How to Write a Summary of an Article: Brevity in Brilliance


Table of contents

  • 1 What Is an Article Summary?
  • 2 Difference Between Abstract and Research Summary Writing
  • 3.1 Preparing for Summarizing
  • 3.2 Identifying Main Ideas
  • 3.3 Writing The Summary
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Methods
  • 4.3 Results
  • 4.4 Discussion
  • 4.5.1 Structure Types  
  • 5 Summary Writing Tips and Best Practices
  • 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid
  • 7 Examples of Article Summaries

Writing a review or a critique is often more difficult than it seems, so students and writers alike are often wondering about how to summarize an article. We know how challenging a task this can be, so this guide will give you a clear perspective and the main points on how to write a summary of an article.

Here’s a brief overview of the main points the article will cover before we start:

  • The essence of an article summary and how to approach writing it;
  • Three main steps for a successful research summary;
  • Tips and strategies for outlining the main idea;
  • Examples of good and bad short summaries for inspiration;
  • Common mistakes to avoid when writing a research article summary.

The steps outlined in this post will help you summarize an article in your own words without sacrificing the original text message and ideas.

What Is an Article Summary?

An article summary is a concise and condensed version of a longer piece of writing, often an article, research paper, or news report. Its purpose is to capture the main ideas, crucial points, and key arguments found in the original text, providing a brief and easily understandable overview.

These summaries are composed in the author’s own words, distilling the essential information to help readers quickly grasp the content without having to read the entire article. They serve as a helpful tool to offer a snapshot of the most important aspects of the content, making it simpler for readers to decide whether they wish to delve into the complete article.

A common goal of academic summary writing is to  improve critical thinking skills , and they serve as great practice for academic writers to improve their own writing skills. There are several main goals of writing a synopsis of an article:

  • This paper’s main goal is to provide a comprehensive yet brief descriptive comment on a particular article, telling your readers about the author’s topic sentence and important points in his work and the key points of it.
  • It serves to outline a laconic reader’s perspective on the paper while keeping the main point.
  • Identifies all the crucial segments from each of the paper’s sections.

A proper article summary can help do your college essays the right way because it provides a great, concise view of the source article. Especially if you are often facing writing tasks like academic papers, knowing how to write a good synopsis can upgrade your writing skills.

Difference Between Abstract and Research Summary Writing

Things get confusing when someone wants to define their place and purpose inside the text. To be more precise, the abstract appears first in the academic article, whereas the summary appears last.

Many students cannot distinguish between a summary and an abstract of a research paper. While these have certain similarities, they are not the same. Therefore, you must be aware of the subtleties before beginning a research article.

On the one hand, both components have a limited scope. Their goal is to provide a thorough literature assessment of the research paper’s main ideas. When you write a research summary, focus on your topic, methods, and findings.

Below you can find more differences between the abstract and research article summary for your project:

  • Abstracts provide a succinct synopsis of your work and showcase your writing style.
  • Abstracts lay out the background information and clarify the primary hypothesis thesis statement, while the summary emphasizes your research methodology, highlighting the important elements.

Finally, you must submit the abstract before actual publication. On the other hand, article summaries come with the finished piece of paper.

Steps to Write a Summary for an Article

In the world of effective communication, the skill of crafting short yet informative summaries is invaluable. Whether you’re a student dealing with academic articles, a professional simplifying complex reports, or simply someone looking to grasp the essence of an interesting read, mastering the art of summarization is crucial. This summarizing guidelines will lead you through the steps to write a compelling piece.

These steps will empower you to extract core ideas and key takeaways, making it easier to understand and share information efficiently.

Preparing for Summarizing

Before you start writing your summary of the article, you’ll have to read the piece a few times first as a base for further understanding. It’s recommended that you read the paper without taking any notes first because this gives you some room to create your own perspective of the work.

After the first reading, you should be able to tell the author’s perspective and the type of audience they are focusing on. Subsequently, you should get ready for the second read with a paper to write notes on as you get into the arguments of the post.

Identifying Main Ideas

As you come to the second read of the article, you should focus on the thesis statement, main ideas, and important details laid out in the piece. If you look at the headings and sections individually, you should be able to get some material for the summarizing by taking out the crucial events or a topic sentence from each part.

While writing down the main arguments of the post, make sure to ask the five “W” questions. If you think about the “Who” , “Why” , “When” , “Where” , and “What” , you should be able to construct a layout for the summary based on the main ideas.

Writing The Summary

Once you lay down the article’s main ideas and answer the key questions about it, you’ll have an outline for writing. The next move is to keep an eye out on the structure of the summary and use the material in your notes to write your short take on these essential points.

The steps for writing article summaries can be similar to the  main steps of article review writing . Therefore, it’s necessary to discuss the structure next so we can set you in the right direction with summary-specific format tips.

Outline Your Research Summary

To summarize research papers, you must be aware of the basic structure. You may know how to cite sources and filter the ideas, but you’ll also have to organize your findings in a concise academic structure.

The following components are essential for a summary paper format:


Your research article’s introduction is a brief overview of your work. Outlining important ideas or presenting the state of the topic under research seeks to make the issue easier for your audience to comprehend.

The Methods section includes tests, databases, experiments, surveys, questionnaires, sampling, or statistical analysis, used to conduct a research study. However, for a solid research paper summary example, you should avoid getting bogged down in the specifics and just discuss the tools you utilized and how you conducted your study.

This part the summary of research, presents all of the data you gathered from your investigations and analysis. Therefore, incorporate any information you learned by watching your target and the supporting theories.

This stage requires you to summarize research paper, evaluate the result in light of the pertinent background, and determine how it reacts to the prevailing trends. You need to identify the subject’s advantages and disadvantages once you have provided an explanation using theoretical models. You may also recommend more research in the area.

Use this last part to support or refute your theories in light of the data collection and analysis, though, if your mentor insists on it being in a separate paragraph.

Here’s a research summary example outlining the topic “The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health Among Adolescents”:

I. Introduction.

  • Brief overview of the rise of social media.
  • Importance of studying its impact on mental health.
  • Statement of the problem.
  • Purpose of the study.

II. Literature Review.

  • Statistics on social media penetration.
  • Common platforms and their features.
  • Studies supporting a negative and/or a positive impact.
  • Gaps and inconsistencies in existing literature.

III. Methodology.

  • Quantitative approach.
  • Cross-sectional survey.
  • Survey instrument details.
  • Ethical considerations.

IV. Data Analysis.

  • Descriptive statistics.
  • Inferential statistics (e.g., regression analysis).
  • Tables and figures.
  • Key findings.

V. Discussion.

  • Correlation between social media usage and mental health.
  • Identification of patterns and trends.
  • Practical implications for parents, educators, and policymakers.
  • Suggestions for future research.

VI. Conclusion.

  • Summary of key findings.
  • Final remarks on the study’s contribution to the field.

The given research article summary example depicts how the text can be structured in a laconic and effective way.

Structure Types  

So, now you can see the best practices and structure types for writing both empirical and argumentative summaries. The only thing left to discuss is to go through our example outlined above and divide its structure into distinctive parts, which you could use when writing your own summary.

The best way to start is by mentioning the title and the author of the article. It’s best to keep it straightforward: “ In “Who Will Be In Cyberspace”, author Langdon Winner takes a philosophical approach…”

The next part is critical for writing a good summary since you’ll want to captivate the reader with a short and concise one-point thesis. If you look at our example, you’ll see that the first sentence or two contains the main point, along with the title and the author’s name.

So, that’s an easy way to get straight to the point while also sounding professional, and this works for all the essay structure types. You should briefly point out the main supportive points as well – “ He supports this through the claims that people working in the information industry should be more careful about newly developed technologies…”  

The key is to keep it neutral and not overcomplicate things with supportive claims. Try to make them as precise as possible and provide examples that directly support the main thesis.

Unless it’s a scientific article summary where you are requested to provide your take as a researcher, it’s also best to avoid using personal opinions. You can conclude the summary by once again mentioning the main thought of the article, and this time you can make the connection between the main thesis and supporting points to wrap up.

