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Explanatory Synthesis Essay

Students will seldom graduate without having written an explanatory synthesis essay. The difficulty lies in how they approach this menacing assignment. However, learning how to develop a synthesis essay is a smart way of building on the skills of adulthood and essay writing. Within this guideline, we promise to provide an outline of all that is needed to accomplish this simple task. Your time is crucial, and thus, we deliberately put all the information you will need as a cautionary tale. We will begin by the synthesis essay definition and then proceed to learn the tips and tricks of the trade.

The Synthesis Essay Definition

When we define synthesis essays, we must first define synthesis essays. Synthesizing means gathering together multiple parts into one whole. Herein, the pieces are different sources that represent views on an issue while the whole represents the opinion that you needed to exhibit from all those sources.

Thus, to define synthesis essays is to understand their work in elaborating on a particular topic from different sources provided. Explanatory synthesis essays work to expound on a given subject for understanding intricately. Unlike, the argumentative essay that has to justify and debate the issues around a given topic, the synthesis essay definition depends only on facts. The etymology of the two makes it simple to remember for the learner.

Finding the Purpose

When taking tests for your AP English class, the professor may provide you with references and source materials for your work. You are not advised to use all of them as it is a tedious job. Select a few and review them in-depth before starting to draft your synthesis essay. Within these sources, you will find relevant information that helps you build up your thesis statement. As you review these sources, highlight the in your draft as raw material for your bibliography, footnotes and in-text citations. Make a note of the author's formats and tone as they argue out their ideas. It is essential to use this format and tone to make your thoughts flow consistently throughout the synthesis essay you are preparing.

The prompt of your assignment is the guiding light whenever you start an essay. Never rush into completing the task without reading the instructions on your paper. The professor might have needed you to compare and contrast, discuss a topic, show relationship of cause and effect, or argue your position on the same. These instructions determine how you approach your sources and what parts are more critical than others.

The Ideas that Define a Brilliant Synthesis Essay

  • Explanatory synthesis essays depend on the integration of ideas from different sources and publications. These ideas have things in common, and the writer's opportunity is to find ways to 'synthesize' the ideas into one document. All these connections from one strong point of view that supports the thesis statement of your topic.
  • To achieve a comprehensive essay, the student must become skilled in research and synthesis of these sources. Most professors provide these assignments to test and grow these skills in their learners. Some of them will be compelled to give these sources, and others will provide a topic and themes that need dissection. Therefore, for the latter option, it will be your task to seek out these sources. The best advice about your sources for the essay is to not delve into many of them as it will prove difficult in the long run. Choose a few sources that are valid, relevant, and unique to the themes of your topic.
  • Just like many essays, the outline of the synthesis essay is made up of the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion paragraph. The innovative way to go about this is to be close to the format of your sources. It makes the tone becomes formal and reliable. Comparisons and contrasts can also be the best way to present your ideas. This way, the reader can differentiate and pick out the information they deem necessary.
  • Most literature authors use the first person point of view, but with the synthesis essays, the third-person perspective is more relevant. Why? Because the third person point of view shows the sources as more reliable. Veer off the uses of passive voice. Also, utilize transitional phrases to connect synthesized publications, quotes, and paraphrases.
  • References and citations are necessary whenever you use sources for your synthesis essay. Within the text use citations as prose footnotes for additional information and facts that couldn't be within the text. At the end of your article, include all the quotes within the paper in MLA, APA, Chicago style format, or the format specified by your lecturer.
  • Proofread your essay, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes. Also, check for citations and run-on sentences and passive voice. Read it to a classmate, friend, or an expert for help in pointing out errors of omission or addition. Finally, ensure the content in all your body paragraphs is supporting your thesis statement appropriately.

The Importance of the Topic

There is a significant sigh of relief from leaners whenever their professors provide everything for them on a silver platter. In such cases, they may provide the topic and themes for the essay. However, in other cases, the instructions lead you to the topic you desire to write about. What helps when deciding on the subject is whether it is exciting and based on trending issues. It should provoke further inquiries and debates.

Be precise when choosing the topic in an attempt to gather information from as few sources as possible. Some light reading and research on the matter or the list of topics provided may help you choose an appropriate subject. Your essay empowers the readers who go through it and provides information that they previously did not have.

  • Here is an illustration of narrowing down the topic: You may choose to write about the effects of bullying on students instead of writing about the failures of the education system.
  • Be sure to understand the prompt and the topic for discussion. The prompt is an issue that has varying resolutions as attributed to different sources.

