How to Write an Informative Synthesis Essay
When writing an informative synthesis essay you will be required to combine multiple sources with your own voice and ideas to explain a certain position or topic. To accomplish this, you will need at least two sources which offer information on your topic. Look for material that contains a unique opinion or analysis, and then use these differences, or the sum of total of ideas, to formulate your own position. The key to a good synthesis essay is being selective with the information you present and using it to strengthen your thesis.
Choose your source material carefully. Make sure it corresponds with your topic and the assignment. Try to combine a number of different resources, everything from books and newspapers to lectures and scientific studies. Read the material, take notes and highlight the parts you want to use.
Create a thesis. This is the main focus of your essay. It must be clear and concise, directly stating your purpose. Use the information you've gathered during your research to help you come up with a thesis statement, but make sure the idea is solely your own.
Sketch an outline. This is simply an organizational plan for your essay. Think about how you want to arrange your information and how it's going to be expressed throughout the essay. Remember, it should follow a logical order and include your sources.
Write your introduction. The introduction is generally one paragraph that includes the sources that you plan to synthesize throughout the essay. Provide the title and author of each source and summarize the topics. The introduction should also contain your thesis statement. Most often, it is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
Write the body of your synthesis essay. This is the core of the assignment where you must draw upon the information you've gathered and synthesize it in order to support your thesis. Use all of your sources and demonstrate their similarities as well as their differences to completely inform the reader. Remember to always properly cite the sources according to the guidelines (MLA or AP).
Write your conclusion. This is the last paragraph of your essay. Remind the reader of the information you've provided and clearly connect it to your thesis statement. If necessary, you can refer the reader to further research or state that there were certain elements of the topic that you could not cover within the confines of your essay.
Edit your essay to ensure that all of the information adheres to your topic and thesis statement. Make any necessary changes and proofread for grammatical errors. Give the essay to a friend or family member, as another person who may be able to spot mistakes or inconsistencies that you've missed.
Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.