How to Write an Outline for Summary Essay in 5 Easy Steps

When making an outline for summary essay, it is essential to establish the most important details. It is also important to decide how you want to structure your essay. 

Will you use an introduction and conclusion, or will you cover everything in one section? It is essential to know how you want to format your writing before you attempt to write it.

This article outlines the steps for creating an outline for a summary essay and explains the factors to consider when writing a summary essay.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

What Is a Summary Essay?

A summary essay is a concise one-page analysis of a particular text. Summaries are the perfect ways to use writing as a tool to learn a topic.

It is often about finding meaning or interpreting. A summary essay usually comes after reading a long piece of text. In some cases, it is a piece of writing that was inspired by a much longer piece of text.

How to Write an Outline for Summary Essay

Writing an outline for a summary essay is an essential step in helping to maintain a successful essay. Planning can help a summary writer create a quick, organized, coherent essay. Use these steps to get a perfect outline for your essay.

1. Read and Comprehend

Take the time to read and digest the source material. It would be best if you read it to discern the author’s voice and perspective and the primary themes at play.

2. Create the Outline

Make a basic outline by breaking the text up into subsections. Subdividing the content into manageable chunks will facilitate reading and comprehension.

3. Repeat the Reading Process

Repeat the reading process, but this time underline or highlight some essential points. Dot the sections you wish to include in your summary and cross out the ones that don’t belong. Summarize each section’s key points once you’ve grasped the material.

4. Produce an Introductory Paragraph

Its purpose is to summarize the original work’s key points concisely. The author’s name, the book’s title, and any necessary biographical information should all appear in the introduction.

5. Main Body Paragraphs

Put the selected thoughts you came up with while reading the book in the main body paragraphs. Increase their depth by citing relevant passages from the source material. You should only describe relevant details and leave out the minor ones.

Your essay is complete once you have summarized the key points from the source material. If your instructor asks for or suggests a conclusion paragraph, write one.

Factors to Consider When Writing a Summary Essay

There are factors to consider when drafting an outline for a summary essay. Some important elements of a summary essay include what it entails, what goes into creating it, and how to plan. Here are the factors to consider when outlining a summary essay:

1. Source Material

Integrating the source into your summary essay is crucial. A reader should be able to grasp the original work after reading your summary essay as though they have read the original. Remember that the purpose of a summary essay is not to offer criticism of the source material.

2. Plagiarism Compliance

You must give credit to the author if you quote directly from a book. Otherwise, it could be misconstrued as plagiarism.

3. Summary Presentation

Even if the author of the original piece has long since passed away, it is appropriate to write in the present tense. When quoting someone, be sure to use their precise words.

4. Research

Get a firm grasp of the source material. Before beginning to write, ensure you understand all the terminology you need. Once you clearly understand the material, you can look at the directions given to complete the assignment. Organize your information to make it easier for the reader to digest.

Go through your essay twice to be sure you have covered all angles. There might be an excellent spot for you to add a new quote, fix some errors, or make other changes.

You might also have a friend or coworker read your essay to check whether they understand your summary.


Writing an outline for summary essay is crucial in ensuring that you write a well-structured document. With an outline, it is easy to track your progress, and you can be assured that you have covered every aspect of your essay.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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