How To Write A Synthesis Essay Outline

March 29, 2017 F WP
synthesis essay outline

How To Write A Synthesis Essay Outline

Table of Contents

Writing a Synthesis Essay Outline

On many occasions, students begin tackling their essay assignments before establishing the various attributes that differentiate essays. It is essential, first of all, to understand the various types of papers that exist and their main features before one begins handling their assignment. A synthesis essay can be described as any written work that seeks to make connections between different parts of a paper with the ultimate goal of presenting a unique theme, topic, or viewpoint. Synthesis essays always use a wide range of sources and this helps to support the author’s claim or stance on a particular topic or theme.

The expectation here is that the sources will guide the writers in identifying the connection that exists between different sources from whence a solid theme, viewpoint or perspective will be formed. The implication here is that synthesis essays require a lot of research and students should be prepared for such work. Some students are often in the habit of assuming that this type of essays are out-rightly argumentative essays. However, as it will be discussed below, argumentative essays are only a type of synthesis essays. Therefore, it is essential to understand the differing aspects of all essays for one to be able to write a relevant article.

Types of Synthesis Essay

There are 3 types of synthesis essays. Details of each are shown below:

1. Argument

Argument synthesis essays are a type of assignment where the author seeks to present their stance or viewpoint, and supports it using facts from relevant sources. The facts provided to help enhance the author’s stance are often arranged in a logical manner. In most occasions, writers develop different thesis statements despite writing about the same topic. The above is allowed because the argument presented is individual and thus opens to interpretation. There can hence be two different theses from the same topic, and each is declared as an excellent work.

2. Review

A review is simply described as a discussion of research that was done in the past. However, unlike regular literature reviews, it also entails a critical analysis of the source used. Its main goal is to affirm the need for more research on a particular topic. It thus seeks to determine the loopholes or the shortcomings of previous research discussions.

3. Explanatory

Explanatory essays are also known as background synthesis essays. Unlike the argumentative that requires the author to have a stance, here, the author is only required to present facts about an object, state of affairs, or even a place to further the readers’ understanding. The goal or thesis is not as pronounced as when one is dealing with an argument essay because the author’s focus shifts to objectively organizing and presenting facts. In an argument paper, writers can go beyond the sources reading, when they are trying to make their stance clear. However, in an explanatory synthesis essay, authors are not expected to go beyond the facts that are in the sources provided.

Structure of a Synthesis Essay

The first important, but overly forgotten bit is the topic selection. Before a writer thinks of an essay structure, it is essential to ensure that tips concerning topic selection are clear. There is one tip that is almost in every online guide, and it entails the selection of a topic that one is familiar with. The above is vital, or necessary, and will help writers to save time especially during the research. Once the topic is established and decided, the next bit involves the structure of the essay. Like all other essays, the synthesis essay has three main parts: the introduction, the main body, and finally the conclusion. Each section needs to follow certain steps and writers need to be familiar with these steps. Below are some tips on how each part needs to be written:

Tips concerning introduction writing

An introduction presents the readers with a brief discussion of the topic under review. Here, authors need to be creative and ensure that they capture their audiences’ interest, lest they lose them before they even make time to read the rest of the essay. The issue or topic or theme to be discussed should hence be clearly outlined and the author’s stance should be established in the introduction.

Tips on thesis writing

A thesis is the author’s main idea or perspective and must always be developed before commencing any work on the perfect essay. It is indeed illogical to develop one’s thesis without first reading the sources. Writers must first read the sources provided and then formulate their opinions on the subject or topic. On most occasions, a thesis statement is included in the introduction as the last sentence.

Tips on body paragraphs (length, paragraphs, transition words)

Synthesis essays often take after the five-paragraph structure and unless stated otherwise, most have five to seven paragraphs as well as six sentences in each paragraph. Transition words help to indicate that the author is on a different point. In some occasions, readers are left to find the points or themselves, and some end up getting mixed up and never even identifying a single point. Transitional words, for example, firstly, subsequently, additionally, etc. help to notify the readers that the author has moved on to the next point. Each paragraph must have a topic sentence, and these help building on the author’s thesis statement. An explanation of the topic sentence is also of the essence. Evidence from the sources used must also be provided, and the significance of whichever source must also be included.

Tips on conclusion writing

A conclusion can be said to be the easiest of these sections because the author is only expected to state the importance of their stance or viewpoint and provide a summary of the points discussed. While in most occasions authors finish their work flatly, in a synthesis essay one is supposed to be creative and include an ending that will elicit some thoughts from the audience.

Example of Outline on Synthesis Essay about Global Warming


  • Definition of global warming.
  • Briefly mentioning some of the causes of global warming, for example, deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, increase in pollution levels, and industrialization.
  • Mention some of the effects of global warming, for example, an increase in temperature, increase in sea levels which subsequently leads to flooding, etc.
  • Thesis statement –assert that the world’s temperature level is rising and that the world needs to work together to help reduce the rate at which the temperature levels are rising.

Main Body

  • Paragraph 1–Mention IPCC’s assertion that the world’s sea levels will rise by 7 – 23 inches by the end of the current century. Include why this is important and will help build on the thesis statement.
  • Paragraph 2 –The rise in temperature by 1.4 Fahrenheit degrees since 1880. Provide evidence of the above and mention the significance of this point.
  • Paragraph 3 –The rapid melting of ice in the Arctic and the expectation that the region will soon have an ice free summer.
  • Paragraph 4 –The rapid melting of glaciers with the consequence being increased in the sea levels. How is this point relevant to the thesis statement? Author needs to provide sufficient evidence of this fact.
  • Paragraph 5 –Include the fact that the last two decades of the 20th century have been the hottest in the last 400 years. Evidence must be provided and this point’s relevance included.


  • A reassertion that the world’s temperature is steadily rising and how the world needs to be up in arms and strive to forge a way forward.
  • A summary of the points provided in the main body.
  • A question or an open discussion of how the world keeps drawing lines and keeping each other at arm’s length instead of fighting together to help stop the prospect of having to deal with the after-effects of global warming.
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