How to Write an Outline for Synthesis Essay, Step by Step

You want to know how to build an outline for synthesis essay. Here’s how it works:

Outlining is the initial step to crafting a high-quality, A-worthy paper. If you miss this element, you risk losing focus and flow. More than that, you can’t generate an argumentative, logical, and close-knit essay without it.

This article won’t let it happen.

Keep reading to reveal actionable tips on outline writing. You’ll know what to include in each paragraph and how to structure it for better results.

Bonus for the most avid readers: A free PDF template for outlining synthesis essays.

What Is a Synthesis Essay Outline?

A synthesis essay outline is a comprehensive plan for your paper. It shows off the info on what you’ll write in every section.

Think of it as a table of contents you’ll expand in your work. Outlines serve to organize essays and regulate their elements for a stellar presentation.

 Why design an outline for synthesis essays? 

  1. Systemize the sources and decide on the claims to use in every paragraph.
  2. Organize the claims and prescribe evidence for each.
  3. Focus on the writing process, preventing the writer’s block. (It’s when you stare at the screen and don’t know what to write next.)
  4. Ensure you’ve included all the info and introduced it logically.
  5. Structure a paper in advance to save time and write faster.

Whether you work on an AP lang essay or craft an expository essay in college, outlining is a must. It organizes arguments and evidence so you don’t forget anything while writing.

Before outlining

Synthesis essays are about analyzing several sources to establish an original thesis. So, before you sit and craft an outline, do research and decide on the sources you’ll synthesize.

  • Focus on those related to your topic.
  • Consider solid resources: latest studies, research papers, books, academic journals, etc.
  • Analyze each to derive core points.

You’ll apply the resources to support your thesis throughout an essay. Ensure they have solid evidence so you can incorporate it into your paper. Decide on the facts, quotes, and examples to cover in every paragraph as proof of your claim.

How to Make an Outline for the Synthesis Essay

Below is the template you can try, with an introduction, body, and conclusion as main parts of the outline used for a synthesis essay (1).

Download a free PDF version here

And now, to the details to include in every paragraph.

1. State a Thesis

Synthesis essays aren’t about summarizing. You need to analyze at least three — and generate a new, your own thesis based on them. The synthesized sources will be the evidence to prove your thesis. They will support the arguments you’ll use in favor of your claim.

With that in mind, state a thesis for your essay in the outline.

Once you have it, you’ll know how to underline the arguments and evidence in paragraphs.

Check a thesis example on “Is the spread of fake news a problem?”

The proliferation of fake news poses a significant societal challenge, as it undermines the integrity of information, erodes trust in media sources, and threatens the democratic principles of decision-making, necessitating comprehensive measures to address this issue. 

And that’s a thesis example for an essay on “The American Dream: Is it still achievable?”

The attainability of the American Dream remains a contentious subject, influenced by socioeconomic disparities, shifting cultural values, and evolving economic landscapes, prompting a multifaceted examination to determine its viability. 

With a ready thesis statement, you can deal with the outline for a synthesis essay.

2. Structure an Introductory Paragraph

The must-have ingredients of an essay introduction are:

  1. Hook
  2. Context
  3. Thesis

Think of a compelling sentence to start your essay. It’s a hook to grab the reader’s attention and motivate them to keep reading. Use a question, a quote, a fact, etc.

After that, introduce the context. It’s background information on your topic where you mention the sources you’ll use.

The final 1-2 sentences go to a thesis. State your position and provide the arguments that show why you have it. (You’ll expand those arguments in the essay body.)

3. Organize Body Paragraphs

The number of paragraphs in your essay body depends on how many sources you’ll synthesize. Formal tips for synthesis writing prescribe at least three resources, which means you’ll include three body paragraphs in your paper.

Each one needs the following info to cover:

  1. A topic sentence explaining your argument (Think of a new claim for each paragraph.)
  2. Evidence from the source that supports your topic sentence
  3. Elaboration that clarifies how that evidence supports your claim

If you have several sources supporting your argument, you can mention them all in a paragraph.

In a synthesis essay outline, note a claim and evidence for every paragraph.

4. Mention a Rebuttal

One paragraph of your synthesis essay should cover an opposing view that challenges your position. Outline it as follows:

  1. State an alternative point to your argument; provide evidence to back up that view.
  2. Provide your counterargument to that view. Why is it not as valid as yours? Highlight your position on the topic.
  3. Share evidence to prove the opposing point is wrong.

Write about the rebuttal in the fourth body paragraph. If you follow a standard 5-paragraph structure, use two sections for your claims and one — for a counterargument to your claims. The other two remain for an intro and a conclusion.

5. Write a Conclusion

Summarize the points and restate your thesis to maintain your position. Finish your essay with a recommendation or a call to action for readers.

This final statement is a so-called big idea behind your paper. Leave readers with the food for thought. You can encourage them to continue investigating the topic to learn more and build their own attitude.

Outline for a Synthesis Essay: Example

This sample is here to give you an idea of what to write in every section. Please don’t copy it for your papers. It’s a sample for informative purposes.

Let’s say you write a synthesis essay, “Is the spread of fake news a problem?” 

Here’s what the outline might be:

I used some writing tools to assist me with this outline creation. You can do the same, but ensure to adjust and polish the outline to your position and needs.

Synthesis Essay Outline: Write Yours!

Now you know the components to cover in your outline for a synthesis essay. It’s time to practice and write one for your future paper!

  • Consider the provided template.
  • Use the given sample for inspiration.
  • Follow the structure and ensure to mention all the details.
  • Organize your arguments and evidence; oppose a counterargument.
  • Think of a memorable conclusion for readers.

Your outline is a plan. Once you have it, you’ll write an A-worthy synthesis essay faster, whether AP lang or general.