Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

How to Compose a Solid Synthesis Essay

Essay writing—you either love it or you hate it. For some, it’s a chance to express themselves and fully articulate their points; for others, it’s a chore, and they’d just as soon have someone help them with their efforts. If you fall into the latter camp, never fear—there’s hope yet.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to composing a solid synthesis essay.

What Composition Really Means

There’s a lot that goes into the successful creation of any argument or work of art. When you think of “composing,” what do you think of? Chances are one of the first things that comes to mind is a composer—Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and all those great masters of classical and operatic music. Why do we make this association? Composers work within limits—a set number of beats, patterns dictating the flow of things, finite notes arranged in a finite manner—but seem to be able to come up with an infinite amount of different musical conceptions and compositions.

Likewise, the same approach works for a synthesis essay. Your words are your “notes” in this case, and the way in which you synthesize them as well as your various sources within the limits of your paper can make a big impact on how your paper turns out. So, how can you put those powers of composition to the test and turn out a masterpiece paper?

Point, Counterpoint

In music, you have what are known as “contrapuntal” themes, ie, a “counterpoint,” a musical melody or theme that runs opposite to the main theme. When writing your paper, raising points and counterpoints to those points is important. Raise Point A, give one of your synthesized sources for A, and then give Counterpoint A—something which is “opposite” to your first point, or looks at it from another angle. Then move on to Point B and Counterpoint B—wash, rinse, repeat.

Interconnectivity

By now you’ve moved on from Point/Counterpoint A to synthesize sources for B, C, D, and however many different sources and viewpoints that you need in your paper. However, it’s important that you connect these themes back together, and especially important that you tie it all back in to your central thesis. A catchy piece of music often ties different parts of the melody together with “bridges,” or repeats old lyrics once again in a chorus. Repeating and reiterating your points at all the right times can help ensure that you have an A-grade composition.