Summary Writing Tips and Best Practices

The way in which you’ll approach writing a summary depends on the type and topic of the original article, but there are some common points to keep in mind. Whether you are trying to summarize a research article or a journal piece, these tips can help you stay on topic:

  • Be concise – The best way to summarize an article quickly is to be straightforward. In practice, it means making it all in a few sentences and no longer than one-fourth of the size of the original article.
  • Highlight the study’s most significant findings – For your summary paper, prioritize presenting results that have the most substantial impact or contribute significantly to the field.
  • Create a reverse outline – On the other hand, you can also remove the supporting writing to end up with a reverse essay outline and these are the ideas you can expand on through your summary.
  • Use your own words – In most cases, a paper summary will be scanned for plagiarism, so you need to make sure you are using your words to express the main point uniquely. This doesn’t mean you have to provide your perspective on the topic. It just means your summary needs to be original.
  • Make sure to follow the tone – Summarizing an article means you’ll also need to reflect on the tone of the original piece. To properly summarize an article, you should address the same tone in which the author is addressing the audience.
  • Use author tags – Along with the thesis statement, you also have to express the author’s take through author tags. This means you need to state the name of the author and piece title at the beginning, and keep adding these “tags” like “he” or “she” or simply refer to the author by name when expressing their ideas.
  • Avoid minor details – To ensure you stay on topic, it’s recommended that you avoid repetition, any minor details, or descriptive elements. Try to keep the focus on key points, main statements and ideas without being carried away in thought.
  • Steer clear of interpretations or personal opinions – Avoid personal interpretations or opinions when you write a summary for a research paper. Remember to stick to presenting facts and findings without injecting subjective views.
  • Highlight the research context – Focus on explaining to the readers why research is important. Your summary of research paper must not repeat the previous studies. Find the gap in the existing literature it could fill. When you write a summary of a research article, try to help readers understand the significance of your study within the broader academic or practical context. Use a paraphraser if you need a fresh perspective on your writing style.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Just like it’s important to  avoid plagiarism in your text , there are a few other mistakes that commonly occur. The whole point is to summarize article pieces genuinely, with a focus on the author’s argument and writing in your own words.

We’ve often seen college graduates do an article summary and misrepresent the author’s idea or take, so that’s an important piece of advice. You should avoid drifting away from the author’s main idea throughout the summary and keep it precise but not too short.

Quotes shouldn’t be used directly within the piece, and by that, we mean both quotes from the author and quotes from other summaries on the same topic since it would qualify as plagiarism. Finally, you shouldn’t state your opinion unless you are doing a summary of a novel or short story with a specific academic goal of writing from your perspective.

Examples of Article Summaries

While our guide and tips can be used for a variety of different types of written pieces, there are various types of articles. From professional essay writing to informative article synopsis, options can vary.

We will give you an example of a summary of the different article types that you may run upon, so you can see exactly what we mean by those standardized instructions and tips:


The question of how to summarize an article isn’t new to students or even writers with more experience, so we hope this guide will shed some light on the process. The most important piece of advice we can give you is to stay true to the main statement and key points of the article and express the synopsis in your original way to avoid plagiarism.

As for the structure, we are certain you’ll be able to use our examples and layouts for different types of summaries, so make sure to pay extra attention to the structure, quotes, and author tags.

What is a good way to start a summary?

To begin a summary effectively, start by briefly introducing the article’s topic and the main points the author discusses. Capture the reader’s attention with a concise yet engaging opening sentence. Provide context and mention the author’s name and the article’s title. Convey the essence of the article’s content, highlighting its significance or relevance to the reader. This initial context-setting sentence lays the foundation for a clear and engaging summary that draws the reader in.

What is the difference between summarizing and criticizing an article?

Summarizing an article entails condensing its main points objectively and neutrally, presenting the essential information to readers. In contrast, critiquing an article involves a more in-depth evaluation, assessing its strengths and weaknesses, methodology, and overall quality, often including the expression of personal opinions and judgments. Summarization offers a snapshot of the content, while critique delves deeper, offering a comprehensive assessment.

When summarizing a text, focus on these critical questions:

  • “What’s the main point?” Find the core message or argument.
  • “What supports the main point?” Identify key supporting details and evidence.
  • “Who’s the author?” Consider their qualifications and potential bias.
  • “Who’s the intended audience?” Understand the expected reader’s knowledge level.
  • “Why is it important?” Explain the text’s relevance and significance within its context. Addressing these questions ensures a thorough and effective summary.

How long is a summary and how many paragraphs does a summary have?

A summary typically ranges from one to three paragraphs in length, depending on the complexity and length of the original text. The goal is to concisely present the main points or essence of the source material, usually resulting in a summary that is significantly shorter than the original.

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summary of article book speech

how to write a summary

A step-by-step guide to writing a great summary.

A summary of a literary work isn't just a plain-old synopsis. It's a valuable study tool, a foundational element of all kinds of essays, a common testing mechanism, and one of the basics of literary analysis. 

Whether you're in high school or college, developing a deep understanding of how and when to summarize a book or text is a valuable skill. Doing so might require a little more knowledge and effort than you'd think. 

That's why we're covering all aspects of summaries, from study tools to plot summaries, below.

What Is a Summary?

A summary is a brief overview of a text (or movie, speech, podcast, etcetera) that succinctly and comprehensively covers the main ideas or plot points. 

Sounds simple, right? Well, there are a lot of unique characteristics that differentiate summaries from other commentary, such as analyses, book reviews, or outlines. 

Summaries are: 

  • In your own words. It's important that you don't just copy and paste the writer's words (in fact, that's plagiarizing). Writing the key points of a work in your own words indicates your comprehension and absorption of the material. 
  • Objective. While a summary should be in your own words, it shouldn't contain your opinions. Instead, you should gather the main points and intentions of the writer and present them impartially. (If you include your opinions, it instead becomes an analysis or review.)
  • More than paraphrasing. Many students fall into the trap of simply paraphrasing—plainly restating the ideas or events of the work. (Is our definition starting to sound contradictory? We told you it wasn't straightforward!) Rather than recounting the events or ideas in a work chronologically or in the order they're presented, instead consider the broad scope of how they all contribute to the narrative or argument. 
  • Short. There are no strict rules regarding length, only that it is concise. It's largely dependent on the length of the text it summarizes: longer texts, longer summaries. It also depends on the assignment or objective. However, most are about one to two paragraphs in length. 
  • Comprehensive. Yes, it's another seemingly contradictory descriptor, but an important one. Summaries are comprehensive, meaning they cover all of the main plot points or ideas in a work (so they inherently contain "spoilers"). You should present those ideas in a way that condenses them into an inclusive, but not exhaustive, recounting in order to keep it short.  
  • Straightforward (even if the text isn't). A good summary should be easy to comprehend, presenting the reader with a simple but all-encompassing understanding of the work at hand. With complex texts, summaries can be particularly useful because they distill big, complicated ideas into a bite-sized package. 

When to Write a Summary

Like so many elements of literary analysis, summaries are misunderstood. We've already explained why they aren't as simple as most people think, but neither are their uses. 

Summary writing is a useful skill in a variety of circumstances, both in and outside the English and Language Arts classrooms. 

Readers, writers, teachers, and students can use summaries: 

  • As a study tactic. The ability to summarize a book or text indicates that you've absorbed and understand the material. Plus, writing down notes (as in a summary) is a great way to retain material. Try summarizing at the end of a book chapter, after each section of an article, or periodically in textbooks. Doing so will help you digest the material you've just read, confirming you understood and retained the information therein. Stopping frequently to summarize is most effective because you're less likely to forget important plot points or ideas. 
  • As an assignment. Teachers and professors often ask students to summarize a text as a test to confirm they read and understood the material. Before heading into class—especially if you have a test or quiz scheduled—try practicing summarizing the text. Write it down (rather than practicing it out loud or in your head) so that you can review your ideas and ensure you're presenting them succinctly and sensibly. 
  • As part of an essay. If you're referencing a book or article in your own paper, you might need to summarize the source as the foundation for your argument. In this case, your summary should be particularly short so the reader doesn't lose sight of your own argument and intention. Introduce the name of the work and its author, then use one sentence (two at most) to describe their objective and how it relates to your own. 
  • As part of a review. Summaries are very useful in an academic setting, but they have their place outside of it too. Whether you're on a book review site or just sharing a recommendation with a friend, being able to succinctly write a book summary (with or without spoilers) will help others to make their own judgements of a book. 

