Are you tasked with writing a synthesis paper but unsure what it means and how to go about writing it? If you're struggling with this essay type, you're not alone. A good number of students also find it challenging.
But the good news is that we are going to demystify it in this explainer article which has been carefully written to be as clear as possible. We'll cover significant ground starting from the meaning, the stepwise process of creating one, a sample outline, and some topic ideas.
Let's begin by understanding the defining word - synthesis. What does it mean to synthesize? It implies forming something new and whole using components/parts from different sources. Accordingly, in such a piece of writing the author blends data from various references to develop their write-up. But what kind of write-up are we referring to? A synthesis essay can be one of the following two kinds.
This type of synthesis writing is aimed at clarifying and simplifying a topic, thereby helping the reader gain a greater comprehension. The writer basically breaks it down into well-structured and ordered parts and then explains each of them as lucidly as possible. In doing so, analogies, metaphors, similes, and other literary devices aid in clarifying concepts, mechanisms, and relationships. When correctly done, the write-up should be focused and objective and also improve the reader's understanding of the topic.
As the name suggests, this type of synthesis is about arguing in favor or against a certain point of view. It requires utilizing outsourced data to advance the writer's argument or claim. The topics of argumentative synthesis are typically contentious and, by extension, highly debatable.
The sources of information used can be written or non-written. Written sources include books, journals, newspapers, and other periodicals. The non-written include lectures, video interviews, radio commentaries and interviews, audio records, and the likes.
Also, bear in mind that the reason you write your essay depends on the specifics of your assignment. But it will usually be either explanatory or argumentative.
Now that you have acquired an understanding of the meaning of a synthesis essay, the next step here is to learn the steps you have to take in writing your own paper.
Being the first step of the process, planning enables you to metaphorically "put all houses together" (select your sources and organize your work) before you start writing. It involves a number of steps that will help you prepare your content and speed up your actual writing.
What topic you write about would depend on the requirement of your assignment. If you're given a specific one, ensure you understand what you're expected to cover therein. Your title should convey the focus or aim of your essay. At this point, you should have determined what your thesis is.
At this step, you'll need to search for sources of information that can help you develop your essay. Once you've done that, you have to go through each of the materials with a goal to understand their relevance/connection. Draw relationships between a number of different sources and use your writing to clarify the relationship. This implies that before that can be done, you need to understand the source materials and what main ideas they convey.
It is those ideas that will form the basis of your understanding and subsequently the connections you establish between them in your writing. As you closely study the sources that are relevant, your goal should be to establish its main ideas or what conclusions they arrive at. You'll also have to decide whether they are reliable or acceptable as it concerns quality. Take note of pieces of evidence that support your thesis.
The information could be supporting statistics, statements made by individuals, important events as they were recorded, etc. You have to ask yourself, "Why does this matter in developing my thesis and what are the relationships between this and other sources?" To help you draw the connection between the different sources, note down what each represents. For example, is source 1 a counter evidence for source 2, or is source 2 a corroboration of source 1?
Your writing has to be well-structured into sections and paragraphs. An outline is a tool that allows you to accomplish this. The main ideas from your research should be organized sequentially.
The essay has to be made up of 3 usual sections.
The opening paragraph should provide a brief overview of the topic and motivate the reader to continue reading. It should also include your thesis that holds your main claim or aim of writing.
This paragraph is where the bulk of your writing should be. The body paragraphs should be ordered logically with a sequence. Each paragraph should convey a major idea or argument. A clear connection to your thesis should be found in all pieces of evidence you use. The more there are, and the clearer the connection, the more compelling your synthesis essay will be. Also, you need to show how each idea that supports your thesis is connected to the other that follows in the next paragraph.
As this final section, the concluding paragraph should bring out the main point of your essay in a brief manner. Using one specific supporting instance from the body will suffice.
This final stage is where you get to carefully read through your essay several times to proofread and edit it. Are there mistakes? The ones you should avoid when writing include grammar mistakes, misspellings, lack/misuse of punctuation marks. If there are, you would have to correct them. You have to ask yourself, "How has the thesis been supported?", "Are there better ways I can explain an idea or make an argument?".
You may wonder, "What should my outline look like?". Truth is, there is not a single way of creating an outline that applies universally. Although the fundamental idea or purpose stays the same, the way your outline appears can vary significantly from that of your fellow students. That's OK. The most crucial point to remember is that it is meant to be your tool for organizing the structure and flow of your paper. Below we present an example outline. This is only a sample to help you with creating your own.
Essay Topic: Home-grown terrorism: Exploring the radicalization of youth in western countries.
Notable reasons (social, religious, economic) why young people fall prey to radicalization.
How and where it can take root in western countries (use some specific stories as supporting example).
What can be done by western governments and families to stem the tide?
Creatively reiterate the thesis statement and use one supporting example.
Now that you have learned what a synthesis paper is and how to write one, we'll explore the topic ideas you could use in this section. Hopefully, you'll find a few that will ignite your imagination and quickly direct you to the preferred topic. Words of advice - always work on a topic you find interesting. Another good reason you should select a topic would be to expand your knowledge on it.
Before we close the curtain on the synthesis paper writing, remember that you can always avail yourself of some assistance from a custom writing service. We have skilled and proven essay writers who have written high-scoring essays of all kinds - narrative, descriptive, argumentative, you name it. They've done them exceedingly well and can create the paper you need. Given their vast writing experience, you should be confident that you're going to get your own paper of high quality and also score the high assignment grade you desire.