Change in religion and human beliefs throughout history.
  • The effect of global warming on modern life.

Argument Synthesis Paper Topics

The list of topics for the Argument Synthesis Essay:

  • Vaping is better than smoking. People are starting to exchange cigarettes for vapes and e-cigarettes. In what ways are they less harmful?
  • Rich people should pay higher taxes. The same percentage of money doesn’t equal for rich and poor people. Explain why the ones who can afford more should share with others.
  • Depression is a disease. Prove that psychological problems must be recognized as real health issues that should be cured and not ignored.
  • Social media affects young people’s lives. Social media has a massive influence on people. In this essay, you can discuss which life spheres are the most affected.
  • Beauty pageants should be banned. Provide the reasons why they should be banned and tell the reader about psychological problems they can cause.
  • People should cut meat from their diet to stop global warming. Describe how the meat industry influences climate change.
  • The voting age should be 25+. Your task is to show the reasons why the votes of people under 25 should not be taken into account during elections.
  • A healthy lifestyle requires a lot of money.
  • Each healthy man should serve in the military.
  • School bullying should be punished by immediate exclusion.
  • Does friendship exist between men and women?
  • Drinking coffee is a bad habit.
  • Working hard is more important than being talented.
  • Everybody should visit a therapist at least once.
  • Should universities be free?
  • Artificial intelligence will cause huge unemployment rates.
  • Gaming should not be allowed to children under 18.
  • Components and strategies of social responsibility
  • Integration of relevant ethical theory and conceptual principles in health care 
  • Children under 10 should be banned from gadgets.  
  • Social media platforms facilitate cyberbullying.
  • Issues of distance education.
  • Social media addiction is a serious disease.
  • Deforestation critically contributes to global warming.
  • Healthcare should be free for everyone.

📑 Synthesis Essay Example & Synthesis Essay Format Tips

Now let’s talk about formatting. There are two writing styles you can use for a synthesis essay: APA or MLA. You need to choose the one that is required for your assignment.

We will start with the paper in APA format. It is usually used in science and education.

Title page
In-text citations Example: The artworks from the past are entirely different from the modern ones (Benjamin, 1935) Example: According to Benjamin (1935), “Mechanical reproduction of a work of art…” (p.7)
References Example: Benjamin, W. (1935). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Random House

And these are MLA formatting rules:

Title page
In-text citations Example: The artworks from the past are entirely different from the modern ones (Benjamin 7)
References Example: Benjamin, Walter. Random House, 1935

Finally, we’ve prepared a synthesis essay sample for you to check out. Feel free to download the PDF file below:

First introduced in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, affirmative action policies aim to mitigate the discrepancy in opportunities available for underrepresented social groups by taking into account one’s minority background. The policies have become a pressing public issue that obstructs previously marginalized individuals, particularly in the educational environment.

Thank you for reading the ultimate guide on synthesis essay writing. We hope you found it helpful. Don’t forget to share it with your friends. Good luck with your assignments!

🔍 References

  • Writing a Synthesis Essay: Bowling Green State University
  • What Is Synthesis: University of Manitoba
  • Synthesis: Biology Online
  • Reading Strategies: Difference Summarizing and Synthesizing: WordPress
  • Summary, Analysis, Synthesis Definitions: University of Utah
  • Argumentative Synthesis: University of Arkansas
  • How to Synthesize Written Information: Simply Psychology
  • Mapping of Synthesis Essay: University of Nevada, Reno
  • Writing a Literature Review and Using a Synthesis Matrix: Florida International University
  • Synthesis Essay: Cleveland State University
  • Literature Review: Synthesizing Multiple Sources: Louisiana State University
  • Writing a Conclusion: Texas Women’s University
  • General APA Guidelines: Purdue University
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Synthesis Essay

Caleb S.

Writing a Perfect Synthesis Essay: Definition & Examples

16 min read

Published on: Mar 1, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

Synthesis Essay

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Do you have a ton of research to synthesize but don't know how? Or maybe you're not sure what a synthesis essay is and how to write a good synthesis essay. 

We know writing a synthesis essay is not an easy task to do; it’s challenging for most of us. But it can be perfectly done with the right guidance and preparation. 

In this blog, we'll walk you through all the necessary information to craft a perfect synthesis essay. So you can get done with your assignments confidently! 

Let’s get started.

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What is a Synthesis Essay?