Your Step-by-Step Guide for How to Write a Summary

Step 1: read the work .

Summaries are often perceived as a workaround for reading the work itself. That's not a great strategy under most circumstances because you tend to lose a lot of the details and nuance of a work, but it's particularly impractical to do so when writing about the work. 

Remember, a summary is supposed to present your perception of the work as a whole. So in order to develop that perception, you have to first read the original text. 

Step 2: Take Notes 

As you read the work, simultaneously take notes. If you own the book, it might be helpful to add your notes to the margins or highlight passages that are particularly relevant or capture a key idea. If you don't own the book, try taking notes on your computer or in a notebook. You can still notate important passages by writing down the page and paragraph number or writing an abbreviated version of the quotation. Alternatively, try marking key passages with sticky notes or tabs. 

It might also be helpful to write out a short outline of the work as you go. While you won't want to use this verbatim (remember, you shouldn't just paraphrase the work), it can help you establish and remember the text's framework. 

Step 3: Identify the Author's Thesis Statement, Objective, or Main Point 

In some works, such as a journal article, a writer will provide a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a one-sentence synopsis of the author's argument and intention. A thesis statement can be really helpful in forming the backbone of your own summary, just as it forms the backbone of the essay. 

However, even when a thesis statement isn't present—like in a novel—the writer always has an objective or main idea. You should always identify this idea and use it to form the foundation of your summary. 

The main point might be apparent at the outset of the work. Other times, the author won't present it until the conclusion. Sometimes you might identify multiple objectives throughout the work. That's why it's important, as you read, to note any ideas that might be the  main  idea. Even those that aren't the  most  important will likely remain relevant. 

Step 4: Note Other Important Elements

If something stands out to you about the work and seems to play an important role in the text's overall narrative or structure, make a note about it. This could be a recurring theme, an incident in the storyline, or a deviation from the overall argument. 

As you identify and note important elements and moments in the work, the structure of your summary should begin to fall into place. 

Step 5: Prepare to Write Your Summary 

Once you've finished reading the work, review your notes and highlight the key points that came to light. Remember, your summary should be objective, so disregard any opinions you might have noted about the work. You should introduce the thesis or objective, briefly encapsulate the important ideas and moments from the work, and end with a conclusion that ties those ideas to the objective. Keep this structure in mind as you begin. 

Step 6: Begin by Introducing the Work 

As you begin, introduce the work, its author, and, if relevant, the context.

Depending on your situation—for example, if your teacher or professor has asked you to summarize a work as part of an assignment or quiz—this might seem redundant. However, it is standard practice to begin by introducing the work, even if the reader already knows what you're writing about. 

Example:  In  The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald... 

Step 7: Present the Thesis, Main Idea, or Central Argument

Once you've introduced the work, your priority is to clearly define the author's thesis, important point, or central argument. As mentioned above, sometimes the author presents this idea clearly and succinctly at the outset of their work; at other times, it's buried deep in the text. 

Regardless of how the main idea is presented in the work, it should be front and center in your summary. Some teachers might refer to this as a "topic sentence" or "introductory sentence." This is the central point around which you will construct the rest of your writing. As you progress, you'll highlight other ideas or occurrences that relate or contribute to this main idea, so it's important that your representation of it is easily understood. 

Example:  In  The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the story of Jay Gatsby as a symbol of the social stratification, greed, and indulgence of 1920s America. 

Step 8: Briefly Discuss the Important Elements of the Work

After identifying the thesis or central argument, you should provide a brief overview of the work's other elements, ideas, and plot points. For the most part, the information you present throughout this section should bolster the thesis presented previously. Each sentence should serve as a supporting point for the topic sentence. Don't simply list ideas or plot points, but show how they're connected and inform the work as a whole. Of course, there may also be important elements of the work that are not directly tied to the main idea; it's ok to include these if you feel they are vital to understanding the work.

When writing the body, you should consciously and intentionally leave out unnecessary details. They tend to bog down your writing and lose the reader. 

Example:  The narrator, Nick Carraway, moves to New York's "West Egg," where he reunites with his cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom Buchanan. Fitzgerald clearly delineates social lines between West Egg (new money) and East Egg (old money), where Tom and Daisy reside. 
Nick attends a lavish party thrown by his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and learns Jay formerly had a relationship with Daisy. The two reignite their forbidden affair. Tom reveals to Daisy that Gatsby earned his money illegally, through smuggling alcohol, and is actually a man of humble Midwestern origins. Daisy and Gatsby try to run away together, but Daisy accidentally runs over Tom's mistress. Tom, eager to exact revenge, convinces his mistress' husband that Gatsby was to blame in her death, and he murders Gatsby before committing suicide. Few of Gatsby's many friends attend his funeral.

Step 9: Write a Conclusion that Ties It All Together

Much like you introduce the author's major point at the outset of your summary, you should revisit it as you close out your writing. If you presented the author's main idea in the introduction, and then bolstered that main idea by recollecting plot points or important elements from the work, your conclusion should then reiterate how those elements relate to the main idea. 

Example:  Though Gatsby subscribed to the extravagance of his peers, his efforts to fit into the upper echelon of West and East Egg were negated by his humble origins; always out of place, he was rejected for his social class as much as his perceived crimes.  

Step 10: Edit

Before submitting your work, read it in full, and edit out any superfluous and redundant information. It's likely that unnecessary details snuck in as you were writing, and you might find that certain plot points just feel unnecessary within the scope of your finished product. 

In addition to editing for content, be sure to edit it closely for grammatical or spelling errors. Even if your summary is well thought out, its expertise is compromised if it's full of errors! 

How to Write a Plot Summary

The step-by-step guide to writing an effective summary, outlined above, applies to most summaries. However, each type has its own unique elements outside of those standard requirements. 

A plot or book summary, for example, should encapsulate the plot of a short story or novel. When writing one, there are unique strategies to follow.  

Dos of Writing a Plot Summary

  • Note plot points as the book or story unfolds. Especially in longer novels, it can be difficult to keep track of the twists and turns in the storyline. That's why we recommend taking notes as you read. 
  • Use online study guides for inspiration. Websites like SuperSummary provide in-depth summaries free of charge. While this is a good starting point when writing your own, it should only be for inspiration. Don't copy examples online (that's plagiarism!). 
  • Be sure to cover the three main arcs of every story: the exposition, climax, and conclusion. The exposition is the moment when the conflict or driving narrative is introduced. The climax is when that conflict comes to a head, and the narrative reaches its most dramatic moments. The conclusion is when the conflict is resolved or the story comes to an end. You should also include any inciting incidents (the first domino in a plot point).
  • Connect the dots. Throughout, you should demonstrate an understanding of how events and characters are related, rather than introducing each element as an independent variable. Remember, you should tie each plot point back to the main idea. 

Don'ts of Writing a Plot Summary

  • Don't just regurgitate the storyline. Rather than drone through the story plot point by plot point, you should highlight key moments in the narrative and direct them back to the author's objective. 
  • Avoid repetitive phrases like "then" or "next." A key indication you're just repeating the storyline point by point is utilizing a phrase like "then" or "next." While you should recount the major incidents of the narrative, it shouldn't feel so formulaic. 
  • Don't let it drag on. Books are long, but summarizing a book should still be short. While it depends on the assignment and the work in question, your summary should be 200 to 600 words, max.
Example :   In  The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the story of Jay Gatsby as a symbol of the social stratification, greed, and indulgence of 1920s America.   The narrator, Nick Carraway, moves to New York's "West Egg," where he reunites with his cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom Buchanan. Fitzgerald clearly delineates social lines between West Egg (new money) and East Egg (old money), where Tom and Daisy reside. 
Nick attends a lavish party thrown by his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and learns he formerly had a relationship with Daisy. When the two reignite their forbidden affair, disaster ensues. Tom reveals to Daisy that Gatsby earned his money illegally, through smuggling alcohol, and is actually a man of humble Midwestern origins. Daisy and Gatsby try to run away together, but Daisy accidentally runs over Tom's mistress. Tom, eager to exact revenge, convinces his mistress' husband that Gatsby was to blame in her death, and he murders Gatsby before committing suicide. Few of Gatsby's many friends attend his funeral.
Though Gatsby subscribed to the extravagance of his peers, his efforts to fit into the upper echelon of West and East Egg were negated by his humble origins; always out of place, he was rejected for his social class as much as his perceived crimes.

