What Is an Essay Outline? Why is it Important?

How To Write A Perfect Synthesis Essay Outline W/Examples

An synthesis essay outline helps you to plan the structure of your paper before you start writing. It is basically a plan which outlines what you will write. An example synopsis of a synthesis essay would begin with an introduction heading. Below this you will include an “attention grabber” and a thesis statement. Then, outline the purpose of each paragraph in the body. It is important to include information about multiple items. Your outline should also show you what your conclusion will be. Your argument should be wrapped up in this outline.

An outline for college essays is essential because it allows the writer to coordinate their thoughts and organize them. Writing a paper without an outline can cause it to flow poorly or be too focused. The outline and structure are helpful tools to help the writer ensure that they have all the information needed and that the information is clear and logical.

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What format should be used for a Synthesis Outline structure?

A synthesis essay requires numerous elements. This is how a synthesis essay should look.


  • Attention-grabbing statement/hook
  • A brief mention of the main arguments/points
  • State your thesis statement

Paragraph 1

  • The main ideas
  • Do you have evidence?
  • Explanation/analysis

Paragraph 2 of the Body

  • The main ideas
  • Do you have evidence?
  • Explanation/analysis

Paragraph 3 of the Body

  • The main ideas
  • Do you have evidence?
  • Explanation/analysis


  • Reiterate/summarize main points
  • Statement of thesis

Writing the actual synthesis essay becomes much simpler if you have a clear, concise, and simple template. Writing a synthesis essay can be a difficult task if the writer doesn’t have an outline. A synthesis outline can be a great way to plan how many words each section will take up, even if you have a limited word count.

Synthesis Essay Outline

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A synopsis is necessary before you start writing any other material. A lot of people want to just get on with the writing and don’t think it is necessary to create an outline. It is actually the reverse. Although you are not required to submit a synopsis, it is important that you do so. A synopsis allows you to plan out each paragraph. The flow and word count can be analyzed and you can then plan where each point should go.

Once you have completed the outline, it is easier to write the actual synthesis essays. The outline serves as the backbone of your essay and helps you stay on track. You won’t get writer’s block or have to struggle to figure out where something should go if you have an outline.

You are actually separating two skills in essay writing by creating a summary outline. The first step is to focus on the ideas and points. Then, it’s time to concentrate on the words and presentation. You will see a more structured essay and less chance of it being rambling. It is important not to rush when creating an essay outline. These are some tips to help you write yours.

Your introduction should be no more than one paragraph. No matter how many words you have, the introduction should not exceed 10%. If your word count is 2000 words your introduction should be approximately 200 words. When introducing your thesis statement, you should be focusing more on one of your main ideas in your essay outline. Your introduction should not be all-inclusive. Otherwise, the writer may feel that it is unnecessary to read the rest of your essay.

Each paragraph should focus on one idea or thought when planning the main body of your outline. All supporting evidence should be credible and properly referenced according to the writing style. These should be placed in quotation marks if you are using exact words from another source or person. Write down all the sources as you create your essay outline so you won’t forget where the piece of information or the quotation came from.

Also, your conclusion should not exceed 10% of the total word count. The conclusion should make it clear to the reader that this is the final paragraph and not the main body paragraph. This is not the place to add any new information. Instead, just summarize what you have already said in the introduction and body.

How do you create a Synthesis Essay Outline.

As we have seen, a synthesis essay outline is a way to organize your essay structure before you start writing. Some prefer to write their essay synopsis on paper, leaving the pen free of thoughts and ideas. They draw arrows and cross things out. This is enough for many to start writing. Others may copy the first paper-based essay outline and then type it into a computer to create an official synopsis.

Many people research first and then create the framework. Others prefer to read about the topic, sketch out their ideas, then return to their research to find the evidence. These are some suggestions on how to make the best synthesis essay outline.

  • You can do some reading on the subject.
  • Get creative and brainstorm ideas.
  • Decide which stance or conclusion you want to take
  • Choose your three main ideas to be the essay body
  • Notify the sources and evidence supporting each idea.
  • Start by writing your outline. Next, write your introduction. Determine how long the introduction will be and what it means for content.
  • Refer back to your brainstorming ideas to outline the body of your essay. Make sure to mention any sources or locations later.
  • Take a note of the contents of your conclusion. Then, work out how many words (10%) that you need.


The style of writing you use will determine how you cite your sources. Depending on whether you are using MLA, APA or another style, you will need to include a list at the end of your essay to properly credit your research sources. The bibliography and citations list can take up to two pages and appear after the conclusion.

Synthesis Essay Example MLA

Here’s a sample synopsis template for MLA style:

  • Double-spaced Times New Roman font, 12pt.
  • Use 1″ margins. In the top right corner of each page, include your surname and page number.
  • Center your title.
  • Include your full name, your professor’s name, your course code/number and the date in the header (in the format dd/mm/yy).
  • Your final page should be a page titled “Works cited”.

Synthesis Essay Example APA Style

Here are some things to remember when you need an APA format.

  • Double-spaced Times New Roman font, 12pt.
  • Add a header to the top of every page.
  • The page number should appear at the top right hand side.
  • Your references should be included in the structure.

What’s a Synthesis Essay?

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These types of papers are required for many subjects including computing and natural sciences. This type of paper requires that the writer gathers information from multiple sources to formulate an argumentative thesis. Writers create such documents by discussing their ideas, evidence, data, and other sources in order to explain or argue something new.

These papers are often required by high school and college students. They typically consist of five paragraphs. These questions or theses are often guided by the subjective opinions of the author. The writer attempts to prove their point by supporting it with evidence and data. These papers come in two types. These papers can be either argumentative synthesis essays or explanatory synthesis text.

