A Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Synthesis Essay

To write a good synthesis essay is not everyone’s cup of tea. Such an academic activity tests out students’ research abilities along with their skills of synthesizing several viewpoints into one piece. Moreover, the problem intensifies when there is a lack of clear instructions from the teacher about writing such an essay. 

Don’t fret as all your doubts about the synthesis essay are going to fade away as you read this interesting write-up to the end. Yes, we have tried to bring you some expert tips on writing a great synthesis essay that you won’t find anywhere else. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to read them all.

Wiping Out All Your Worries of Writing a Synthesis Essay

Well, if the word synthesis essay scares you to the death, here’s your opportunity to uproot this fear altogether. Let’s get to know how do you start a synthesis essay first.

What is a Synthesis Essay?

A synthesis essay is an academic writing activity that combines different sources of information for forming a comprehensive understanding of a particular topic. Well, that sounds like a complex textbook definition, isn’t it? 

Okay, let’s read it in simple words. In this essay a student needs to investigate and collect different theories, arguments, or perspectives on a given subject. Then consolidating all to form a well-structured argument. Huh! Still it is so difficult to get, isn’t it? Trust me, things will get better very soon so keep on reading.

Components of A Synthesis Essay 

The experts are suggesting that breaking down and understanding each component of a synthesis can help in grasping the concept of such academic activity. So let’s give it a try. 

The Prompt

No synthesis essay comes without a prompt. Ofcourse, how would you write without a topic? Or what would you write, anyways? Huh! pretty obvious, let’s move on! 

Yes, when you have a prompt, then you will have to understand what you are asked to do. Okay, so why is this prompt section so boring? Maybe it’s just too obvious or too easy. Let’s see what the next one brings. 

The Research

Through research! Don’t we know that already? Like if we haven’t written an essay yet! Like if we don’t know that we have to collect information from various credible sources, such as books, articles, journals, interviews, and more. Like if we don’t know that the sources must be representing diverse perspectives on the subject. Yes, we know these! So let’s move on. 

Thesis Statement

And I may have to say again that we already know that the thesis statement must be specific, debatable, and something that guides the whole essay. 

Just like an essay writing task, this one also takes a thesis statement at the end of the intro. Such a statement serves as the main argument that you will be defending in the essay. 

Organizing the Essay

A usual synthesis essay consists of: 

An Introduction 

Introducing the topic and providing good background information about the subject. 

Body Paragraphs 

Each of these paragraphs must be focusing on a specific topic or source. All body paras must begin with a topic sentence which ties with the overall thesis statement. Importantly, you have to put in analysis and evaluation of the sources in relation to the thesis statement.


The conclusion will highlight main points of the essay and reiterate the thesis statement. It is also important to emphasize the importance of this essay without adding new information. 

Source Integration

Here we will have to combine data from various sources into the essay. You have summaries, quotes, and more. But donProperly integrate the information from the sources into the essay. Use quotes, paraphrases, and summaries, citing the sources accurately.

Construct an argument that progresses logically by incorporating relevant sources and your own analysis. Ensure each source is used to its fullest potential to strengthen your point.

Critical Analysis

Carefully assess the sources. Consider the trustworthiness, prejudices, and restrictions of each source.

Examine the sources side by side, noting any commonalities or distinctions between their perspectives. 

Revision and Editing

Thoroughly revise the essay to make sure the ideas are clear, connected properly, and presented in a sensible sequence.

Verify that there are no errors in grammar or spelling. Ensure that sources are accurately cited and that the formatting follows the appropriate style (e.g., APA, MLA, or Chicago).

Synthesis of Ideas

An essay that involves synthesis requires the author to combine ideas from multiple sources in order to form a new concept or viewpoint. It is not sufficient to simply summarize the sources, but rather to use them to create something new.

Show how the sources relate to one another and to your thesis. Analyze the patterns, trends, and connections among the sources.

Finalizing the Essay

  • Carefully review the essay after making changes and ensure that it is coherent and that the ideas flow logically.
  • Ask for feedback from peers or instructors and consider their suggestions before finalizing the essay.

Acknowledging Sources

It’s crucial to cite all the sources used in the essay properly. Failing to do so can lead to plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay? 

Writing a synthesis essay involves several steps that require careful planning, research, and critical thinking. Let’s break down the process in great detail, complete with synthesis essay example:

Understand the Prompt

Read the prompt carefully. Understand the topic and the task required. Identify key terms and instructions provided in the prompt.

