Essay Types: Su–T

Essay Types: Su–T

by Owen Fourie

What is involved in each of these kinds of essays?

(If you are a new reader of this blog, the introduction to this particular category will help you to understand how this post fits into the bigger picture.)


Read and understand the fiction or nonfiction text that is assigned to be summarized.

Give a one-sentence summing-up of the whole work as your thesis in the introductory paragraph of your essay.

Summarize the main points in the body paragraphs with supporting evidence from the original text. If it is a story, the main features of the plot must be noted as well as the characters, particularly the protagonist and the antagonist.

The summary does not permit your commentary or opinion. The essay has no conclusion apart from the ending of the original text. The summary ends where the text ends.


Draw from a variety of sources on a given topic and analyze the information to arrive at various generalizations and an overview.

Focus on a particular issue, theme, or question.

Create a thesis statement that is not necessarily cast in argumentative form because your purpose is more to inform than to persuade, although argumentation in support of your thesis is not entirely excluded.

Synthesis requires you to bring together the ideas of various authors and speakers in a matter to which you contribute your viewpoint too, not merely an opinion.

Introduce your thesis, the ideas you will develop, and the sources that you will synthesize in support.

Use relevant quotes from your sources. Interpret your sources accurately and bring clarity to the issue. Point out the differences and similarities amongst the sources and areas in which you agree and disagree. Show how your sources relate to your thesis.

Leave the door open for further research and analysis as you conclude.

Synthesis is also used in various papers such as research, argument, analysis, thesis, dissertation, business, problem-and-solution, and comparison-and-contrast. Synthesis essays are useful as they sharpen the student’s critical thinking, research, and assessment skills.


Technical essays usually describe processes in subjects found in courses such as physics, electronics, computer science, space technology, and mathematics.

Research must be done in order to master the material and be able to explain clearly and precisely what is involved and, if required, the broader issues of the subject too. It will give evidence and data in support of a thesis statement.

Such writing could contribute to the compilation of technical manuals.

Look under Process or Process Analysis.

Term Paper

Follow closely the specific instructions given for your term paper.

Plan to include any research that may be needed. Ascertain whether it is to be purely expository or to be arguing a point, thereby requiring it to be persuasive. Compose a thesis statement.

The term paper is a measure of your learning during a particular academic period, term, or semester set down in detail in a document of several pages.

Thesis or Dissertation

Note that this is for advanced academic degrees requiring original research, a new hypothesis, analysis and synthesis of existing literature, thorough awareness of new discoveries in the chosen subject, and advancement of a new perspective.

These terms tend to be used synonymously. There are distinguishing factors that are noted elsewhere.

Confusion also arises with different uses in the USA (thesis if enrolled in master’s program; dissertation for PhD) and the UK (dissertation if enrolled in master’s program; thesis for PhD).


What good or bad experiences have you had with any of the kinds of essays mentioned in this post? Under any of the types in this post, are there points about them that you feel are missing and should be included? Do you have any useful insights? What are your particular struggles? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

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