Synthesis essay definition states:

It is a piece of writing that takes a unique perspective on a central idea, topic, or theme. Then backs it up with evidence from multiple sources.

A synthesis essay is an important part of academic writing. The main purpose of this essay is to show your ability to prove an argument.

To make sense of these arguments, you need to use different credible sources. It demonstrates your basic understanding of the main subject. This type of essay help to enhance your critical, analytical, and research skills.

A synthesis essay is made up of ideas and conclusions based on the information reviewed. Also, this essay asks you to summarize the topic and add your own thoughts about it in relation to what you have read.

Furthermore, the synthesis essays can be similar to analytical essays , argumentative essays , or compare and contrast essays .

Synthesis Essay Types

There are three types of a synthesis essay:

1. Argument Synthesis Essay

This essay's purpose is to debate or argue on a certain topic or issue. It justifies its claims by providing evidence in the body of the essay.

In contrast to the explanatory essay, you will perform the same thing as if you were writing a typical argumentative paper. First, state your argument, make supporting statements, and back up each claim with reliable facts.

2. Review Essay

A review essay is frequently written as a preparatory essay to an argument synthesis. Review essays are commonly used in social science and medicine classes.

It is a discussion of what has already been published on a topic, with a critical examination of the sources mentioned.

An unwritten thesis statement is added to it, which is not final and indicates that further study is needed in that area.

3. Explanatory Synthesis Essay

In this essay, the writer helps the reader to grasp deeper knowledge about the topic. Rather than arguing or debating on some points, the goal of this essay is to explain a certain topic.

Like any other essay, it needs backing up with supporting claims and credible sources.

How to Start a Synthesis Essay?

The following are some helpful techniques for writing an essay. These will help you start the process and avoid common errors that plague many writers.

1. Choosing a Synthesis Essay Topic 

A prompt for a synthesis paper must be arguable. Based on your project, you may be required to select primary content. Select a book that may include contrasting perspectives. Here are some important tips for choosing a topic for a synthesis essay.

  • Look through the themes and ideas. Read from sources and investigate specific topics thoroughly to see if any of them catch your interest.
  • Select a topic and collect relevant and valuable references for your synthesis paper.
  • Outline your synthesis essay using concepts or ideas from the sources. This should make writing a lot simpler and save you a lot of time.

It is necessary to find an arguable topic to make your synthesis essay effective. Another reason is that these topics have been discussed in public for decades. 

Examples of good synthesis essay topics are;

  • The process of hiring in the age of social media
  • Social networks promote suicide
  • Should higher education be free?
  • Is it necessary to remove marks in education 
  • The importance of getting a good education
  • 3D printers are not used efficiently nowadays.
  • Is technology really helping people?
  • Why has technology made surgery safe and effective?
  • What is the cause of widespread obesity in teens?
  • What is the role of gender today?

2. Analyze Your Topic

Here's how you can fully understand your synthesis essay topic.

  • Grasp the Idea of a Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay's purpose is to establish meaningful connections between sections of a work. When conducting research on a topic, you have to look for connections to build a strong viewpoint on the subject. The ultimate goal of the essay is to present and prove a claim about a topic .

  • Select a Topic Appropriate for a Synthesis Essay

The subject and topic must be extensive enough to include multiple relevant sources. If you have a free hand in deciding what to write about, some preparatory research may assist you in researching and choosing the right topic. 

  •  Select and Study Your Sources Carefully

Research and find relevant information and sources. Generally, choose at least three references for your essay. It's a good idea to learn one or two additional sources for better understanding but no matter what it is, make sure that you study it properly.

Remember that it is better to read three sources properly than five sources poorly.

Compile each source by writing notes in the margins. This allows you to keep track of your thoughts, fresh ideas, and so on. 

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  • Reread the Source Material 

Reread your source material for elements that will help to support your argument. 

Examine your sources for important statements, figures, thoughts, and facts that support your thesis. Make a note of them when you come across them. This will be very useful throughout your writing process. 

3. Develop a Thesis Statement 

Your thesis statement will be the central idea of your essay. It should cover the topic and express your viewpoint on it. After reading the sources and conducting your research, form an opinion on your topic. 

It should be stated as a complete sentence. Based on the essay, your thesis statement could be the first sentence of the essay or the last sentence of the first paragraph.

