Summary Writing Tips

  1. Read: Begin by reading the entire document, either once or twice without taking any notes. It would be impossible to make any summary if one does not fully understand the original text. If you find that some sections of the writing are unclear, go back, read, and re-read them. It may be helpful to describe the central points in the material read then you can confirm whether you have understood the main points as you continue with the second step.
  2. Read Again: Re-read the material once more and underline the essential details as he/she proceeds. The focus must be on the thesis statement and the topic sentences of every paragraph. It will be helpful if you try to summarize each paragraph at a time.
  3. Underline the Main Points: In the third step, go through the larger document. However, you should cancel any underlined or highlighted content, which you believe is not important.
  4. Draft the Summary using your wording by synthesizing the material you have read. Include all the material that you underlined as important. Even if the material is too much, you will still revise later.
  5. Edit the first draft summary. Eliminate any irrelevant wordings and merge related themes or ideas into concise sentences.
  6. Validate your Summary: Confirm with the original document whether you have maintained the most important details without altering the meaning of the main arguments of the original content.
  7. Copy edit and proofread your final summarized piece by checking the clarity of sentences and paragraphs. Proper use of transitions and ensuring the ideas flow logically. If properly followed, these steps should result in a good summary.

 What is a Summary?

A summary refers to the synthesis of the main ideas of the written material. It involves paraphrasing the components of a written document. In essay writing, it is important to exercise caution to avoid copying the exact words used in the original piece. Through summarizing, students learn how to ignore irrelevant material in a text, discern important points, and sensibly synthesize the central points. Overall, summarizing improves students’ memory of what they read.

How Do We Summarize?

Before we begin to summarize, the first thing is to read and understand the material. It would be impossible to make a summary of a document which we do not understand the content. To make a typical summary, here is how we proceed:

Carefully read through the original material and mark any words that you do not understand. Then, look for the meanings of these words and write the meaning above these words.

Moreover, read the material twice or even more if necessary. Read and re-read it until you grasp the central theme, main arguments and form a rough picture of what the summary arrangement would look like. Take notes of any headings, title, and subtitles. If the document is long, you may split it into smaller sections and give each section a heading. Usually, these headings indicate main ideas. If the document does not have any headings, then focus on the introduction. In essence, you will find the thesis statement and an overview of the topic.

Use your words to write an outline of the piece in point form. The outline contains the thesis statement and the topic sentences. It should not include the supporting contents such as examples, specific facts, and statistics.

Use the outline to create a rough draft summary. The first sentence should contain the name or topic of the piece being summarized, the author and date of publication. Then, we should complete the sentence by stating the controlling idea or the thesis statement.

Next, the author’s key points in the order in which they appear in the original document. Follow each key point with a brief explanation or clarification of the point in your own words. The essence is to condense the author’s original details into concise statements which maintain the gist of the original main points.

Write a brief conclusion. Finally, revise your summary draft until you feel it is concise, coherent and makes sense to any reader who is unfamiliar with the original material. You could find someone to go through the work to confirm clarity.

How do you end a summary?

There are various ways of ending a summary. I prefer ending my summaries by pointing the implications of the arguments presented in the original document. What do the arguments imply, or suggest or involve? Such a conclusion might make either a related or a new point that the author’s arguments are or are not possible. Another way of ending a summary is saying the relevance of the article. Another way is to restate what you have already said in the article.

How Do You Make A Good Summary?

A summary is defined as a synthesized or condensed piece of an original and larger reading material. It is not a rewrite of a larger reading, and it should not belong. To make a good summary, you must use your wordings to briefly express the central idea and the relevant arguments of the original material you have read.

The primary aim of making a summary is to provide the basic ideas of a larger reading. What is the author communicating and what is the document all about? The following guidelines are vital for one to make a good summary:

How Do You Summarize an Essay?

To summarize an essay, one must begin by reading the entire article. Whether the essay is one page short or numerous pages long, you must understand the focus of the essay. You must carefully identify the topic before making any further elaborations. The next thing is to establish the thesis statement of the essay. It is the central theme or argument of the paper that you seek to prove. This step is followed by looking at the main supporting arguments of the essay.

Besides, you must also identify any counterarguments of the thesis. You may provide a few examples mentioned in the original essay as per the main arguments in the summary. However, the number of examples used must be limited to at least two because the article is simply a summary. Finally, you must close the summary by using one sentence regarding the essay’s ending.

How Long Is A Good Summary?

Summaries have no specified lengths. However, the length depends on the length of the original text. A good summary is always one quarter the length of the source material. For example, if the source material is six pages long, the summary would be no less and no more than one and a half pages long.

How Many Sentences Are in a Short Summary?

Technically, there is no specified amount of sentences a summary. The number of sentences depends on the length of the original piece being summarized. Some short summaries may have three to four sentences whereas others may have just one sentence.

At times, a strongly written sentence can function just as properly written five sentences. Normally, the minimum guideline for writing a short summary is five sentences. Such a short summary contains the introductory sentence or the main idea, three supporting sentences and a concluding sentence.

What Should Be In A Good Summary?

A good summary contains four major components; proper citation, thesis statement, supporting ideas and a conclusion.

Proper Citation: the first page of the summary must contain the name or topic of the piece that you have summarized, the author, and date of publication.

Thesis Statement: this is the central theme of the material under study. When writing a summary, the central theme must be written in an accurate and clear manner. The statement comes as the last sentence of the introductory paragraph and contains the main points that you seek to justify in your summary paper.

Supporting Ideas. In the original material, you must support your thesis statement with ideas and arguments from the original material. Therefore, when summarizing, it is important to cover the author’s major ideas and arguments as well as counterarguments, if there is any.

A Conclusion: There are various ways of concluding a summary paper. One way is to point at the implication of the original text. Alternatively, the conclusion can be a statement about the importance of the article. Besides, we can end a summary by restating the main theme of the original article.

Why Do We Summarize?

Skills required in today’s workplaces are evolving with time. Today, one of the most greatly valued skills is the capability to summarize information into a readable and concise piece properly. This is purely the essence of writing a summary. We summarize because are valuable because they keep the reader informed without the need for more time to grasp the information needed.

Presently, information moves fast, and new content is developed in large volumes. In the workplace, administrators deal with policy documents, proposals, reports, and briefing notes, which collectively reach hundreds or even thousands of pages.

The best way to deal with such a flood of information is to do good summaries which effectively present the most vital points. Good summaries give readers enough information about a certain topic. Overall, it helps readers to decide whether to pursue the topic further or not.