How to Summarize an Article?

An illustration showing the process of reducing a full story to its key elements, capturing the core narrative.

Learn how to summarize an article in a few easy steps. Our guide provides a step-by-step process for summarizing an article, including reading the article, identifying the key points, creating an outline, writing the summary, and editing and revising.

How to Summarize an Article?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to have an article summary:

Step 1: Read the Entire Article Carefully

  • The first step in summary writing of an article is to read it carefully.
  • This means taking the time to understand the main idea and supporting points.
  • As you read, highlight or underline key phrases or sentences that summarize the main points.

Step 2: Identify the Key Components of the Article

After completing the first step:

  • Once you have read the article, identify the main points.
  • These are usually found in the introduction, the conclusion, and the topic sentences of each paragraph.
  • In some cases, the author may also provide headings or subheadings that can help you identify the important details.
  • Make note of the supporting arguments.

Step 3: Create an Outline Next

After completing the previous steps:

  • Create an outline of the article.
  • This can be a simple list of the main points or a more detailed outline that includes supporting details and examples.
  • Use your highlights or underlines from step one to guide you in creating your outline.

Step 4: Write the Summary

After creating your outline for the summary, you should:

  • Using your outline as a guide, write a first draft of the summary.
  • Your summary should include the main points and supporting details in a concise and coherent manner.
  • It should be no more than one-third of the length of the original article.

Step 5: Edit and Revise

As a final step for completing your summary, all you need to do is:

  • After you have written your summary, edit and revise it for clarity and accuracy.
  • Make sure that your summary accurately reflects the main points of the article, and that it is free from errors in grammar and punctuation.
  • Now, you have a good summary.
man writing a summary on his notebook

Why Summarize an Article?

  1. Saves time and improves efficiency: The summary of an article allows you to quickly understand the important points and key ideas presented in the article, without having to read through the entire piece in detail.
  2. Improves comprehension: Most crucial information of an article as a summary can help you to comprehend the article’s content better.
  3. Identifies biases and gaps: Summarizing parts of the article can also help you to identify any biases or gaps in the author’s arguments or evidence.
  4. Facilitates communication: Summarizing the main idea of the article can be useful when you need to communicate the main points of the article to others.

Which Structure Should You Have?

Your summary should include:

  • Introduction
    • 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.
  • Body Paragraphs
    • Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
    • The number of paragraphs will depend on the length of the original article.
      • 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.
  • Concluding Paragraph
    • Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.

Is it okay to use direct quotations in my summary?

While it is generally best to use your own words when summarizing an article and paraphrasing the sentences to avoid plagiarism. If you do use a direct quote, be sure to properly cite the source and keep the quote brief and relevant to your summary.

How long should a summary be?

The length of your summary will depend on the length of the article and the complexity of the original article. If it is a long article, it is expected to be your summary long. In general, a summary should be brief and to the point, with only the essential points included. As a rule of thumb, aim for a summary that is no more than one-third the length of the original article.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Article?

An article is a written piece of content that provides information or presents a viewpoint on a particular topic. Articles can be found in a variety of forms, such as newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and online publications. They can cover a wide range of subjects, from current events to scientific research.

Do I need to include my own opinions in my summary?

No, the purpose of a summary is to present the author’s ideas and arguments in a clear and concise manner. Your own opinions or analysis are not necessary for a summary, though you may choose to include them in a separate section or in a discussion of the article.

Can I summarize an article without reading it?

It is not possible to accurately summarize an article without reading it. While you may be able to glean some information from headlines or summaries provided by others, a true summary requires a thorough understanding of the author’s arguments and evidence.

What is the difference between an Abstract and a Summary?

An abstract is a type of summary, but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing. An abstract is a brief summary of a research paper or academic article that provides an overview of the study’s purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. A summary, on the other hand, is a brief restatement of the main points or key ideas presented in an article or document.

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