How to Write a Summary: Do’s and Don’t
Summarizing means providing a brief overview of the main points of an essay that should be written in your own words. It should always be shorter than the original text. While writing the summary, it does not require including the evaluation or analysis of the text, it should provide a simple, clear, accurate amount of important data, without copying or missing any text/key points from the main text source.
There are 7 important points mentioned below which one should keep in mind on how to write a summary:
- The right time to summarize
- Understand the data
- Breakdown of data into different headers
- Identifying important points
- Start writing the summary
- Revise the summary with the article
- FAQ’s related to the summary
The right time to summarize: There are different kinds of situations where you need to summarize a text or any other article:
- Working on a single article to show that the material is understood and summarized properly.
- To make notes this can help in remembering the text
- To provide an outline of other authors’ work in a review
While writing an academic project like a dissertation, essay, or research paper, you will take part in others’ views and a variety of work models. There will be times where you can support the text with a brief sentence, while at other times you will have to paraphrase the points from a large paragraph.
It is mostly relevant to summarize a text if it is very important to your own academic work or to share an overview of a text before analyzing or critiquing it.
In any scenario, the main objective of summarizing is to provide your audience with a clear message about the original text, which clears some doubts on how to write a summary.
Understand the data: One should read the text thoroughly to make sure they have understood the content and can summarize it. It is quite effective in understanding how to write a summary:
- Scanning the content to get an overall view.
- Reading the content very carefully can help in identifying important points to note.
- Skimming the content to verify the points noted is important. In difficult or important passages, try reading them more than once to understand them clearly.
Some basic tricks to recognize the important points while reading the text:
- Start reading the synopsis – It always has the summary of the author and their work, which fills in what you should expect from the article.
- Paying more attention to headers and sub-headers – will provide good knowledge of what the passage is all about.
- Reading the intro with the conclusion – This will help you understand the author’s view in the beginning and what the outcome is in the end.
Breakdown of data into different headers: To manage and understand the sub-headers of the text, it is important to break the data into many parts. Like, for example, if the data is related to any scientific work, it will always follow a standard procedure that implies sections marked, introduction mentioned, the methods used, and the outcome along with the discussion. Other data sources may not follow the same procedures as a scientific paper does, but it will mostly be structured around a series or themes which will help in identifying the headers required in a text and also help in understanding how to write a summary precisely.
While writing a text or phrase in a paragraph which describes the content, try to check where the topic is focusing upon. If most of them cover the same topic/article, then you can add all of them into one header. It will make the summary cleaner, and the audience can get a clear picture of the topic.
Identifying the important points: While understanding how to write a summary, you need to identify and make a note of important points from the article. The audience will always expect to understand the all-inclusive conclusion or disagreement of the topic.
The main rule to keep in mind while learning how to write a summary, do not paraphrase every paragraph of the text. The main objective is to take out the important points, leave anything which is not important and can be kept as supplementary information or details.
If the content starts to mold in a different way, you need to be more careful with the points and make sure the audience understands the arguments.
In the process of how to write a summary, focus more on the theory wherein the author expects us to accept the view which he wants to showcase, and the body of the content focuses mostly on the main objective.
Start writing the summary: As discussed earlier, the important points required for writing a summary should be presented in your own way.
To show that you have understood the text and avoid plagiarism, it is important to paraphrase the author’s views on the topic. It is highly not recommended to copy or paste any part of the content, not even a line or sentence.
The pre-eminent way to learn about “how to write a summary” is to keep the text aside and start typing the author’s important points as per your own understanding.
For example, in a literature paper, you would like to briefly summarize the learning as part of a bigger audience of innumerable sources. In this way, we can explore the summary further to share the most suitable information.
While working on summarizing a large piece of content, it is important to accurately mention the origin of the summary. The proper format for origin completely depends upon the citing style, which includes a quote or reference at the conclusion of the summary.
Revise the summary with the article: The last few tips related to how to write a summary is that one should read the summary again to ensure that the author’s work is accurately represented to the audience; no important information is missed and paraphrasing is done accurately.
If you are working on a lot of articles as a part of your daily routine, it is usually a better idea to use a plagiarism checker tool to check the plagiarism of the summarized article. Provide proper in-text citations in order to support the claims made in the article.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Summary
What do you understand by the term summary?
It is basically a shorter and precise view of the important points of a text or any other article, written completely in your own way.
The summary should be how long?
A summary should always be shorter than the primary text or article. It ranges from a brief sentence to a long paragraph, depending upon the scenario and purpose of the content without changing its views.
How to write a summary by avoiding plagiarism?
To conclude an article without plagiarism, one needs to write the summary in his/her own words after understanding the author’s view on the article. Provide relevant citations and references in order to give credit to the original author of the article.