Example: Prompt: Discuss the impact of technology on modern society. Synthesize information from at least three sources to support your argument.

Conduct Research

Gather information from a variety of sources. These can include articles, books, academic journals, and reputable websites. Evaluate the credibility of your sources.

Example: Sources – 1) A scholarly article on the sociological impact of smartphones. 2) A chapter from a technology and society textbook. 3) A report from a reputable tech research institute.

Develop a Thesis Statement

Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that presents your main argument. It should be specific and debatable.

Example: The proliferation of smartphones has significantly transformed societal communication, leading to both positive and negative consequences for interpersonal relationships.

Create an Outline

Plan the structure of your essay. Decide on the main points and supporting evidence from your sources that will be discussed in each paragraph.



  • Introducing the topic of technology’s impact on society.
  • Present the thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs

  • Discuss positive effects of smartphones on communication using Source 1.
  • Discuss negative effects of smartphones on communication using Source 2.
  • Explore the role of social media in shaping modern relationships using Source 3.
  • Conclusion

Summarize main points

  • Discuss the overall impact of technology on modern society.
  • Call to action or implications for the future.

Write the Introduction

Provide background information on the topic. State your thesis clearly and concisely.

Example: Nowadays, smartphones are everywhere and have a huge effect on how people connect and communicate. This essay looks into how phones have changed our lives, both for better and worse.

Write the Body Paragraphs

  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence related to your thesis.
  • Integrate evidence from your sources. Provide context, quote directly, or paraphrase as necessary.
  • Analyze the information and explain how it supports your thesis.

Example: Smartphones can enable users to communicate with others more quickly, regardless of geographical distance. Despite this, misunderstandings can occur due to the lack of non-verbal cues. Additionally, the presence of smartphones may limit the quality of in-person interactions. On the other hand, smartphones can provide access to social media, which can enable global connection. However, the filtered nature of social media can create an unrealistic perception and affect mental health.

Write the Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points made in the body paragraphs.
  • Restate your thesis statement in different words.
  • Discuss the broader implications of your argument.

Example: In conclusion, smartphones have reshaped the landscape of human interaction, providing both opportunities and challenges. As we move forward, it is crucial to strike a balance, leveraging the benefits of technology while nurturing genuine human connections. Society must remain vigilant, fostering a digital culture that enhances, rather than erodes, the fabric of interpersonal relationships.

Revise and Edit

  • Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and logical flow of ideas.
  • Check for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Ensure proper citation of sources following the required citation style.

Example: After going over the essay again, it was clear that the argument was the most convincing when it included concrete examples to back up each point. Additionally, condensing the language and making it easier to understand improved the essay’s readability.

Seek Feedback

  • Share your essay with peers, professors, or writing centers.
  • Consider their feedback and make necessary revisions.

Example: The peers indicated that the essay’s conclusion could be improved by including a call to action, which would prompt readers to consider their own smartphone usage. This addition provided more substance to the closing remarks.

Finalize Your Essay

  • Make final revisions based on feedback.
  • Proofread one last time to ensure your essay is polished and error-free.

Example: After taking all opinions into account and making the necessary changes, the essay about the impact of smartphones on modern society was finished. The argument was now supported by evidence and the conclusion was both thought-provoking and impactful.

Synthesis Essay Outline Example

Creating a detailed outline is crucial when writing a synthesis essay. It helps you organize your thoughts, structure your arguments, and ensure a logical flow of ideas. Here’s an example of a synthesis essay outline with detailed explanations for each section:


Hook: Start with a compelling fact, quote, or question related to the topic to grab the reader’s attention.

Example: “In this time of information, the internet has drastically changed how we obtain and use knowledge, yet this abundance of data poses the issue of distinguishing dependable sources from the abundance of information.”

Background Information: Provide context about the topic and briefly explain the issue being discussed.

Example: “The rise of fake news and misinformation online has sparked debates about media literacy and critical thinking skills. It is essential to evaluate the credibility of sources in the digital age.”

Thesis Statement: Clearly state the main argument of your essay.

Example: “Through a critical analysis of scholarly articles, news reports, and expert opinions, this essay will explore the impact of fake news on public opinion and propose strategies to enhance media literacy in the digital era.”

Body Paragraphs

Topic Sentence: Introduce the main idea of the paragraph, which supports your thesis statement.

