Synthesis essays are a prominent feature in academic writing. Specifically, synthesis essays allow an individual to present original ideas to an audience after critically examining existing literature. Basically, this guide begins with a detailed definition of a synthesis essay and highlights its purpose and value. Also, it continues to identify and discuss the two main categories of synthesis essays: expository and argumentative essays. Then, the manual shifts its focus to the process of developing a topic for a synthesis essay. In this case, the guide exemplifies the generation of a title using a template that breaks down the procedure into five steps. Furthermore, the manual provides sample synthesis essay topics and illustrates the effect of the author’s discipline on the choice of content for a given topic.
Guide on How to Create a Synthesis Essay Topic
Definition of a Synthesis Essay
An author of a synthesis essay critically analyses several sources and proposes an original perspective using the apparent or implied relationships, which exist in the evaluated sources. Basically, the process of writing an essay involves three primary stages: summary, analysis, and synthesis. Firstly, the summary step involves the critical reading and collection of information from relevant sources. During the analysis stage, writers deconstruct the collected information to identify the relationships between various arguments and the underlying rationale for the arguments. Finally, authors engage in the synthesis where they select parts from sources’ arguments and develop a new association between the parts to present original lines of thought that advance the discourse on the topic of interest. In turn, the final stage differentiates synthesis essays from all other essay forms.
Purpose and Value
The primary purpose of a synthesis essay is to extend existing ideas through critical thinking and present them to an audience convincingly and logically. In academia, synthesis essays are invaluable pieces of scholarly writings because they demonstrate that a scholar understands the existing literature on a topic to the extent of suggesting a new perspective on an issue. Also, a synthesis essay defends a given position, which is arguable. However, the presentation of a thesis statement should not attract any critique. In this case, papers should not contain any logical fallacies, incorrect paraphrasing, inappropriately used quotations, and ambiguous language. Mostly, the inherent value of any thesis statement lies in its ability to find a compromise in the conflict that exists between the original thesis and antithesis, which manifests as an unexplored point of view.
Types of Synthesis Essays
An expository essay is the most common form of a synthesis essay because educators typically rely on them heavily in nurturing academic writing skills. Basically, authors may utilize various rhetorical strategies in the development of a synthesis essay using the expository approach, for example, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and analysis. In expository essays, the synthesis aspect emerges in the wholesomeness of the author’s paper, which should cover the topic objectively and extensively. Moreover, the expository approach houses many essay subtypes, for instance, a process essay that employs the rhetorical analysis strategy. Secondly, an argumentative essay is a type of a synthesis essay where writers select a position on a controversial issue and defend the position using evidence from an in-depth analysis of sources. In turn, the synthesis aspect of an argumentative essay arises in the critique of one’s main argument and other scholar’s counter-arguments.
Development of Synthesis Essay Topics
A well-authored process essay contains a detailed description of a technique for completing a particular task. For instance, a process essay does not merely present the steps of a process to the audience for informational purposes. Instead, papers examine each stage in a process and identify its weaknesses and strengths. Furthermore, essays may provide viable modifications to the individual steps that can improve the process significantly. In a case where there are no useful modifications, authors may focus on demonstrating the significance of each step through evidence from scholarly sources. On the whole, a process essay informs readers on the process, evaluates the challenges associated with the process, and synthesizes solutions to elevate the efficacy of a process.
Main Elements of a Process Essay’s Topic
Essentially, the topic of any process essay should respond to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions. Moreover, the topic of any process essay has three key elements: task identity, technique description, and relevant details. In this case, the task identity notifies readers of the activity that an individual may complete using the process. Then, the technique description informs the reader of the process, which the author writes about in the paper. Basically, these two elements of the process essay topic are the most important because they provide the audience with a clear idea of the content of the paper. In turn, the third element is optional because it serves a secondary purpose of narrowing the topic by providing additional information concerning the process. Also, authors enjoy the freedom of word-choice and length, although it is good practice to use easily understood words and maintain the minimum possible length.
Synthesis Essay Topic Template
- Synthesis question: The synthesis question is the starting point of any synthesis essay. In this case, the essay prompt typically contains descriptive explanations that enable the student to derive a thesis statement.
- Preliminary research results: The outcome of initial research on the synthesis question provides writers with a provisional answer. Based on this answer, authors can develop a working topic.
- Tentative topic: The working topic identifies the process that the author intends to discuss in the paper.
- Further research: The author carries out additional research to identify the specific details of the method of interest.
- Final Topic: Writers may use the findings of their comprehensive research to refine the topic, for example, to identify a specific version of the technique.
Sample Template for Synthesis Essay Topics
- Synthesis question: How to make wine?
- Preliminary research results: Davidson’s technique, Zkruch’s process, and Jackson’s barrel technique
- Tentative topic (selection due to popularity in winemaking): Davidson’s winemaking process
- Further research: There are four modifications in Davidson’s winemaking method.
- Final topic: Davidson’s six-stage winemaking process
Alterations to Suit Purpose
Authors must design the response to a synthesis question to agree with the type of a synthesis essay that they intend to write because expository and argumentative forms of synthesis essay demand unique topics. In the sample template, the topic “Davidson’s Six-Stage Wine Making Process” is a topic for an expository essay. Also, if writers choose to employ an argumentative approach to synthesis, the topic undergoes some minor changes to make the argumentative element more apparent to the reader. In this case, an appropriate topic is “Davidson’s Six-Stage Wine Making Process: A Solution to the Aging Dilemma.” In turn, the argumentative version of the topic asserts that Davidson’s process is a solution to an aging issue that affects all winemakers. However, it is a debatable solution because it is not standard industry practice.
