Writing a summary is a valuable skill that allows you to condense complex information into a concise and coherent form. Whether you are summarizing an article, a book, or a presentation, the ability to effectively summarize can help you better understand the material and communicate its key points to others. In this guide, we will explore the process of writing a summary, including tips and strategies for summarizing effectively.

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Structuring Your Writing

Before summarizing, clearly identify the main idea or thesis of the text. This will help you focus on the most important information when writing your summary. Understanding the main idea is necessary because it guides the rest of your summary. It helps you determine which details are essential to include and which can be omitted.

How to Start a Summary of an Article?

Highlight key details

As you read through the text, highlight or underline key details and supporting points. This will make it easier to reference them when writing your summary. Highlighting major points helps you remember important information and make sure that you include it in your summary. It also allows you to easily locate specific details when you need to refer back to the text.

Example: In a research paper about the effects of social media on mental health, you might highlight statistics about the prevalence of social media use among teenagers.

Paraphrase key points

Instead of copying sentences verbatim, paraphrase the key points in your own words. This will show your understanding of the material and help avoid plagiarism. Paraphrasing helps you convey the author’s ideas in a way that is clear and concise. It allows you to put the information in your own words too, making it easier to remember and explain.

Example: If the original text states, “Social media platforms have revolutionized the way people communicate,” you could paraphrase this as, “Social media has changed how we interact with others.”

Focus on the most important information

When writing your summary, focus on including the most important information while omitting minor details or examples that are not essential to understanding the main idea. Focusing on the most important information keeps your summary concise and to the point. It also allows you to capture the essence of the text without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.

Example: In a summary of a scientific study, you might focus on the study’s methodology and key findings, rather than on specific data points or statistical analyses.

Use transition words

Use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and create a cohesive summary. This will make your summary flow smoothly and easier to read. Transition words help signal the relationships between different parts of your summary, such as cause and effect, comparison, and contrast. They also contribute to maintaining the overall coherence of your summary.

Example: You can use transition words like “however,” “in contrast,” and “moreover” to indicate shifts in the author’s argument or to introduce new information in your summary.

Check for accuracy

After writing your summary, double-check that it accurately reflects the main idea and key points of the original text. Make any necessary to improve clarity and accuracy. Checking for accuracy you will be able to make sure that the summary is a faithful representation of the original text. It also helps you catch any errors or inconsistencies in your summary.

Example: If the original text states that “climate change is a pressing issue that requires immediate action,” your summary should accurately convey this sentiment without misrepresenting the author’s intent.

How to Start a Summary: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s dive into the tips and tricks that will help you write better and concise summaries for articles and other types of texts.

TipsWhat Should You Do?
📝 Introductory SentenceBegin your summary with an introductory sentence that includes the title of the text, the author’s name, and the main point or thesis of the text as you understand it. For example, “In [Title], [Author] argues that [Main Point].”
✏️ Write in Your Own WordsRemember to write the summary in your own words. Do not copy directly from the text.
🚫 Exclude Personal OpinionsA summary should only include the ideas presented in the original text. Avoid inserting your own opinions, interpretations, deductions, or comments.
📝 Identify Sub-ClaimsOutline the significant sub-claims the author uses to defend the main point. These sub-claims should be presented in the same order as they appear in the text.
📖 Select Supporting PassagesChoose three separate passages from the essay that support or defend the main point. Quote these passages accurately, and include the paragraph number where each passage can be found.
📚 Cite Sources ProperlyCite each passage correctly by first signaling the work and the author, putting quotation marks around the passage, and including the paragraph number.
📚 Use Source MaterialIncorporating source material from the essay is crucial, as it demonstrates your ability to defend claims with evidence, which is often required in academic writing.
🏁 Concluding SentenceEnd your summary with a concluding sentence that wraps up the main point of the text. This could be a simple rephrasing of the main point or thesis.
✏️ Revise and EditAfter completing your summary, revise it to make clear, coherent, and accurate. Check for any grammatical or spelling errors and make corrections as needed.

Conclusion

Writing a summary is a skill that can be honed with practice and attention to detail. By identifying the main idea, highlighting key details, and paraphrasing key points, you can create a summary that accurately reflects the original text. Using transition words and checking for accuracy can help ensure that your summary is clear, cohesive, and informative. So, whether you are summarizing for a school assignment, a work presentation, or personal study, following these guidelines can help you write a summary that is both effective and engaging.

FAQ

What is the purpose of summarizing an article?

The purpose of summarizing an article is to condense the main ideas, arguments, and key points of the text into a shorter, more concise form. This helps readers quickly understand the core content without having to read the entire article.

How do I choose which information to include in a summary?

When choosing information to include in a summary, focus on the main ideas and key points of the article. Omit minor details, examples, and supporting evidence unless they are crucial to understanding the main argument or thesis.

Should I include my opinion in a summary?

No, a summary should not include your personal opinion. It should only present the ideas and information found in the original text. Your goal is to objectively convey the author’s message without adding your own interpretation or bias.

Can a summary be longer than the original article?

A summary should generally be shorter than the original article. The goal is to condense the content while retaining its essence. However, in some cases, a longer summary may be necessary to fully capture the complexity of the original text.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when summarizing?

Common mistakes to avoid when summarizing include:

  • Including personal opinions or interpretations
  • Failing to accurately represent the main ideas of the text
  • Including unnecessary details or examples
  • Making the summary longer than the original text
  • Not citing the original source when using direct quotes
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