Discussion of Source 1: Present the first source’s main argument, evidence, and analysis.

Example: “A study conducted by Smith et al. (Year) found that misinformation spreads six times faster than accurate information on social media platforms. This highlights the alarming rate at which fake news can influence public perception.”

Discussion of Source 2: Discuss the second source, emphasizing its relevance to the topic and providing supporting evidence.

Example: “Research conducted by Smith et al. (Year) revealed that false information circulates six times quicker on social media than factual data, which is a concerning demonstration of how quickly people can be misled.”

Discussion of Source 3: Introduce the third source and analyze its findings in the context of your argument.

Example: “Dr. Johnson spotlighted during the interview the necessity of media literacy programs in educational institutions in order to provide students with the capability to differentiate between trustworthy sources and untrustworthy ones.”

Counterargument and Refutation

Counterargument: Acknowledge a counter argument related to your thesis.

Example: “Although some may believe that there is no need for media literacy initiatives since people should be responsible for confirming the accuracy of information they come across, this view disregards the difficulties that can impede the development of media literacy.”

Refutation: Refute the counterargument by providing evidence and reasoning.

Example: “Having a sense of personal responsibility is important, however, comprehensive media literacy programs are necessary to bridge the knowledge gap and grant individuals the capacity to understand the complexities of the digital information space. These programs look to address the source of false information by developing critical thinking skills.”


Restatement of Thesis: Reiterate your thesis statement in a different way.

Example: “Ultimately, the spread of false information can have a detrimental effect on society, affecting public perception, political discussions, and community harmony. To effectively combat this problem, a combination of educational changes, media literacy programs, and digital oversight will be necessary.”

Summary of Main Points: Summarize the key points discussed in your essay.

Example: “By analyzing scholarly studies, survey data, and expert opinions, this essay has demonstrated the urgency of enhancing media literacy in the digital age. A well-informed public is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy and a resilient society.”

Closing Thoughts: Offer final thoughts, implications, or a call to action related to your topic.

Example: “We need to use our critical thinking skills as information consumers, question the origins of news, and back initiatives that teach people about media. If we all work together, we can protect the accuracy of information and uphold democratic societies.”

Works Cited (if applicable)

Include a list of all the sources cited in your essay, formatted according to the required citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).

Formatting a Synthesis Essay

It is important to format a synthesis essay correctly in order to present your work professionally and to acknowledge the sources you have utilized. Below is a thorough explanation of synthesis essay format in both MLA and APA styles, along with illustrations for each.

MLA Synthesis Essay Format

Document Settings:

  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
  • Use a legible font (e.g., Times New Roman) in 12-point size.
  • Double-space the entire paper.

Include your last name and page number in the upper right corner of each page, half an inch from the top margin.

Title Page (If Required):

A title page must be included if requested by the instructor. This should be on the top left corner of the first page and should include your name, the instructor’s name, the course title, and the date, all double-spaced.

In-Text Citations:

  • Use parenthetical citations for all direct quotes and paraphrased information.
  • Include the author’s last name and the page number from the source.

(Smith 45)

Works Cited Page:

  • List all the sources you referenced in your essay on a separate page titled “Works Cited.”
  • Alphabetize the entries by the authors’ last names.
  • Provide detailed information for each source, following the MLA format.

Smith, John. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year.


In-text citation: (Smith 45)

Works Cited entry: Smith, John. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year.

APA Format of Synthesis Essay

Document Settings:

  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
  • Use a clear and readable font (e.g., Arial or Times New Roman) in 12-point size.

Double-space the entire paper

At the top of each page, a “running head” should be included, which is a shortened version of the essay title written in all capital letters and accompanied by the page number.

Running head: SYNTHESIS ESSAY 1

Title Page (If required):

The title page should include the title of the paper, your name, the name of the institution and a running head, all of which should be centered.

In-Text Citations:

  • Use parenthetical citations for all direct quotes and paraphrased information.
  • Include the author’s last name, followed by the publication year.

(Smith, 2010, p. 45)

References Page:

  • List all the sources you referenced in your essay on a separate page titled “References.”
  • Alphabetize the entries by the authors’ last names.
  • Provide detailed information for each source, following the APA format.

Smith, J. (2010). Title of the Book. Publisher.


In-text citation: (Smith, 2010, p. 45)

References entry: Smith, J. (2010). Title of the Book. Publisher.