  • Structure Your Thesis Statement Creatively 

To present your thesis, use a more creative structure. You can use a more elaborate structure than the one outlined above. You can develop your essay using the following approaches:

Straw man: In this approach, you will present the counter-arguments first. Then demonstrate their weaknesses and flaws. 

Such an approach demonstrates your awareness of the opposition as well as your readiness to respond to it. You present the counter-argument immediately following your thesis statement, followed by evidence to refute it. And conclude with a positive argument that supports your thesis.

Concession: In structure, concessions in essays are similar to the straw man. But this approach acknowledges the validity of the counter-argument while demonstrating that your argument is stronger. This structure is suitable for presenting papers to readers who hold opposing views. 

Illustration/ Example: It could be a thorough narrative, synopsis, or quotation from your source material that provides support for your position. However, you should not make your paper a collection of examples at the expense of supporting your thesis statement.

Comparison and Contrast: In this approach, similarities and differences between two subjects or sources demonstrate both aspects. It requires a thorough reading of your source material to identify both subtle and major points of comparison.

This type of essay can present its arguments source by source or by points of similarity or difference.

4. Create an Outline for Your Essay

An essay outline is a method for outlining the framework of your essay. Here’s what you have to do. Outlining can help you structure and plan your synthesis paper. 

The standard outline of a synthesis essay is divided into three sections:

– Introduce your topic and thesis statement 
– Discuss one point related to your thesis statement 
– Discuss another point related to your thesis statement 
– Discuss yet another point related to your thesis statement 
– Summarize your points and reiterate why they support your thesis statement  

Need detailed guidance on how to write a synthesis essay? Check out this video?

How to Write a Synthesis Essay?

For writing a great essay, you have to do extensive research on your subject. This essay connects sections of multiple works and develops a strong viewpoint on a subject.

There are some major steps of the process:

1. Start Writing Your Essay 

After getting done with the preparation part, start to write your synthesis essay. 

2. Write Your First Draft Using Your Outline as a Guide

But be prepared to change your strategy if you discover fresh ideas and information. And make sure it supports your thesis and the source material. 

Your essay should have an introduction paragraph with your thesis statement at the end of it. A body with evidence that supports your main topic and thesis statement. Lastly, a conclusion that summarizes your point of view.

3. Use Transitions 

To make the content flow logically, use transitions between paragraphs. Transition words are an excellent method to highlight areas where your sources complement one another. 

Longer quotes of three lines or more should be presented as block quotes to draw emphasis to them.

4. Wrap Up Your Essay 

Here you have completed the writing process, but still, you need to make sure that your essay is flawless. 

5. Revise Your Essay

This is the time to enhance transitions between points and paragraphs and to reinforce arguments. You should strive to make your argument as concise and clear to understand as possible. It is beneficial to read your essay aloud so you can spot problematic phrases or unclear ideas.

Request someone else to proofread your paper. Have you heard the cliché "two heads are better than one"? Is it still valid?

Ask a friend or coworker what they would add or eliminate from the paper. Most importantly, does your thesis statement make sense, and are your references clearly supporting it?

Answer these questions in your essay.

6. Proofread Your Content

Examine your document for any grammatical, punctuation, or spelling mistakes. 

Are all the terms, names, and words accurately spelled? Are there any extraneous English language or sentence fragments? As you go, correct them.

Read the essay loudly to ensure that you don't accidentally add or remove words when reading in your mind. If possible, ask a friend or classmate to edit your writing.

7. Must Cite Sources

Use footnotes to mention information in the body paragraph and bibliography of cited books at the conclusion. Footnotes and in-text citations should be used for any information that is quoted, paraphrased, or cited.

8. Title Your Essay 

The point of view expressed in your thesis statement and supporting arguments should be reflected in your title. Therefore, choose a title that suits your essay rather than constructing your essay to fit the title.

Synthesis Essay Format

The format of your synthesis paper is chosen by your high school, college, or university professor. MLA, APA, and Chicago styles are the most often used styles.

The APA format is followed in the disciplines of science, education, and psychology. Chicago is commonly followed in the field of history, fine arts, and business. And MLA is the style of citation used in the humanities.

APA Style Format

The following are some APA style important details:

  • Add a page header to the top of each page.
  • Times New Roman, 1” margins, 12 pt. Font, double-spaced.
  • The format of a synthesis essay should be separated into four sections: title page, abstract, main body, and references.
  • Insert a page number in the upper right corner.

