Writing a Synthesis Essay
What is a synthesis essay?
essay draws on two or more sources and combines their ideas into a coherent
What do I need to write one?
successful synthesis essay will require you to do four things:
relations among different viewpoints,
a thesis based on these relations,
support the thesis effectively.
not discuss all the points in every essay; but you should use every essay
assigned, and you should use points from each that are appropriate for the
thesis of your own essay.
How do I write it?
synthesis essay may be developed in several ways, including the following:
supported by examples.
Develop a thesis based on common points among the works, and Support the
thesis with appropriate examples from each work. This strategy works well
with essays that approach a subject from highly diverse viewpoints.
Comparison and contrast.
Discuss the similarities and differences in the writers' viewpoints and draw
whatever conclusions are possible from your comparison.
If you have a clearly defined opinion about the subject, support that
opinion by incorporating the valid viewpoints of the writers of the essays
you have selected, and show the weaknesses of those ideas which you feel are
What steps should I take in writing this essay?
using the following procedure for writing your essay:
carefully. First, skimming through the readings and look for similar issues
in each essay. Reflect on those issues, and jot down your ideas. Reread and
decide on one topic that will unify your essay. Note each essay's thesis and
main points. Finally, take notes.
determine your thesis. A thesis is a direct statement of a main issue or
idea that you have developed from studying the essays. If you are writing a
comparison/contrast essay, your thesis may explain the main points of
agreement and disagreement among the writers you are dealing with. If you
are writing a thesis-with-examples essay, your thesis may state the main
idea you have developed from your readings, which will be supported with
examples from the readings in the body of your essay. If you are writing an
argument, your thesis will state your opinion about the subject and will
indicate that you will be supporting your views through an analysis of the
organize your essay with your thesis in mind. The type of organization you
use depends on your thesis, but in general you should be able to use either
block-by-block or point-by-point organization with any of the essay types.
a rough draft after you have decided on the organization you will be using.
Here are some pointers: Early in your paper, mention the titles and authors
of the essays you will be discussing. Quote or paraphrase brief passages
from the essays to show how the essays illustrate, agree with, or disagree
with each point you make. Whenever you quote or paraphrase, cite the author
finally, REVISE. Remember: All good writing is rewriting.
synthesis essay is one of the most difficult essays to write. It can be
very confusing and the assignment can be hard to understand. Stop by the
Loudoun Campus Writing Center and we will help you out.