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Summary writing can be divided in two common types. The first one is called a “reader summary” – a sketch or notes that you make while reading the paper, which help you better comprehend authors’ ideas. The second summary type if called a “summary essay” – an academic piece of writing that students are asked to submit as a part of educational curriculum in different subjects. Summary essays help teachers check if students have read the assigned text or not.
Simple Stages for Summary Essay Writing
- Always read the assigned book or article to the full. Skim reading will not help you, especially if your teacher gave you precise instructions and asked to analyze each part separately. Try to identify the mood and tone of writing as well as major themes that authored explored in writing.
- No matter how many chapters your book includes, you can divide it into more sections. It will be much easier to work with small sections. In such a way, you will never overlook essential elements that author tried to address. While reading, you should write down the most remarkable ideas that will constitute your summary writing.
- Write down your own ideas and interpretations of author’s claims. You can provide a short overview of writer’s standpoints.
- Create an introduction. You should include a full title of the article or book and author’s name. There is a need to provide some background details that made the author explore this topic. The last sentence in your opening paragraph (thesis statement) should clearly state your standpoint.
- Your main body paragraphs in a summary essay should be dedicated to the detailed discussion and exploration of the text. You can divide information into different sections and create subheadings to make reading easier. Choose relevant and significant points for your discussion, proving that you carefully read and analyzed the book.
- Conclude your summary essay stating what the author tried to address in the book. You should restate the main points from the thesis statement.
How to Write an Objective Summary
If you are a student, you have probably been asked to write an objective summary. What is a summary? This type of writing entails providing a brief statement of the main points of a something, such as an article, chapter of a book, or even an entire novel. Class lectures, movies, and speeches can also be summarized. A summary leaves out details and does not include any commentary or opinion. Instead, it should remain objective. If you do not know how to write an objective summary, read further to find out more about this writing task.
If you do not have much experience with writing a summary, it can seem like an intimidating experience at first. As you read the text, especially a lengthy book, it is a good idea to highlight the key plot points. Likewise, if you are watching a movie, you should take notes as you go along. Once you are finished reading, watching or listening to the medium, you can start arranging the summary by considering what important points to mention while leaving out the less essential parts. Note that all summaries are written in chronological order. In addition, you are not being asked to interpret the message or discuss the strengths and weaknesses. If you feel strongly about the content, it can be difficult to summarize without allowing your feelings to get in the way. However, you should stay disciplined and only focus on what the author has said.
Purpose of Summary Writing
Now that you have a general idea about how to write an objective summary, let us discuss the two main uses for this writing task.
- Broadly speaking, objective summary tasks are a great way to help you understand the whole of the article or narrative rather than the individual parts.
- As it relates to academics, there are a couple benefits to summarizing:
- If you are reading an article, book or watching a movie that contains important but complex concepts, summaries make it easier to make sense of the information. In turn, if you are discussing it in class or taking a test, you will be able to recall the information better and therefore perform better academically.
- When you are writing a lengthy research paper, you will almost certainly need to include summaries of some of the sources that you use especially when they are relevant to your paper’s topic. The literature review is one such example of when you need to summarize the content. Often the summary will come in the form of paraphrasing, although direct quotes can be appropriate as well.
Follow Simple Writing Rules
- Summary writing deals with a close connection to the source (book, article, etc.). If you cannot interpret author’s ideas and provide false claims, you will mislead the reader. Do not distort and adjust the meaning of your text.
- Your summary should include enough details for the reader to understand the whole book. By reading it, the reader should have a sense of exploring the original source.
- Summary writing differs much from criticizing. Your goal is to summarize the source and not to state if author was successful in writing or not.
Writing Rules: "Do and Don’t"
First Steps to Writing a Summary
- As you go about reading the article or book, make note of all the important plot points. If certain words are repeated or concepts elaborated upon, they are essential to include in the summary.
- Make an outline that includes the main ideas, the supporting ideas, and any evidence that backs them up. If you are summarizing a highly technical article, repeating some of the keywords is something you will not be able to avoid. Just make sure to write it in your own words rather than copying verbatim.
Take a Look at Our Free Excellent Summary Response Essay
Writing a Good Summary: Basic Steps
- A good summary provides answers to some of the basic but important questions about the text including:
- What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? How or why did it happen?
- What is the main plot or idea of the text?
- What are the major subplots or supporting points?
- What evidence supports this?
Do not rewrite the entire text. Also, the text should refer to the fact that you are writing a summary. This can either be included in the title, in the first sentence, or in a footnote.
- As noted, the point of the summary is not to praise or criticize the work or provide any insight, such as what you believe to be the author’s motivations. Even when the purpose of the paper is to critique the work, the summary itself should remain objective before you proceed to the actual critique.
- Do not include any details or information that is not critical to the text or movie as a whole. For instance, a movie might make reference to where a certain character is from, but unless this fact has significant bearing on the plot, you would not want to include this in the summary.
- The summary should not contain a conclusion, but if the text, lecture or movie itself contains an important message as part of its conclusion, it does belong in the summary.
- Although the summary can include concepts and keywords from the article, passage or book, you should not use full sentences, paragraphs or expressions without quotation marks. But even when you do directly quote the work, keep it to the minimum. However, there are cases in which it is entirely unavoidable, such as when the information uses highly technical language that cannot be expressed in different ways without sounding awkward.
- Structuring the summary to mirror the original text or rearranging the words is not acceptable. Instead, you should structure it in a unique way and find a way to describe the information through paraphrasing.
At this point, you should know how to write an objective summary. Write it with confidence and put in your best effort!