Chicago Style Format

The following are some Chicago style key points:

  • Use double-spacing between the paper's lines.
  • Make margins of one inch.
  • Font size: 12 pt. Times New Roman font style.
  • Create text that is left-justified with a rugged edge.
  • Mention the full name of a person, place, or organization.
  • At the start of the paragraph, use half-inch indents.
  • The bibliography should be on its own page.

MLA Style Format

The following are some MLA style significant points:

  • The title must be centered.
  • Font: Times New Roman, 1” margins, 12 pt font size, double-spaced
  • Mention your name, professor's name, the course number, and the date (dd/mm/yy).
  • On each page, the top right corner displays the last name and page number.
  • The final page provides a “Works Cited” list.

Synthesis Essay Rubric

A rubric is essentially a list of criteria that your professor will use to grade your paper. 

Knowing how each criterion is weighted can help make sure you get the best grade possible on your synthesis essay. 

The Basics of the Synthesis Essay Rubric

The basic elements of any synthesis essay rubric include organization, focus/development, and language use/style. 

  • Organization refers to how well you structure your paper. It should flow logically and have clear transitions between sections. 
  • Focus/development looks at how well you develop your argument throughout the paper. Are you able to clearly explain why each point supports your thesis?
  • Language use/style focuses on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Was the paper proofread thoroughly or did careless errors slip in?

For example , your synthesis essay thesis statement is

“Capital punishment should be abolished in all states." 

Do you provide evidence from different angles, such as legal history, religious beliefs, or moral arguments to back up this claim? 

Does this evidence prove why capital punishment should be abolished?

How to Write a Synthesis Essay - Ap Lang

Are you an AP Lang student who’s been assigned the dreaded synthesis essay? Here’s how to write a successful synthesis essay for AP Lang. 

  • Understand the Prompt 

The first step in writing any synthesis essay is to read and understand the prompt. It’s also important to note any specific requirements such as word count, formatting style, or sources that must be used in your essay. 

  • Organize Your Argument 

Once you have all the information necessary, it’s time to start organizing your argument.

Start by identifying any common themes or ideas between the various sources of evidence and create an outline with these points at its core. 

  • Write Your Essay 

Now comes the fun part—writing! 

You should now have a comprehensive outline of all the points and evidence you want to include in your essay. So use this as a guide when crafting your argument. 

Make sure that each point has supporting evidence from credible sources and that everything flows logically from one point to another. 

Finally, don’t forget to proofread and edit before submitting so that there are no errors in grammar or spelling. These small details can make all the difference! 

Synthesis Essay Tips

Working on a synthesis paper requires a thorough study of a particular given prompt. To evaluate it properly, you must first understand the prompt’s goal, argument, author’s claim, and rhetoric.

To compose a successful synthesis essay, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • Use Multiple Reasons

It is well recognized that the use of various reasons (generally two) is a very successful approach.

Present one argument against your strong thesis statement. This type of evidence presents an introduction and description. The advantage of this method is to teach awareness of the other side of the argument. It is followed by the opposing view and a decisive factor.

This is one of the most basic ways of organizing. It enables you to summarise the sources that are most relevant to you. The problem is that this technique excludes any of your individual thinking.

  • Compare and Contrast

Comparing reveals similarities, while contrasting reveals distinctions. It is feasible to show an in-depth analysis of your chosen topic. It allows writers to compare and contrast two sources at the same time.

Write quotations from sources in your own words. This approach also allows the usage of quotable sources. Ensure to cite the reference when you use the reference.

This method depicts the opposing point of view. It demonstrates that the positives outweigh the negatives.

Writing a synthesis essay is not as difficult as it may seem. You can also try our AI essay writer to generate plagiarism-free content and make the process easier. 

However, if you are having trouble understanding the concepts or writing a synthesis essay, it is best to hire professionals.

Our synthesis essay writing service is the perfect solution to your problems. We have a team of skilled writers who will help you through each step of the essay-writing process.

You contact our professionals at to get essay writing help online . Our essay writer service is always ready to ace your assignments. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you end a synthesis essay.

A strong ending fulfills these 3 things: 

  • Restate your thesis. 
  • Summarize or synthesize key points. 
  • Make your argument's context explicit. 

What is a synthesis paragraph?

A synthesis is a textual debate that includes support from multiple sources with opposing viewpoints. This type of work requires analysis by using different sources and determining their relevance to your thesis.

Why is synthesis important?