For an in-depth analysis of The Great Gatsby , check out the our study guide (we have an audio guide, too!).

How to Summarize an Article or Essay

The nature of an article or essay is quite different from a novel or short story, and in many ways, your summary should be too. The outline above remains the same, but the details are different. 

Here's what you should and shouldn't do when writing your article summary. 

Dos of Writing an Article Summary

  • Skim the original article first. To develop a basic understanding of the article and the writer's objectives, skim the content before reading it closely. Doing so will help you to identify some of the key points and then pay attention to the arguments around them when you read the article in full. 
  • Then read the article closely, marking key passages and ideas. Noting important ideas as you read will help you develop a deeper understanding of the writer's intentions.  
  • Note headings and subheadings, which likely identify important points. In articles and essays, the author often utilizes subheadings to introduce their most important ideas. These subheadings can help guide your own writing. 
  • Keep it short. The rule of brevity applies to article summaries too. In fact, because articles are usually short compared to novels or books, your text should be correlatively brief. And if you're utilizing the work as part of your own essay or argument, just a couple sentences will do.

Don'ts of Writing an Article Summary

  • Don't ignore the conclusion. When reading a long article or essay, it can be tempting to overlook the conclusion and focus on the body paragraphs of the article. However, the conclusion is often where the author most clearly outlines their findings and why they matter. It can serve as a great foundation for your own writing. 
  • Don't copy anything from the article directly—always paraphrase. If you copy any passages word-for-word from the article, be sure to identify them as quotations and attribute them to the author. Even this should be done sparingly. Instead, you should encapsulate their ideas within your own, abbreviated words.  
  • Don't forget to include proper citations. If you do include a direct quotation from the article, be sure to properly cite them. You can learn how to properly cite quotations in our Academic Citation Resource Guide . 
Example Summary of  "Gatsby as a Drowned Sailor" :  In her essay, "Gatsby as a Drowned Sailor," Margaret Lukens posits that a major, and often overlooked, motif in  The Great Gatsby  is that of the "drowned sailor." The novel, she points out, is immersed in nautical symbols and themes, particularly in the scenes surrounding Jay Gatsby. For example, Gatsby grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, now owns a house on the Long Island Sound, and supposedly spends much of his time on his boat. 
Lukens nods to the nautical imagery throughout Gatsby's lavish party, as well as Nick's interactions with Gatsby. Many of these, she argues, foreshadow Gatsby's death in his pool. Even his funeral is a testament to the motif, with the few attendees soaked to the skin with rain. Lukens presents a thorough case for the overarching nautical motif in  The Great Gatsby  and her argument that though Gatsby hooked a big one, ultimately it was "the one that got away." 

FAQs: How to Write a Book Summary  

How do you summarize without plagiarizing .

By its very nature, a summary isn't plagiarizing because it should be written in your own words. However, there are cases where it might be difficult to identify an appropriate synonym, and the phrase remains somewhat close to the original. In this scenario, just be sure to differentiate the rest of the phrase as much as possible. And if you need to include a direct quote from the work, be sure to appropriately cite it. 

How to write a summary and a reaction? 

In some cases, your teacher may ask you to write a summary and a reaction. Whereas a summary is objective, a reaction is a matter of opinion. So in this case, you should present the actions or ideas of the work, then respond to those actions and ideas with your personal thoughts. 

Why write a summary? 

A summary is a helpful tool many educators use to test their students' comprehension of a text. However, it is also a useful study tactic because recounting what you read can help you organize and retain information. 

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Writing an article summary.

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When writing a summary, the goal is to compose a concise and objective overview of the original article. The summary should focus only on the article's main ideas and important details that support those ideas.

Guidelines for summarizing an article:

  • State the main ideas.
  • Identify the most important details that support the main ideas.
  • Summarize in your own words.
  • Do not copy phrases or sentences unless they are being used as direct quotations.
  • Express the underlying meaning of the article, but do not critique or analyze.
  • The summary should be about one third the length of the original article. 

Your summary should include:

  • 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.
  • Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
  • 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.
  • Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.

 Adapted from "Guidelines for Using In-Text Citations in a Summary (or Research Paper)" by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, 2020

Additional Resources

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How to Write a Summary - Guide & Examples  (from

Writing a Summary  (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)

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How to Summarize a Speech

How to Summarize a Speech

Saving time and effort with Notta, starting from today!

Writing a speech summary is frustrating. You listen to the audio or video, note down key ideas, and then write only the important information — only to know it's a complete fluff. But it doesn't have to be such a complex experience — if you combine the right summarizing method and use AI, you can condense all the important information in a few clicks. 

There have been many times when I want to summarize interviews , podcasts , speeches, documents, or even research papers. While it may seem a difficult path to follow, a few tips and examples can help you save time and complete the tasks faster. Here, I'll help you with a guide on how to summarize a speech effectively. I'll also give you some tips that'll make the overall process an absolute breeze. 

What is a Speech Summary? 

A speech summary is a simple process of writing a brief overview with the key ideas or main points. Its goal is to help the reader get only the important information typically covered in the speech — without getting into too much detail. 

The speech summary begins with an engaging opening statement (or hook) to attract the audience. It then provides value in the body and covers all the key points in the conclusion. 

While it's pretty easy to include all these elements in the speech summary, you'll have to spend some time understanding the whole process. 

Giving a speech on stage along with a summary

How to Summarize a Speech? 

The best way to summarize any speech (or talk) is to understand the topic and take notes beforehand. But as much as I love reading summaries, I hate doing it manually — of course, as the process is pretty time-consuming. 

If you're still struggling with how to summarize a speech , here are the simple steps you must follow.

Carefully Listen to Speech 

Whether you're summarizing your own speech or someone else's work, start by carefully listening to the audio or video. Here, I'd personally suggest you pay extra attention to what the speakers said, how they conveyed their thoughts, and the key topics of discussion. 

Write the Main Points 

If you're like me, who keeps pen and paper ready, then you probably create notes for all your important work. But I can't count the times I've written notes on any paper only to lose them later. 

With an AI note-taking app like Notta , you can automate the note-taking process and even extract the main point easily. I love how this AI note-taker can transcribe and summarize notes into something useful and actionable. 

Another thing where Notta shines brighter is its ability to generate a transcript from the speech (audio or video) or extract the main points into key chapters and action items — without any manual work. 

Start the Summary 

Now, you'll need to turn on your writer mode and start writing the notes in proper format. For example, you can start with the engaging points of the speech that grab people's attention and insist they read the entire summary.

Check for Accuracy 

When you're writing a speech summary , always make sure the final version accurately reveals the key points and the main idea that the speaker is trying to convey. While this step is completely optional, I'd personally suggest you check the figures, facts, or data included in the summary — after all, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Edit and Revise 

A great summary strikes the perfect balance between conversational and formal tone. Once you've prepared the first draft and cross-checked all the facts, it's better to start editing and revising the piece. Here, you'll have to look for grammar or spelling errors — to ensure the summary looks professional. 

Edit and revise the speech summary with the team members

Example of a Speech Summary 

Over the years, I've seen a vast spectrum of summaries — from a few lines brief to 4-5 pages of the essentials. The sweet spot for a speech summary is somewhere in the middle — a few paragraphs (or one-page maximum) that convey the main idea clearly. 

I've spent a lot of time reading and creating speech summaries, and here I'll show you a summary example of the most popular speech 'I Have a Dream.' 

