How to Write an Outstanding Synthesis Essay
Perhaps, you’ve already written a few argumentative essays and now you feel confident about this kind of writing assignments. However, at some point, your instructor decides to change the rules and assigns a synthesis essay. What is it? Although a synthesis essay may seem to be a difficult task, don’t worry because we’ve got your back and writing experts from College-Writers are here to help you with our advice.
What Is a Synthesis Essay?
Before you start writing your synthesis essay, it would be nice to figure out what this assignment actually is. The good news is that synthesis essays have a lot in common with argumentative essays. However, when you get a synthesis essay assigned, it means that your instructor provides you with the necessary sources that will serve as a basis for your argument.
It may seem like this type of essays is less difficult than argumentative writing. On the other hand, it requires you to approach the writing process in a completely different way so you may need some time to get used to such tasks. The main thing is to build your argument around a strong opinion and to explain the relationship between different sources.
Don’t simply summarize your sources, it’s the most common mistake. Instead, you should make your point and support it with evidence from the given sources. Keep in mind that your sources may contain different sorts of information, which not necessarily supports your argument. Thus, you should consider your sources in the context of your opinion. In addition, it’s important not to ignore information that goes against it. Instead, mention it and explain why your point is still correct.
Good and Bad Topics for a Synthesis Essay
A good topic for a synthesis essay should encourage readers to pick a side regarding a certain topic. Therefore, synthesis essay topics shouldn’t be too general. You also certainly don’t need a topic with a small variety of opinions. The subject should be debatable and you should have a strong opinion on it, also addressing the weaknesses of the opposite point.
Bad synthesis essay topics come in all shapes. Quite often, students choose topics that are not clear enough. They decide to write about some broad subject, being unable to come up with a clear argument. Some common bad topics include such issues as obesity, gender, and education.
On the other hand, you also don’t need a topic that implies only one correct point. You should look for topics that will allow you to use several sources and describe at least two positions. Many outstanding topics are focused on controversial social issues. There are many areas where people cannot find common ground, and such debatable topics are great. For example, you may write your synthesis essay about:
- the effectiveness of the death penalty;
- violence among kids and video games;
- homeschooling vs. public schools;
- the impact of smartphones on children.
These are just a few nice topics, and this list goes on and on. As we’ve already mentioned before, the main thing is to make sure that the chosen topic has two opposite opinions and to pick one side or another.
Now that you understand how to choose a proper topic, let’s consider the writing process itself. Let’s say, your essay is about Slytherin House and whether or not its members are more evil than other students.
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Synthesis Essay
When writing a synthesis essay, organization and planning are as important as when working on any other writing assignment. However, you can easily write a good essay if you follow our five steps.
1. Know your sources
To choose a position, you should read all the given sources. Take notes and try to understand what these sources have in common. Note information that is described in several sources and build logical connections. For example:
- The first source is a list of the Dead Easters members;
- The second source focuses on the history of Slytherin House, including Salazar Slytherin’s life and views;
- The third source is a list of students who were sorted into a different house than the Sorting Hat decided initially;
- The third source is about the Battle of Hogwarts.
2. Pick a side
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the sources, you should decide what your position is. It doesn’t matter whether you actually believe in it or not, the main thing is to be able to support this position effectively.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to change your position throughout the essay. Stick to it and build your argument based on it. For example, let’s say that Slytherin House members are not more evil than other Hogwarts students.
3. Write a strong thesis statement
When you clearly understand what your position is, turn it into a thesis statement. The thesis statement is a crucial element of your essay, and your main task is to back it up. For example, your thesis statement may say that there were evil wizards in various houses and that such traits as being cunning and ambitious are not actually evil.
4. Prepare a great outline
Your outline should be good because you must create a proper structure — without it, you won’t be able to write an outstanding essay. Start with writing your thesis statement, and then write a list of your arguments and sub-arguments. Write down pieces of evidence that support each sub-argument. Use various sources and make sure you refer to them properly.
5. Use your sources properly
First, don’t summarize your sources. There’s no need to just retell what you’ve learned from every source. Instead, you should analyze the sources in the context of your thesis statement. Some students think that using one source per paragraph is a logical solution, but you shouldn’t structurize your essay depending on the sources. Instead, think of how your sources are related to each other and build the structure of your essay depending on your argument. If you can support some argument with more than one source, do it.
6. Start writing
When you have an outline, all you need to do is develop every argument and consider your subject in more detail. Actually, creating an outline is the most difficult part of the task. When you get to writing itself, make sure all your points are directly related to the thesis statement.
We hope that our tips will help you write an outstanding synthesis essay! However, if you still are not sure whether you can make it, don’t be afraid to ask our professional writers for help. They will provide you with the necessary assistance, and your essay will impress everyone!