It is important because it allows us to: 

  • Test and validate hypotheses. 
  • Comprehend key processes. 
  • Plan future research efforts. 

How to conclude a synthesis essay?

Synthesize rather than summarize your argument. No need to go over your entire paper again. Instead, include a brief summary of the main points of the paper and explain to your reader how you've made points.

What is an example of a synthesis?

Making connections or putting things together is all that is required. We naturally synthesize information to assist others in seeing connections between things. For example, synthesis occurs when you report to a friend what other friends have said about a film or book.

How many paragraphs is a synthesis essay?

According to the standard outline provided, you should stick to the basic five-to-six paragraph structure. In rare cases, there may be more paragraphs in the main body.

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first paragraph synthesis essay

Writing a Multiple-Source (Synthesis) Essay


To develop a body paragraph, follow a basic " three-step " approach:

1.)  Decide on a main point and then state that main point in a sentence (the topic sentence for the paragraph).  For example :

  • � One common theme that emerges from these essays is that watching movies and reading books are social acts .�
  • "One noticeable similarity in the Dillard and Hughes essays is that children are causing trouble for adults."
  • "A main element in the process of death is the stage of grief."

2.)  Next, reread the essays looking for �evidence� to use to support your main idea.  For example :

  • I might look for examples or quotes in the Ebert, Welty, Toth, and King essays about the "social" act of watching movies and reading books.
  • I would summarize the parts of the Dillard and Hughes essays where the children are causing trouble for the adults.
  • I would summarize or quote from the Woolf and Momaday essays when the writers talk about grieving the loss of the animal or family member.

3.)  Finally, you don�t want to abruptly end your paragraph and just leave the examples , summaries, or quotes just hanging there.  You want to �drive home� your point, emphasize what is important about it, add your own commentary (thoughts, feelings, opinions) or your own experiences about the main idea and/or the examples.

  • In essence, you want to ask and answer the question, �So What?�

For more information and examples (from a different essay) about developing paragraphs, click here .


Whenever you use someone else's words or ideas in your writing, you must let the reader know the source of those words or ideas.  It really doesn't matter whether you have paraphrased , summarized , or quoted -- in each case, you must let the reader know whose material you are using.

Up to this point, your writing assignments have focused on one reading selection at a time.  In them you have used simple transitions to tell the reader when you were using material from the reading selection.  There are, however, more formal methods of documentation that you will need to learn to use as you write in college classes.

The MLA (Modern Language Association) is one method of documentation, used primarily in the humanities.  It uses parentheses within the paper to identify the author and page number of a particular passage that is paraphrased, summarized, or quoted.  It also uses a separate page at the end of the paper to give more detailed and complete identification of the sources used.  Because we are using "common texts" in this class -- texts that everyone has, either from our book or on handouts I have provided -- you do not need to write a separate "Works Cited" page for this paper.

Use these guidelines to help you:

  • Each paraphrase, summary, and quotation should be identified by author and page number in parentheses.  Do not use the author's first name within the parentheses.
  • If the author's name is already included in the "signal phrase" in the sentence, it does not need to be repeated in the parentheses.
  • No punctuation is placed between the author's last name and the page number.
  • The parenthetical citation is placed at the end of the borrowed material but before the period at the end of the sentence.


You have three choices when you take someone else�s words / ideas from their writing to put into your own writing:

1.) QUOTATION: copy the words and punctuation exactly like it is in the other writer�s essay; be extremely accurate; use quotation marks.

2.) SUMMARY: you use your own words to �shrink� down another writer�s ideas to the main things you want to highlight or emphasize; even though you use your own words, you must still give credit to the writer.

3.) PARAPHRASE: you use your own words to �translate� or �restate� more clearly another writer�s ideas; your paraphrase should be roughly the same length as the passage you are paraphrasing; you will need to change both many of the words and the sentence structure(s) of the passage you are paraphrasing; even though you use your own words, you must still give credit to the writer.

Finally, there are three steps to take to put a summary, a paraphrase, or a quotation into your paper :

1.)  First, use a �signal phrase.�   Here, you are giving credit to the person who the words/ideas belong to and you are �signaling� to your reader that you are putting something in your paper that doesn�t belong to you.  Examples of signal phrases include �According to Annie Dillard, ... � or �As George Orwell says , ... � or � Susan Allen Toth states that ... �

2.)  Second, put in the summary, paraphrase, or quotation.   (You can also use a combination of summary, paraphrase, and quotation.)

