Synthesis Essay Topics: 18 Ideas for Your Next Research Project

Build your argument with one of these 18 synthesis essay topics.

A synthesis essay gathers information from many sources on a topic. From that information, it will form a new idea, thesis statement, or question. This type of essay is common in academic situations, especially for college students.

Synthesis essay topics often look at contentious or controversial issues to create the foundation for the question. If you are assigned a synthesis paper, you will want to take the time to find an interesting topic that you can research thoroughly to create a persuasive, argumentative synthesis essay. Here are some suggestions of topics that can work well.

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1. The Reality of Global Warming

The earth is warming at an alarming rate, and scientists warn that it could have devastating effects if we don’t get a handle on it. Discuss the reality behind global warming and how it impacts us both in everyday life and potentially future.

This research paper topic has quite a few paths you could follow. You could discuss potential solutions that could help the climate change problem, the actual causes, and how serious the problem is.

2. Homeschooling Vs. Traditional School

Homeschooling is rising in popularity, particularly after the pandemic. This paper topic allows you to explore the pros and cons of this education choice, looking at different viewpoints to determine if it is the right education choice for today’s students.

In your essay, weigh the pros and cons of homeschooling. If your thesis favors this educational choice, address current concerns, such as the socialization aspect. If your thesis is against homeschooling, show some drawbacks and their negative impact on students.

3. Does Violent Content in Video Games Promote Violent Action?

The majority of video games today contain violent content. Harvard found that over 90% of the games rated for children ages ten and older contain violence, and 97% of youth ages 12 to 17 play video games. Your piece of writing could look at the potential or proven impacts of this violence on the children who play these games.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, exposure to violent video games can lead to real-life violent behavior. It has the potential to harm children in other ways. Your essay could expound on this research and argue how video game developers could contradict this effect.

4. Racial Injustice Within the Justice System

Recent news stories about injustice towards African-Americans and other cultural groups through the criminal justice system have led to questions about whether the system needs fixing. This synthesis essay idea could explore the extent of the problem and then suggest solutions that would limit the injustice against minorities. The problems within the justice system are well documented, giving you plenty of research to tap for this piece.

This topic idea has many potential routes you can take. You can pursue what the issue is and how to fix it, or you could argue about a particular cause of the injustice. You could even play the devil’s advocate and argue that the problem isn’t as bad as it seems. Regardless of the stance, you take, back it with research from many different sources because this is a very controversial topic.

5. Is Artificial Intelligence Dangerous?

Synthesis Essay Topics: Is Artificial Intelligence Dangerous
Your synthesis essay needs to take a position on the subject of AI and its role with people

The rise in artificial intelligence has led to several ethical questions. As computers get smarter and able to process on their own, people may wonder what the role of the machine is in humanity’s future. Some even fear that computers will become too smart, taking over where they should not.

Your synthesis essay needs to take a position on the subject of AI and its role with people. Then, you can back your stand on the various pieces of research you tap in your preparation for writing.

6. The Ethics of the Death Penalty

Do you support or oppose the death penalty for violent criminals? You can create a good explanatory synthesis essay defending your stance one way or the other, backing your stance with statistics and research. Keep in mind that you will find plenty of heated opinions on both sides of this issue.

To answer this question, consider whether or not the death penalty is ethically a fair punishment for crimes. Also, consider whether or not it helps reduce costs in the criminal justice system. Finally, consider whether or not it serves as an incentive to limit the number of violent crimes. After researching and answering these questions, you should be able to come to your conclusion, then back it with your sources.

7. What Is the Impact of Social Media Use?

Facebook went live in 2004, and in 2005 around 5% of American adults were using social media. In 2019 that number increased to 72%. Many more teens and even children are now using social media. This provides an interesting subject of discussion as you try to determine the impact of social media on society, and you can create a synthesis essay on this topic.

Is social media use helpful or harmful? How does it impact self-esteem, and does it impact children and teenagers’ social and emotional development? The answers to these questions will help you in your synthesis essay writing.

8. Should Universal Healthcare Be Available?

The cost of healthcare in America, as well as the cost of health insurance, is staggering. Many families struggle to afford this necessity, leading them to push for universal healthcare coverage. Is this the solution to the rising healthcare costs, or is there another way to address this serious issue?

Your synthesis essay writing project could explore this topic. You would need research that shows why the problem exists and research that shows potential solutions. Finally, you would need to conclude whether or not you feel the universal healthcare option is the solution or if it would make the problem worse.

