Summarizing an article means writing the main ideas of an article or research in your own words, the summary of an article is always shorter than the actual text itself. Learning how to write a summary of an article defines your writing skills whether in job life or student life.
Writing a summary requires reading the article closely understanding the main points and writing it concisely. You are often asked to summarize a text to improve your writing or test your writing skills.
When to Write a Summary
You write a summary of a long text in many situations:
- To write an overview of a research paper.
- To argue against the statements of the author or to use the statements of the author as support for your argument.
- Keep notes of what you have studied.
Understanding The Summary Writing
Some questions are asked quite often, such as what are the steps to write a summary, should I write the summary in my words or some even make the mistake to write a summary about the topic of the article instead of summarizing the article written by the author.
To understand the concept of summary writing you must understand the following key points.
- You have to summarize the paper or the article in your own words, explain the main ideas of the text.
- You write the summary about the article, not the title.
- You may consider including your findings in the summary but that cannot be added, as you have to summarize the ideas and the findings of the article itself.
How to Write a Summary?
Writing a summary can be easier if you follow these four simple steps.
- Analyze the article carefully.
- Divide it into sections.
- Identify the main ideas.
- Write the summary.
Step 1: Analyze the Article
Reading the article thoroughly is an important step when writing a summary, you must take notice of the important points stated by the author.
When you write a summary it is important to keep in mind that you have to read the article multiple times, it is always easy to analyze an article by following the simple tips:
- Read the introduction and conclusion to understand how the author has started the article, the points he is raising and how he has concluded the article and the points explained there.
- Then go through the headings and the sub-headings of the text before you read the whole article.
Step 2: Divide Into Sections
Once you read the article and analyze the article completely, you should then divide the article into different sections. Try marking each section with a word or a phrase that you think defines the paragraph and in the end if you see different sections with the same label then summarize them together.
Based on the type of article you may find different types of structures i.e. the structure of an argumentative article is different from the structure of an empirical article.
Sections in an argumentative article
While analyzing an argumentative article consider the following:
- The topic.
- The question that the author is trying to find an answer to.
- How has the author supported his arguments?
- Are the arguments logical and evidence-based?
- What does it add to your knowledge?
Sections of an empirical article:
- The topic.
- The research question.
- The predictions and the hypothesis.
- The procedure used in the research.
- The results and any previous research that supports the results.
- The limitations and the implications of the research.
Step 3: Identify the Main Ideas
As you divide the articles into sections, you must read each section attentively and identify the main ideas of each section. You should remember to include only the main ideas in the summary and exclude the supplementary points.
You can be asked to summarize different forms of the article as newspaper article summary, journal article summary, or scientific article summary, based on the article type it might take you some time to divide the article into sections however, pay a massive amount of attention to the thesis and the introduction of each paragraph as it signals the main idea of the article.
Step 4: Writing The Summary
Now that you have the key points of the article in a note, it is time that you start writing the article in your own words.
When writing the article remember to mention the actual author’s name at the beginning of the summary and ensure that, you do not use even a single sentence of the research to avoid plagiarism unless it is a quotation.
You can also take a look at the example of research done about “The cause of Malaria” that is shortly summarized.
It is a summary of the introduction, experiment, results, implications, and limitations.
Written Summary Sample
Alphanso levaran worked on the cause of malaria in 1878. He observed tiny creatures in the blood of malarial patients which was later named plasmodia. Based on the observation the hypothesis was formulated that malaria is due to plasmodium.
To test the hypothesis experiments were run in which the blood of a hundred malarial patients and blood of hundred healthy people was checked under the microscope.
The experiment showed that the patient affected by malaria had plasmodia in their blood and that plasmodia were not found in the blood of healthy people.
Based on these results, it was concluded that plasmodia were the cause of malaria.
However, the biologist was unable to find out how plasmodia get entry into the blood of the patient and how malarial patients can be cured.
The Length of a Summary
The length of the summary depends on the article, if you decide to summarize a longer article then your summary should be at least one-third of the article, you should at least write a sentence for each supporting idea.
You can also write short summaries only including the main ideas which you will include in any other discussion as a supporting point.
Re-check the summary
After you are done writing the summary verify by:
- Make sure you edit any mistakes.
- Check whether you are representing the author’s work or not.
- Also, be sure that you have not used any of the actual sentences used in the article to avoid plagiarism unless you quote a direct quotation.
- Your summary should at least be on a third of the article.