Sometimes the wording of your assignment will direct you to what sorts of themes or traits you should look for in your synthesis.
At other times, though, you may be assigned two or more sources and told to synthesize them.
Although at its most basic level a synthesis involves combining two or more summaries, synthesis writing is more difficult than it might at first appear because this combining must be done in a meaningful way and the final essay must generally be thesis-driven.
In composition courses, “synthesis” commonly refers to writing about printed texts, drawing together particular themes or traits that you observe in those texts and organizing the material from each text according to those themes or traits.
Instead of attending to categories or finding similarities and differences, synthesizing sources is a matter of pulling them together into some kind of harmony.
Synthesis searches for links between materials for the purpose of constructing a thesis or theory.
Whether you want to present information on child rearing to a new mother, or details about your town to a new resident, you'll find yourself synthesizing too.
And just as in college, the quality and usefulness of your synthesis will depend on your accuracy and organization.
This gives your synthesis a purpose, and even a thesis of sorts.
Because each discipline has specific rules and expectations, you should consult your professor or a guide book for that specific discipline if you are asked to write a review of the literature and aren't sure how to do it. It may involve analysis, as well, along with classification, and division as you work on your organization.