'I Have a Dream' Speech Summary  The 'I Have a Dream' speech delivered by the minister and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. highlights the long history of racial injustice in America and even encourages the audience to hold the country accountable to the three founding promises: freedom, equality, and justice. In his speech, King called for an end to racism in the United States, particularly against Black Americans. 

Tips for Summarizing a Speech 

If there's anything that I've been constantly asked for by teammates, it's the tips to summarize a lengthy document better and faster. Here are my best tips on how to write a speech summary and convert it into a short, informative text. 

Keep it Brief 

A good summary is often a brief version of a long speech, document , video, or audio — and that's what you'll need to keep in mind. While generating the speech summary, make sure it's short, sweet, and does not contain any kind of fluff. 

Keep the speech summary short and sweet

Write Without Judgement 

This is my favorite tip that I often give to fellow people — never add your opinion while summarizing. Your goal is to condense lengthy information into short form — and not write a review. 

Use AI Speech Summarizer 

If you're stuck in the cycle of listening to the speech and then preparing the draft, you can use AI to break it and also get things done faster. It'll help you avoid the pen-and-paper hassle and automate the process of transcribing and summarizing any media file. 

One of the most popular AI note-taking tools is Notta — which can transcribe and even summarize the audio or video. With its amazing Notta AI Summary Generator feature , you can create summaries in key chapters, action items, and an overview. 

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Try Notta - the best online transcription & summarization tool. Transcribe and summarize your conversations and meetings quickly with high accuracy.

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How do You Start a Summary of a Talk? 

The summary of a talk (or speech) should start with an introductory sentence that mainly focuses on the title, the speaker's name, and the main point that's being conveyed. You can even start with a key phrase that gives a glimpse of what the summary (or the speech) is about.  

What is a Good Starter Sentence for a Summary? 

A good starter sentence for a summary is one that combines three things: the speaker's name , the main idea , and the result . It should clearly reveal the key points that were discussed in the speech — but in a brief and engaging way. 

The first sentence acts like a hook sentence that grabs the attention of the reader. You shouldn't go deep into facts in the opening sentence — instead, it needs to be short and crisp — and start with a reporting verb. 

Key Takeaways 

Now that you know how to summarize a speech effectively, the main goal should be to keep it short, sweet, and simple. With AI and automation, you can save most of your time and create a summary faster. Notta is one of the great AI note-taking tools — for both beginners and professionals — that lets anyone record, transcribe, and even summarize media files. 

Every time you have any audio or video file that needs to be condensed, this AI tool will create a transcript and summary of your notes. It even highlights key chapters and outlines the action items. That way, you (and all your team members) can quickly scan through summaries and learn the next steps.

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How to Write a Summary

There are some places in your writing where it would be effective to include a summary. A  summary can be useful in the introductory paragraph to ground the reader in how you are using a source–this is more complex than the ineffective “book report” because it identifies the author’s argument and should lead the reader into how you are using that argument in your own project. Your own thesis may be adding to or complicating that source’s argument in light of other source’s theories. Also, when you are using a source, your reader needs to know that author’s point, especially before quoting or using paraphrased information from that source in order to provide context. In addition, you may also be assigned (or want to create) an annotated bibliography–this document includes a summary of all of your sources’ arguments.

  • A summary begins with an introductory sentence that states the text’s title, author, and main thesis or subject.
  • A summary contains the main thesis (or main point of the text), restated in your own words.
  • A summary is written in your own words. It contains few or no quotes.
  • A summary is always shorter than the original text, often about 1/3 as long as the original.  It is the ultimate “fat-free” writing. An article or paper may be summarized in a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs. A book may be summarized in an article or a short paper.  A very large book may be summarized in a smaller book.
  • A summary should contain all the major points of the original text but should ignore most of the fine details, examples, illustrations or explanations.
  • The backbone of any summary is formed by critical information (key names, dates, places, ideas, events, words and numbers). A summary must never rely on vague generalities.
  • If you quote anything from the original text, even an unusual word or a catchy phrase, you need to put whatever you quote in quotation marks (“”).
  • A summary must contain only the ideas of the original text. Do not insert any of your own opinions, interpretations, deductions, or comments into a summary.
  • A summary, like any other writing, has to have a specific audience and purpose, and you must carefully write it to serve that audience and fulfill that specific purpose.
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44 Summary Writing

What is a summary.

A summary is a comprehensive and objective restatement of the main ideas of a text (an article, book, movie, event, etc.)  Stephen Wilhoit, in his textbook  A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings , suggests that keeping the qualities of a good summary in mind helps students avoid the pitfalls of unclear or disjointed summaries.  These qualities include:

Neutrality  – The writer avoids inserting his or her opinion into the summary, or interpreting the original text’s content in any way.  This requires that the writer avoids language that is evaluative, such as: good, bad, effective, ineffective, interesting, boring, etc. Also, keep “I” out of the summary; instead, summary should be written in grammatical 3rd person (For example: “he”, “she”, “the author”, “they”, etc).

Brevity  – The summary should not be longer than the original text, but rather highlight the most important information from that text while leaving out unnecessary details while still maintaining accuracy.

Independence  – The summary should make sense to someone who has not read the original source.  There should be no confusion about the main content and organization of the original source.  This also requires that the summary be accurate.

By mastering the craft of summarizing, students put themselves in the position to do well on many assignments in college, not just English essays.  In most fields (from the humanities to the soft and hard sciences) summary is a required task.  Being able to summarize lab results accurately and briefly, for example, is critical in a chemistry or engineering class. Summarizing the various theories of sociology or education helps a person apply them to his or her fieldwork. In college, it’s imperative we learn how to summarize well because we are asked to do it so often.

College students are asked to summarize material for many different types of assignments. In some instances, summarizing one source is often the sole purpose of the entire assignment. Students might also be asked to summarize as just one aspect of a larger project, such as a literature review, an abstract in a research paper, or a works consulted entry in an annotated bibliography.

Some summary assignments will expect students to condense material more than others. For example, when summary is the sole purpose of the assignment, the student might be asked to include key supporting evidence, where as an abstract might require students to boil down the source text to its bare-bones essentials.

What Makes Something a Summary?

When you ask yourself, after reading an article (and maybe even reading it two or three times), “What was that article about?” and you end up jotting down–from memory, without returning to the original article to use its language or phrases–three things that stood out as the author’s main points, you are summarizing. Summaries have several key characteristics.

You’re summarizing well when you

  • use your own words
  • significantly condense the original text
  • provide accurate representations of the main points of the text they summarize
  • avoid personal opinion.

Summaries are much shorter than the original material—a general rule is that they should be no more than 10% to 15% the length of the original, and they are often even shorter than this.

It can be easy and feel natural, when summarizing an article, to include our own opinions. We may agree or disagree strongly with what this author is saying, or we may want to compare their information with the information presented in another source, or we may want to share our own opinion on the topic. Often, our opinions slip into summaries even when we work diligently to keep them separate. These opinions are not the job of a summary, though. A summary should  only  highlight the main points of the article.

summary of article book speech

First , it no longer correctly represents the original text, so it misleads your reader about the ideas presented in that text. A summary should give your reader an accurate idea of what they can expect if we pick up the original article to read.

Second , it undermines your own credibility as an author to not represent this information accurately. If readers cannot trust an author to accurately represent source information, they may not be as likely to trust that author to thoroughly and accurately present a reasonable point.

How Should I Organize a Summary?

Like traditional essays, summaries have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. What these components look like will vary some based on the purpose of the summary you’re writing. The introduction, body, and conclusion of work focused specifically around summarizing something is going to be a little different than in work where summary is not the primary goal.

Introducing a Summary

One of the trickier parts of creating a summary is making it clear that this is a summary of someone else’s work; these ideas are not your original ideas. You will almost always begin a summary with an introduction to the author, article, and publication so the reader knows what we are about to read. This information will appear again in your bibliography, but is also useful here so the reader can follow the conversation happening in your paper. You will want to provide it in both places.

