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Writing a synthesis essay outline is one of the engaging tasks that a student has to face. The purpose of a synthesis essay is to test the ability of a student to conduct extensive research, disintegrate big concepts, and show the backbone of the argument. A good synthesis essay extract  ideas from multiple sources and summarizes them into a thesis statement.

Once you have a thesis statement, the essay will be based on proving the thesis statement. Our thesis writing experts can help you get it right.

If you are wondering how to write a synthesis essay, below is a detailed article on what is a synthesis essay. You will also know what a synthesis essay outline is and how to write a synthesis essay outline:

Types of synthesis essays

There are two types of synthesis essays, namely, explanatory synthesis essay and argument synthesis essay. These essays differ in the kind of information that each contains.

Argument synthesis essay

The purpose of this essay is for the writer to argue a certain topic and provide evidence for justification. You should use the same writing approach as though you are writing a paper on how to analyze an argument

In the body, you should state your position on the topic, provide supportive claims, and offer evidence to support the claim. This essay should follow an argumentative synthesis essay outline which ensures you do not stray from the purpose of the paper.

Explanatory synthesis essay

This essay seeks to help the reader understand a certain topic. As the name suggests, the essay should explain the topic. The body of the essay should offer explanations using different sources.

You should present the sources objectively. You should use more than one source for your claim to support your topic.

How to write an AP synthesis essay outline

Writing a synthesis essay will involve a few steps. Here are some of the things that you need to know when writing a synthesis essay outline:

Choosing a topic for your synthesis essay outline

The prompt of a synthesis essay should be debatable. You need to choose a primary text depending on your assignment. If your instructor did not give you a writing prompt for your synthetic essay, you should sum it up with one. The three steps for choosing a topic are as follows:

Step one

Browse ideas and topics. Read different sources to find topics that are interesting to you. You are likely to write better on a topic that you are interested in. There is no limit to where you can get your ideas from.

Step two

Settle and Research on your Topic. Among the different topics that interest you, choose the one you will focus on. Gather relevant sources for your topic that you will use in your essay. Your sources can be journals, articles, or online sources.

Step three

Analyze your sources. Extract the ideas from your sources to include in your essay. Writing these ideas at this stage helps you arrange your ideas in the essay. That saves the time you would use in writing the essay and ensures your essay has a logical flow.

Good topics vs. bad topics

The topic you choose for your synthesis essay should be debatable, as though it has been a public conversation. Such a topic will cause both sides to be emotionally charged and thus create a great discussion.

It also means that there will be a lot of evidence for such a topic, and hence, create a good synthesis essay. A bad topic for your synthesis essay would be one which has had a long debate and an objective answer. In addition, topics with a yes or no answer qualify as bad topics.

Examples of good topics include:

  • Gun Control
  • Immigration Policy
  • Income Inequality
  • Legalization of Drugs

Examples of bad topics:

  • Is the earth flat?
  • Racial Supremacy
  • Is Modern Medicine Effective?
  • Does Gravity Exist?

How to outline a synthesis essay

A synthesis essay ap lang outline helps you maintain a logical flow of ideas in your essay. Writing without a synthesis essay outline will result in the paper taking different directions and veering from the main purpose.

Following a structured guide, you can ensure that you include all the information in a logical sequence. A synthesis essay outline has three main parts. If you are wondering how should a synthesis essay outline look like, here is a simple breakdown:


Being the first part of the essay, the introduction of any paper serves the greater purpose of grabbing the attention of the reader. Your introduction should begin with an attention-grabbing statement, also known as a hook.

You should include the main points of the essay. The last sentence of the introduction should be a thesis statement. Your introduction should intrigue the reader and encourage them to read on. The introduction should not be too long to tire the reader.


The body of a synthesis essay gives you the opportunity to present your ideas. A synthesis essay has five paragraphs. The body takes three paragraphs.

You should present information as evidence for your claims and the analysis that follows. The evidence is to give your information solid ground and offer relevance. All the evidence you present should support the thesis statement in the introduction.


The conclusion is the summary of the entire essay. It serves the role of restating the main points in the body. Unlike the body, the conclusion should be brief and concise.

You should also restate the thesis statement from a different angle. The conclusion should create a lasting impression of the essay on the mind of the reader.

