Synthesis Essay Example and Rubric

In the next section, you will write a synthesis essay in which you will include your ideas on a topic. Here, you will find a sample synthesis essay that will guide you and the rubric that will point out the elements considered in assessing your essay. Carefully examine the information on this page prior to writing your essay. 

This essay example discusses the topic: "Is The Future Paperless?". It synthesizes a variety of viewpoints into a coherent, well-written essay. Notice how the author includes his/her own point of view in paragraph 2? Use this example as a guide to writing a good synthesis essay of your own. Remind yourself that a synthesis is NOT a summary. 

SAMPLE Synthesis Essay

Is going paperless the future? For schools, the answer is likely no, or not for some time. Paper documentation is still critical in the school environment, especially in administration. Student records contain sensitive information, and if online, in a paperless system, these records can be vulnerable to hacking. And while the idea of a school's records being hacked might seem alarmist, recall the recent hack of the United States Office of Personnel Management's hack. Schools might contain similar identifying information and might therefore be tempting to hackers. 


Besides hacking, paper documents continue to have an advantage in established workplaces like schools. There, workflows already incorporate paper documents, and online systems operate only with significant investment in retraining. Students, too, rely on paper. For me, it is easier to get the full picture of an assignment from reading text written on a piece of paper rather than looking at a screen. True that some schools have initiatives in getting iPads and laptops for their students, but these expensive technologies are not as customizable by teachers as paper handouts, so their use is limited. Also, most people would like to have a paper backup in case something happens to their digital device.

Paper and document technology are crucial to the current school environment, both in administration and students' own lives. As a company, H.G. Bissinger Office Technology is especially attuned to the significance of paper for education. They recently promoted one of their customer service managers to a new task force on meeting the document technology needs for education. That manager, Lyla Garrity, had created a uniquely strong collaborative relationship with Permian College. Through their work together, she realized that educational document services are an area that specialists could greatly improve, compared to unspecialized, general service that most schools suffer through.

H.G. Bissinger Office Technology leases 10 copiers to the Northwest Local School District, along with technical support and copier supplies, excluding paper. For a school, the large investment in a machine is shadowed by the uncertainty of how far from obsolescence a machine might be. Also, purchasing a copier outright will leave the school or business to handle service on its own. Additionally, in these financially limited times, the initial investment of a large sum can be difficult to justify or approve. For schools, uncertainty over future budgets often makes a lease a more flexible option.

Most copier leases deal with equipment costs by including provisions in which the client must purchase the machine at the end of the lease. More recently, lease companies like H.G. Bissinger Office Technology are offering leases that are more like rentals. After the monthly fee is paid, the company will take the machine back.



Each of the five items below is worth from 2 to 8 points. To calculate your composite score for your rough draft, add together your scores for all five rubric items below. The maximum score for your final draft is 40 points.

1. Evidential Support

  • Excellent (8 points): I have clearly synthesized the content from the article, paraphrasing the ideas and connecting them to opinions to demonstrate comprehension. All of the main claims in my essay are supported by reasons based on accurate factual evidence derived from the article or a properly-formatted quotation, paraphrase, and/or summary of the assigned text. 
  • Proficient (6 points): I have clearly synthesized the content from the article, paraphrasing the ideas and related topics to demonstrate comprehension; however, my essay does not clearly reflect my opinion on the topic. The majority of the main claims in my essay are backed up by specific factual evidence, although a small number of my claims may be unsubstantiated statements or broad generalizations. When quoting or paraphrasing the assigned reading, I may occasionally misrepresent it or take it out of context. 
  • Adequate (4 points): I have synthesized the content from the article, paraphrasing the ideas and related topics to demonstrate comprehension, but my essay does not mention my point of view on the topic. At least half of the main claims in my essay are based on factual evidence or properly cited passages from the assigned reading. The other half of my claims may be unreasonable, lack quoted or factual support, may be based on misinformation or misreading, may consist of broad generalizations, or may distort and incorrectly format the assigned text.
  • Not Yet Adequate (2 points): I have synthesized some of the content from the article, but my paraphrasing demonstrates limited comprehension of the topic, and my opinion on the topic is not addressed. On balance, most of the claims in my essay are unsubstantiated or based on distortions (or misreadings) of the assigned text. 
  • No Points Awarded (0 points): I have demonstrated minimal synthesis of the topic. My essay does not support its claims with evidence of any kind; my essay does not make claims in response to the prompt.


