Writing academic papers requires students to master the different forms of writing in the discipline. Basically, one of these forms is the writing of synthesis essays, which are of three types: evaluative, argumentative, and a review. Like any other academic writing, a student should follow a particular format out of the four main formats – APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian. Regardless of the type of a synthesis essay and format, academic papers should have an outline whose structure should have three parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In summary, a writer of a synthesis paper aims to use different sources to strengthen their argument concerning a topic. Hence, scholars need to know how to write a synthesis essay by considering this guide.
General Aspects of Writing a Synthesis Essay
Academic writing is a broad discipline with diverse forms of writing. For example, one of these forms is essay writing, which comes in different forms, including synthesis essays. By definition, a synthesis essay is a discussion paper where a student incorporates evidence from several sources with differing views. In this case, the reason for writing such a document is based on the requirement to examine different viewpoints concerning a matter, where a student develops a thesis statement and then searches for evidence from various sources that align with the main claim. Then, these sources include written sources, such as articles, journals, books, magazines, and even newspapers, and unwritten sources, like lectures, observations, and interviews. In turn, synthesis writing is used where a student is expected to research a topic extensively to gain more in-depth insight on a concept and combine pieces of evidence to develop convective writing for readers.
Types of Synthesis Essays
There are three types of synthesis writing that students should familiarize themselves with if they are required to use any. For instance, these types are an explanatory synthesis paper, an argumentative synthesis paper, and a review synthesis paper.
1. Explanatory Synthesis Essay
The explanatory or descriptive synthesis paper focuses on educating the reader concerning a particular topic. Basically, this type of paper’s primary focus is descriptions that help a student to convince readers on an issue. As opposed to an argumentative synthesis paper, an explanatory synthesis paper makes no arguments or opinions, while it only relies on facts. In turn, the essential detail that a student should master when writing such an essay is to subdivide the topic into different sections and ensure the content is concise and understandable.
2. Argumentative Synthesis Essay
The argumentative synthesis paper focuses on strengthening the writer’s opinion concerning a certain point through the use of pieces of evidence from different sources. Unlike an explanatory essay, this type of writing is more like a debate forum because the writer must highlight both sides of the argument and then give their stand to the reader convincingly. In this case, the important detail that authors of argumentative synthesis papers should master is the need to evaluate a topic from the perspectives of proponents and opponents. After that, they should take a stand in support of one side and provide evidence to back up the main argument.
3. Review Synthesis Essay
The review synthesis paper focuses on providing readers with an insight into previous discussions on a topic by analyzing different sources that addressed the issue in some way. For instance, the essential detail that the writer of a review should master is the need to demonstrate that extensive research was done on a topic or that previous discussions have been shallow. Basically, this aspect means that a review is a paper whose intention is to show satisfactory or unsatisfactory academic or research work concerning a particular topic.
Writing Examples of Synthesis Essay Topics
When writing academic papers, students use topics that their instructors provide or choose for themselves. Basically, it all depends on the direction that instructors decide to take. In either case, there are several topics that writers of a synthesis essay can use for each of the three types of essays described above. Regardless of the subject, the writer’s goal should be to demonstrate their ability to conduct research and relate information from different sources. Concerning an evaluative synthesis paper, writers can choose topics such as:
- The Link between Abortion Laws and Women’s Rights
- The Effects of Climate Change on the Global Hospitality Industry
- Assessing the Illegitimacy of Organized Crime
Examples of topics that a student can choose to write about in an argumentative synthesis paper include:
- Is Global Warming Real?
- Do Video Games Contribute to Adolescent’s Mental Health?
