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What is a summary?
What do we look for when we write a summary?
--Preview the material and think of a few questions that you have
--Read the material and take notes. Look for the 5Ws.
--After you’re finished reading, put the material away and write in
your own words what the article was about.
Here’s a good method: Pretend you are picking up the telephone to
tell a friend about the article. Just use your regular conversational
tone and tell it like it is…briefly, with emphasis on what is important,
and the impact that article might have on them. Then write it just like
you said it, and revise and edit later.
1. Preview the article
2. Read the article and take notes
3. Push the article away and out of site
4. Imagine if you had to tell your best friend what you just read. From
your memory, write down a few of the most important ideas.
Step 1: Introduce the author, article, and
Never assume that your audience already knows the work that you are referring to even if
the audience is your professor. Instead, imagine your audience is anyone on campus who
may come across your work.
In his/her article (or lecture) "________________________,” _____________________
(title, first letter capitalized) (author/lecturer's last name)
argues/claims/reports/contends/maintains/states that ____________________________.
(main idea/argument; S + V + C)
Example: In his article “The Compadre," Dr. Miguel Torres states that friendships
are difficult to maintain, and that open communication, honesty, and humor are
the keys to maintaining long lasting friendships.
Ramazani, Christine. “Guidelines for Writing A Summary.” Academics SMV. 3 March 2012. Web.
Step 2: Provide sentences that explain the
Keep the same style and tone that the author uses in the original
For a one-paragraph summary, discuss each supporting point in a separate
sentence. Give 1-2 explanations for each supporting point, summarizing the
information from the original.
The author supports the main idea by______________ and showing
Example of Summary
In his article “The Compadre," Dr. Miguel Torres states that
friendships are difficult to maintain, and that open communication,
honesty, and humor are the keys to maintaining long lasting
friendships. The author supports the main idea by including personal
stories and interviews. Torres tells a personal story from his own life
about how poor communication resulted in a misunderstanding and a
ruined friendship. In addition to communication, according to various
surveys, friends who are truthful and honest tend to have better
relationships. Torres cautions against brutal honesty but does
emphasize the importance of being forthcoming. Torres points out
that his surveys also indicated that when friends have a sense of
humor with each other, there’s a greater likelihood that friendships
will last a longer time.
After writing the summary, add an evaluation.
What’s an evaluation?
--Your opinion about what you’ve read.
What should I include in the evaluation?
--Did you like or dislike the article? Why?
--Comment on the author’s ideas. Consider if they were
well developed and supported.
--Comment on the author’s style of writing. Consider if
it was easy to read and understand. You can discuss
word choice, sentence length, etc.
--Comment on if you would recommend the article to
someone else to read.
Example of Evaluation
Dr. Torres’s article covers some important issues
that give the reader valuable insight into maintaining
friendships. His ideas are clear and easy to
understand, and his work seems to be well researched
and documented. Torres’s style of writing is concise
and to the point. He does not use unnecessary jargon
or fancy language that makes it difficult to read.
Other readers who are interested in maintaining
friendships would benefit from reading his article.