How to Write a Summary - Learn the Whole Process Here

Written by

Rylee Willow

9s mins read
how to write a summary

Working on a book or article’s summary and need help? Summary writing is an essential part of any student’s academic life. However, writing a summary could be difficult to write for many students.

It is because before writing the summary, the student must read the chosen work properly. He must identify its key themes, characters, symbols, and elements.

If you feel like you are stuck with writing the summary then this blog is for you. This blog is written by one of our experts and has everything you need to know before writing your summary.

We have explained the important steps involved in writing a strong and engaging summary. Plus, we have added some good and free summary examples to help you understand better.

What is a Summary?

A summary is a short description of a bigger work that provides the reader with a clear understanding of it. To create a summary, a writer will collect the major ideas from an article, essay, TV program, or film they've read or seen and condense the key points into a brief overview.

Summaries are short reviews of other books, composed in paragraph form. They have enough information to get the subject and the writer's own understanding across.

The length of the summary depends on the length of the article. Here are the examples of long and short summaries of an article;

Full Article Summary Example

The popular adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" was tested empirically by Davis et al. (2015). Apples are frequently used to symbolize a healthy lifestyle, and their nutritional values have been shown in studies to be beneficial for various aspects of health. The authors' distinctive technique is to take the phrase literally and inquire: do people who consume apples use healthcare services less frequently? If such a link truly exists, they propose that encouraging apple intake might help reduce healthcare expenditures.

The research was based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is freely available. Participants were classified as apple eaters or non-apple eaters depending on their reported apple intake during a typical 24-hour period. They were also categorized as to whether or not they avoided healthcare services in the previous year. The data were statistically evaluated to see if apple consumption is linked to several dependent variables, such as physician visits, hospital admissions, use of mental health services, and use of prescription drugs.

After adjusting for various relevant factors, apple eaters were somewhat more likely to have avoided physician visits. There was no link between apple consumption and hospital stays or mental health service use. Apple eaters, on the other hand, were discovered to be slightly more likely to avoid taking prescription medicines.

The researchers discovered that eating an apple a day did not keep the doctor away, but it might avoid the pharmacist. They claim that this finding has implications for lowering healthcare costs because prescription drugs have high annual expenses and apples are inexpensive.

The researchers also emphasize several methodological shortcomings, most notably that apple eaters are more likely to differ from non-apple eaters in ways that might have skewed the findings (for example, apple eaters may be more health-conscious). They suggest conducting additional research to determine whether apple ingestion and medication avoidance are causally connected.

Short Article Summary Example

According to a recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, there is no scientific evidence that eating an apple a day keeps doctors away. While apple consumers were slightly less likely to use prescription drugs, the researchers were unable to demonstrate a causative link between these factors.

Purpose of a Summary

A summary is a concise description of essential details or intriguing information, without the introduction of personal views.

A summary is an overview of the major points of a text or piece of media, such as an abstract to a scientific paper, a plot description for a movie, or a novel synopsis in the form of text.

When to Add a Summary?

There are several circumstances in which you may be required to summarize an essay or any other type of resource:

  • As a single assignment to demonstrate that you have understood the chosen work.
  • To make and collect notes that will help you keep track and remember that you have understood.
  • To discuss and give an overview of what other researchers' have discussed in their work.

When you're writing any kind of academic paper, you'll come into contact with other people's research in a number of ways. You may occasionally utilize a short quote to back up your argument; alternatively, you may paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.

However, summarizing an entire essay or chapter may become necessary if it is particularly relevant to your research, or if you wish to provide a source overview before analyzing or criticizing it.

In any case, the aim of summarizing is to provide your reader with a thorough knowledge of the original source.

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How to Write a Summary?

Here are the steps to write a good and engaging summary;

1. Go through the Original Text

You should go over the material at least twice to ensure that you comprehend it. It's typically a good idea to read in three parts:

  • Scan - Go through the article and get a hang of the main topic and the article as a whole.
  • Read - Read the article and mark important points. Also, take notes as you go with the reading.
  • Skim - Go through the article once again and make sure that you have understood and marked every important detail.

