Write a Summary

Edited by Nate Pepperell, Eulalee, angeline zuhura, Lynn and 5 others

A summary is a condensed overview of a literary work. In a summary, we put the main ideas of a book, article or notes in our own words, in a clear and comprehensive way. It's not a rewrite of the original work. We write summaries to highlight an idea or ideas in the original piece.

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  1. 1
    Skim through. Skim through the piece you intend to summarize, dividing it into smaller sections
    Focus on topics or headings while looking at bold terms in the text. Make sure you fully comprehend the meaning of the work being summarized.
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  2. 2
    Carefully read the piece. The second step is reading the passage keenly
    Read the entire piece, and take note of its structure. Identify the purpose of the piece, distinguishing between important and not-so-important points. Outline the piece and jot down major points.
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  3. 3
    Reread and label. Reread the piece asking questions like what, who, when, how and why
    Observe the author's paragraphing while underlining each stage of thought. Make a note of the key ideas and facts. Identify areas that you are unable to understand and seek further clarification. You should make sure that you use your own words.
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  4. 4
    Write one sentence summaries. Since you should now have a firm understanding of the text you intend to summarize, write down the ideas of the sections that you identified earlier in well-structured sentences
    Make reference to the central and basic ideas of the original passage. This will be the draft for your piece.
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  5. 5
    Write a thesis. This is the key to a perfect, easy-to-understand and well-structured summary
    Revisit the sentences you wrote in the fourth stage, expressing the basic ideas you read. Remember to always paraphrase your summary. In cases where you have to write a phrase from the original work, ensure that it's a crucial and necessary phrase that can't be paraphrased or that it cannot be paraphrased without distorting its meaning.
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  6. 6
    First draft of your summary. It contains a combination of the thesis and the summarized sentences in steps 4 and 5
    Disregard minor and less important details in the passage, making your summary as brief as possible and straight to the point. Do not, under any circumstance, write your personal views or opinions on the issue at hand. If you have to do this, write it in a separate paragraph from your summary.
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  7. 7
    Compare your summary to the original piece. This is to ascertain that you have represented the author's point of view and not your own opinions
    Make the necessary adjustments to your summary for the sake of accuracy. Make sure you also cite anything which was directly quoted from the author.
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  8. 8
    Revision. Now that you are confident your work is accurate, you are required to check for correct grammar, punctuation, spellings and writing style
    Where necessary, combine your sentences to create a smooth comprehensible flow of ideas. Insert words or phrases to improve coherence. You should be able to understand the original piece based entirely on your summary.
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Referencing this Article

If you need to reference this article in your work, you can copy-paste the following depending on your required format:

APA (American Psychological Association)
Write a summary. (2015). In VisiHow. Retrieved Apr 23, 2017, from http://visihow.com/Write_a_summary

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Write a summary." VisiHow, visihow.com/Write_a_summary Accessed 23 Apr 2017.

Chicago / Turabian VisiHow.com. "Write a summary." Accessed Apr 23, 2017. http://visihow.com/Write_a_summary.

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Categories : Noindexed pages | Writing

Recent edits by: Graeme, Ephraim, Charmed

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