Picking the Correct Formatting Style

The learner must understand the formatting styles that fit in the synthesis essay. The professor may or may fail to provide the formatting style of their own choice. All the same, applying these formats will be paramount to your attainment of higher grades. Here are some of the most common formatting styles:

  • Harvard
  • Turabian
  • Chicago
  • APA
  • MLA

The Chicago and Turabian formats fit in with History or Business papers. MLA works significantly for the humanities while APA psychology and science essays. Here are the requirements for the APA format used in humanities and works well for the synthesis essay.

  • One-inch margins
  • Centered title
  • Centered headings
  • Times New Roman Font
  • 12ft, double-spaced font
  • The header contains the professor's name, the student's name, course number, and the date
  • The last page is the bibliography

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

The explanatory synthesis essay is written by following specific rules of thumb;

  1. Synthesis of sources
  2. The thesis statement
  3. The essay's format
  4. The content in the main body

The writer must follow certain steps before he knows how to write a synthesis essay once they receive a prompt for investigation, study, and elaboration. For example. A prompt to support the claims that Mars can support life.

The thesis statement contains the primary argument for the topic under discussion. As a student given the prompt, there will be an initial idea that will pop into your mind. It is this idea that will be the center of all your sources and facts on the topic. Excellent research teaches you how to write a synthesis essay by helping you to uncover relevant and reliable sources. An example of a thesis statement would be, "I believe pets prolong the owner's life due to the oxytocin released during their interaction.”

Sources are the next project you must take up as you prepare to write the synthesis essay. These sources should be meticulous, valid, and updated facts appropriate to that topic. Thus, your claim will be propped up by the sources people easily trust and relate to. The recommended number of essays for review is 6 to 8, and it is crucial to know how to pick out relevant sources. These sources should shape the thesis statement. These sources include videos, books and published journals and articles on the chosen topic.

During the review and re-reading of your sources, be sure to highlight the main points, and write a rough draft of the bibliography simultaneously.

Techniques for Crafting an Explanatory Synthesis Essay

  1. Create a Summary

This particular technique requires good judgment on your part because of its delicate nature. In this scenario, the writer outlines the valid sources abstractly, with little to no explanation. Thus, the complications are many as the paper loses soul whenever the writer obliterates explanations. The only advantage is its formality in the presentation of sources and facts.

Some of the sources may need further clarification while other sources may need further summarization. All this depends on the weight and relevance of the source concerning the topic. The skill of distinguishing between the two scenarios is essential when writing a summary.

  1. Give Illustrations

Most of the time, the synthesis essay will depend on the addition of paraphrased material, quotes, and examples for strength. In these cases, the writer is advised to highlight and cite their sources. Illustrations help verify the claims in your thesis statement.

  1. Provide Two or More Reasons

The thesis statement can only be a tree if accompanied by reasons to back that claim. Stepwise, you explain your thesis and why you believe it to be genuinely followed by valid sources that support your claim. These reasons can be as varied as possible but state them in a hierarchy that sets the most critical facts last. This order gives your synthesis essay a structure that is irrefutable even by your professors.

  1. The Strawman Technique

Unique to many other techniques is the Strawman process. It delivers an opinion contrary to your claim, but you do not stop there. Once this is laid out, then present arguments that refute that opinion as flawed and not factual. Following this are the positive facts that appropriately support your thesis. By using this process, the reader and especially your teacher will see the strength in your argument and your ability to defend your thesis.

  1. The Concession Technique

To concede is to yield to an opposing argument. And in this case, the writer provides the thesis statement followed by the opposing point of view concerning the topic. Here, the writer does not offer arguments against the opposite perspective but validates it partially. The writer, however, goes on to provide facts that show their own opinion in a stronger light than the rest.

  1. Compare and Contrast

One final technique depends on an algorithm of putting two ideas in the ring and having a showdown of opinions. The criteria are dependent on the themes that need discussion, and the writer must skillfully analyze the sources for these differences.

Comparisons construct similarities between opinions, while contrast highlights the differences between them. The criteria for reviewing sources are subtle and reveals points where authors of the sources agree or where they veer off from each other's opinions. These may include vocabulary uses, UK/US English differences, weights and measures, and even cultural similarities or differences.


With such intricate detail, we have explored the world of synthesis essays. We have elaborated on the differences between explanatory essays and argumentative essays. What stood out is the ability of explanatory synthesis essays to develop facts on the topic of choice. Also, the importance of sources and the information they provide has been clarified in great detail. This information helps build up our knowledge of the skills needed to combine different facts into one whole document. The ball is now in your proverbial court, and all you have to do is put in a little time and effort for the results you desire. We hope that our article has been beneficial and updated for your sake. Contact us for more information on these and other essays.

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