2. Persuasive Appeals

  • Excellent (8 points): My essay uses a variety of persuasive appeals (emotion, logic, and credibility) to support its claims.
  • Proficient (6 points): My essay uses some of the strategies effectively (as above) some of the time.
  • Adequate (4 points): My essay uses at least one persuasive appeal correctly, but may sometimes use them unfairly or unconvincingly.
  • Not Yet Adequate (2 points): If my essay uses persuasive appeals at all, it does so unfairly or unconvincingly.
  • No Points Awarded (0 points): My essay uses none of the standard persuasive appeals discussed in this course.


3. Rhetorical Strategies

  • Excellent (8 points): My essay uses a variety of the following rhetorical strategies persuasively and appropriately:
    • Comparison and Contrast
    • Definition of Terms
    • Cause and Effect Analysis
  • Proficient (6 points): My essay uses some of the rhetorical strategies employed by an excellent essay (above); my essay usually uses these strategies with a clear purpose, but may sometimes (for example) define a term without putting it to use, or draw a contrast without showing what it signifies.
  • Adequate (4 points): My essay makes little use of the rhetorical strategies employed by an excellent essay, and may often do so without clear purpose and without using these techniques to persuade my reader; my essay may sometimes use these techniques incorrectly (for example, by providing inaccurate definitions of terms, or by confusing cause and effect).
  • Not Yet Adequate (2 points): My essay incorporates few or no rhetorical appeals, and when it does, it does not use them correctly or persuasively.
  • No Score Awarded (0 points): My essay does not use any of the rhetorical appeals used by an excellent essay (listed above).


4. Grammar

  • Excellent (8 points): The grammar errors on the list below, singly or in combination, occur no more than once per 250 words; no persistent patterns of grammar errors are present in the paper; errors do not distract the reader.
  • Proficient (6 points): The errors on the list below, singly or in combination, occur no more than two times per 250 words; single errors from the list below may begin to recur and form a pattern of error; grammar errors are occasionally distracting to the reader.
  • Close to Proficient (4 points): The errors on the list below, singly or in combination, occur on average three times per 250 words; single errors from the list below may recur and form a distinct pattern of error; errors of haste or lack of proofreading are present; grammar errors are persistently distracting to the reader.
  • Not Yet Adequate (2 points): Grammar errors are numerous and impede the reader's comprehension of my essay; my essay reflects a lack of proofreading.


Common Grammatical Errors:

Each error type you have studied is shown next to an example of the error.

Subject/verb disagreement

Rock and roll are here to stay.

Verb tense shift

When I got home, the dog is on the couch.

Sentence fragments

Just words sitting there.

Comma splices

I came home, I went to bed.

Fused sentences

I came home I went to bed.

Misplaced modifiers

Lying by the side of the road, I found a pile of money.

Pronoun-antecedent disagreement

When one is tired, he should go to sleep.


5. Style

  • Excellent (8 points): An excellent essay is stylistically eloquent and avoids the seven common problems listed here:
    • Choppiness
    • Wordiness
    • Inappropriate Punctuation
    • Faulty Parallel Structure
    • Excessive or Inappropriate Use of the Passive Voice
    • Use of weak "to be" verbs rather than strong, active verbs
    • Failure to maintain a formal, rational, objective, unbiased, and academic tone that is directed at an educated audience
  • Proficient (6 points): My essay reads clearly, but may occasionally exhibit one or two of the stylistic errors avoided by an excellent essay (above).
  • Adequate (4 points): Not always, but distractingly often, my essay does not read smoothly because it repeats singly or in combination with the stylistic errors listed above.
  • Not Yet Adequate (2 points): My essay exhibits the stylistic errors above so frequently that it is very difficult to read.


Use this checklist to review each of your sentences for errors:

  1. Read each sentence out loud. Do they sound correct? Is anything missing? You can add to your sentences if you want to explain more about your topic.
  2. Spelling – Is every word spelled correctly?
  3. Correct words – Did you use the right word? Many words in English look similar but have different meanings (for example, like and lick). Check each word to make sure it's the right one.
  4. Timeline order – Are your events in the correct order? Make sure your sentences don't jump around.
  5. Past tense – Are the verbs in each sentence conjugated in past tense? Go back and review verb endings if you're not sure.
  6. Describing words – Do each of your sentences include at least one adjective or one adverb?
  7. Capitalization – The first word in every sentence should be capitalized. After the first word, only proper nouns (like people's names) should be capitalized. Everything else should be lower case.
  8. Punctuation – Does each sentence end with a period? Questions may end with a question mark (?), and exclamations may end with an exclamation mark (!), but most of your sentences should end with a period (.).

Source: Saylor Academy
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Last modified: Monday, October 5, 2020, 7:11 PM