Writing a summary is an essential skill in academia that students must learn.
A summary is something that tells you the main points in a text or a piece of literature. It could be written in a paragraph or two. A summary could be about a research paper, movie, newspaper article, or novel.
This blog aims to provide you with the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to write an effective summary for your academic essays.
It will also describe what a summary should include and gives you some useful tips on how to avoid common mistakes when writing one.
Steps to Write a Summary
“How to write a good summary?”
Follow these steps to write a high-scoring summary.
- 1. Reading and Understanding the Text
To summarize a text, you first need to understand it. You can read the text in the following three stages:
- Scan: You can scan the text to get general know-how of the text and understand its context.
- Read: Read the text to mark the important details of the passage. Underline the details that you want to mention in summary.
- Skim: Just quickly go through the text to see if you have missed any significant detail.
Read the text and its headings or other subheadings. Also, pay special attention to the introduction and conclusion to understand it properly.
- 2. Sectioning the Given Text
If the text you are summarizing is a published paper, the chances are that it will be organized properly. But, the text may be written in the form of a single large paragraph or not sectioned properly.
In this case, section the text according to the points mentioned. Dividing the text will help you understand and summarize it better.
- 3. Identifying the Key Points
Now is the time to pick the important points. You will be writing these points in the summary. These points help in conveying the main idea or details of the passage through the summary.
Some of the key details include:
- The thesis statement or the main message.
- The central research question, hypothesis, or observation.
- Methods or techniques used for the analysis or writing of the paper.
- Results or key findings of the paper.
- Any significant discussion or details.
The thesis statement and the topic sentences of the paragraphs are particularly important to notice. They will guide you to write the summary.
- 4. Writing the Summary
After properly understanding the text and identifying the points that you want to mention in summary, you can start writing it. Write it in your own words or at least paraphrase the original words.
Also, keep plagiarism in check. Your summary should sum up the original text, not copy it.
- 5. Cross Checking
When you are done writing, crosscheck the summary with the passage. See if the summary has all the main points that are mentioned in the original text. Also, check if the summary as a whole conveys the same meaning as the original text.
- 6. Proofreading
At last, reread your summary yourself or get it proofread by an expert. You might have made any grammatical or contextual errors. They will be identified through this process. Then, make the necessary revisions and create a final draft of the summary.
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Purpose of Summarizing Text
When you read something, sometimes you need to summarize it. So, there are the following reasons for summarizing a text:
- You make a summary of someone else's work in a literature review.
- You may summarize it as a requirement for a journal or conference that is getting your paper published.
- Sometimes, you summarize to make sure that you understand the material or recall it later.
- You write a summary to complete an assignment given by a teacher.
You can write a summary for these or other reasons. But its main aim is to write a shorter version of a lengthy piece of writing, to understand it easily.
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Summary Writing Format
When writing a summary, keep the following formatting details in mind:
- 1. Topic Sentence
Write a strong topic sentence that adequately summarizes the context of the passage or its major point.
- 2. Paragraphing
Write it in the form of paragraphs. But do not extend to too many paragraphs because a summary is supposed to be short.
Follow the order of details and events that is followed in the original text. Add quoted material in summary by enclosing it in quotation marks.
- 3. Concluding Sentence
Add a concluding sentence that effectively concludes your summary.
- 4. Citations
You can use source material from the original text to exemplify the details in the summary. Cite their sources at the end of the summary.
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Tips for Writing a Good Summary
The tips mentioned below will help you write a good summary that comprehends the given text well.
- Keep the main idea of the original text in view. Your summary should be in line with it.
- Do not add any new examples, sources, information, etc. A summary should only include details from the original passage.
- Try to keep the summary as short as possible. Do not make it too lengthy or add unnecessary details.
- Do not add your opinion or judgment of the original text. Instead, just write the significant points in your own words.
- Ensure the flow and transitions between sentences and paragraphs. Your summary should not look like separate points written together. Rather, it should be a cohesive whole.
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How to Write a Summary Example
How to write a LinkedIn summary
How to write a resume summary
How to write an executive summary for a report
How to write a summary of an article
How to write a summary of a book
How to write a project summary
Summarizing text is a way to condense or overview information that you have read. This could be helpful when reading some literature or doing an assignment.
So, read the tips and steps given above and get started now.
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