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How to Write a Perfect Synthesis Essay Outline

When it comes to different types of papers and texts, it can be difficult to know what approach to take. If you’ve been asked to write a synthesis essay outline but are unsure how to go about it, this article is for you. Knowing how to write a synthesis essay is essential for success. In this article, we’ll discuss the synthesis essay definition, synthesis essay synopsis, and the process of writing them. We’ll also show a simple example template for you to follow.

What is a Synthesis Essay?

Firstly, these types of papers are a requirement for many subjects, including natural sciences, computing, and biology. It is a style of paper that requires the writer to gather information from different sources in order to form an argumentative thesis or idea. When a writer composes such a document, they discuss their ideas, evidence, and data from a range of sources to argue or explain something original.

Commonly, you’ll see students at college or high school having to write these papers too. These typically have a five-paragraph structure. Theses or questions that guide these texts are often based on the subjective opinion of the writer. However, the writer attempts to make their point with supporting data and evidence. There are two varieties of these papers. These are argumentative synthesis essays and explanatory synthesis texts.

Argumentative Vs. Explanatory Synthesis Essays – the difference

Generally speaking, when writing both argumentative and explanatory synthesis texts, you’ll have the same formatting. However, they have different purposes.

  • Argumentative – an argumentative essay is the same in its structure as a normal argumentative essay. The thesis will simply argue one point.
  • Explanatory – an explanatory essay uses different sources to explain a specific viewpoint. This type of essay will examine the differences and similarities between ideas objectively. The writer won’t necessarily attempt to convince the reader of one side of the argument over another.

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Synthesis Essay Structure

When writing, a synthesis essay will typically adhere to a five-paragraph structure. There are, however, a few nuances with regards to how you go about structuring an essay of this format. Here are some details on how to structure a synthesis essay.

Introduction and synthesis writing

The first part of writing a synthesis essay, like any written paper, is the introduction. An introductory paragraph expresses the writer’s foundational ideas about their essay. It addresses the topic and a general overview of the ideas surrounding it. It also introduces some sources.

In addition, the writer will also introduce their argument with a thesis statement. This states their primary argument succinctly in one or two sentences. Typically, this is the last part of the introduction before the main body of the synthesis essay begins.

In order to write a high-quality, impactful introduction, the writer needs to grab the reader’s attention. This can be done by writing an attention-grabbing statement or hook. After this, the writer can then broach the points they will cover in brief. A perfect synthesis essay introduction would entice readers by providing intrigue so that they want to know more about the argument or point.

The main body

During the body of the synthesis essay, you’ll typically write three paragraphs. The first two paragraphs generally synthesize sources to support your idea or argument. The third paragraph usually acknowledges any opposing arguments. Though the introduction and conclusion are important, it is during the body of the essay that the reader is presented with your ideas and arguments in full detail. Whatever the writer puts into this section should be backed up with evidence and sources that support the ideas.

The best example has a main body containing information, evidence, and analysis.

The conclusion

When writing a synthesis essay, the conclusion reiterates your arguments and points made in the essay. It might emphasize each individual point and the cited sources used to substantiate it.

A writer should know what their conclusion is going to be during the preparation of the synopsis too. The conclusion should not be too difficult to write if appropriate planning has been undertaken. Essentially, the writer needs to reiterate their thesis statement to remind the reader of the essay’s purpose. This should be summarized briefly by accompanying reiterations of their essay’s main points.

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How you cite your sources depends on the writing style you’re working with. Depending on if you’re working with MLA, APA, or others, you’ll need to incorporate a list of sources at the end of the essay in order to credit your research sources properly. This citations list and bibliography can take one or two pages and appears after the conclusion.

What is an Essay Outline and Why is it Important?

A persuasive essay outline is a way of developing the paper structure before you begin writing it. Essentially, it is a plan that states what you will write. A typical synopsis for a synthesis essay will begin with your introduction heading. Underneath this, you’ll include an ‘attention grabber’ and a thesis statement. After this, you’ll outline what each of the three paragraphs in the body of the essay will be about. You should include details about multiple pieces of information. Finally, your outline will show what you intend your conclusion to cover. It should wrap your argument up.

A good college essay outline is very important as it means the writer can coordinate their thoughts and develop them logically. If the writer doesn’t do an outline before writing the paper, it could end up not flowing very well or not being focused enough. A structure and outline are useful tools for the writer to ensure they include all of the necessary information and that it is presented clearly and logically.

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What Format Should Be Followed for a Synthesis Outline Structure?