9. The Different Causes of Air Pollution

Air pollution is a major contributor to global warming and even respiratory concerns in our country. You could craft an essay that explores why this is a problem and its potential solutions.

In your essay, you could also look at different solutions people have tried to address the problem of air pollution. For example, emissions testing and regulations on vehicles are in place in several states, like California, where pollution levels are high.

10. The Impact of Class Size on Education

Education has many factors that impact the quality of instruction students receive, but class size is one. In both elementary and high school classrooms, overcrowding has a significant negative impact on the quality of instruction. Teachers cannot deliver personalized instruction when their classes are too full.

Your essay could discuss this impact and look at ways districts can make classes smaller, even if they face teacher and staff shortages. It could also discuss strategies teachers could use to improve education even when dealing with large class sizes. Finally, you could discuss the academic performance of classes and schools based on class size to see if there is a correlation here.

11. What Is The American Dream?

Much has been written about the American Dream, but what is it? You could write a synthesis essay that discusses what captures the essence of the American Dream in your opinion, then back that up with proof from your resources.

Is the American Dream rich or famous? Is it finding a job or business that fulfills you emotionally? Or is it the freedom to explore what you enjoy most in life? Answer these questions in your essay.

12. How Have Beauty Standards Evolved and Impacted Americans?

Beauty standards are always changing, and much of the modern beauty standard comes from media portrayals of attractive people. Your essay could discuss where modern beauty standards come from, what they are, and whether or not they are good for the self-image of ordinary people.

With this essay topic, you could discuss how beauty standards look and how they have changed over time. You could also address how people have tried to adapt their lifestyles to meet changing beauty standards and the impact this has on society as a whole.

13. The Factors That Impact Business Productivity

Business productivity is a good synthesis essay topic because it is something that companies are always looking to improve. You can discuss various factors in a workplace that improve productivity, or you could choose one factor to look at more deeply.

The key to making this a synthesis essay is to pick a central thesis statement. Then, use your research to prove why that particular factor impacts business productivity. You can also discuss strategies businesses can use to implement the strategy.

14. The Ethics of Dress Codes

Do dress codes help or hurt people? Are there ethical concerns that can impact whether or not a dress code is wise for a school or work environment? This paper topic has quite a few ways you can take it, but it creates an interesting synthesis essay you can explore.

When talking about dress codes, be sure to consider the cultural implications. For example, if a dress code requires that everyone wear pants, but someone comes from a culture where women wear dresses or gowns, would they be able to adhere to the dress code? Thinking about this question outside of the box will help you create a strong essay.

15. Should Higher Education Be Free?

The cost of a college education is hard for several people, and college loan debt can take many years to repay. Yet, people need a college degree even to start a job in some career fields. You could build an essay around the question of making higher education free to open these economic and career opportunities to more people.

If you decide that it should be free, you will need to discuss how this would happen. If you decide that it should not, you should consider making it more affordable. Either way, you will have an interesting subject to explore.

16. Social Media and Stereotyping

An interesting twist on the social media synthesis essay is to look at the stereotyping that occurs because of social media. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok that have video and photography content have a highly visual presentation, and that could cause stereotyping of different cultural groups.

Is this a problem with these social media platforms? If it is, does the content creator or the audience contribute to the issue? Ethical questions like these make the best synthesis essay topics.

17. What Threats Do Drones Make to People’s Privacy?

Drones are more than just a fun toy to give during the holiday season. They also have a role in the government and military, and some people view this as a threat. In addition, camera drones, even when just used by hobbyists, can invade people’s privacy.

In your essay, discuss these very real concerns and the potential solutions. Drones represent a threat to privacy, so what can be done to protect people’s privacy and rights? How should the government’s use of drones be policed and protected?

18. Do Audiobooks Have the Same Value as Paper Books?

You can also talk about the benefit of audiobooks for students who struggle with reading

Audiobooks provide an alternative to reading paper books, and you can explore their merit in an essay. Research audiobooks and determine if they have the same impact on literacy and vocabulary development as reading paper books.

Once you conclude, back your thesis up with research. You can also talk about the benefit of audiobooks for students who struggle with reading. With audiobooks, could they gain the vocabulary and literacy skills they need when reading is hard? Are there benefits to reading traditional books that are lost with audiobooks? Explore these ideas in your essay.

Tip: If writing an essay sounds like a lot of work, simplify it. Write a simple 5 paragraph essay instead.

If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics.

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.