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How to write a synthesis essay

How to write a synthesis essay

A similar approach to a synthesis essay would be a compare and contrast piece where the subjects are laid out clearly and dissected into similarities and differences. A synthesis essay takes a different avenue – solidifying a position and defending it by providing, interpreting and incorporating legitimate sources. The whole point of this type of writing is to practice the ability to retain a confident grip on a set of ideals based on researched or provided facts.

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What is a Synthesis Essay: Definition, Approach

First things first, what does synthesis mean? Synthesis revolves around working with a mix of elements or ideas and implementing them into one whole. Within this context, you probably got an assignment that involves several texts, and the aim is to dissect them. Synthesis usually requires a thesis, an idea that the essay bases on to get the point across. Playing with this idea is instrumental to college success.

How to Start Writing: Topics List and Thesis

Choosing a Topic

Picking a good topic is essential to write a reasoned paper. Like a research paper, a topic cannot be too vague or too specific. There must be enough room for discussion. If it is too broad, forming a compelling argument could prove challenging. If it is too specific, there would not be sufficient breathing room. Topics that incite a disagreement are usually quite compelling because there is no right or wrong answer. Synthesis essay topic examples include, but are not limited to:

Good Topic Suggestions

  • Abortion
  • There are quite a few approaches to this issue. You could discuss its ethical approach, its juridical viewpoint (Its legality and parallel to murder) among others. Get creative with it.
  • War
  • War is a sensitive topic, thus its effectiveness. The economic approach of armed conflict could be an argument for, but its disregard for innocent lives could be a con.
  • Globalization
  • What is globalization? Businesses try to develop international influence and thus infiltrate international markets. You could discuss its macro and microeconomic impact from the perspective of the international firm or a small domestic company that tries to compete on that level.
  • Alcoholism (Addiction) / Depression
  • The reason these two are tied is that it is perceived that one is a cause for the other. Further research about the issue may lead to a compelling argument and plenty of information to cite.
  • Literature / Art
  • Any creative output is bound to force multiple perspectives. Different interpretations are a great way of comparing, contrasting and perhaps settling on a conclusion.
  • Eugenics
  • Apart from being a cool word, it is also a fascinating concept. While it could be a tool to eradicate disease, meddling with the natural progression is a valid counterargument.
  • Minimum Wage
  • The debate over minimum wage is a huge issue within many governments. The right offers its abolishment, while the left calls for its increase. Exploring this concept provides much economic insight into the problem.

Bad Topic Samples

  • Global Warming
  • This could have been a good topic a few years ago, but nowadays it is overused and has way too much evidence from one side; this limits the scope of research and the formulation of a strong argument.
  • Death Penalty
  • Also a commonly used topic, its application in a mostly democratic world is questionable. That could have been a good approach to writing that type of paper a while ago, but the worldwide consensus on such a matter shows its ineffectiveness to spark a conversation.
  • Video Games
  • Upon further research, video games in modern culture do not correlate with violence. It could be interesting to delve into it, but it would not be extensive.
  • Volunteering
  • Self-explanatory. Volunteering is mostly positive, apart from a few exceptions.

How to Write a Thesis

The thesis is the most important building block of your essay. It structures a claim and shows the most important points. A thesis is written after a thorough examination of sources and is supposed to establish a position that you are taking. An example of a thesis statement would look something like this:

“Minimum wage should be abolished because a perfect capitalist system allows the market to decide how much a good or a service is worth and employers need to compete for employees as much as they need to compete for profit.”

How to Write an Outline

Before you scurry off to write your bombastic, controversial point of view, you need to plan. Make sure you have a particular approach to an outline and you will not need to rewrite essay.

An outline will help maintain the synthesis essay structure. Suppose you came up with your thesis statement already, and you have done enough research to solidify your claim. If the thesis statement has three parts, for example, divide the outline into three sections. Make sure that every part of the thesis proves the central claim. This type of generalization must be underlined in your essay as much as possible to make your case stronger. Be familiar with all of your sources and make sure you can analyze them, rather than summarize.

Synthesis Essay Outline Example

Here is an example of a comprehensive synthesis essay outline used by writers from our write my essay service.


  • Provide Context within the field of study
  • Personal Anecdote (optional, but welcome)
  • Thesis (Minimum wage should be abolished because…)
  • Point 1 (functions of a capitalist economy and its market)
  • Point 2 (perfect competition)
  • Point 3 (Employee performance = Their revenue)


  • Point 1 expanded
  • Evidence (Best if accompanied by a source or quote, the more sources you use, the more credible your writing will seem)
  • In-depth evidence analysis
  • Point 2 expanded
  • Evidence
  • Analysis
  • Point 3
  • Evidence
  • Analysis
  • Counterargument (if applicable)


  • Restate main points and their significance; integrate them into a final statement.

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