In college, you will have to write a thousand papers, metaphorically of course. You will also have to read longer papers and abridge things down without losing the theme of the paper. Therefore, you will need to learn how to summarize longer papers at some point in college. This is also a good way to show your professor that you have understood everything. With that being said, read the article below to learn how to write the summary of an article.
What is a summary?
A summary is a short version of a longer text that the writer writes with the intent of explaining only the important points and ideas of the original text. While summarizing any text, make sure that you illuminate the main idea of the original text clearly and briefly while highlighting all the important ideas and arguments in the correct way.
The length of a summary depends on the length of the original text. It can be as short as a single paragraph and as long as a couple of pages. In addition, the purpose of summarizing an article is to create a condensed form of the original text and to develop a better understanding of the original text. It is also helpful when you want to keep notes that you will read later.
Usually, teachers assign students to write a summary of an article to check their understanding of the subject. All in all, while writing the summary of an article make sure that the theme of the original text remains the same.
How to Write the Summary of an Article – Step by Step
Now that you know what a summary is and the purpose of writing a summary of an article, you are good to start learning how to write the summary of an article. Writing the summary of an article can be easy and quick if you follow the steps below.
Step 1: Read the Text Thoroughly
The first step to writing a good summary is to read the original text carefully and thoroughly. Besides, if you are given any instructions, we recommend you to read them too. Most of the time, the original text may contain unfamiliar phrases, words, and metaphors. So, while reading the text underline difficult words and phrases. Then, you can check their meaning from any dictionary to make sure that you understand everything.
For better comprehension, you should read the text more than once. So, you can follow the following three strategies:
- Scan: Go through the original text quickly to get an idea of the topic and its overall shape and structure.
- Read: Then, read the article thoroughly to highlight important points and take notes.
- Skim: Lastly, go through the article once more to make sure that you have understood the key points and you can reread anything you have not understood well enough.
Step 2: Divide into Sections
To make the original text more manageable, break it down into smaller sections. If your original text is a scientific paper, it is already broken down into sections such as introduction, methods, results, and conclusion and discussions. Otherwise, you can break the original text down once you have read the article. You can treat each heading or paragraph as a separate section.
Step 3: Identify the Main Idea and Arguments
Next, read the text again and try to identify the main idea of the text. Remember that summary is different from paraphrasing. So, you do not need to write every single word in your own word. You have to rewrite the overall argument and conclusion of the original text in your own words.
So, if you do not know how to identify the key points while reading the original text, there are some tricks that you can use.
- Read the abstract first: Because the abstract contains a summary of the text written by the author himself to give readers an idea of what they should expect from the text.
- Scan the Headings and Subheadings: The headings and subheadings can tell you what arguments have the writer made.
- Read the introduction and conclusion carefully: Read and compare both of them to understand the outcome of the arguments. The introduction contains the main theme and problem that was addressed in the paper while the explains the results that were obtained at the end.
You can also take help from the thesis statement of the text because that is the central idea of the original text. Besides, the topic sentence of each paragraph may give you a hint on what argument the writer tried to make to defend his point of view.
Step 4: Write the Summary
Now that you have identified the key points and the arguments, you can start writing the summary of your article. Besides, it is also important that you should avoid plagiarism as much as possible. So, try to properly paraphrase every single idea of the original text.
In the first place, write whatever you have understood from the article. Once you have completely written your summary, you can compare it with the original text to find out what you have to improve. Also, check that there are not any grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes in the summary of the article.
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