Little-known Essay Types: How to write a Synthesis Essay.

A synthesis essay is basically the same as an argumentative essay with one significant difference: Your professor or instructor gives you the source material to make and support your arguments. Though this seems relatively simple, some people can find it rather difficult to write one. Good synthesis essays are not that difficult to write, writing one properly is the difficult part. If you are in need of some guidance, here are some helpful tips that will ensure a successful synthesis essay.

  • Be careful when reading! The majority of people who are given the information and sources for synthesis essays are quick to just summarize. This is a big mistake, and a very common one. Read through each source carefully, then use the given facts and examples to support your argument.
  • Don’t ignore the other side! When you’re going through the research and the sources, there will be examples and statistics that go against your argument. Instead of ignoring them, put them in your argument. Give examples as to why your argument is stronger than the other side’s argument. What sounds better, an essay that’s focused on one argument, or one that focuses on both sides and uses evidence to refute the side they’re arguing against?
  • Make an outline before you write! Outlines are always a good thing to do when writing any kind of essay, particularly a synthesis essay. Planning your argument out will not only help you stay on track, but will also help strengthen your argument by planning specific facts and examples beforehand. After carefully reading your sources and deciding which side you’re arguing for, create your outline. Write down each reason you’re arguing for, then underline that reason (be it statistic, example, etc.) for the argument. Don’t forget to source these in your actual paper.
  • Wording is Everything! When it comes to sourcing your synthesis essay, make sure you’re analyzing the information you read, not just paraphrasing and summarizing. This is a very common mistake and usually leads to a badly worded and mostly paraphrased essay. You want this argument to be your own, not just a summary of someone else’s thoughts. What is your point of view, and how do the sources and information given support that argument?

Synthesis essays are not particularly hard to write. Some people just have to get used to the writing style and learn how to make it more creative. With these helpful tips, you are sure to make your next synthesis essay stand out among other students.

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