A summary is always much shorter than the original text.
There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:
Read the text
Break it down into sections
Identify the key points in each section
Write the summary
Check the summary against the article
The summary should focus only on the article's main ideas and
important details that support those ideas.
Guidelines for summarizing an article:
• State the main ideas.
• Identify the most important details that support the main ideas.
• Summarize in your own words.
• Do not copy phrases or sentences unless they are being used as direct
• Express the underlying meaning of the article, but do not critique or analyze.
• The summary should be about one third the length of the original article.
If it is an argumentative article, consider the
• What is the main topic/subject?
• What is the research question? In other words,
what is the author trying to find out about that topic?
• How does the author position his/her article in
relation to other studies of the topic?
• What is the thesis or position? What are the
• How are supporting arguments developed? What
kind of evidence is used?
• What is the significance of the author’s thesis?
What does it help you to understand about the
• Give an overview of the article, including the title and the name of the author.
• Provide a thesis statement that states the main idea of the article.
• Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
One-paragraph summary - one sentence per supporting detail, providing 1-2
examples for each.
Multi-paragraph summary - one paragraph per supporting detail, providing 2-3
examples for each.
• Start each paragraph with a topic sentence.
• Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas.
• Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.
In the article, ____________(author's last name) (year) argues
(claims/reports/contends/maintains/states) that ___________________________ (main
Example: In his article, Serwer (1997) describes how Michael Dell founded Dell Computers
and claims that Dell’s low-cost, direct-sales strategy and high quality standards accounted for Dell’s
In his book The Pearl, John Steinbeck (1945) illustrates the fight between good and evil in
In an interview __________________ (first name last name) stated that
________________________________ (main idea/argument) (personal communication, month
• Applying these methods of identification, let's take a look at
the article "Bypass Cure" by James Johnson. We can
assume the subject of the article from the title. Upon further
examination, it becomes clear that the author is arguing that
new research suggests the best cure for diabetes is the
surgical solution of a gastric bypass.
Example: "Bypass Cure" by James Johnson records a
recent discovery by researchers that people who have
bypass surgery for weight control are also instantly cured of
diabetes. Since rising diabetic rates and obesity has
become a worldwide concern, the article provides a startling
but controversial potential solution.
Example 1st paragraph:
According to Mary Johnson in her essay, "Cats Make Good Pets,"
the feline domestic companion is far superior to the canine one.
Academical abstract example:
Using national survey data, Davis et al. (2015) tested the assertion
that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and did not find
statistically significant evidence to support this hypothesis. While
people who consumed apples were slightly less likely to use
prescription medications, the study was unable to demonstrate a
causal relationship between these variables.