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The Difference Between A Synthesis And A Response Essay: A Brief Guide

Sometimes you’re asked to write a synthesis essay and you start wondering whether it’s the same thing as a response essay. Or, you could be asked to write a response essay and instead find yourself writing a synthesis essay. This is why you need to know the difference between the two. Here are a few facts to keep in mind;

  1. A synthesis essay gives insight whereas a response essay communicate your point of view
  2. The main purpose of a synthesis essay is to make insightful connections. In other words, you will be required to highlight and thereafter discuss the relationships between parts of the same work or parts of two or more different works. It is your job to find out and explain in detail why these connections exist and their impact. Response essays, on the other hand give you the chance to communicate your point of view on a given topic.

    Typically, you’ll be given a book, a paper, an article or any other piece of information and asked to give your opinion in the values and ideas contained therein.

  3. In synthesis writing, you don’t take sides, in response essays, you take sides
  4. Perhaps the clearest difference between these two forms of writing is that in one you’re required to take a side while in the other you’re not required to take any side.

    To write a compelling synthesis essay, what you need to do is to fully understand the situation and then pinpoint any relationships between certain ideas or values. Whether or not the relationships are important is a matter for a different time; at the moment, what is important is whether there are relationships and if so which relationships.

    Response essays, on the other hand, require that you read and comprehend the book or paper in question and then respond accordingly. This means that you need to take one side. For instance, you may be asked if what happed in a certain chapter was good or bad. To do this, you need to take one side.

  5. In synthesis you create new knowledge; response essays don’t create any new knowledge
  6. In synthesis essays, you’re require to use existing knowledge to create a new body of knowledge; a new perspective. Response essays simply communicate your position; you don’t need to create any new body of knowledge. Use this great resource to learn more.