Presents the main ideas or the most important information.
Demonstrates understanding of the materials in a condensed form.
Involves Writing, Reading and Critical thinking.
Effective summary writing involves a good understanding of the original article, the author’s purpose, main idea and supporting points.
A good summary presents a clear, concise idea of the main points.
It reports what the reader has read but without any personal interpretations or opinions.
Amphibians, which is the animal class of frogs and toads, were the first creatures to crawl from the sea and inhabit the earth.
The first animals to leave the sea and live on dry land were amphibian.
Paraphrase information using different grammar and vocabulary.
Write in the present tense and omit personal pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘me’
Use transitional words for a smooth and logical flow of ideas.
Use verbs such as the following to indicate summarized information: suggest, report, argue, tell, say, ask, question, conclude, believe, contend, compare, etc.
1. Read to determine the author’s thesis.
2. Reread and take notes of the main points.
3. Use the notes as a guide and write the first draft including:
□ a thesis statement stating the author/title of
the article and the main point.
□ identify the topic sentences to explain the main
idea/ideas presented (what, where, when, who,why)
Include supporting details to support topic sentences where necessary
4. Edit for correct grammar, spelling, punctuation
Preview the reading
Highlight or underline the main ideas and important supporting details. Locate the main ideas from:
□ headings within a chapter
□ topic sentences of paragraphs
□ end of the chapter or article
For shorter readings, main ideas can be located in the
□ opening paragraph
□ first sentence of body paragraph
Write in the present tense as you are explaining as you read.
Paraphrase using your own vocabulary and sentence structure. (Make the tone and style your own)
When short phrases are copied they must be quoted exactly.
Place all quotations in quotation marks.
Use ellipsis marks [ … ] to show where information from the original has been omitted in the quotation.
Draft revision checklist
√ Does the summary begin with the author and date?
√ Does the topic sentence state the controlling idea?
√ Are all the main ideas of the original article included?
√ Is the summary clear and concise?
√ Does the summary avoid copying from the original?
√ If quotations are used, are they incorporated with “quotation marks”?
Original text: Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.
Lester, J. D. (1976). Writing Research Papers, pp.46-47.
An acceptable summary: When writing the final research paper, students are advised to limit direct quotations taken from sources (Lester, 1976: 46-47). A plagiarized version: Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.
Blanchard, K. & Root, C. (2004). Ready to write more – From paragraph to essay (2 nd ed.). London:Longman
Blass, L., Friesen, H. & Block,K. (2008). Creating Meaning – Advanced Reading and Writing. Oxford:Oxford University Press.
Folse, K.S., Mahnke, M.K., Solomon, E.V. & Williams, L. (2003). Blueprints – Composition skills for Academic Writing. London:Thomson Heinle.
Harris Leonhard,B. (2002). Discoveries in Academic Writing. London:Thomson Heinle.
Meyers, A. (2005). Gateways to Academic Writing – Effective sentences, paragraphs and essays. London : Longman