Language and Linguistics

What is a synthesis/Structure/example/types/step by step

Synthesis is a text that aims to summarize and present a base text, condensing its main and relevant information to the communication objective.

synthesis is a text that proposes to present another text in a summarized and impersonal way. Synthesis can summarize not only verbal texts but also paintings, films, images, graphics, etc. Its structure presents an introduction, development and conclusion, in addition to some specific characteristics of each text, such as the argumentative, critical or explanatory character. Although similar to a summary, the synthesis has a different structure and function.

What is a synthesis?

The synthesis is textual genre that proposes to identify key information of a base text, to present it in a summarized and objective way. The work of this text presupposes a carefully elaborated activity that aims, before writing, to make a deeper analysis of the base text, seeking, in addition to understanding its information, to analyze its structure and how its parts combine.

Your language should be objective and impersonal , avoiding personal opinions, information on other topics and direct transcriptions of the text. The synthesis should focus on presenting, in a condensed way, the information relevant to the analysis performed. Furthermore, the synthesis is not restricted to summarizing written texts, it is possible to present summaries of tables, graphs, images, etc.

Structure of a synthesis

The synthesis has a considerably flexible structure , as it does not need to follow the structure of the base text, however, it must be divided into introduction, development and conclusion. Each of the parts has a basic text presentation function.

In the introduction , reference should be made to the synthesized source, especially the theme and the author . It is time to present the subject to be addressed and, consequently, synthesized, as well as to indicate who is the author of the base text and its main characteristics and relationships with the subject.

The development is the moment to indicate the core subjects , to unveil the possible intentions of the author, to present and to analyze the strategies of connection between the parts of the text. Depending on what objective he has with the synthesis, the author can privilege one or another aspect of his source, in addition, the analysis can be more descriptive or argumentative , but always with the use of impersonal language.

Finally, the conclusion closes the previous discussions and explanations, and makes the last connections necessary to finalize the subject, adding to this part the last considerations regarding the base text .

Example of text synthesis

Little Red Riding Hood is the story of a girl who lives in a forest with her mother and who, one day, goes, for the first time, alone to her grandmother’s house. Having to cross the forest, the girl is faced with a wolf, who deceives her and arrives first at the grandmother’s house, swallowing her to deceive and devour the poor child as well. Little Red Riding Hood is saved by a hunter, who hears her cries and kills the wolf. The fairy tale teaches about the dangers of adult life as well as warns of the need to obey parents, serving as a model of behavior for children.

The previous synthesis concerns the famous story of Little Red Riding Hood. It is noticed that the text condenses the main information , so that everything that happens in the story is known, without an attachment to details. In addition, there is a critical reading about the role of the fairy tale in early childhood education.

Step by step on how to make a synthesis

In order to make a good synthesis, it is necessary to understand that in this type of text there is a strong relationship between reading and writing , because it summarizes a previous text, so it is necessary to carry out a deep reading of the reference text, seeking not only to understand its superficial message but also its intentional structuring, arguments, strategies, innovations and references.

With this reading of the base text, it is important to make notes with the highlighted topics, in addition to pertinent observations, everything so that, at the time of writing, there is a repertoire. Then, after this first step, the author can dedicate himself to synthesizing the text.

First, the information that is really relevant to the purpose of the synthesis must be analyzed, seeking to present it in a short and objective way. The size of the synthesis is a fundamental characteristic, so all kinds of unnecessary information must be avoided. Next, we can start with a brief presentation of the central aspects of the work and its author.

In the development, one must make use of the highlighted observations and considered pertinent , presenting them in a brief way. Depending on the type of synthesis, it is possible to present arguments, descriptions or explanations about the analyzed work. In conclusion, it is time to “tie” the ideas presented above, adding, if possible, the last considerations about the base text.

types of synthesis

One can speak of at least three types of syntheses :

  • argumentative
  • criticism
  • explanatory

A brief explanation of each follows:

  • Argumentative synthesis : presents a certain thesis on the base text, and, in this case, the information will be logically organized, seeking to evidence and defend its point of view, without the use of personal language.
  • Critical synthesis : it can be linked to the argumentative synthesis, and has the objective of discussing the ideas, information or characteristics of the base text, using, if necessary, reliable sources to base the analyses.
  • Explanatory synthesis : it focuses on helping readers understand the base text, thus, the author resorts to explanations to mediate this understanding. Unlike other types, this synthesis does not present or defend a point of view.

How to identify a synthesis?

Many people believe that synopsis, review, summary and annotation are synonymous with a synthesis. But in reality they are not. 

We can say that they are a kind of cousins ​​- each type has its own characteristics.

Find out what they are below and learn how to recognize a synthesis. 


The word synopsis refers to movies, doesn’t it? Its use to present the theme of a film production is quite common. 

Therefore, we soon make this association.

The synopsis is a brief account of the subject. It is the overview of a work. It works as a decoy, capable of arousing the reader’s attention.


The review, on the other hand, takes a very different approach. This textual production allows the insertion of opinions and points of view.

That is, in addition to explaining the main topics of a work, the author also includes his view on the subject.

In school and academic works , the review is highly requested. 

Faculty use the format to assess students’ understanding and critical thinking skills.

What is the difference between synthesis and summary?

Synthesis and summary are commonly confused genres , as both have basic characteristics in common, such as the synthesis of information and a base text. However, when studying them more deeply, it is possible to find structural and functional differences between the genres.

The abstract is a more informative text and its form is structured in the same way as the base text, its main purpose is to condense the central information of the analyzed work. Following this logic, the summary focuses only on facilitating the understanding of the message in the other text, without considering or highlighting aspects. Furthermore, the abstract can only focus on a verbal text .

The synthesis, on the other hand, has a more contextual and/or subjective character , since, in addition to considering the central information of the base text, it considers the information deemed relevant for the purpose of the synthesis in question. In this way, relevant information from the base text can be disregarded, but which are not necessarily relevant to the synthesis.

Furthermore, the synthesis has a greater reach, considering that it can be directed to different textual genres , such as painting, graphics, images, of which the author, in addition to describing them, can analyze the functional structure and/or aesthetics. .

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