Steps and rules to writing a good summary in research

In academic writing, summarising refers to giving a concise overview of the main points of a text using your own words. A summary relates to an explanation that might feel like you are telling your friend the quick short details about a particular thing. A summary must always be shorter than the original text you are summarising from.

How can you write a good Summary?

Writing a summary does not need you to analyse or critique the source of your material. Instead, while you summarise, you need to create an accurate, objective, and straightforward account of the essential ideas and information without completely copying any text from your source material and missing any critical points.

When do you need to write a summary?

There are various scenarios where you might need to summarise one article or a paper from another source.

It might be an assignment that is needed to show that you correctly understand the material given to you.

To keep notes, these would help you properly understand everything you have read.

Summaries also give you a quick review of various other works available in a literature review.

Whenever you are writing an academic text like a dissertation or a research paper, you would branch and go through the work of various other researchers in different ways. At times, you might need to use a brief quote that would help you support all of the points you have listed. You might need to paraphrase or rewrite some of the paragraphs or some of the sentences.

It is appropriate for you to summarise entire chapters or articles if that article or chapter is essential to your research. Or if it is to provide an overview of a source before you could either critique it or analyse it.

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In any case, the goal of summarising is to give your reader a better understanding of the source. Please take a look at the following steps to understand our points.

  • It would be best if you adequately read your text.

Make sure you read the source of the original article more than once. It would be best if you read it more than once to understand it properly. You should read the original piece in three different stages. These stages include scanning the article for you to get a better sense of its overall shape and the topic. You should then read the source carefully and then highlight essential points. As you do this, you also take notes as you read.

Then you could skim the article again and confirm that you properly understand all the key points. Then you should reread all crucial parts of the source.

It would be best if you began by reading the abstract. The abstract already has the summary of the work from the author. This lets you know all you should expect to see from the source material.

Read the conclusion and the introduction together and adequately compare them. Check out the paper’s outcome and compare it with the things the author of the source material set out to get.

  • Break your source material into different sections

To understand the original text, you can break it down into different sections. This would help make the text better, and it would help you break everything down into minor parts.

  • Know the essential points available in each of the sections

It is time for you to go through every part and select the vital points gently. Look out for things your reader needs to know to understand the complete and the general conclusion or the article’s argument.

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It would be best to remember that a summary does not require you to continue paraphrasing all parts of the source material. The essence of an outline is to bring out the essential key points. Any other thing that could be seen as either supplementary information or detail, you should not add that.

List of things to look out for when writing a Summary in Academic Writing

Here is a list of things you should look out for when organising a summary of the source material in some academic articles.

  • Introduction
  • What Research Problem or Question was addressed?
  • What are the formulated hypotheses
  • Which methods were used?
  • Which type of research was carried out
  • Was qualitative or quantitative techniques used to collect the data?
  • How was the data analysed?
  • What were the results?
  • What were the essential findings?
  • Were all of the hypotheses agreed?
  • What are the conclusion and the discussion?
  • What is the answer to the research question?
  • What are the implications of the results
  • Are there important limitations?
  • Are there essential recommendations?

Suppose the article decides to take a very different form. In that case, you could need to think carefully about the essential points and the points you need to add for the reader to understand all of the arguments and know that you know the summary you are putting forward.

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You need to pay particular attention to your thesis statement from this case. The central claim here that the author needs to understand mostly appears in the introduction. Then the topic sentences signal all of the essential ideas of every paragraph.

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After knowing and understanding all of the critical points an article hopes to communicate, you need to put all of them in your own words.

To avoid copyright infringement and plagiarism altogether and to show you understand all that this piece is talking about, you must adequately rewrite and paraphrase all of the ideas organised and arranged by the author. Make sure you never copy and paste a part of the source in your summary. Do not try to copy, even if it is a sentence.

A great way to do this is to forget about the article for a while and then write everything out from your understanding on all the key points listed and attached by the author.

I hope you got value for your time reading Steps to writing a good summary in research? Kindly share and check other content for your academic writing success.


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