Defining A Synthesis Essay: An Academic Writing Tutorial

A synthesis essay is a complex kind of writing where a writer is supposed to select a topic, assert a claim, and choose sources before combining them to create an original and well written essay. This kind of essay usually takes a unique point of view on a central idea, topic or theme before backing it using several different sources. There are 4 key stages of writing a synthesis essay. These are:

Synthesizing sources

Before you can start writing your synthesis essay, you should understand the prompt. This requires you to consider your chosen topic and following the instructions carefully. This should then be followed by creating a tentative essay. A tentative essay should be the first draft of the claim. It should your first idea on the topic. You should then go ahead and choose your sources. This should give you an idea of the sources that you intend to use to support your viewpoint. While you can come up to across 5 or 6 sources, you may need to use only 3 of them. The next step should be to close reading before evaluating your sources.

Composing your final thesis

Once you are through with the preparation stage, it is time to write your final thesis. This will involve aligning all the information you have gathered with the main idea. Our thesis should be made of one sentence asserting what, why and how you intend to write on the topic. Once you get satisfied that it is possible to argue your idea, it is time to write the essay.

Formatting your essay

Your synthesis essay should be made of an introduction, body as well as a conclusion. Ensure that you write each of these parts in a distinctive manner. Use the introduction to give an overview of your topic, sources and thesis. You should also have some background information of the text that is supposed to be summarized.

The body should be made of a topic sentence. You should also have information from more than one source in the body. This should have an in text citation as well as compare & contrast sources. You should tell the reader why the source is arguing the thesis.


The goal of the conclusion is to give a summary of the entire paper. This part should use different words to restate your claim so that you should understand that you are offering different perspective on a topic.

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