How to Write a Perfect Synthesis Essay: Guide and Outline

As a student, you can’t escape writing essays. Whether you are a high school or college student, you are bound to write at least two essays before graduating. This implies that you have a lot of work to do when it comes to essay writing.

One type of essay you are likely to come across is a synthesis essay, and this is one of the most difficult types to write. So, what is a synthesis essay, and how can you write a perfect synthesis essay that is A-worthy? In this piece, we will address each of these questions in detail.

Synthesis Essay Definition: What is a Synthesis Essay?

A synthesis essay is an essay written with a strong reliance on facts, data, and evidence. Writing a perfect synthesis essay is all about doing extensive research. A synthesis essay requires that the writer is curious enough to want to know new things, even if it’s not a new subject. Writing a synthesis essay requires gathering information and resources from different sources and using them to explain or argue a point. The ability to write a synthesis essay will set you apart and give you an edge in many fields of study.

What is a Synthesis Paper?

Discussion in a synthesis paper is objective and not subjective. This means that the discussion considers all sides to the argument and doesn’t take any side. The thesis may be drawn from personal opinion, but the essay uses objective data and external evidence to explain the thesis. Data and evidence are gathered from reliable sources and used to explain or propound a new idea.

Types of Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay could either be explanatory or argumentative.

An explanatory synthesis essay does not try to argue for or against an idea. Instead, the main thrust of an explanatory synthesis is to explain and shed light on the point of view. The explanation resources are obtained from various sources and synthesized to drive home the writer’s point.

On the other hand, an argumentative synthesis essay used data from different sources to argue a point. In an argumentative essay, the writer may consider different sides to an argument, but in the end, has to take a side.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay

  1. Choose a Topic

Writing a synthesis essay begins with the selection of the topic. Before you start writing, choose a topic that will not be difficult to research. The availability of research materials for your topic could determine if your essay will be rich or poorly written.

  1. Conduct In-depth Research

After choosing a topic, the next step is to begin research. A perfect synthesis essay is the product of diligent and extensive research. Consult all resources at your disposal, such as the library, the internet, and other resources for your research. In doing your research, ensure that you take proper notes and check the integrity of the sources. The sources you choose to use should be reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Create your Synthesis Essay Outline

The next step is to write an outline for your essay. A synthesis essay usually follows a five-paragraph structure. Before you put pen to paper, write out the ideas you want to discuss in your paper and the sources that help your point. It would be best if you only began to write your paper after drawing out an outline that serves as a skeletal design.

After writing your paper, ensure you proofread your paper. Proofreading helps you detect errors that can render your work less than perfect. Do not be in a hurry to hand in your essay until you have gone through it again and again for all kinds of errors.

Writing a Synthesis Essay Outline

The outline of your essay is essential to having a perfectly composed essay. The outline of your essay should take into consideration the synthesis essay structure. You should also note down the key ideas you want to discuss while matching them with the corresponding source or data. A typical synthesis essay format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • The introduction of your essay should give a general background for the essay. In the introduction, you should state the thesis statement and the position you will address in the paper’s body.
  • The body of a synthesis essay is generally divided into three paragraphs unless the required word count is low or considerably high. Each paragraph should address a specific item supported by data and evidence. The body of your essay should examine the similarities of your sources and how it supports your idea. A good body should have a topic sentence stating the idea to be discussed. It should also have supporting sentences and a closing or transition sentence leading to the next paragraph.
  • Your essay’s conclusion is as crucial as its introduction. The conclusion should again state the considered thesis and the point of view taken or explained. Wrapping up with a good conclusion helps re-emphasize the idea discussed in the paper.

Your bibliography is another very important aspect of the paper, even though it is not considered part of the basic format. The bibliography identifies the various sources you have used and gives them their due recognition. It would be best to compile a comprehensive bibliography, whether they are quoted in-text or merely referenced. For example, the format of the bibliography could be MLA or APA, depending on the choice of your professor.

You can also have a look at this synthesis essay sample to understand the writing better.

Synthesis Essay

The question “Is it acceptable/or even possible for some groups to protect themselves from the ravages of disease, while letting others suffer?” The answer to this question is both “yes” and “no” and this paper will explain this reasoning.

In the Sierra Leone Ebola outbreak, the president wanted to protect those individuals who had not been infected. To do this, he would have to subject anyone on the streets to arrest.

One of the residents said that staying home would “protect our country from this dangerous virus” (Sierra Leone 2014). This is a case in which it was acceptable to protect those people who had not been infected because the virus was so contagious. It was never the intent of Sierra Leone to let others suffer because the country used all of its resources to treat those who were sick, while protecting healthy people and the medical community as they were vital. So in this case, the answer is “yes” it was acceptable and “no” it’s not always possible. In the case of Sierra Leone, unfortunately, healthcare workers were killed because people in the villages did not want to accept the educational information or were in denial about the disease. This is a case in which trying to protect people had a negative outcome.
In “The Masque of the Red Death,” the prince Prospero, who was supposed to be a leader, acted selfishly to protect himself but not his people from the plague. “Prospero had supplied everything they needed for pleasure” (Poe). He was able to protect himself, but this was a falsehood as the plague, represented by the red masque, kills him in the end. “Outside the wall walked the Red Death” (Poe). Prospero did nothing to help the people he served so to him, it was both possible and acceptable.
In conclusion, those in charge in Sierra Leone did not want to accept that the Ebola virus would kill people and put their own lives at risk to protect them. In the Poe story, Prospero let other people suffer. While this is not acceptable to us as the readers, it was to him because he was selfish. It was his selfishness that killed him, in the end.

Works Cited

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Masque of the Red Death” (1993). Inside Stories for Senior Students (pp. 197-204). Toronto: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Canada.

“Sierra Leone Battles Ebola Outbreak With Three-Day Lockdown: Sick Urged to Leave Their Homes, Seek Treatment”. (2014, September 20). Associated Press. Retrieved Sept 26, 2021 from: 1.2014526


Writing a synthesis essay is a very good and stimulating intellectual assignment. However, to write a perfect synthesis analysis, you must be willing to engage in rigorous research.

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