Synthesis video transcript

Video acknowledgements:
Music: CC licence
All images CC0 Public Domain

Synthesis definition

To synthesise means to bring together diverse elements to construct a new meaning or idea.

Examples of synthesis in writing

Synthesis requires citations containing multiple sources, for instance (Jones, 2014; Philips, 2015; Smith, 2016) or ‘This is supported by the recent large scale research studies conducted by Jones (2014), Philips (2015) and Smith (2016) into the effects of…’.


  • A strong relationship between X and Y has been reported in the literature (Jones, 2014; Philips, 2015; Smith, 2016).
  • These findings corroborate the ideas of Prissette and Guimbretiere (2008), who suggested that …
  • These results are consistent with those of Fernandez and Zarino (2015) who …
  • This is in agreement with Vuolo’s (2013) findings which showed that….
  • This supports previous research into the link between X and Y.
  • This outcome is contrary to that of Brossier et al. (2011) who found that …
  • This finding is contrary to previous studies which have suggested that …
  • The levels observed in this investigation are far below those observed by Okore et al. (2007). This suggests that …..
  • These differences can be explained in part by…
  • These factors may explain the relatively good correlation between X and Y.

Profession specific examples of synthesis in writing

Please note: These examples are for illustration only and should not be copied – citations have been fictionalised. Examples based on the writing of Level 7 students in the School of Health and Social Work.


  • WHO (2015) states that Vaginal Birth after Caesarean (VBAC) offers the most enhanced outcomes for both mother and baby.  This viewpoint had already been emphasised by Gurung et al. (2014) in their meta-analysis positing that VBAC lowered maternal morbidity and mortality compared to repeat CS.  Therefore, benefits of VBAC are beyond any reasonable doubt.  Jones et al. (2016) attests that even low risk women giving birth in an obstetric unit are three times more likely to receive a Caesarean Section (CS).  It may be argued that if low risk women are this vulnerable, VBAC women may be highly exposed to unnecessary intervention.  Therefore, “Kate” was given accurate evidence based information which enabled her to make informed choices about her subsequent mode and place of birth. This is also in line with the recommendations highlighted in the report recently published by Tomlinson et al. (2017).
  • It is important to put in place a high coverage of skilled midwives who embrace the social model of care at delivery and antenatal care (NICE, 2016).  This would position women and their offspring in contact with practitioners who can effectively and safely manage pregnancy, labour and birth (NICE, 2016).  Furthermore, these proficient practitioners would be able to prevent, detect and treat or appropriately refer when complications arise and interventions become necessary (Wong et al. 2016; WHO, 2014).   Women like Diana may encounter a second medicalised pregnancy and birth simply because practitioners may implement prophylactic measures. These measures include early admission and unwarranted continuous CTG monitoring which may raise anxiety levels, reduce mobility and induce white coat hypertension (Collins & O’Leary, 2015).  Over medicalisation is associated with igniting the fight or flight response which stimulates the adrenal cortex to release cortisol, the stress hormone (Dixon et al. 2015).  Goupi et al. (2017) postulate that women who opt for midwifery-led care, expect to be cared for by midwives who share their same values around birth.  In line with the evidence from the literature, the student midwife was supported by midwives who could discern normality and deviation from the norm, thus protecting Diana’s goal of normal birth.

Mental Health Nursing:

  • There are several different perspectives on mental health recovery spanning the literature. The concept first emerged in the United States from two distinct areas: the user/survivor movement who were challenging the medicalisation of mental health difficulties (Ahmed, 2011; Holmes et al., 2014) and psychiatric professionals who were concerned with some aspects of clinical Psychiatric rehabilitation (Johnson, 2012; Konstantinos & Carter, 2015). Currently, there appears to be two further distinctions: that of the uniquely individual, internal process (Boudieu et al., 2016) and that which relates to the social context in which a person experiences recovery (Williams & Burns, 2016). An additional lens on the concept of mental health recovery is observed by people who identify as Mad (Meier, 2017). There is much crossover, some dispute, and this might explain why there is no agreed upon global definition of recovery.

Further Resources

A guide to synthesis

(Online PDF – University of Bedfordshire)

An excellent and easy-to-use guide to synthesis.

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