3.)  Third, use a �parenthetical citation.�   If you have put the author�s name in your sentence, all you need in the citation is the page number, for example (16).  If you did not put the author�s name in your sentence, then include the name with the page number, for example ( Dillard 16).

first paragraph synthesis essay

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How to Structure an Essay

essay structure

Essay writing is a fundamental skill, a basic task, that is expected of those who choose to pursue their undergraduate and master’s degrees. It constitutes a key requirement for students to complete a given course credit. However, many students and early career researchers find themselves struggling with the challenge of organizing their thoughts into a coherent, engaging structure. This article is especially for those who see essay writing as a daunting task and face problems in presenting their work in an impactful way.  

Table of Contents

  • Writing an essay: basic elements and some key principles  
  • Essay structure template 
  • Chronological structure 
  • Problem-methods-solutions structure 
  • Compare and contrast structures 
  • Frequently asked questions on essay structure 

Read on as we delve into the basic elements of essay writing, outline key principles for organizing information, and cover some foundational features of writing essays.  

Writing an essay: basic elements and some key principles

Essays are written in a flowing and continuous pattern but with a structure of its own. An introduction, body and conclusion are integral to it. The key is to balance the amount and kind of information to be presented in each part. Various disciplines may have their own conventions or guidelines on the information to be provided in the introduction.  

A clear articulation of the context and background of the study is important, as is the definition of key terms and an outline of specific models or theories used. Readers also need to know the significance of the study and its implications for further research. Most importantly, the thesis or the main proposition should be clearly presented.  

The body of the essay is therefore organized into paragraphs that hold the main ideas and arguments and is presented and analyzed in a logical manner. Ideally, each paragraph of the body focuses on one main point or a distinct topic and must be supported by evidence and analysis. The concluding paragraph should bring back to the reader the key arguments, its significance and food for thought. It is best not to re-state all the points of the essay or introduce a new concept here. 

In other words, certain general guidelines help structure the information in the essay. The information must flow logically with the context or the background information presented in the introductory part of the essay. The arguments are built organically where each paragraph in the body of the essay deals with a different point, yet closely linked to the para preceding and following it. Importantly, when writing essays, early career researchers must be careful in ensuring that each piece of information relates to the main thesis and is a building block to the arguments. 

Essay structure template

  • Introduction 
  • Provide the context and share significance of the study 
  • Clearly articulate the thesis statement 
  • Body  
  • Paragraph 1 consisting of the first main point, followed by supporting evidence and an analysis of the findings. Transitional words and phrases can be used to move to the next main point. 
  • There can be as many paragraphs with the above-mentioned elements as there are points and arguments to support your thesis. 
  • Conclusion  
  • Bring in key ideas and discuss their significance and relevance 
  • Call for action 
  • References 

Essay structures

The structure of an essay can be determined by the kind of essay that is required.  

Chronological structure

Also known as the cause-and-effect approach, this is a straightforward way to structure an essay. In such essays, events are discussed sequentially, as they occurred from the earliest to the latest. A chronological structure is useful for discussing a series of events or processes such as historical analyses or narratives of events. The introduction should have the topic sentence. The body of the essay should follow a chorological progression with each para discussing a major aspect of that event with supporting evidence. It ends with a summarizing of the results of the events.  

Problem-methods-solutions structure

Where the essay focuses on a specific problem, the problem-methods-solutions structure can be used to organize the essay. This structure is ideal for essays that address complex issues. It starts with presenting the problem, the context, and thesis statement as introduction to the essay. The major part of the discussion which forms the body of the essay focuses on stating the problem and its significance, the author’s approach or methods adopted to address the problem along with its relevance, and accordingly proposing solution(s) to the identified problem. The concluding part offers a recap of the research problem, methods, and proposed solutions, emphasizing their significance and potential impact. 

Compare and contrast structures

This structure of essay writing is ideally used when two or more key subjects require a comparison of ideas, theories, or phenomena. The three crucial elements, introduction, body, and conclusion, remain the same. The introduction presents the context and the thesis statement. The body of the essay seeks to focus on and highlight differences between the subjects, supported by evidence and analysis. The conclusion is used to summarize the key points of comparison and contrast, offering insights into the significance of the analysis.  

