Writing a Summary

A summary is a brief, neutral restatement of a text. The overall goal of a summary is to restate the text, as briefly as possible, in your own words. More specifically, you should try to

At times, your instructor may wish you to evaluate the article in your summary. Discover the importance of the evaluation (often instructors expect only a short three or four sentence paragraph at the end of the summary stating why the article is or is not effective), and write your paper appropriately. Techniques

  1. Read your text carefully.
  2. Determine the purpose(s) of the author (to inform, explain, argue, justify, defend, compare, contrast, or illustrate).
  3. Summarize the thesis. Mention the author by name; indicate his/her purpose; and refer to the title.
  4. Summarize the body of the text. Write one- or two-sentence summaries for each paragraph. (Ignore the minor points or examples, and summarize points important to supporting the author's thesis.) Identify sections of related paragraphs and write a two- or three-sentence summary for each section.
  5. Write the summary. Join your section or paragraph summaries with the summary of the thesis, emphasizing the relationship between the parts of the text and the thesis.
  6. Revise for clarity and style, quote sparingly, and use transitions where needed.

Go to Analytical Summaries Grading Criteria