Writing a Summary. Prof. K.E. Ogden Pasadena City College. What is a summary?. A summary is a retelling of the main ideas and key points and sub-points of a text. What are the key features of a summary?. A summary is UNBIASED. A summary abbreviates the original material.
Writing a Summary
Prof. K.E. Ogden
Pasadena City College
A summary is a retelling of the main ideas and key points and sub-points of a text
= this means that you, the writer, are restating the original author’s words and ideas—their opinions and not your own.
=the summary should represent the key ideas, main points and sub-points, but with brevity.
Writing a summary is completely dependent upon your excellent reading skills.
Try a Sketch/Outline of the Original and List the Key Points
Example of Pulling out a key idea:
“Great writers don’t just sit down and write a final draft; they write and revise.”
Paraphrase: When writing, skilled writers take time to revisit and improve a draft.
Summary: Revision, or improving a composition, is an important step to writing, and a step that no skilled writer skips.
Use the author's key words when you can, but NOT the word-for-word phrasing of the author. When you must include the author’s original phrasing, always use quotation marks.
Note how the ideas in the original composition are organized, and then try putting your summary of those ideas in the same order.
Always include an author’s important findings, opinions, and conclusions to an idea.
Never put your feelings or opinions into a basic summary
The purpose of the summary is to restate the original author’s ideas and opinions, not your own.
Include only the information your readers need.
State the main point first.
State the author’s ideas in your own words—not in the author’s vocabulary and tone; you want your readers to understand.
Do not write a “listing” or “table of contents” type of summary. Ex. Peter Elbow says write. Then he says don’t edit. After that he says . . .
Use no new ideas of your own; only the original author’s ideas
Try using a simple organizational structure:
Author’s main point
Author’s findings or opinion on that main point
Author’s conclusions or recommendations on that main point
According to the author of “Seeing the Forest,” the extent of global deforestation was difficult to measure until satellite remote sensing techniques were applied. Measuring the extent of global deforestation is important because of concerns about global warming and species extinctions. The technique compares old infrared LANDSAT images with new images. The authors conclude the method is accurate and cost effective.
This article covers the topic of measuring the extent of global deforestation. The article discusses reasons for concern, the technique, the results, and the project’s current goal.
See slide 2
See slide 5
See slide 9 and 10
See slide 7
Some of the material in this slide was adapted from Phil Drukor’s online Advanced Technical Writing page at the University of Idaho, 2006.