- Impacts of Modern Technology on Education
About review synthesis papers, authors can choose topics such as:
- Gaps in Maternal Health Care
- The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Criminal Justice System
- The Ethical Question in Animal Research
Step-by-Step Guide on Writing a Synthesis Essay
Like any other kind of academic writing, synthesis writing requires a writer to follow a particular protocol to deliver a quality paper. As discussed, the primary goal of a synthesis essay, including the different types of synthesis papers, is to use various sources to provide evidence in support of a discussion on a particular topic. In this case, a student should follow the following step-by-step process when writing an evaluative, argumentative, or review synthesis essay:
Step I: Examine the Topic
In essence, students must familiarize themself with the topic they intend to write about, which means undertaking several actions. For example, the first action is to understand the purpose of a synthesis essay they intend to write – whether it is evaluative, argumentative, or a review. Then, the second action is to choose the right topic. Basically, the secret for writers is to pick not only a broad enough topic that requires the use of several sources but also not too broad when implementing sources from outside the discipline. Further on, the third action is to write down the thesis statement, which is all about the writer’s opinion on the matter under discussion. In turn, this statement serves as the writer’s primary idea throughout the paper and should appear as the concluding sentence in the introductory part of the essay.
Next, the fourth action is to read the source, which allows writers to seek evidence of the stand they want to cover on the matter under discussion. In essence, the evidence should not only support the writer’s argument but also correspond to the purpose of writing. Finally, the fifth action is to reread sources to identify information that supports the central idea. In particular, it is this information that authors should use in the body of a synthesis essay as evidence of their claim and also as the support base of the paper’s primary purpose. Moreover, the information should entail facts, statistics, and quotes. For objectivity, writers should also use information that supports the opposite opinion, especially in argumentative synthesis papers. In the case of evaluative and review papers, authors should use information that challenges their thesis statement.
Step II: Outline a Synthesis Essay
Outlining a synthesis paper is all about indicating its overall structure. Basically, the conventional structure of a synthesis paper entails three main components: introduction, body, and conclusion. In the introduction, writers should start with a statement that captures the reader’s attention – the hook. Then, they should introduce the issue (topic) under discussion and close with a thesis statement. In the main body, authors should use several paragraphs with the same structure. Also, the body structure involves the use of a topic sentence, evidence that supports the topic sentence, and an explanation of how the topic sentence substantiates the thesis. It is here that the use of sources comes in handy. Finally, in the conclusion part, writers explain the significance of the topic, restate the thesis statement, and close with a thoughtful remark.
Step III: Write a Synthesis Essay
After outlining the essay, a student should embark on the writing activity. For example, the first action is to write the first draft without necessarily following the above structure strictly. Basically, this activity allows authors to think creatively about their topic, even as they keep in mind that the final draft should have an introduction with the thesis statement, the main body, and a conclusion. Then, the second action is to ensure the paper is professional. In this case, it includes the use of the third person language, complete sentences, and credible sources. Finally, the last activity is to ensure there are sufficient paragraphs, and each is connected to the next in a logical sense. In turn, the use of transitions between paragraphs allows writers to achieve this professional requirement.
Step IV: Finalize a Synthesis Essay
Upon completing writing a synthesis essay, a student should read it through to identify any mistakes and correct them. In other words, rereading written drafts allows students to revise and make improvements. Basically, scholars must be sure that a synthesis essay is easy to read and has no inconsistencies or unnecessary sentences. In turn, this activity allows authors to proofread papers and fix any grammatical errors, including spellings and punctuations. Moreover, writers take this opportunity to ensure they use sources correctly, both in-text and reference citations. Finally, the last action for students is to ensure that the essay’s title reflects their thesis, meaning that the paper’s titling should come after the writing and not before.
Writing an Outline Template of a Synthesis Essay
As mentioned previously, the outline of a synthesis paper is all about following the conventional structure. As such, the template of such an essay has three parts as follows:
1. Introduction Part
Here, writers should begin with an introductory sentence that ‘hooks’ the reader’s attention. Basically, doing so makes readers develop the interest to continue reading. Then, writers should introduce the discussion and make a personal opinion through a thesis statement.
2. Body Part
In this section, authors should divide their content into several paragraphs and ensure each has a topic sentence, evidence with a relevant in-text citation, and an explanation linking the topic sentence with writer’s thesis.
3. Conclusion Part
Here, students should state the significance of the discussion, restate the thesis statement, and conclude with an insightful remark.
Outline Example on the Topic of Global Warming
I. Introduction Section
This part should have a hook, an introduction to the discussion, and a thesis statement.
II. Body Paragraphs
This section should have a topic sentence, a source that provides evidence, and an explanation that links the topic sentence with the thesis.