Additional Tips:

Direct Quotes:

When using a direct quote, it is important to place the quote within quotation marks and cite the source including the author, year, and page number in the in-text citation.

(Smith, 2010, p. 45)

Indirect Quotes (Paraphrasing)

When rephrasing, it is unnecessary to include page numbers unless the data is situated in a particular section of an extended piece of writing.

Online Sources:

For online sources, include the URL or Digital Object Identifier (DOI) if both are available. When citing sources in APA format, include the DOI if it is present.


If you are referencing a particular version of a book, list the edition number after the title.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay Ap Lang

Crafting a synthesis essay for AP Language and Composition involves a particular approach. This type of essay tests one’s ability to interpret data from multiple sources and present it in a method that is clear, organized, and rational. The following is a comprehensive guide to writing a synthesis essay for AP Lang, with examples included:

Understand the Prompt

Thoroughly review the prompt and determine what it is asking you to do, such as agreeing, disagreeing, providing qualifications, or taking a fixed stance on an issue.

Identify the key themes and concepts in the prompt

Example Prompt: It is important to look into what causes environmental pollution, and also consider what measures governments and individuals can take to lessen its impact.

Pre-Reading and Annotation

Prior to reading the sources, take a quick look at them. Determine the primary arguments, data, and proof that is provided in each source.

Annotate the sources, noting down key points and potential quotes or data you might use.

Read the Sources Critically

  • Read the sources carefully, understanding the author’s main argument, evidence, and tone.
  • Identify patterns, themes, and contrasting viewpoints across the sources.

Develop a Thesis Statement

To respond to the prompt, a clear and concise thesis statement should be crafted that presents the main argument and outlines the approach to be taken towards the topic.

Example Thesis: Environmental pollution is a complicated matter with multiple causes, but successful prevention requires a mixture of government regulations, public education efforts, and personal responsibility.

Create an Outline

It is recommended that you organize your essay into an introduction, various body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Organize your body paragraphs around key themes or factors related to the topic.

Example Outline


  • Introduce the topic of environmental pollution and its significance.
  • Present your thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs

  • Discuss industrial pollution and governmental regulations.
  • Explore pollution caused by individual behavior and public awareness campaigns.
  • Examine the role of technological innovations in pollution control.


  • Summarize the main points.
  • Emphasize the need for a comprehensive approach to mitigating environmental pollution.

Writing the Essay


  • Start with a hook to engage the reader.
  • Provide context about environmental pollution.
  • Present your thesis statement clearly and concisely.

Ap Lang Synthesis Essay Example Introduction: A dark cloud of pollution hangs over our planet, disrupting the delicate balance of our ecosystems and human health. As the world is continuing to rapidly industrialize and consume more, the issue of environmental pollution is becoming an increasingly pressing global concern. This essay examines the complexity of environmental pollution, looking at the many factors that are causing it and suggesting comprehensive solutions to tackle it.

Body Paragraphs

Topic Sentences: Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph.

Supporting Evidence: Include evidence from the sources to support your points.

Analysis: Explain how the evidence supports your thesis. Compare and contrast sources where relevant.

Example Body Paragraph: The production of industrial byproducts has a serious influence on the environment, as noted by Smith (2019). Reports demonstrate that factories emit millions of tons of contaminants into the atmosphere and waterways each year. Johnson (2020) suggests that this manufacturing waste has a detrimental effect on aquatic life, resulting in extensive contamination. It is clear that stricter regulations, such as those proposed by Brown (2018), must be implemented to reduce the environmental impact of industries.


  • Summarize the main points made in the essay.
  • Emphasize the importance of addressing environmental pollution collectively and globally.
  • End with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action.

Example Conclusion: The issue of environmental pollution is becoming increasingly pressing, requiring swift and decisive action from governments, businesses, and individuals alike. Establishing strong regulations, increasing public understanding, and adopting more sustainable practices are all essential components in the fight against pollution. It is in all of our interests to protect the planet for those who come after us, and by taking these measures, we can work towards a brighter, more eco-friendly future.

Revision and Editing

Content: Ensure your essay addresses all aspects of the prompt and supports your thesis effectively.

Clarity: Check for coherence and logical flow between paragraphs and ideas.

Grammar and Style: Proofread for grammatical errors and refine your writing style for clarity and precision.


Cite your sources appropriately. Use in-text citations and provide a bibliography or works cited page.