To make the process of identifying key points easier, here are some helpful tips;

  • Reading the Abstract - This already has the author's own overview of their work, as well as what you may anticipate from the piece.
  • Study the Headings and Subheadings Carefully - These will give you a better understanding of each part of the work.
  • Read the Introduction and Conclusion Together - Read and compare both the parts and see how the author set everything out.
2. Divide the Text into Several Sections

To make sure that the text is easy to understand and manage, it is better to divide it into subsections. This way, you will be able to grasp the ideas discussed in the article or book easily.

In case you are discussing a scientific paper, chances are that the paper is already divided into subsections. Usually, it includes sections like introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

However, unfortunately, other articles may not be divided into such sections. The majority of pieces and essays, however, will be built around a set of subpoints or themes.

Write a word or phrase next to each paragraph in the margin to capture its content. Then you can quickly determine what each section of the article is about by looking at it. If several paragraphs address similar or connected themes, consider breaking them down into parts.

3. Identify the Important Points of Each Section

Now that you are done reading the article, it is time to go through each section and identify its main points. Analyze the things that the reader should know and understand by reading the complete argument of the article.

Remember, summarizing does not mean paraphrasing every single detail given in the article. The main goal of a summary is to discuss the main points without providing any additional information or details.

In case of a scientific article, you must ask some key questions to identify the main points;

Introduction
  • Is there a particular research question or issue that was addressed?
  • Are there any proposed hypotheses?
Methods
  • What kind of research was conducted?
  • What are the ways through which data was collected and analyzed?
Results
  • What were the important findings?
  • Was the proposed hypothesis supported?
Discussion and Conclusion
  • What is the obtained answer to the research question?
  • How has the writer explained the results?
  • What are the assumptions of the results?
  • Are there any limitations?
  • Are there any important recommendations?

If the article is of a different nature, you should consider the points that are important to know for the readers.

Pay close attention to the thesis statement. It is the main claim that the author wishes us to believe. Besides, it is generally stated in the introduction as well as the topic sentences that signal each paragraph's major idea.

4. Draft the Summary

Now that you have identified and understood the main points and details, you can continue with writing the summary.

To stay away from plagiarism, it is important that you paraphrase the ideas presented by the author properly. Do not copy and paste anything.

Put the article aside and write down what you understand about the author's ideas.

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Summary Examples

Here are some summary examples to help you get going;

How to Write a Summary of a Chapter

How to Write a Summary of a Chapter

How to Write a Summary of a Story

How to Write a Summary of a Story

How to Write a Summary of a Book

How to Write a Summary of a Book

How to Write a Summary of a Research Paper

How to Write a Summary of a Research Paper

How to Write a Summary of a Poem

How to Write a Summary of a Poem

How to Write a Summary of a Paragraph

How to Write a Summary of a Paragraph

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Tips to Write a Good Summary

Every writer should be able to write an effective one-paragraph summary, whether it's for an event, book, play, or newspaper article.

For some further assistance on how to write a good summary, see below:

  • Identify the main idea - To inform the reader, a useful summary reduces the source material to its most essential point. Choose the major point you wish to express and use your words carefully to communicate it. To help structure your ideas, take down a few notes.
  • Stay Brief and Focused - A summary is not the same as a rewrite; instead, it's a rapid overview of the original piece. The majority of it should be 5-8 sentences long. If at all possible, keep your essay brief and to the point. Remove any needless words or text from your work to make it clear and succinct.
  • Write without prejudice - When summarizing an original work or piece of media, you are not providing a review; rather, you are gathering and condensing the most essential information. Instead of expressing your view, write your summary in your own words.
  • Make sure it has a natural flow - When it comes to gaining momentum in your writing, transitions are quite useful. Use transition terms to connect your ideas and ensure that they flow smoothly together and effectively communicate your message.

Writing a summary could be difficult for many students and it is mainly because they have to read the entire work before preparing it. This makes summary writing both time-consuming and difficult.

In case you need help, you can contact us to book a dedicated writer for your work.

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