What is a synthesis essay?
A synthesis essay is an essay that combines information from different sources to come up with a new concept. Ideas, evidence, and data from various materials are discussed, and an original idea is formed at the end. High schools and colleges require most synthesis essays, and the structure is usually broken down into five paragraphs. The thesis of a synthesis essay is an original idea that the writer is supposed to support using existing data and evidence. There are two types of synthesis essays: explanatory and argumentative synthesis.
The writer in an explanatory synthesis is expected to collect information from different sources to explain one point. An explanatory synthesis aims to highlight the differences and the similarities, but it does not require the writer to take a side on the issue.
It is similar to an argumentative essay because it is written in the same structure. However, in an argumentative essay, the writer must state a thesis that argues a particular point.
Synthesis essay structure
A synthesis essay is broken down into five paragraphs which come under the following topics;
Three points to consider before writing a synthesis essay
A good synthesis essay provides the reader with various ideas from different sources to explain a major point. The following are steps that you should consider when writing a synthesis essay.
- Choose a topic that is in line with things that spark your curiosity. As you brainstorm, think about the ideas that you are passionate about. Good synthesis topics should be topics still being discussed in society. It may be a decade-old topic, but as long as there are ongoing discussions around it to reach a consensus, it is a good synthesis topic. These topics tend to arouse strong emotions, which means that they have countless sources of information to build your evidence. Some of these topics include legalizing prostitution, Human trafficking solution, Marijuana legalization, and many more. Bad topics are the ones whereby the discussions were finalized, and solutions or answers to the issues have been found. Meaning there is no more discussion concerning that topic. Another characteristic of a bad topic offers no room for discussion, meaning the discussion can be closed with a yes or no.
- Do thorough research after deciding on which topic to write about, and do in-depth research. The main reason for the research is to aid you in developing a point of view backed with evidence.
- Provide an outline of your points. Your essay should explain a particular point of view of an argument.
Different writing styles for a synthesis essay
It is a method of making sure your essay is organized. It is a way of making a summary out of the sources that you feel are the most relevant to your essay topic. The problem with this method is that it does not allow the independence of thoughts. In this method, you are required to paraphrase your source. Then, select the most relevant information in your source and make a summary according to how you have comprehended it.
-Multiple reasons technique
This is a style whereby you use two or more reasons to support your point. It is regarded as the most effective technique.
This is a technique where you state one argument against your thesis. In other words, when applying the Strawman style, you are required to state one argument that counters your argument. This is a very risky style, and if not executed carefully, it can be suicidal from an essay point of view. The secret to making it work is to ensure that the counterargument you decide to state is weak compared to your argument. The main goal is to show the reader other existing arguments concerning the same topic. This is one way of getting the reader to believe in your argument because the reader sees that you are open-minded and informed, and you have decided to acknowledge other arguments against yours.
In this technique, the writer does not just mention an opposing argument, but further discusses the opposing argument’s negatives and positives. The goal of discussing the negatives and the positives is to explain how the positives of the opposing argument outweigh the negatives.
-Compare and contrast technique
This is a technique whereby a writer must examine two sources simultaneously. In comparing, the writer is expected to explain the similarities between two sources, and in contrast, the writer is expected to show the reader the difference between two sources. It demonstrates to the reader that you have a wealth of knowledge concerning the topic, increasing your credibility.
How to write an interesting introduction
The first paragraph of your essay is the introduction paragraph. The section is where the writer is supposed to state the basis of the point of view in general and be backed up by in-depth information around the topic intending to capture the reader’s attention. In a maximum of two sentences, you must introduce your argument using a thesis statement. You should state the thesis statement at the end of the paragraph. To break down the introduction paragraph, it should simply contain the hook, background information, an explanation of relevant it is to the topic, and end with a thesis statement.
The following is an example of an introductory paragraph.
Jean Twenge published an article to demonstrate how the usage of smartphones by teenagers has a negative impact on their lives. The author claims that social media and smartphones have created an endangered species out of teenagers and that something has to be done before the problem is beyond repair. She backs her claim using a list of evidence sourced from primary and secondary sources. The rise informs the basis of her hypothesis that social media and smartphones harm teenagers by causing mental illnesses such as depression among teenagers. This paper seeks to invalidate her claims by looking into the evidence stated.
The thesis is supposed to come in after this. It should explain your argument. Below is an example of the thesis.
Technology has changed the way humans live and work, but that does not mean that smartphones and social media are causing harm to teenagers, especially by the reasons stated by Twenge.
How to write credible body paragraphs
The body of a synthesis essay is usually made up of three paragraphs. Each body is made up of three parts. These are the topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a closing sentence. Presenting your body paragraphs in this structure helps your paragraph be organized and stay on course. Each paragraph should discuss your points and the points meant to support your arguments backed with evidence from different sources. Demonstrate how your resources are related to each other and how they are related to your synthesis essay. State the counterarguments and how your source can invalidate those claims and show that your idea is valid.
Below is an example of a body paragraph.
There are several reasons why these claims are not valid, but one major reason is that her list of claims is informed by looking at the issue from one angle.
The next paragraph should contain points that support your thesis statement. You should write the points in the following format or order.
-Analysis of evidence
An example of this is the paragraph below.
The writer avoids mentioning major studies that proved smartphones and social media are not responsible for mental illnesses like depression experienced among teenagers. Her claim is based on only one study that concluded that teenagers’ increased social media and smartphone use increases the risk of mental illnesses like depression. She, however, did not focus on depression in particular because that particular research also showed that depression that came about by using social media such as Facebook did not increase Facebook use. Those findings show that Facebook cannot be blamed for depression cases among teenagers because the findings show that there is no relationship between depression and the use of Facebook. Moreover, the decrease in Facebook uses while a teenager suffers from depression shows that teenagers do not consider Facebook an alternative source of happiness.
Writing a good conclusion.
After writing the body paragraphs in order, you can now begin putting together the conclusion. The conclusion of a synthesis essay is similar to many other conclusions of different essays. It is the point where you state the thesis once again, summarize the main ideas that support your thesis, which you already discussed in the body paragraphs, and finally state your stand concerning the main idea.