Sometimes summary is considered just a simple paragraph to be written but it is not as simple as it sounds. Writing summaries is an academic skill for which it is necessary to teach the students explicitly. A good summary condenses a passage in a short form by presenting only the most important facts given in that passage.
Summarizing is not like paraphrasing as when you are summarizing anything that is not just translating the words with the synonyms and thesaurus. Instead, it deals with reworking on the text and condense it to a form that can help as a reference to the complete text. In both research and writing, the skills to write a summary is important as it helps in saving a lot of time and paper and helps in reviewing the research in a swifter manner.
It is common to find students getting confused while writing the summary and evaluating the text which they can use for compacting the passage. Writing a summary is not as easy as we think as it includes having the knowledge about the text from beginning to end so that the important information can be extracted and is rather not missed. When we think deeply, most of the authors use complex texts in the thesis and this is the reason it becomes important to have a clear understanding of what the author wants to say so that you can create its summary.
Before knowing the skills to write a summary, it is essential to be aware of the major attributes of a summary. A perfect summary should be:
- Concise: Some authors might restate the same ideas again and again. But it is important to remember that the summary should be shorter than the main text and this is why it is necessary to avoid any kind of repetition of text.
- Comprehensive: While writing a summary, you need to highlight the major parts in the information and arrange it in the fashion of a list. You have to go through the list again until you have a proper understanding of the thesis of the author.
- Independent: While writing the summary of the text, it is not important to imitate the original text of the author. Instead, you can work on restating the text in your own way and use your own words to do so. Also, always remember not to quote the author as your interpretations might distort the author’s ideas.
- Coherent: It is essential that the summary should make sense when studied separately. Despite the fact that the task of the summary is to present the major points related to the original text of the author, it is necessary to make sure that the data in the summary is tied logically with the text of the author.
Skills to write a summary
The main idea behind creating a summary is to provide something short to the readers to gain an understanding of the lengthy text as most people are not willing to read lengthy information. Writing a summary is a matter of practice and need to have some necessary skills to do so, which are mentioned below:
- Illustrate main points: The aim of the summary is to present only the main points of the text. The general questions to be addressed here would include the short answers to who, what, where, why, when, and how that could present a glimpse of the text. Make sure you don’t include a lot of facts from the text as it would just make the summary lengthy.
- Use your own words: The idea of using your own words is because of the reason that it will help you gain more understanding of the text. It is important to avoid quotations as the words you are using are your own and you don’t want to imply your interpretations to distort the idea of the author.
- Write objectively: Summary is not the way of reflecting your opinion about the information. Instead, you should only reflect the style and idea of the author. But you can consider writing your opinions and comments separately as it might prove to be helpful when you prepare your paper.
- Keep it short: Although the length of the summary is dependent on the information that you are summarizing it is necessary that the summaries should also be shorter in length in comparison to the original text of the author. Also, keeping the summary short will help in getting an understanding of the text in an easier way.
Pitfalls to avoid while writing a summary
To make sure you write the summary in a proper manner, here are the pitfalls that you must avoid:
- Do not include any such information which is not in the text.
- Do not include any of your opinions in the summary.
- Avoid the repetition of the idea that would make the summary lengthy.
- Avoid spending time and effort to do paraphrasing of the text. Instead, use your own words to compact the data mentioned by the author.
- Do not give straight lines that are mentioned by the author.