“Synthesis” is the combining of separate elements to form a coherent whole.
Synthesis does not mean simply having two or more sources. Having more than one source is an excellent first step, but real synthesis isn’t happening unless a relationship between the sources is apparent.
A synthesis essay brings together your own ideas with the ideas of other writers, your sources.
“Dark chocolate contains antioxidants” (Ghirardelli, 2008, p. 3); “antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage” (Oz, 2009, p. 27). “Dark chocolate can be incorporated into many snacks or meals” (Crocker, 2002, p. 22).
Step Four: Revise
Starting or ending a paragraph with a direct quote.
“Potato chips are tasty treats but leave your fingers feeling greasy,”(Smith, 2005, p. 267). Potato chips are a favorite snack food among Americans (Wise, 1997, p. 23), but researchers have documented how they tend to leave your fingers, arteries, and intestinal tract with a Vaseline-like substance (Edwards, 2006). “There is a big problem for people who eat potato chips while typing on a laptop” (Edwards, 2006, p. 19).
Step Five: Edit
Add, delete or move ideas as needed
Proofread for grammar, mechanics, punctuation, word choice or typographical errors
Sample outline for a synthesis essay
A synthesis essay should be organized so that others can understand the sources and evaluate your comprehension of them and their presentation of specific data, themes, etc.
The introduction (first paragraph) 1. Thesis sentence that sums up the focus of your synthesis. 2. Also introduces the texts to be synthesized: (i) Gives the title of each source (following the citation guidelines of whatever style sheet you are using); (ii) Provides the name of each author; (ii) Sometimes also provides pertinent background information about the authors, about the texts to be summarized, or about the general topic from which the texts are drawn.
The body of a synthesis essay: Each paragraph should:
ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with
power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail." The Chrysalis
heard all this, but did not try to make any reply.
A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained. Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly.
"Behold in me," said the Butterfly, "your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen." So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.
Part 2: In groups-
Write very brief summaries of each fable (be as concise as humanly possible without leaving out any important facts)
Write one sentence to connect your two summaries (this is your synthesis thesis sentence!)
Write a short scratch outline for this synthesis essay (see the sample)