The day you dreaded is here. You were assigned to write a synthesis essay for the first time. You have never written anything like it, and have no idea where to start. First, don‘t panic! Second, make yourself a cup of coffee and read on, for we will tell you exactly what you need to do to rock this paper.
How Is Synthesis Essay Different From Others?
While at a first glance, your synthesis essay assignment may look like yet another argumentative paper, it is very different. Synthesis requires you to analyze several sources, search them for pertinent information, and use it to support your statement. On one hand, it is easier to write a paper when you can utilize other authors‘ data. On the other hand, it is hard not to fall into the trap of summarization.
You must not repeat the opinions stated in the sources you find. Instead, you should use them to formulate and support your own position. That is the key to writing a successful synthesis essay.
Another mistake many students make is the willful avoidance of the opposing arguments. When you choose the position to support, don‘t disregard the information supporting the opposite side. Include the counterarguments and your take on them to show your deep understanding of the problem. This will make your essay stand out and will earn you a higher grade.
Now that you know the key features of the synthesis essay, let‘s go through the writing process step-by-step. This guide will let you finish your assignment in no time.
Step-By-Step Guide To Your Synthesis Essay
We have taken the arduous task of writing a synthesis essay and divided it into five easy stages. Let‘s take them one at a time, from understanding the prompt to cleaning up the text.
Analyze The Essay Prompt
Your professor will most likely provide you with an essay prompt or at least a topic. They usually cover the complexities of social behavior and interactions. Good topics are surrounded by fierce debate, they allow you to formulate a strong opinion.
If you get a full prompt, read it carefully. The prompt will provide you with the topic, the context and the purpose of your synthesis essay. Make sure you understand what you are required to do: examine certain factors, evaluate the issue or provide a recommendation. The better you understand the prompt, the higher are your chances of getting the desired grade.
Research And Study Your Sources
Your professor will either provide you with relevant sources or specify the number of source materials you are supposed to use. Usually, you will have to provide supporting information from at least three sources. But to find the best-suited materials, you will have to sift through 6 to 8 books, articles, journals, etc.
While reading source materials, you can form your position on the topic and find information to support it. Note similarities and differences between sources, choose the passages you want to quote, write down arguments that oppose your position to address them in your essay. By the time you finish with your sources, you should have a more or less clear picture of your essay outline. But you need to complete another step to solidify it.
Formulate A Thesis Statement
A strong thesis statement should summarize your position on the topic and outline the key arguments you are going to make throughout the essay. Keep the purpose of your paper in mind while working on the thesis statement. You can include the counter-arguments to oppose your position, the reasons supporting your stand, the factors that influenced your decision.
Create A Synthesis Essay Outline
You may consider drafting an outline of your paper to be a waste of time, but it is an important step if you want to complete the essay quickly and efficiently. Standard three-part structure of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion is applicable here, but you should concentrate on your main body paragraphs.
Do NOT structure your body by source, however logical and easy this solution may seem. The best way to plan your essay is by factors, suggestions, arguments. Each paragraph should include the point supporting your position and the data from different source materials to back up your argument. The strongest arguments you devise should be placed last. They will be more memorable and gave a greater impact.
Before concluding your essay, devote one paragraph to counterarguments. If possible, make concessions, otherwise, provide a firm rebuttal. This will show that you are well-versed on the topic and realize its complexity and depth.
Write, Edit, And Proofread
After all the preliminary steps are complete, you can finally get down to business and start writing your essay. Simply follow the outline and provide quotes or supporting information from the source materials. Once you are done, put the paper away for a couple of hours or, better yet, a full day. Return to it later to edit and proofread. Start by critically assessing the arguments and key points, make sure they are logical and well-supported. After you are completely satisfied with your paper‘s content, proofread it to catch errant typos and spelling mistakes. Your teacher will surely appreciate the effort you put into cleaning up your paper.
As you see, writing a synthesis essay is easier than it sounds. You just have to get into a certain mindset to do it right. We hope our guide will help you get the desired grade. And if you want to make sure the essay you write is up to the highest standards, you can always check in with our professional editors and proofreaders.