In summary-focused work, this introduction should accomplish a few things:

  • Introduce the name of the author whose work you are summarizing.
  • Introduce the title of the text being summarized.
  • Introduce where this text was presented (if it’s an art installation, where is it being shown? If it’s an article, where was that article published? Not all texts will have this component–for example, when summarizing a book written by one author, the title of the book and name of that author are sufficient information for your readers to easily locate the work you are summarizing).
  • State the main ideas of the text you are summarizing—just the big-picture components.
  • Give context when necessary. Is this text responding to a current event? That might be important to know. Does this author have specific qualifications that make them an expert on this topic? This might also be relevant information.

So, for example, if you were to get an assignment asking you to summarize Matthew Hutson’s  Atlantic  article, “ Beyond the Five Senses ,” an introduction for that summary might look something like this:

In his July 2017 article in  The Atlantic , “Beyond the Five Senses,” Matthew Hutson explores ways in which potential technologies might expand our sensory perception of the world. He notes that some technologies, such as cochlear implants, are already accomplishing a version of this for people who do not have full access to one of the five senses. In much of the article, though, he seems more interested in how technology might expand the ways in which we sense things. Some of these technologies are based in senses that can be seen in nature, such as echolocation, and others seem more deeply rooted in science fiction. However, all of the examples he gives consider how adding new senses to the ones we already experience might change how we perceive the world around us.

However, you will probably find yourself more frequently using summary as just one component of work with a wide range of goals (not just a goal to “summarize X”).

Summary introductions in these situations still generally need to

  • name the author
  • name the text being summarized
  • state just the relevant context, if there is any (maybe the author has a specific credential that makes their work on this topic carry more weight than it would otherwise, or maybe the study they generated is now being used as a benchmark for additional research)
  • introduce the author’s full name (first and last names) the first time you summarize part of their text. If you summarize pieces of the same text more than once in a work you are writing, each time you use their text after that initial introduction of the source, you will only use the author’s last name as you introduce that next summary component.

Presenting the “Meat” (or Body) of a Summary

Again, this will look a little different depending on the purpose of the summary work you are doing. Regardless of how you are using summary, you will introduce the main ideas throughout your text with transitional phrasing, such as “One of [Author’s] biggest points is…,” or “[Author’s] primary concern about this solution is….”

If you are responding to a “write a summary of X” assignment, the body of that summary will expand on the main ideas you stated in the introduction of the summary, although this will all still be very condensed compared to the original. What are the key points the author makes about each of those big-picture main ideas? Depending on the kind of text you are summarizing, you may want to note how the main ideas are supported (although, again, be careful to avoid making your own opinion about those supporting sources known).

When you are summarizing with an end goal that is broader than just summary, the body of your summary will still present the idea from the original text that is relevant to the point you are making (condensed and in your own words).

Since it is much more common to summarize just a single idea or point from a text in this type of summarizing (rather than all of its main points), it is important to make sure you understand the larger points of the original text. For example, you might find that an article provides an example that opposes its main point in order to demonstrate the range of conversations happening on the topic it covers. This opposing point, though, isn’t the main point of the article, so just summarizing this one opposing example would not be an accurate representation of the ideas and points in that text.

Concluding a Summary

For writing in which summary is the sole purpose, here are some ideas for your conclusion.

  • Now that we’ve gotten a little more information about the main ideas of this piece, are there any connections or loose ends to tie up that will help your reader fully understand the points being made in this text? This is the place to put those.
  • This is also a good place to state (or restate) the things that are most important for your readers to remember after reading your summary.
  • Depending on your assignment, rather than providing a formal concluding paragraph where you restate the main points and make connections between them, you may want to simply paraphrase the author’s concluding section or final main idea. Check your assignment sheet to see what kind of conclusion your instructor is asking for.

When your writing has a primary goal other than summary, your conclusion should

  • discuss the summary you’ve just presented. How does it support, illustrate, or give new information about the point you are making in your writing? Connect it to your own main point for that paragraph so readers understand clearly why it deserves the space it takes up in your work. (Note that this is still not giving your opinion on the material you’ve summarized, just making connections between it and your own main points.)

Summary Template

Here is a basic summary template for use with any text (article, video, chapter, textbook, etc.) that you are reading and need to briefly summarize in your own words for yourself or for your readers. Use the tips when inserting information from the article that you have read into the template to make filling in the blanks much easier. Feel free to change any wording that you think needs modifying or that sounds ineffective in your final version. The summary essay rubric that follows is correlated to this template so that you can use it as a checklist.

In “Title of Article,” a (state year) adaptation/excerpt/chapter/article from Publication where it appeared , Author (first and last name) argues/explains/describes/ outlines/highlights that Thesis (main point of article) in your own words. First, he/she/ they claim(s) first supporting point. For instance, specific example from the text to illustrate this point (can be paraphrase or quote). Next, he/she/they examine(s) second supporting point. For example, specific example from the text to illustrate this point (can be paraphrase or quote). Third, he/she/they suggest(s) third supporting point. For instance, specific example from the text to illustrate this point (can be paraphrase or quote). To conclude he/she/they state(s) sum up the conclusion (may be a solution, a forecast for the future, etc.)

Sample Summary Essay Rubric

This chapter is adapted from A Guide to Rhetoric , Chapter 5.1, “ Writing Summaries, ” by Melanie Gagich, CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Write What Matters Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long; Amy Minervini; and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

Published on 25 September 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 12 May 2023.

Summarising , or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.

There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:

  • Read the text
  • Break it down into sections
  • Identify the key points in each section
  • Write the summary
  • Check the summary against the article

Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or analysing the source. You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).

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Table of contents

When to write a summary, step 1: read the text, step 2: break the text down into sections, step 3: identify the key points in each section, step 4: write the summary, step 5: check the summary against the article, frequently asked questions.

There are many situations in which you might have to summarise an article or other source:

  • As a stand-alone assignment to show you’ve understood the material
  • To keep notes that will help you remember what you’ve read
  • To give an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review

When you’re writing an academic text like an essay , research paper , or dissertation , you’ll integrate sources in a variety of ways. You might use a brief quote to support your point, or paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.

But it’s often appropriate to summarize a whole article or chapter if it is especially relevant to your own research, or to provide an overview of a source before you analyse or critique it.

In any case, the goal of summarising is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source. Follow the five steps outlined below to write a good summary.

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summary of article book speech

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You should read the article more than once to make sure you’ve thoroughly understood it. It’s often effective to read in three stages:

  • Scan the article quickly to get a sense of its topic and overall shape.
  • Read the article carefully, highlighting important points and taking notes as you read.
  • Skim the article again to confirm you’ve understood the key points, and reread any particularly important or difficult passages.

There are some tricks you can use to identify the key points as you read:

  • Start by reading the abstract . This already contains the author’s own summary of their work, and it tells you what to expect from the article.
  • Pay attention to headings and subheadings . These should give you a good sense of what each part is about.
  • Read the introduction and the conclusion together and compare them: What did the author set out to do, and what was the outcome?

To make the text more manageable and understand its sub-points, break it down into smaller sections.

If the text is a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organised into clearly marked sections, usually including an introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

Other types of articles may not be explicitly divided into sections. But most articles and essays will be structured around a series of sub-points or themes.

Now it’s time go through each section and pick out its most important points. What does your reader need to know to understand the overall argument or conclusion of the article?

Keep in mind that a summary does not involve paraphrasing every single paragraph of the article. Your goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything that can be considered background information or supplementary detail.

In a scientific article, there are some easy questions you can ask to identify the key points in each part.

If the article takes a different form, you might have to think more carefully about what points are most important for the reader to understand its argument.

In that case, pay particular attention to the thesis statement —the central claim that the author wants us to accept, which usually appears in the introduction—and the topic sentences that signal the main idea of each paragraph.

Now that you know the key points that the article aims to communicate, you need to put them in your own words.

To avoid plagiarism and show you’ve understood the article, it’s essential to properly paraphrase the author’s ideas. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, not even just a sentence or two.

The best way to do this is to put the article aside and write out your own understanding of the author’s key points.

Examples of article summaries

Let’s take a look at an example. Below, we summarise this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.

