A Guide to Synthesizing Sources
- What is a synthesis?
A synthesis is a written discussion incorporating support from several sources of similar or differing views. This type of assignment requires that you examine a variety of sources and identify their relationship to your thesis.
- Synthesis is used in:
- Analysis papers to examine related theories.
- Ex.: a comparison between the theories of evolution or who shot JFK.
- Research/explanatory papers to incorporate multiple sources.
- Ex.: a look at economic and social effects of proposed legislation.
- Argument papers to compare differing views and support a coherent claim.
- Ex.: Are plagiarism checkers a violation of student’s rights? One side may argue that these companies steal students’ papers while others claim that students agree to have their work archived.
- Business reports to examine differing ideas and blend into a coherent plan.
- Ex.: What are some of the plans to improve Toledo’s waterfront to attract more visitors and increase business opportunities?
- Tips for effective synthesis:
- Establish your purpose to shape the way you want to argue and form your thesis. The thesis is the main claim or idea of your essay.
- Select your sources and become familiar with them so that you can discuss them in relationship to your thesis and supporting argument(s). If you simply quote sources without evaluating them, then the sources will control your paper and your audience may misinterpret the information.
- Develop an organizational plan. Arrange more than just one source per point; multiple sources will increase your credibility. Look at how sources may agree or disagree with one another, and evaluate which source has better logic or more credibility.
- Evaluate or interpret each source, then show the relationship between the sources and your thesis.
- Document each source according to established citation guidelines in the style specified by your instructor (MLA, APA, etc.). This MUST be done if you quote, summarize, or paraphrase a source.
- Strategies for organization:
- Climactic order arranges the most important/persuasive evidence last since this is what is remembered.
- Problem/solution establishes the problem in the introduction, and then offers a few solutions.
- Comparison and contrast
- Summarizes each source and shows their similarities and differences.
- Can move from point-to-point, back and forth between items being compared.
- Analyze the position of each source; you can use these verbs to note the author’s tone:
- MLA- use present tense: Shakespeare writes...
- APA- use past tense: Dr. Bombay affirmed the value...
Synthesis Essay Writing Service
A synthesis essay is an advanced type of writing. Such an essay takes a viewpoint that is unique about a given central idea, topic or theme. The writer chooses a topic and then asserts a claim, finds and combines sources and uses the information acquired.
The process of writing a synthesis essay has three components. They are:
- Synthesizing sources
- Composing a claim or thesis
- Formatting essay
Before reading about how to write a synthesis essay, check out our sample synthesis essay:
Synthesis Essay Sample
How to Write a Synthesis Essay
Synthesis writing will require you to have the ability to digest some given information and then present it in an organized manner. When writing a synthesis essay the first thing to do is to understand the concept of the essay. The purpose of writing a synthesis essay is to make connections between different works or multiple works with the ultimate goal of eventually supporting a claim.
Before you begin writing you should take some time and collect all the sources that you need for that topic. Go through your sources and write a brief summary for each of them. Examine the evidence that other people have given to argue against the issue or to support the issue. After reflecting on your research you can formulate your thesis.
Use the thesis that you have formulated as your start point. Free write brainstorm and map out the ideas you have on the topic. Using this pre-writing material you are in a position to create a scratch outline. Creating a scratch outline is essential in synthesis writing. It enables you to clearly and logically organize the multiple sources that you have. From each of the sources, you should develop your own perspective, interpretations, and analysis. Find different ways that you can organize the information depending on how you wish to argue or what you find. It might be of help to you to create a number of outlines.
The synthesis has to be organized so that other people could evaluate your comprehension of the sources and the presentation of your data, examples and your supporting points. The sources should not just be summarized but the writers should make their own point and back it up with the sources.
Synthesis Essay Structure
Before you start writing, it is always a good idea to have the outline of the essay. The essay should have three parts:
The first sentence which is the introductory sentence should have a hook. This way your readers will be interested in reading. It should be engaging to the reader. You should then proceed to clarify the issue at hand. Finally, you can clearly present the thesis statement.
Each of the paragraphs in the body should start with a topic sentence that is a reason to support your thesis statement. The paragraphs should not be structured around the sources but around your paragraphs. Give your explanation and your opinion on the topic sentence. Use your sources to support your claim.
In the conclusion, you should state the importance of your topic from the evidence and reasons that you have discussed in the essay. It might be helpful to restate your thesis.
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Synthesis Writing Do’s and Don’ts
You should not summarize the sources, but rather analyze them. The paragraphs in the body should not be written around the sources, but rather around your argument.
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