How to Write a Synthesis Essay

Synthesis essays are considered among the most cumbersome academic tasks a student can receive. It is not necessarily a walk in the park, even with the expertise of writing one.

The process involved is time-consuming and requires vast research. Other than the labor-intensive research involved, students struggle to write their critical synthesis essays because it requires more than a summary of different studies.

 It goes beyond this to find the common factors between various written pieces.

Nine step synthesis essay Structure
Nine step synthesis essay Structure

The process involved in identifying these common themes and tying them up with your original thesis statement can be intimidating.

However, if mastered correctly, it is a highly rewarding process. Follow carefully to learn how to write a synthesis essay.


Before you go ahead to write on your synthesis essay, you will have to understand what it is.

Understanding what a synthesis essay begins with knowing what it is to synthesize. Synthesis refers to a combination of different elements into a single item.

Similarly, a synthesis essay is written by putting together several distinct pieces of information, derived from different sources, into a single argument.

This argument should reveal the writer’s position on the topic under discussion. We can define it as a written discussion of ideas derived from two or more sources, under a joint context

One of the significant challenges students experience is not being able to explain the relationships existing between the diverse facets of information. It is, therefore, more than a summary of the significant themes in different sources.

Synthesis Essay

Since a synthesis essay is derived from two or more sources, you will need to know how to select information from each source. The information you choose should be the best ideas useful in achieving your purpose.

Purpose of a Synthesis Essay

The purpose of writing a synthesis varies in several ways. This may be why synthesis essays differ according to their purpose.

Your target will not only determine what portion of information you use but also how you will relate the data from different sources.

Because combining information is the crux of synthesis, you will need a basis for the fusion of the separate ideas you identify.

The better you are at identifying and joining these commonalities from different sources, the better you will be at writing a synthesis paper.

Synthesis papers can take two primary forms according to their purpose; explanatory or argumentative.

  • Explanatory synthesis: This type of essay aids the readers in understanding a particular topic by examining it from different points of view.  This type of paper may not require a thesis statement. The process involved in putting this type of synthesis together will make you an expert on the topic.

Writing this paper requires a thorough examination of the selected sources. As you scrutinize the available literature, organize your facts into common themes. Exploring the different perspectives in light of a recurring idea will significantly boost your understanding of the topic.

For a practical model of this, look at this sample of synthesis essay writing.

  • Argument-driven synthesis: This kind of synthesis paper heavily relies on a strong thesis statement. The thesis should describe your position in connection with the topic of your paper. Systematize your available facts into motifs that support your opinion on the subject. This is well demonstrated in our synthesis essay thesis examples.

Allow to your purpose, whether to evaluate a text or compare and contrast specific elements to shape how you approach your sources. Use a particular technique that will help you present your argument most compellingly.

Structure of a Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay format contains three main parts; the introduction, the body, and a conclusion.

Sometimes, the greatest challenge to a critical synthesis paper is starting to write it. This may be because you do not know how to write a synthesis essay introduction.

If this is the case, our outline will provide you the necessary framework not only to tackle your introduction but also the body as well as the conclusion.


In this section, you introduce the topic of your synthesis essay. You may provide a summary of the subject matter and explain why it is relevant.

Using a few sentences, give the background information for your paper, and state the purpose of your synthesis essay.

Elaborate to the reader why they should take the time to view your work.

At the end of your introduction, state your thesis statement. It should be brief and concise enough to summarize the plan of your synthesis paper.

The Body

This section carries the weight of your piece. It will comprise of a series of paragraphs organized into common themes.

The format the items take is recurring and methodical.

  1. Idea: Provide a statement of the primary thought you will discuss in the particular paragraph. This paragraph should contain information from more than one source.
  2. Evidence: Follow each idea under discussion with the corresponding evidence. The evidence should justify the main idea introduced in the previous paragraph. It should invoke relevant data and facts that solidify your claim.
  3. Conclusion: This should tie together the idea and evidence you provide. It should connect the relevance of the information given with the overall topic of your essay

This process should be repeated as you organize the gathered data in a logical and sequential manner until you have exhausted all your relevant sources.

Cite all your sources and provide a bibliography or a list of works cited.

You may incorporate any counter-arguments, from your sources, which try to disprove your thesis.

The Conclusion

This is the point you wrap up your synthesis essay. It is essential to reiterate your thesis statement and to tie up your main arguments. Provide this information in a summary form.


A synthesis paper may not be the most straightforward task. But, with a good understanding of what is expected, you will be on the way to writing a very compelling AP Lang synthesis essay.

It may seem daunting at first, but with the process broken down into manageable portions, you can put together your essay even in the face of a strict deadline.

How to Ace the AP Language Synthesis Essay

The skill of relating different written materials with a singular theme in mind will take you a long way in building your career.

Take the time to master the process, and you will be reaping the benefits long after doing so.

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