An article summary like the above would be appropriate for a stand-alone summary assignment. However, you’ll often want to give an even more concise summary of an article.

For example, in a literature review or research paper, you may want to briefly summarize this study as part of a wider discussion of various sources. In this case, we can boil our summary down even further to include only the most relevant information.

Citing the source you’re summarizing

When including a summary as part of a larger text, it’s essential to properly cite the source you’re summarizing. The exact format depends on your citation style , but it usually includes an in-text citation and a full reference at the end of your paper.

You can easily create your citations and references in APA or MLA using our free citation generators.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

Finally, read through the article once more to ensure that:

  • You’ve accurately represented the author’s work
  • You haven’t missed any essential information
  • The phrasing is not too similar to any sentences in the original.

If you’re summarising many articles as part of your own work, it may be a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to double-check that your text is completely original and properly cited. Just be sure to use one that’s safe and reliable.

A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words.

Save yourself some time with the free summariser.

A summary is always much shorter than the original text. The length of a summary can range from just a few sentences to several paragraphs; it depends on the length of the article you’re summarising, and on the purpose of the summary.

With the summariser tool you can easily adjust the length of your summary.

You might have to write a summary of a source:

  • As a stand-alone assignment to prove you understand the material
  • For your own use, to keep notes on your reading
  • To provide an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
  • In a paper , to summarise or introduce a relevant study

To avoid plagiarism when summarising an article or other source, follow these two rules:

  • Write the summary entirely in your own words by   paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
  • Reference the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.

An abstract concisely explains all the key points of an academic text such as a thesis , dissertation or journal article. It should summarise the whole text, not just introduce it.

An abstract is a type of summary , but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing . For example, you might summarise a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, May 12). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 22 April 2024, from

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Identify the important ideas and facts

To help you summarize and analyze your argumentative texts , your articles, your scientific texts, your history texts as well as your well-structured analyses work of art, Resoomer provides you with a "Summary text tool" : an educational tool that identifies and summarizes the important ideas and facts of your documents. Summarize in 1-Click, go to the main idea or skim through so that you can then interpret your texts quickly and develop your syntheses .

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Read the full text of Canada's 2024 federal budget from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland

In her budget speech, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said younger generations need help given inflationary pressures

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Canada’s 2024 federal budget has higher deficits, higher spending and higher taxes for the country’s wealthiest people. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced the budget as a spending plan designed for younger Canadians. Freeland tabled the budget Tuesday after already having revealed much of its contents in the weeks before. In her budget speech, Freeland said younger generations need help given the swift rise in housing costs and other inflationary pressures. Read the full budget document below, and find National Post’s full coverage here .

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Deputy Prime Minister’s Foreword

A fair chance to build a good middle class life — to do as well as your parents, or better — that’s the promise of Canada. For too many, especially for younger Canadians, that promise is at risk.

We have a plan to fix that. We have a plan to build a Canada that works better for you, where you can get ahead, where your hard work pays off, where you can buy a home — where you have a fair chance at a good middle class life.

First, we’re building more affordable homes. Because the best way to make home prices more affordable is to increase supply—and quickly. That’s why we’re cutting red tape and reforming zoning. We’re building more apartments and affordable housing across the country and unlocking public lands and vacant government offices to build homes for Canadians.

For Millennial and Gen Z renters, we’re restoring the chance to make progress towards homeownership. We’re creating more tax-free ways to save for your first down payment. We’re giving renters credit for rental payments, so when it comes time to apply for that first mortgage, you’ll have a better chance of qualifying.

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Second, we’re making life cost less. We’re strengthening Canada’s social safety net for every generation. $10‑a‑day child care is already saving young parents thousands of dollars a year—and offering more young Canadians the possibility of starting their own family. New programs to help with the cost of going to the dentist and pharmacy, including the cost of contraceptives and insulin, will further ease the financial burden. And we’re investing so our communities are great places to live, work, and raise a family.

Third, we are growing the economy in a way that’s shared by all. We have a plan that will increase investment, enhance productivity, and encourage the kind of game-changing innovation that will create good-paying and meaningful jobs and keep Canada at the economic forefront. We’re working to empower more of our best entrepreneurs and innovators to put their ideas to work here in Canada.

We are making Canada’s tax system more fair by asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share — so we can invest in prosperity for every generation, and because it would be irresponsible and unfair to pass on more debt to the next generations.

Our government first came to office with a vow to strengthen and expand the middle class. We delivered on that pledge by reducing poverty, especially for children and seniors, and creating millions of good jobs for Canadians. Our work isn’t over.

Our renewed focus today is unlocking the door to the middle class for millions of younger Canadians. We’ll build more housing and help make life cost less.

We will drive our economy toward growth that lifts everyone up. Because that is what you have earned, and that is what you deserve. And that is what your parents and grandparents want for you, too.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Get more deep-dive National Post political coverage and analysis in your inbox with the Political Hack newsletter, where Ottawa bureau chief Stuart Thomson and political analyst Tasha Kheiriddin get at what’s really going on behind the scenes on Parliament Hill every Wednesday and Friday, exclusively for subscribers. Sign up here.

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When O.J. Simpson ‘Confessed’ to Murder

Years after Mr. Simpson was acquitted, he wrote a book and gave a shocking interview. The whole endeavor cost the publisher, Judith Regan, her job.

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O.J. Simpson gesturing and speaking to Judith Regan. They are sitting on a couple of black armchairs.

By Jacob Bernstein

In 1994, O.J. Simpson pleaded not guilty to murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted by a jury. But a little more than a decade later, he more or less confessed to the crimes.

Mr. Simpson did so in a bizarre 2007 book, titled “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer,” that was purchased for publication by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, run by the magnate Judith Regan.

The parent company for ReganBooks and HarperCollins was News Corp, whose chairman, Rupert Murdoch, had been one of Ms. Regan’s biggest supporters.

Amid a sea of more genteel publishers, she published controversial (and often best-selling) memoirs by authors including the shock jock Howard Stern, the porn star Jenna Jameson, and the steroid-taking baseball player Jose Canseco. (Mr. Canseco’s memoir was called “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big.”)

During negotiations for “If I Did It,” Mr. Simpson agreed to conduct one television interview with a journalist in order to promote the book. He would describe, in hypothetical terms, what might have transpired on the night of June 12, 1994, when Ms. Brown Simpson and Mr. Goldman were found outside her home in West Los Angeles, stabbed to death.

Mr. Simpson finished “If I Did It” with the help of a ghostwriter, but after a public outcry, the book was shelved, and the woman who had agreed to publish it lost her job.

“Basically, I got the shiv,” Ms. Regan said in a phone interview this week.

Eventually Mr. Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, and Mr. Goldman’s sister, Kim Goldman, secured the rights to publish the book in 2007. They added an introduction, along with a prologue by the ghostwriter, Pablo Fenjves, and an afterward by Dominick Dunne, whose trial reporting for Vanity Fair made plain his belief that Mr. Simpson was guilty of the murders.

The Interview

Ms. Regan said she thought that she was being pranked when she first received a cold call from a lawyer claiming to be working for O.J. Simpson, sometime around 2005.

When she realized the call was real, she worked out a deal. The terms, Ms. Regan said, included that the money for the book be placed into trusts for Sydney and Justin Simpson, Mr. Simpson’s children with Ms. Brown Simpson.

Ms. Regan was adamant that Mr. Simpson agree to an on-camera interview because, as she put it, “without it, he could always say ‘the ghostwriter twisted my words,’ ‘this isn’t really what I said,’ ‘blah blah blah.’”

Ms. Regan then brought in Mr. Simpson’s ghostwriter, Mr. Fenjves. He had lived a few doors down from Ms. Brown Simpson in Los Angeles and had testified against Mr. Simpson at trial, saying that he heard a dog barking at the time of the murders.

Over the course of several months in 2006, Mr. Fenjves interviewed Mr. Simpson many times by himself. (“I never even met him then,” Ms. Regan said of Mr. Simpson.)

By late 2006, the book was complete. Barbara Walters of ABC secured an exclusive interview with Mr. Simpson in Miami, where he was living. A date to film was set for early November. But the outcry preceding the book’s release threw things into disarray.

