Writing up effective summaries

When summarising:

  • Do not paraphrase the original text word for word
  • Look for the topic sentence, and for key words, main point(s)and parallel themes in a paragraph.
  • Omit examples and explanations.
  • Use your own words to present them giving a broad overview, shorter than the original text
  • Acknowledge the author /the original source.

Use the following steps to write a summary:

Step 1- Write notes using only keywords not sentences; then it should be easier to express ideas in your own words.

Step 2 – Use only your notes to write the summary without re-reading the passage.

Step 3- Refer back to the original to ensure that your summary covers all main points.

Step 4- Monitor the degree of certainty with which ideas are expressed. Use reporting verbs (‘suggests’ and ‘contends’) to discuss and comment on ideas in the text.

Here is a very good link on summarising activities for tertiary students.


Author: Kallia Katsampoxaki-Hodgetts

EAP/ESP lecturer and instructor Academic Writing Specialist School of Science and Engineering University of Crete Tel. (0030) 2810 545102 Office Γ301, Chemistry Department Panistimioupoli Vouton, Heraklion, Crete, 71003 https://twitter.com/kalliacrete

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