The structure of a synthesis essay

The basic structure of a synthesis essay has three main parts; the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The body, which contains three paragraphs, have the same structure except that each paragraph focuses on one point. A further breakdown of the structure of a synthesis essay is as follows:


  • Hook
  • State the main points
  • Thesis statement

Body Part 1

  • Main Point
  • Evidence
  • Analysis of Evidence

Body Part 2

  • Main Point
  • Evidence
  • Analysis of Evidence

Body Part 3

  • Main Point
  • Evidence
  • Analysis of Evidence


  • Restate the main points
  • Restate the thesis statement

Tips for writing a synthesis essay

Analyzing the writing prompt of your synthesis essay is the key factor in writing a great synthesis paper. You need to understand the purpose of the synthesis essay test for a proper analysis.

Your essay should answer the question, “so what?” You should then build your essay around that question. Some of the useful tips in writing a great essay include:

  • Use precise vocabulary
  • Address your readers in an appropriate manner
  • Proofread your essay and correct any errors
  • Use of correct citations and sources
  • Proper use of sentence and paragraph transitions

Writing techniques for synthesis writing

Some of the techniques you can use to deliver a great synthesis essay are:

Compare and contrast

Writing using the compare and contrast method allows you to analyze two sources simultaneously. Comparing the sources illustrates the similarities between the sources while contrasting the sources highlights the differences between the sources.

Include multiple reasons

It is important to include multiple reasons—a minimum of two when supporting your claim.


You need to provide an argument against your thesis. However, you should ensure that the argument is not too strong to nullify your thesis. Giving this other side of the thesis brings awareness of the other side of the thesis.

The evidence should provide an introduction and a description. Then an opposing view should follow with a decisive factor.


Summarizing the information from your sources is the simplest form of organizing your ideas. This gives you the chance to present the sources according to their relevance to the thesis.

You need to quote the sources when using this technique. Should you need to include your thoughts, you should write them in segments.


This writing technique showcases the opposing viewpoint of the thesis. This technique should indicate the positives being stronger than the negatives.

Formatting a synthesis essay

You need to format your synthesis essay according to the style that your instructor requires of you. The most common formats for synthesis essays are Chicago style, APA and MLA. These formats apply to different fields.

MLA format is useful in citing essays in humanities, while APA is applicable when citing essays in science, psychology, and education. You can use citation tools when formatting your synthesis essay to ensure proper formatting. Here is a breakdown of these formatting styles:

MLA format

The following are the key points in MLA format:

  • The title should be centered.
  • Use of 1” margins.
  • Your last name should be on the top right corner.
  • Every page should have a page number.
  • Use of Times New Roman 12pt font and words should be double-spaced.
  • The header should contain your name, course number, date, and name of the instructor.
  • The last page should contain the citations.

Chicago style

The highlights for this format style are:

  • Use of 1” margin.
  • Double-spacing between the lines.
  • Use of Times New Roman 12pt font.
  • The text should be left-justified.
  • Write full names of people.
  • The bibliography should be on a unique page.
  • Paragraph beginnings should be indented.

APA format

The key points for this format style are:

  • The page number should be on the top right of every page.
  • The header should appear on every page.
  • Double-spacing of the words.
  • Use of 1” margins.
  • Use of Times New Roman 12 pt. font.
  • The essay should contain four parts: Title page, abstract, body, and references.

Synthesis essay example

Below is an example of a synthesis essay with a breakdown of the different sections:


An article published by Daily News warns readers that the increased use of smartphones is ruining teenagers. The author claims that the rise in the use of social media and smartphones is causing an earthquake whose magnitude has not yet been experienced in the past.

The author provides claims with supporting evidence from multiple sources. According to Daily News, the main reason for this claim is that social media and smartphones are causing depression and other mental issues. The paper mainly rejects the claims by the author by focusing on issues around the subject.

The introduction should contain a thesis. The thesis is the central argument of the paper.

Sample synthesis thesis

Although technology has introduced changes to the modern world, the increased use of social media and smartphones is in no way destroying a generation. The reasons that the author presents in the Daily News article are not enough to support that claim.

