Helpful Pointers for Your Background Synthesis Essay

An essay that some teachers require in their subject is the background synthesis essay. It is an essay where the student is asked to put together different points of view of a certain issue. The challenge is not just finding the various positions, but showing how and why they connect. Without such a synthesis, the paper will look like a bunch of ideas that were just mashed together.

Some teachers assign the background synthesis essay for further mastery of a topic as this entails both the positive and negative positions, giving the student a well-rounded view of a key issue in society. Other teachers require this as a prelude to a bigger academic paper, such as a research paper or thesis.

Pointers for the background synthesis essay

  • Research well

As the whole point of a background synthesis essay is to understand the full issue, it is necessary to consult several sources. Most teachers will expect you to have at least two to three sources per theme that you will discuss. For example, if you plan on examining the pros and cons of online degree courses, you’ll need at least four resources to begin. But the deeper you dig into the issue, you will find yourself requiring more resources to discuss additional ideas that come your way.

  • Take detailed notes as you read

Because of all the sources that you will be referencing, it will be hard to remember everything. As you read, it makes sense to create detailed notes to help you in the future. Some students do this by using index cards as they are easy to shuffle around. Others may take notes on their computer. It helps to write down the key facts and ideas along with the source’s details (page number, edition) so that you can quickly find them when it is time to write.

  • Creativity is needed in the Introduction

The Intro and Conclusion require creativity. In the Introduction, creativity is needed to catch the reader’s attention so that the person is interested in what you are about to present. This is often done by including compelling data, a relevant anecdote, or a popular quote.

  • Synthesizing in the Body

When writing the Body, it will make more sense to allocate one paragraph per theme. This makes it easier for the reader to grasp what is being shared. Each theme should have input from two or more resources to show that you understood what each source said and how they link together.

  • Tying things up in the Conclusion

As this is a background synthesis essay, the ending will probably be semi-neutral. This means you will not favor a particular side.


The background synthesis essay is a great way to prepare for the more difficult academic papers you are sure to encounter in college or graduate school. Do take note of the pointers above so that you have an edge when making your synthesis essay.

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