Effective Steps to Summarize a Journal Article

If you’re wondering how to summarize a journal article, you’re in luck. This post explores everything to know about the process.

1. Read the Article & Analyze the Content

Read the article carefully. Your paper should be a reflection of the article’s themes and ideas, as well as a synopsis of what was mentioned

in the article. It’s essential to understand the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the paper and what its major points are. Reading the article requires a strategic approach to get a gist of the journal.

Understand the Context by Reading the Abstract

The abstract is a summary of the journal article that highlights key points from the research study. They are short paragraphs summarizing research articles or journals, typically no more than 200 words.

Ensure that you understand what the author is trying to discuss or analyze and why the research is important. This can help you figure out the arguments, quotes, and statistics to include in your summary.

Skip Ahead to the Conclusion

Get to the conclusion and find out where the proposed research will end. Learn more about the topic and see where the complicated outlines and arguments lead. Reading the researchers’ conclusions first makes it easier to absorb the facts.

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Determine the Main Argument of the Article

It’s best to take notes, underline, or highlight the key points on the first go to avoid reading through the whole content again.

Pay attention to the first couple of paragraphs because this is most likely where the author will speak out their overall thesis. Determine the significant argument or notion that the author attempts to prove through their research.

Scan the Argument & Take Notes

Concentrate on the essential concepts and ideas proposed and relate them to the fundamental notion presented at the start of the essay.

When conducting research and gathering data from academic journals, efficiency is crucial. So, actively read the content and take notes as you read each section of the journal.

2. Create a Draft & Write the Summary

A journal article summary is like any other summary that gives the reader a quick overview of the study. It is easier to discuss a subject thoroughly and briefly if you have a good understanding of it.

To write a compelling summary, you need to determine the critical information and simplify it for the readers. The following tips will assist you in learning how to summarize a journal paper without sacrificing details.

Keep an objective tone & avoid personal pronouns

Striking a formal tone in academic writing is important. So, avoid personal pronouns and keep an objective tone in your summary. While summarizing a journal article, keep in mind that you’re not criticizing the content but overviewing it.

Start with the research question

The beginning of the article usually mentions the emphasis of the research study and the objective of performing the research.

This is where you should start your summary by picking up the research question. Describe the point the author is trying to make with their research in your own words.

Discuss the research methodology and findings

You must discuss the techniques and methodologies employed throughout the study.

Essentially, you need to outline how the authors or researchers arrived at their conclusions based on the firsthand investigation or data collection.

Don’t forget to mention the results achieved by the author. Make sure your summary includes the research question, the results, and the methods used to attain those results.

Connect the major points of the article

The objective of the summary is to give the reader a quick overview of the authors’ main ideas. It’s crucial to show how the relationships between the authors’ thoughts develop throughout the article summary.

You must explain the arguments in your own words. You need to fill the gap and assumptions to clarify and summarize the research to the readers.

Don’t make your own conclusions

Make sure not to draw your conclusions when summarizing a journal article. The idea of a summary is to briefly explain the writers’ ideas rather than to offer your additions and views.

Unless specifically indicated as part of the assignment, a summary of an article should not present your interpretations of the data.


A journal article summary is an effective and essential way to communicate research findings and transfer learning. Effective summarization of a journal article can help provide context to the text.

However, understanding the article’s key results is only part of the process of summarization. The successful summarization process must also include familiarization with the article’s context and supporting evidence.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to summarize a journal article effectively and efficiently.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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