20 Samples of Synthesis Essay Topics
Explanatory Essay Topics
- Desocialization in excessively active online teenagers
- Finding the balance between privacy and online connectivity
- The role of race in the modern university environment
- Managing climate change in contemporary society
- The promise of artificial intelligence
- The reach of democracy
- Accessibility of medical care in the United States
- Transformation of filmmaking in the 20th century
- Modern policing: The three strikes law
- Pursuing the American Dream
Argumentative Essay Topics
- The power of images in stereotyping: The case of Instagram
- The positive impact of smaller class size on academic performance
- Policy reforms are blunt tools in environmental conservation
- Love for violent video games: A sign of delinquency
- Racial minorities and the slippery workplace hierarchy.
- No justice in the juvenile court system
- Housing: A precondition of escaping poverty
- Controlling identity formation through film
- The trap of prisoner voting rights
- Gender equity: A failing war
Students may approach a synthesis topic differently because of their disciplines. For example, each discipline focuses on developing the thinking of a student along particular lines of thought, which are an embodiment of the fundamental principles of the discipline. Consequently, students subconsciously deconstruct issues and synthesize solutions within the context of their discipline-specific knowledge. Also, this discipline-oriented critical thinking has a substantial impact on the content of the essay and the hierarchy of major points in the paper. Moreover, the author’s discipline affects the presentation of the essay content because the presumption of an expert audience from a particular field may lead to brief explanations or complete exclusion of basic concepts, which the author considers to be common knowledge. Therefore, authors can develop distinct essays that rely on support from discipline-specific evidence despite reaching the same conclusion.
Application of Synthesis Essay Topics
1. Desocialization in Excessively Active Online Teenagers
Anthropology: Discusses the radical changes that online activity makes to an individual’s routine, for instance, reallocation of socialization time to online hours.
Sociology: Authors provides evidence that excessive online participation affects the development of the relationships between adults, young adults, teenagers, and children.
Engineering and technology: The author makes an argument that technological advancements are quickly replacing human interaction, for instance, virtual reality.
2. The Reach of Democracy
Law: The writer identifies changes in laws concerning democracy and critiques their impact on the realization of democracy.
History: The author reviews significant changes in voting rights among various racial groups since the formation of the United States.
Performing arts: Examines the depiction of democratic freedoms in films that preceded significant events, such as women gaining their voting rights.
3. The Promise of Artificial Intelligence
Medicine and health: Highlights the benefits of artificial intelligence in studying physiological patterns, robotic surgery assistance, and autonomous feedback loops.
Engineering and technology: The shifting reliance of the manufacturers from human labor to robots along entire production lines may be an area of interest for the author.
Law: The value of artificial intelligence in tracking and predicting criminal behavior and its validity as demonstrative evidence is an interesting angle for a synthesis essay.
4. Pursuing the American Dream
Performing arts: The author may compare and contrast popular plays from renowned screenwriters to demonstrate the evolving perception of the American Dream.
Language and literature: The writer identifies seminal literature texts concerning the American Dream and evaluates them for consistencies and inconsistencies.
History: A student may analyze the public’s response to significant historical events that challenged the notion of the American Dream, for instance, the Great Depression.
5. Accessibility of Medical Care in the United States
Medicine and health: An analysis of the barriers to healthcare access and the efficacy of implemented solutions may generate adequate information for a synthesis essay.
Psychology: The author may investigate the validity of the link between access to physical healthcare and mental wellbeing.
History: An overview of the circumstances surrounding major healthcare reforms in the past century and its influence on healthcare policy in the 21st century.
6. No Justice in the Juvenile Court System
Language and literature: An Author can evaluate literature documenting the experiences of minors in the juvenile court system during different periods.
Sociology: Writers may discuss the challenges that minors from minority groups in the lower class face during their pursuit of justice.
Anthropology: Evaluate the impact that high sentencing rates have on the development of an individual that experiences separation from a fully functioning society.
7. Love for Violent Video Games: A Sign of Delinquency
Psychology: The synthesis essay may explore the fluctuation of teenage tolerance and acceptance of violence as normal behavior.
Anthropology: An author can review various theoretical explanations that link teenage exposure to violent content and the manifestation of future delinquent behavior.
Sociology: The association between peer pressure, violent gaming, and the onset of bully-like behavior in high school.
8. Housing: A Precondition of Escaping Poverty
Social work: Investigate the effect of rehousing on time taken to achieve financial stability for a previously homeless individual.
Psychology: Examine the impact of housing on an individual’s motivation to seek job opportunities.
Law: Review the existing laws on housing or rehousing and scrutinize their applicability in society.
9. The Power of Images in Stereotyping: The Case of Instagram
Engineering and technology: The role of portable image-capturing devices in facilitating online stereotyping.
Performing arts: Review the contribution of Black actors in creating an online voice for racial injustices.
Social work: Examine the difficulties that children with low self-esteem face in the digital world.
10. Gender Equity: A Failing War
Medicine and health: Discuss the diminished number of female surgeons as compared to a large number of nurses.
Languages and literature: Compare the representation of women in narratives.
Social work: Analyse the gender role differences in the home setting.
Tips on How to Create Good Synthesis Essay Topics
- Synthesis essays should demonstrate a high level of critical thinking.
- Authors must develop essay topics that enable them to achieve the purpose of a synthesis essay.
- Argumentative and expository essays are the broad classification of synthesis essays.
- The synthesis aspect should be apparent in any synthesis essay.
- A summary is not a dominant feature in a synthesis essay.
- The generation of a topic starts with the derivation of a synthesis question from the paper’s prompt.
- Research allows a writer to narrow down on a topic and refine it.
- The content of a synthesis essay with the same title may differ extensively because of the author’s discipline.