Depending on how the subjects will be discussed, the body of the essay can be organized according to the block method or the alternating method. In the block method, one para discusses one subject and the next para the other subject. In the alternative method, both subjects are discussed in one para based on a particular topic or issue followed by the next para on another issue and so on.  

Frequently asked questions on essay structure

An essay structure serves as a framework for presenting ideas coherently and logically. It comprises three crucial elements: an introduction that communicates the context, topic, and thesis statement; the body focusing on the main points and arguments supported with appropriate evidence followed by its analysis; and a conclusion that ties together the main points and its importance .  

An essay structure well-defined essay structure enhances clarity, coherence, and readability, and is crucial for organizing ideas and arguments to effectively communicate key aspects of a chosen topic. It allows readers to better understand arguments presented and demonstrates the author’s ability to organize and present information systematically. 

Yes, while expert recommend following an essay structure, early career researchers may choose how best to adapt standard essay structures to communicate and share their research in an impactful and engaging way. However, do keep in mind that deviating too far from established structures can hinder comprehension and weaken the overall effectiveness of the essay,  By understanding the basic elements of essay writing and employing appropriate structures such as chronological, problem-methods-solutions, or compare and contrast, researchers can effectively organize their ideas and communicate their findings with clarity and precision. 

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  1. Synthesis Essay

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  2. How to Write a Synthesis Essay: Examples, Topics, & Synthesis Essay Outline

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  3. How to Write a Synthesis Essay

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  4. How to write a Synthesis Essay

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  5. Synthesis Essay

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  6. 12+ Synthesis Essay Examples to Inspire You

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  1. How to Write a Synthesis Essay, WIth Examples

    Synthesis essay structure 1: By topic. The first kind of synthesis essay structure involves discussing each topic individually, mentioning each source's perspective on it, and then moving on to the next topic. This approach lets you compare or join together points made by different sources about the same specific topic.

  2. Synthesis Essays: A Step-by-Step How- To Guide

    How to write body paragraphs for synthesis essays: 1.Pick three points to write about from your list of points about which the writers agreed or disagreed. When picking three to write about, pick the three that offer you ample evidence. 2.Decide the order of the three points to be written about in your body paragraphs.

  3. Guide to Synthesis Essays: How to Write a Synthesis Essay

    The writing process for composing a good synthesis essay requires curiosity, research, and original thought to argue a certain point or explore an idea. Synthesis essay writing involves a great deal of intellectual work, but knowing how to compose a compelling written discussion of a topic can give you an edge in many fields, from the social sciences to engineering.

  4. How to Write a Synthesis Essay: The Ultimate Handbook

    Clarify Your Purpose: First, decide if you're writing an explanatory or argumentative synthesis essay. This choice will set the tone and direction for your essay. Source Selection and Analysis: Choose credible and relevant sources for your topic, balancing different types like articles, books, and websites.

  5. How to Write a Synthesis Essay

    As a student, you'll probably have to write a synthesis essay at some point. Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to write one effectively. Step 1. Define Your Idea or Argument. If you haven't done so already, decide on a topic to write about. Read up about it using a variety of credible sources and make detailed notes while you research.

  6. How to Write a Synthesis Essay

    Your essay should have an introductory paragraph that includes your thesis, a body to present evidence that supports your thesis, and a conclusion that summarizes your point of view. 2. Write in the third person. Writing in the third person means using "he," "she," "it", and using complete, unambiguous sentences.

  7. 27 How do I Write a Synthesis Essay?

    An introduction is the first paragraph of a paper. Its main purpose is to present the general premise of the paper, provide any necessary background information, and hopefully, capture the reader's attention. The introductory paragraph to your synthesis essay should be where you include a strong thesis statement. This is where you will state ...

  8. How to Write a Synthesis Essay (and pass)

    The first step to writing a synthesis essay is to read any and all of the sources that you are being asked to synthesize. ... The format for a five-paragraph essay is simple. First is an introductory paragraph that: 1) introduces your topic; 2) introduces the reasoning you will use in your body paragraphs; and 3) provides your thesis statement. ...

  9. How To Write A Synthesis Essay

    1. Choose a Topic. Before you start writing the synthesis essay, it is important to choose a good topic. When brainstorming for an essay topic, avoid topics that are too broad or narrow in scope. 2. Gather Information. Once you have chosen your essay topic, start collecting the data for it.