A synthesis essay requires numerous elements. A good synthesis essay should follow this example:

  1. Introduction
    1. Attention-grabbing statement/hook
    2. Brief mention of main arguments/points
    3. State thesis statement
  2. Body paragraph 1
    1. Main ideas
    2. Evidence
    3. Explanation/analysis
  3. Body paragraph 2
    1. Main ideas
    2. Evidence
    3. Explanation/analysis
  4. Body paragraph 3
    1. Main ideas
    2. Evidence
    3. Explanation/analysis
  5. Conclusion
    1. Reiterate/summarize main points
    2. Restate thesis statement

With a simple, clear, and concise template like this and adequate planning and research, writing the actual synthesis essay is so much easier. If a writer chooses not to do an outline, the process of writing is so much more of a challenge and ends up being more complicated than it should be. If you’re limited to a word count, a synthesis outline is a great way of planning how many words each section can take up.

How to Write a Synthesis Essay Outline

Before writing anything else, you should compile a synopsis. Many people just want to get straight onto the writing because they feel that an outline is a waste of their time. However, it is quite the opposite.

Even when you’re not required to write a synopsis or submit one, the process of doing it is vital. Writing a synopsis means you can plan carefully what each of your paragraphs is going to include. You get to look at the flow and word count and get to think about where each of your points fits best and in what sequence.

When the outline for a synthesis essay is completed, writing the actual synthesis essay is much more straightforward. It serves as your essay’s backbone and keeps you focused and on track throughout the whole process. With an outline to hand, you’re not going to get writers’ block or struggle to think where something should go.

In truth, by creating a synthesis outline, you’re separating two essay writing skills and dealing with them one at a time. First, you concentrate on the ideas and points, and then you concentrate on the wording and presentation of those thoughts. The resulting essay will be much more organized and less likely to be meandering.

Writing an essay outline shouldn’t be done in haste. Here are some tips on writing yours:

  1. Plan for your introduction to be one paragraph. Whatever your word count, keep the introduction to around 10%. So, if your word count is 2000 words, your introduction should be around 200 words in length.
  2. In your essay outline, focus more on presenting one of your three main ideas when you introduce your thesis statement. Don’t ‘reveal all’ in your introduction otherwise, your writer might believe there to be no point in reading the rest of your essay.
  3. When planning your main body in your outline, each of the three paragraphs should be focused on one idea or thought. Remember that all supporting evidence used should come from credible sources and should be properly referenced as per the required writing style. If you use the exact words of another person or source, these should appear in quotation marks.
  4. As you write your essay outline, write down the sources alongside the information so that you don’t forget where a piece of information or a quotation came from!
  5. Your conclusion should also be around 10% of your word count. It should be obvious to the reader that they’re reading the conclusion and not just another main body paragraph. You shouldn’t bring in any new information here. Rather just wrap up what you talked about in the body and introduction.

How to create a Synthesis Essay Outline?

Creating a synthesis essay outline example, as we’ve seen, means you organize your essay structure before you begin writing. Some people prefer to draft their essay synopsis on paper with a pen free-flowing with thoughts and ideas. They cross out, draw arrows, and move things around. For many, this is enough to get them started and writing. For others, this first paper-based essay blueprint is then copied up neatly or typed into a computer as an official synopsis.

While lots of people do all of their research first then write the framework, others prefer to read around the topic a little, write a rough blueprint of their thoughts, then go back to their research and find evidence to back their framework.

Here are some ideas on the steps to take to create the best synthesis essay outline example:

  1. Do some general reading around the topic
  2. Brainstorm ideas and let them flow on paper
  3. Decide what stance you’re taking or what your conclusion is going to be
  4. Select your three main ideas for your essay body
  5. Note down the evidence and sources to back up each of the three ideas
  6. Begin writing your outline and start with your introduction – work out how long it is going to be and what that means for content
  7. Outline the body of your essay by referring back to the three ideas you chose from your brainstorming – be sure to mention sources and locations for easy referencing later on
  8. Note down the brief contents of your conclusion and work out how many words (10%) you have to play with.

Synthesis Essay Example MLA

  • Here is a synopsis template example format for MLA style:
  • Use a double-spaced Times New Roman font in size 12pt.
  • Use 1” margins. Include your surname and the page number in the top right-hand corner of every page.
  • Center your title.
  • In the header, include your full name, the name of your professor, your course code/number, and the date (in the dd/mm/yy format).
  • Your last page should be a “works cited” page.

Synthesis Essay Example APA Style

  • When you’re required to use an APA format, here is what you should remember:
  • Use a double-spaced Times New Roman font in size 12pt.
  • Include a header at the top of each page.
  • The page number should be on the top right-hand side.
  • The structure should be a title page, an abstract, the main body, and your references.

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