Steps to Clearly Summarize an Article

Summarizing an article or research paper is a great way to get an overall understanding of the piece of writing. If you’re looking for tips on how to summarize an article, this post will help you get started. Students often find it difficult to write a summary of a paper.

The purpose of summarizing content is to give the reader a clear picture of the original text by only highlighting the key points. However, you don’t give away the little details of the writing in summary.

As you can already understand, there are some tips and tricks to get the summary writing done writing. Let’s understand the importance of a summary and learn the key steps to clearly summarize an article.

Why Is a Summary Writing Important?

A summary writing serves as an overview and is best when it contains a cohesive, in-depth analysis of the article’s main points. The most important part of writing a summary is about making sure that the writer can sum up the article’s main points clearly.

Writing a summary is a great way to show the reader that you have thoroughly understood the text. To summarize a text is to condense it to its essential ideas and to express those ideas in your own words. It is not necessary nor desirable to convey every detail.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Tips on How to Summarize an Article

What does writing a good summary mean? — You have to define what the article is about, and your readers should be able to understand the article at an objective level.

Whether an academic paper or a work report, summarizing a piece of writing often seems challenging for many. Here are some important tips on how to summarize an article.

  • State the main points of the article.
  • Find the most important details that support the main points.
  • Summarize the content in your own words.
  • Avoid using the exact phrases from the original text unless they’re direct quotations.
  • Don’t only focus on the surface elements; instead, convey the article’s underlying meaning.
  • Keep the summary at roughly one-third of the length of the original content.

Key Steps to Write a Good Summary

There is a graceful way to summarize an article. Summarizing is less about the number of words you can write and more about conveying the main idea of the content across.

The goal of summarizing is to make the reader clearly understand the original source. Take the time to do it right and consider the following steps to write a good summary.

1. Read the Text Thoroughly

To ensure that you fully comprehend the article, read it more than once. There are often three stages to effective reading:

  • Scan the content quickly to gain a feel of its content and general structure.
  • Read the article thoroughly, underlining vital information, and make notes as you go.
  • Skim the article again to ensure you have understood the main ideas, and reread any particularly challenging portions.

2. Break the Text Into Distinct Sections

Divide the content into reasonable chunks to make it easier to read and comprehend its sub-points.

A scientific paper with a normal empirical organization will likely already be divided into sections with distinct headings.

Other types of articles might not be clearly divided into sections. However, most articles will be organized around a number of supporting ideas or topics.

3. Identify the Key Points in Each Section

It’s time to look through each section and identify its key points. Think about what the readers must know to get a good grasp of the overall argument of the article.

Keep in mind that summarizing doesn’t involve paraphrasing each paragraph of the article. Any background data or supplementary details should be avoided to focus on the most important points.

Pay attention to the thesis statement of the article, which appears in the introduction. It highlights the central theme or major argument of the article. Also, take note of the topic sentences, which reflect the core concept of each paragraph.

4. Write the Complete Summary

Now that you know the key concepts of the article, you can start writing the summary and convey the ideas in your own words.

To avoid plagiarism and clearly demonstrate your comprehension of the article, it’s important to paraphrase the author’s thoughts accurately. You must not copy even a single sentence from the source.

The most effective approach to do this is to set the article aside and summarize your own understanding of the main ideas presented.

5. Check the Summary Against the Source

Once you’re done writing the summary, the final step is to reread the summary and check it against the original source.

Ensure that you have correctly portrayed the author’s work and haven’t missed any crucial information. Also, check that there aren’t any sentences or phrases that closely resemble the original content.

Final Words

Summarizing an article is often a daunting task. But more often than not, it is the most important step in bringing key information to the public. From summarizing textbooks to articles and research papers, this skill is essential for a wide range of tasks.

To find the most important points within the text, you must take the time to read it thoroughly. Then break the text into sections before implementing the key steps to write a summary. This article is a quick guide that covers the key steps to writing an effective summary of an article.

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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