III. Conclusion Section
This part should have a statement highlighting the significance of the topic, a re-statement of the thesis statement, and a concluding remark that captures the writer’s thinking about the subject.
Writing APA Synthesis Essay Example: Global Warming
Global warming is a topic of discussion that is increasingly becoming controversial in international relations. In recent times, world governments and international agencies have noted the negative impacts of global warming on communities and the way of life. Despite the controversy surrounding the topic, a consensus is emerging that global warming is increasingly becoming a global security threat.
Understanding Global Warming
Although it is difficult to imagine a society without industries, these drivers of the economy play a central role in global warming. Recent research studies confirm that manufacturing industries are the significant sources of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming (Peter, 2018). Therefore, governments and other stakeholders must take action to regulate industries to ensure that while they support the local and national economy, their role in driving global warming is checked and managed.
Undoubtedly, global warming is becoming an issue of great concern to governments worldwide due to the threat it poses. While the topic remains controversial, there is an emerging consensus that global warming is increasingly becoming a global security threat. Ultimately, governments and relevant international bodies’ actions to curb global warming would depend on the level of risk they attach to this environmental phenomenon.
Peter, S. C. (2018). Reduction of CO2 to chemicals and fuels: A solution to global warming and energy crisis. ACS Energy Letters, 3(7), 1557-1561.
Essay Example in Different Paper Formats
In academic writing, students follow four different main formats when writing essays. Basically, these are the APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian formats. In particular, the example above follows the APA format. In the case of the MLA format, the above example would remain the same in structure, but with the topics (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion) missing. Moreover, another significant difference is on the format of the in-text and the Work Cited citation, which read as follows in the MLA format:
Recent research studies confirm that industries are the significant sources of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming (Peter 1558).
Peter, Sebastian C. “Reduction of CO2 to Chemicals and Fuels: A Solution to Global Warming and Energy Crisis.” ACS Energy Letters, vol. 3, no. 7, 2018, pp. 1557-1561.
For the Harvard format, the titles (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion) would remain, but the in-text and the reference citations would appear as follows:
Recent research studies confirm that industries are the significant sources of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming (Peter 2018).
List of References:
Peter, S.C. 2018, ‘Reduction of CO2 to chemicals and fuels: a solution to global warming and energy crisis,’ ACS Energy Letters, vol. 3, no. 7, pp.1557-1561.
In the Chicago/Turabian format, the topics (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion) would be missing, and the footnote and Bibliography citations would be as follows:
Recent research studies confirm that industries are significant sources of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.1
1. Sebastian C. Peter, “Reduction of CO2 to Chemicals and Fuels: A Solution to Global Warming and Energy Crisis,” ACS Energy Letters 3, no. 7 (2018): 1557-1561.
Peter, Sebastian C. “Reduction of CO2 to Chemicals and Fuels: A Solution to Global Warming and Energy Crisis.” ACS Energy Letters 3, no. 7 (2018): 1557-1561.
Summing Up on How to Write a Synthesis Essay
Writing a synthesis essay is one of the activities that students in higher institutions of learning undertake during their education. In line with academic writing conventions, students writing these types of essays must follow specific guidelines, depending on the type of a synthesis paper they are writing and the format they are to use. Basically, the three types of synthesis papers are evaluative, argumentative, and review, while the four main paper formats are APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian. In summary, the following tips are essential for anyone hoping to write a good synthesis paper:
- Establish the purpose of the essay to shape opinion and thesis.
- Choose the right topic. In this case, it is highly recommendable to choose the topic after completing drafts to ensure it aligns with the thesis.
- Select credible sources and read them to identify information that is helpful in the discussion. The information, which includes facts, statistics, and quotes, should strengthen the writer’s thesis.
- Develop the essay outline by highlighting the structure: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
- Ensure each paragraph has a topic sentence, evidence, and an explanation that links the topic sentence with the thesis.
- Cite sources correctly by ensuring every citation (in-text and reference) follows the writing standards of the paper format (APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian).
- Read the essay after completion to eliminate any inconsistencies.
- Proofread the paper to correct any grammatical and other errors.