These are the key characteristics of the synthesis essay:

  • Debatable subject. It is important to choose an argument-able topic if you want to write a good synthesis paper. You should choose something about which people have different opinions. This will enable you to use multiple sources that offer different perspectives for your synthesis.
  • A clear thesis statement. This is a sentence that summarizes the main idea of your essay.
  • Use reliable sources to support your thesis. Your opinion is not sufficient for a synthesis essay. It is also important to locate the evidence. You can’t just read an online encyclopedia. Make sure you choose reliable sources.

Explanatory Synthesis Essays Vs. Argumentative – The Difference

The general rule of thumb is that you will use the same formatting when you write both explanatory and argumentative synthesis texts. They serve different purposes.

Argumentative An argumentative essay has the same structure as a argumentative essay. The thesis will only argue one point.

Explanatory An explanatory essay is one that uses multiple sources to explain a particular viewpoint. This essay examines the similarities and differences between ideas objectively. The writer will not try to convince the reader that one side is better than the other.

Synthesis Essay Structure

A synthesis essay should be written in five paragraphs. However, there are a few things you should know about how to structure an essay in this format. These are the details you need to know about how to structure a synthesis essay.

Introduction and Synthesis Writing

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Like any other written paper, the introduction is the first part of a synthesis essay. The introduction paragraph outlines the author’s basic ideas and focuses on the essay. It provides an overview of the topic and the main ideas. It also provides some resources. The thesis statement is also used to introduce the argument. The thesis statement summarizes the primary argument in a few sentences. This is typically the last section of the introduction before the main body begins.

To write an engaging, high-quality introduction, the writer must grab the attention of the reader. You can do this by creating an eye-catching hook or statement. The writer can then briefly discuss the points. The perfect introduction to a synthesis essay would be intriguing and provide intrigue for readers so they are eager to learn more about the argument.

The main body

The body of the synthesis essay will typically have three paragraphs. The first two paragraphs are used to synthesize information that supports your argument or idea. The third paragraph typically acknowledges opposing arguments. Although the introduction and conclusion are important, the body of an essay is where the reader will be presented with all your arguments and ideas in detail. This section should support any ideas the writer has put forth. The best example contains a main body that includes information, evidence, analysis, and other relevant details.

The conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of your points and arguments in a synthesis essay. The conclusion might highlight each point or cite sources to support it. During the preparation of the synopsis, a writer must know their conclusion. If you have done the necessary planning, your conclusion shouldn’t be difficult to write. To remind the reader about the purpose of the essay, the writer should reiterate their thesis statement. The writer should summarize the main points of their essay briefly and include reiterations.

How to write an introduction for a synthesis essay

Now, it is time to begin writing the paper. The introduction of your essay can contain:

  • A brief, but catchy sentence or a quote that would introduce the topic. Your essay’s opening should grab attention. The best way to get people to read your essay is to make it informative and easy to comprehend.
  • The essay’s text. The titles and authors of the essay should be listed.
  • This section contains background information that is necessary to understand your essay. This section can contain definitions or undefined words related to the topic. People may not be able to comprehend what they’re reading if this isn’t done.

How to write a thesis for a synthesis essay

An thesis statement describes your point of view regarding a particular problem you will be defending in your essay. It should include the main points you wish to include in your paper. Here are some tips to help you create the perfect thesis statement.

  • Identify the position that you want to defend. This will be made easier by a synthesis matrix.
    • The chart contains several key ideas.
    • You should choose the most frequently repeated ones and those that you feel are important to include in your essay.
    • Combining them will result in a thesis statement that contains all the key points.
  • Draft your thesis statement. Write down the main idea that you wish to convey in your essay.
  • Extend this idea. You can add details to the idea and make it even more interesting.

This is the perfect thesis statement if everything is cohesive and conveys what you want. Take a look at the following example:


Gender inequality persists at work: Women are less likely than men to be promoted, lose their jobs easily due to maternity leave, or receive the same amount of pay.

How to write Synthesis Paragraphs in the Main Body

The main body of your essay consists only of a few paragraphs. Each paragraph presents a different argument depending on the topic. Start a paragraph with a topic sentence. This informs the reader about your main idea. Next, add the synthesized resources and expand on them.

How To Conclude A Synthesis Essay

There are many ways to end a synthesis paper. Take a look at these options:

  • Paraphrase your thesis. Remember that the thesis is your main idea. It is a great place to remind your readers of it. They will remember what the most important part of your essay is after they have finished reading.
  • Then, synthesize the arguments. You don’t have to repeat every word in your essay. These are the most important points.
  • Answer the question “So what?” Tell readers why this topic is important, why you chose it and why it’s beneficial for them.
  • Give closure. This is a good strategy to get the reader thinking. Your essay should conclude with a powerful statement.

Synthesis Paper Proofreading Tips

After you’ve finished writing your paper, there’s one more thing. Make sure you check the paper for grammatical or contextual errors. While you can do this yourself, it is better to have someone else read it. First, you should check your grammar for errors. You don’t need to use one tense for your synthesis essay. It all depends on the format.

  • Use the present tense if you are writing in MLA format
  • The past tense is used for APA essays.

Next, you need to make sure that your synthesis essay contains all the necessary information. We have prepared a checklist of questions that you can use to proofread your essays.

  • Does the thesis statement have a clear meaning?
  • Did you include all the key points in the synthesis?
  • Do you see clear transitions between paragraphs
  • Have you ever arranged a paragraph around one idea?
  • Are you able to rely on reliable, up-to-date sources of information?
  • Did you take the time to analyze and not just sum up sources?
  • Did you list every source that you used?

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