  10. How to Write a Synthesis Essay

    The basic synthesis essay structure follows the 5 paragraph essay format. Introduction - Briefly describe what the paper will be about. Start with a hook to engage the reader from the very beginning, followed by a brief description, and make sure to include your thesis statement. Body Paragraphs - The first body paragraph typically contains a ...

  11. Full Guide to Synthesis Essays: How to Write a Synthesis Essay

    Step 1: Choosing a compelling topic. The first step in writing a synthesis essay is to select a topic that you find particularly interesting. However, this topic should also provide ground for ...

  12. PDF Writing a Synthesis Essay

    3. Tips for an effective synthesis essay: • Establish your purpose to shape the way you want to argue and form your thesis. The thesis is the main claim or idea of your essay. • Select your sources and become familiar with them so that you can discuss them in relationship to your thesis and supporting argument(s).


    A synthesis essay uses a variety of sources to form a new idea, answer a question, or defend an argumentative thesis statement. A synthesis does not summarize but shows the connections among the different sources and the writers' ideas. A successful synthesis essay overviews research on the chosen topic, highlights the connections among ...

  14. How to Write a Perfect Synthesis Essay for the AP Language Exam

    Paragraph 1: The prompt presents and briefly explains the topic that you'll be writing your synthesis essay about. That topic is the concept of eminent domain. Paragraph 2: The prompt presents a specific claim about the concept of eminent domain in this paragraph: Eminent domain is productive and beneficial.This paragraph instructs you to decide whether you want to defend, challenge, or ...

  15. Well-Written Synthesis Essay Examples

    Get multiple synthesis essay examples covering a range of topics. Learn how to craft an introduction, thesis, outlines, or write your entire synthesis essay.

  16. How to Write a Synthesis Essay (Steps & Examples)

    Step 1 - Understand your assignment. First, you must carefully analyze the essay prompt (assignment instructions), identifying the core concepts and keywords that provide direction. Once you understand the prompt, it is crucial to gather an extensive range of sources, such as academic papers, articles, and books.

  17. Synthesis Essay

    Writing a synthesis essay has four components: synthesizing sources, composing a thesis or claim, formatting the essay and talking with the texts. The first component involves thinking about the ...

  18. First Paragraph: Meaning & Examples

    Functions of the First Paragraph. The first paragraph of a synthesis essay serves several key functions:. Introduction of the Topic: It provides background information on the topic to set the context. Presentation of Diverse Views: It may briefly present different perspectives on the topic, which will later be synthesized in the essay. Thesis Statement: Most importantly, the first paragraph ...

  19. Writing 102

    Body Paragraphs (plan to construct at least 6 to 8 body paragraphs) A good body paragraph in a synthesis essay contains three main parts: a claim, evidence from both texts, and explanation/ evaluation. Claim: Start with a topic sentence, which will argue one point in the paragraph. If you start analyzing another claim, then you need to take the ...

  20. How to Write a Synthesis Essay: Examples, Topics, & Outline

    A synthesis matrix will help you with that: Find several central ideas in the chart. Choose the ones that are repeated the most often and the ones that you feel need to be in your essay. Combine them, and you have a thesis statement with all the key points. Make a draft of the thesis statement.

  21. How to Write a Synthesis Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

    First, state your argument, make supporting statements, and back up each claim with reliable facts. 2. Review Essay. A review essay is frequently written as a preparatory essay to an argument synthesis. Review essays are commonly used in social science and medicine classes.

  22. Writing a Synthesis Essay -- Body Paragraphs and Sources

    Writing a Multiple-Source (Synthesis) Essay. Part Two . DEVELOPING YOUR PARAGRAPHS: To develop a body paragraph, follow a basic "three-step " approach: 1.) Decide on a main point and then state that main point in a sentence (the topic sentence for the paragraph). For example: " One common theme that emerges from these essays is that watching ...

  23. PDF Sample Synthesis Paragraph

    Sample Synthesis Paragraph Note in the following example of a synthesis paragraph that the student writer has integrated the ideas of the two sources together and indicated how the views of the sources relate to one another. Your synthesis paragraph will probably need to be longer than this one, but this is a good structural model all the same.

  24. How to Structure an Essay

    1. What is an essay structure? An essay structure serves as a framework for presenting ideas coherently and logically. It comprises three crucial elements: an introduction that communicates the context, topic, and thesis statement; the body focusing on the main points and arguments supported with appropriate evidence followed by its analysis; and a conclusion that ties together the main points ...