To be successful in writing an AP Lang synthesis essay, it is important to be able to combine information from multiple sources, analyze and evaluate complex ideas, and present them in a clear and organized way. To master this skill, practice and careful examination of sources is required.

Synthesis Essay Rubric 

It is basically a scoring guide teachers use to evaluate the quality of a student’s synthesis essay. ap lang synthesis essay rubric highlights the specific criteria and expectations for various aspects of the essay, including thesis development, use of sources, organization, analysis, and language use. Here’s a detailed breakdown of a typical synthesis essay rubric: 

Thesis (0-1 points)

  • Excellent (1 point): Presents a clear, well-developed thesis that responds to the prompt and effectively guides the essay.
  • Proficient (0.5 points): Presents a somewhat clear thesis, but it could be more specific or lacks full development.
  • Insufficient (0 points): Lacks a thesis or presents a vague or irrelevant thesis.

Understanding of the Prompt (0-1 points)

  • Excellent (1 point): Demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the prompt and addresses all its complexities.
  • Proficient (0.5 points): Addresses the main aspects of the prompt but lacks depth or fails to explore all dimensions.
  • Insufficient (0 points): Misinterprets the prompt or fails to address significant parts of it.

Evidence and Explanation (0-4 points)

Excellent (4 points): This synthesis essay ap lang rubric integrates multiple high-quality sources effectively. Provides thorough and insightful analysis and explanation of the sources.

Proficient (3 points): Integrates several sources with varying degrees of effectiveness. Provides adequate analysis and explanation.

Basic (2 points): Integrates few sources and provides limited analysis and explanation.

Limited (1 point): This ap synthesis essay rubric integrates only one source or relies heavily on personal opinion without substantial support.

Insufficient (0 points): Fails to integrate sources or provides no analysis or explanation.

Organization (0-1 points)

Excellent (1 point): Organizes the essay logically, with clear and coherent paragraphs and smooth transitions.

Proficient (0.5 points): This synthesis essay rubric ap lang is reasonably well but may have occasional lapses in organization or clarity.

Insufficient (0 points): Lacks organization, with disjointed paragraphs and unclear or abrupt transitions.

Writing Style and Language Use (0-1 points)

Excellent (1 point): Demonstrates a sophisticated command of language with varied sentence structures, precise vocabulary, and strong rhetorical devices.

Proficient (0.5 points): Demonstrates a competent command of language but may lack variety or sophistication in expression.

Insufficient (0 points): Displays numerous errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or word choice, making the essay difficult to understand.

Conclusion (0-1 points)

Excellent (1 point): Provides a compelling and insightful conclusion that effectively summarizes the main points and offers meaningful insights or implications.

Proficient (0.5 points): Provides a basic summary of the main points but lacks depth or insight.

Insufficient (0 points): Provides no conclusion or fails to summarize the main points effectively.

Citations and Documentation (0-1 points)

Excellent (1 point): Properly cites all sources using the required citation style and demonstrates a thorough understanding of source integration.

Proficient (0.5 points): Cites most sources correctly but may have occasional minor errors in citation or integration.

Insufficient (0 points): Fails to cite sources properly or integrates sources incorrectly.

Overall Impression (0-1 points)

Excellent (1 point): Demonstrates exceptional synthesis of sources, insightful analysis, and strong writing skills throughout the essay.

Proficient (0.5 points): Demonstrates competent synthesis and analysis but may have minor weaknesses in certain areas.

Insufficient (0 points): Fails to demonstrate effective synthesis, analysis, or writing skills.

Overall Score (0-10 points)

Excellent (9-10 points): The essay demonstrates a deep understanding of the topic, effectively synthesizes multiple sources, and presents a well-organized, articulate argument.

Proficient (5-8 points): The essay shows a satisfactory understanding of the topic, integrates sources reasonably well, and presents a coherent argument with some weaknesses.

Limited (1-4 points): The essay lacks depth in understanding, struggles with source integration, and presents a weak or poorly developed argument.

Insufficient (0 points): The essay does not meet the basic requirements and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the topic or task.

Difference between good and bad synthesis essay


A synthesis essay requires detailed research, consideration of different viewpoints, and proficient writing abilities. It makes students research and analyze multiple sources, combine the data intelligently, and present a convincing argument that shows a great comprehension of the subject.

This interesting blog post was all about synthesis essays and how you can deal with this academic activity like a pro writer.

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