How to Write a Critical Synthesis Essay
A critical synthesis essay revolves around two main types of methodology: criticism and synthesis. This kind of paper is an appropriate place to discuss a topic from different points of view.
Under “criticism” you should not understand something like “being critical to a given standpoint” but rather search causal chains and logical order. Critical thinking is the basis of contemporary society, as it does not admit the existence of absolute truths or absolute values. One always should prove their thesis in a rational manner, no matter who they are or what have they done before. No one is protected from criticism, and actually only by critical thinking can we achieve more certainty and gain more knowledge. In short, criticism is to be comprehended in its opposition to dogmatism, i.e. the attitude that there are eternal, everlasting and absolute truths.
Synthesis is a method which is related to integration of different points of view and different sides of one and the same issue. In contrast with analysis, synthesis starts from the particulars and concludes with universal statements (but they are not dogmatical). For example, if an analytical procedure comprises bringing a problem down to its basic elements, a synthesis is always focused on bringing these parts and elements together, in order to reach an innovative interpretation of the problem.
This method has the following advantages:
- it takes into account various points of view.
- it is of heuristic essence (it can lead very often to new and surprising conclusions).
- it reflects the character of reality better, since the world consists of integrated elements (which only our intellect conceives as separate elements).
How to write a critical synthesis essay – 10 things you should do
It is pretty hard writing a critical synthesis essay without good preparation. Hence, it is recommended to plan your work well in advance, and also to collect the required information according to the main thesis of the paper.
1. Speak with your instructor about the topic. Tell him/her about your ideas and working hypothesis. Listen to their advice.
2. Find an appropriate topic. Be careful because topics which you are unfamiliar with will take you a lot of time (you should be more effective).
3. Manage your time. Plan how long it will take you to collect information, to write the first draft and to revise it. For a short essay 3 weeks would be enough.
4. Define precisely your thesis. Remember that the thesis cannot be changed during the writing process. Try to relate the thesis to the topic.
5. Find reliable sources; i.e., not “opinions” on the forums or newspaper articles written by ignorants.
6. Be pluralistic. Present several points of view on the topic (at least two, at most five, but this depends on the length of the paper).
7. Discern facts from opinions. When you refer to facts, always emphasize this.
8. Present your arguments smoothly, without logical leaps (i.e., arguments should be logically ordered and related to each other).
9. Cite correctly and always refer to the correct title and page (be careful, particularly with the page numbers).
10. Follow only one academic style of reference (MLA, APA, Chicago, and so forth).
The critical synthesis essay does not intend to compare, to describe, or merely to present information. On the contrary, you have to integrate particular elements from each point of view, so that they form a unified conception. This would be an ideal case of critical synthesis. Thus, by following our instructions you will know more about how to write a critical synthesis essay. However, a process of writing cannot be taught only on paper, so you’d better start researching the topic and planning your draft as soon as possible.
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