The body

The body should comprise of different paragraphs whereby each paragraph presents a single idea.

The first paragraph should present a counterargument to the essay thesis. The counterargument shows that you can view the opposing point of view—a great trait in educational institutions. Do not forget that the counterargument you present is not enough to oppose the earlier stated thesis.

Sample counterargument

One reason for not supporting the article by Daily News is that the author supports their claim only by facts that support their view. The evidence they present to support their claim is biased and hence my stand on opposing the claim.

The following paragraphs in the body should present arguments that favor the thesis you stated in the introduction. Every paragraph should follow the following format:

  • Supporting argument
  • Topic sentence
  • Evidence
  • Analysis of evidence

Sample body paragraph

The author does not look into studies that show that screen time does not cause mental health issues such as depression which affects teenagers. In one of her claims, the author researched a study that shows that the more that a teenager spends time on Facebook, the more likely they are to get into depression.

The author did not look into the causes of depression, yet the study showed that depression does not increase the usage of social media. Such research results nullify the claim on social media and also show there is no correlation between social media and depression—as the author highlights.

Reduced Facebook usage after teenagers become unhappy shows that using Facebook is not an alternative way of getting out of depression. 

The conclusion

This is the last section of the synthesis essay and is a summary of the entire paper. You should restate the points in the body and address any questions that the reader might have. You should also have a final sentence in the conclusion that closes the paper.

Sample conclusion

There are other factors such as underage drug use and teen pregnancy that have affected previous generations and are still present in the modern generation. These issues have impacted the future lives of the involved teenagers.

Dealing with these issues will guarantee a better future for this generation. Although the author highlights an important concern—the excess use of social media and smartphones, the evidence for her claims lower the credibility of the article.

The author focuses on one side of the issue and neglects the other side, which opposes her stand. The use of social media and smartphones offers great benefit to teenagers—an angle the author does not consider. The author has also not focused on the other factors that have ruined previous generations.

Frequently asked questions about synthesis analysis

What is a synthesis essay?

A synthesis essay is a reflection on information that you gather from different sources. In short, it is a discussion between the author and sources that he or she extracts information.

What format should a synthesis essay follow?

There are three common format styles that you can use; APA format, MLA, and Chicago Style. The style you use to format your essay should be highlighted in your paper’s instructions.

What is an essay outline, and why do you need one?

Having a synthesis essay outline is important for structuring your essay. The outline starts with an introduction, then the body paragraphs, and lastly, the conclusion. The introduction introduces the topic to the reader.

The body discusses the information, and lastly, the conclusion wraps up the essay. You need to have an outline for a logical flow of ideas in your essay.

What should the synthesis essay body contain?

Be sure to paste the evidence supporting your claim, your sub-arguments, and the points in the right sections. All the information you provide in your essay should support the thesis.

Acknowledging information that is against your main claim will make the essay strong. Lastly, check the sources you have used for your essay.

How do you write a good synthesis essay?

Writing a good synthesis essay includes using the right styling and formatting. Understanding the prompts and following the right steps of writing a synthesis essay will help you deliver a good essay.

How does one follow the right format and style?

Every format style has its unique styling requirements that a writer should follow. You can use formatting tools to format your essay after you complete writing your essay.

How does one use a prompt?

Most synthesis essays come with writing prompts from instructors. To create a good essay from a prompt, get a passion for the topic. After that, you will find the purpose of the writing prompt. The prompt comes with a rubric for you to follow and see that the work is up-to-standard.

What are the steps to writing a synthesis essay?

Writing a synthesis essay requires a number of steps. First, you need to come up with a good title for your essay. Next, you need to find the best voice for your topic.

Whether you write your essay in the first, second, or third person, you should write with the audience in mind. You should also focus on proper sentence structure.

Proofreading your essay, stylizing citations, and using correct transitions ensure the essay looks professional. Lastly, ensure that you adhere to the instructions issued by your instructor.

In summary, essay writing is not hard when you know the steps you should follow. Are you having trouble writing your synthesis essay outline? Do you need help in writing or editing?

You should seek help from professional writers. Professional writers are well-versed with knowledge on writing different types of papers. With an expert writer, you can be sure to obtain your synthesis essay outline within the shortest time possible. place your order now.