Unsurprisingly, many people felt that Mr. Simpson should not profit from taking center stage in a double homicide, even though he had been acquitted. Ms. Walters and ABC backed out of the project.

Initially, Ms. Regan’s superiors at News Corp held strong in their support. Fox, its main television arm, secured the rights to the interview. Ms. Regan stepped in to interrogate Mr. Simpson herself.

Soon, she was filming in a warehouse in South Florida.

For five hours, she and Mr. Simpson discussed the circumstances that led to the murders and what happened in their aftermath. “If you listen, he hangs himself on every word,” Ms. Regan told the Times. “His basic view was that she had it coming. He saw himself as a victim.”

Dressed in a navy suit and a baby blue polo shirt, Mr. Simpson presented himself as a happy-go-lucky guy driven to the brink by his fickle and temperamental spouse.

“Keep this in mind — this is hypothetical,” he said.

Then he discussed the circumstances that led to the murders.

He said that on June 12, 1994, he had gone to their daughter Sydney’s dance performance. Ms. Brown Simpson was also there, wearing a short skirt he did not approve of.

At the recital, Mr. Simpson said, he ran into an old friend who informed him that Ms. Brown Simpson had been having drug- and sex-fueled parties at her house. Mr. Simpson became enraged, he said, mostly on behalf of his children.

Later that evening, Mr. Simpson said, he went over to Ms. Brown Simpson’s house because he wanted to talk it out with her. He felt that a “stop” had to be put to her bad behavior.

Mr. Simpson also told Ms. Regan that there had been a knife in the car he drove to Ms. Brown Simpson’s condominium on Bundy Drive in Brentwood. It was hidden under his car seat, he said.

He said that things had escalated between him and the victims until he was standing in a pool of blood. Yet, he professed not to remember much of what transpired. And Mr. Simpson presented himself as having not been alone.

Instead, he said that he had arrived at Ms. Brown Simpson’s condominium with a friend named Charlie, and that at one point “Charlie” held the knife, but that it ultimately wound up in his hand.

This was a surprise. There had never been any evidence to suggest that Mr. Simpson had an accomplice. No one else’s blood was found at the scene besides Mr. Simpson’s and the victims’.

Mr. Fenjves later said that he believed “Charlie” was a chimera, a means for Mr. Simpson to give himself an added level of remove from the murders he mostly acknowledged having committed.

Speaking by phone, Ms. Regan said she still did not know what to make of the character in the book.

But other details that Mr. Simpson mentioned line up with the narrative laid out by prosecutors in the murder trial.

Mr. Simpson said that after leaving the crime scene, he returned home. He had to catch a red-eye flight to Chicago because he was scheduled to play in a celebrity golf tournament the next day.

In the rush to leave the house and make his flight, he left behind a trail of evidence that investigators found, including a bloody glove that had been worn during the murders.

Yet, Mr. Simpson spoke during the interview with Ms. Regan as if the murders could have been prevented, had Ms. Brown Simpson only been a more stable person, a better spouse, a more responsible mother.

“He had zero remorse,” Ms. Regan said. “The only remorse he had was that she had ruined his life. Because he had to kill her.”

Ms. Regan said that she had walked out of the interview with Mr. Simpson feeling as if someone had finally gotten the truth out of him. But soon after, when ads for the interview began to run, a number of Fox affiliates revolted. They said they would not air it.

Vocal condemnations came from the families of the victims as well.

Ultimately, Fox decided not to air it and News Corp scrapped plans to publish the book.

Ms. Regan said publicly that she thought her company was making a mistake. Less than a month later, she was fired, reportedly for telling a colleague that a Jewish cabal at News Corp was out to get her.

Ms. Regan denied saying any such thing. She sued the company for defamation and it settled with her for an undisclosed sum. The company also released a statement saying she had never made antisemitic statements and was not an antisemite. (Ms. Regan now runs Regan Arts, a publishing company with distribution through Simon & Schuster.)

By then, Mr. Simpson owed the Goldman family millions of dollars from a 1997 civil suit that found him liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. After Mr. Simpson failed to make his payments, Ron Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, obtained control of the book from a bankruptcy court in Miami.

In 2007, it was released through Beaufort Books, an independent publishing house based in New York. This time, the money went to the Goldman family. (The earnings from the book were almost the only money that the family ever earned from Mr. Simpson, People magazine reported this week .)

When representatives for Fox called Ms. Regan more than a decade later to say that they were going to air the interview, she was surprised. She said this week that she had been led to believe the tapes of the interview had been destroyed.

Clearly, they had not.

In addition, the producers asked Ms. Regan if she would be willing to appear on a panel moderated by the journalist Soledad O’Brien and featuring (among others) Christopher Darden, a member of the prosecution team.

Despite how Ms. Regan feels about News Corp’s leadership, she was happy to do so.

“Like it or not, this was his confession,” she said. “It is a portrait of a sociopath."

An earlier version of this article misstated the year O.J. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. It was 1994, not 1995.

How we handle corrections

Jacob Bernstein is a reporter for the Styles desk. In addition to writing profiles of fashion designers, artists and celebrities, he has focused much of his attention on L.G.B.T. issues, philanthropy and the world of furniture design. More about Jacob Bernstein

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Pennsylvania school district cancels actor’s speech over his activism and ‘lifestyle’

FILE - Actor Maulik Pancholy attends the premiere of "Trishna" during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 27, 2012 in New York. A Pennsylvania school district has canceled an upcoming appearance by actor and children's book author Pancholy after district leaders cited concerns about what they described as his activism and “lifestyle.” Pancholy, who is gay, was scheduled to speak against bullying during a May 22, 2024, assembly at Mountain View Middle School in Cumberland County. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

FILE - Actor Maulik Pancholy attends the premiere of “Trishna” during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 27, 2012 in New York. A Pennsylvania school district has canceled an upcoming appearance by actor and children’s book author Pancholy after district leaders cited concerns about what they described as his activism and “lifestyle.” Pancholy, who is gay, was scheduled to speak against bullying during a May 22, 2024, assembly at Mountain View Middle School in Cumberland County. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania school district has canceled an upcoming appearance by actor and children’s book author Maulik Pancholy after district leaders cited concerns about what they described as his activism and “lifestyle.”

Pancholy, who is gay, was scheduled to speak against bullying during a May 22 assembly at Mountain View Middle School in Cumberland County. However, the district’s school board voted unanimously Monday night to cancel his talk after some members voiced concerns and others noted the district’s policy about not hosting overtly political events, news outlets reported. The policy was enacted after the district was criticized for hosting a rally by Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign for president.

Pancholy, 48, is an award-winning actor, including for his roles on the television shows “30 Rock” and “Weeds,” and as the voice of Baljeet in the Disney animated series, “Phineas & Ferb.” He also has written children’s books and in 2014 was named by then-President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, where he co-founded a campaign to combat AAPI bullying.

Pancholy’s appearance was scheduled by the school’s leadership team, which each year selects an author to present a “unique educational experience for students,” according to the district.

FILE - This photo combo shows. Republican David McCormick, left, addressing supporters at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Sept. 21, 2023 and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaking during an event at AFSCME Council 13 offices, March 14, 2024, in Harrisburg, Pa.. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, Marc Levy, file)

While discussing the appearance at Monday night’s meeting, school board members said they did not know what Pancholy’s talk would be about, but one member said he didn’t “want to run the risk” of what it might entail.

“If you research this individual, he labels himself as an activist,” Bud Shaffner said, according to Pennlive. “He is proud of his lifestyle, and I don’t think that should be imposed upon our students, at any age.”

The board’s vote sparked criticism from several parents, students and community members who called the decision “homophobic.” Some have started online petitions urging that Pancholy’s appearance be reinstated.

In a statement posted on social media, Pancholy said that as a middle school student he never saw himself represented in stories, and that books featuring South Asian-American or LGBTQ+ characters “didn’t exist.” When he started writing his own novels years later, he was still hard-pressed to find those stories, he said.

“It’s why I wrote my books in the first place,” Pancholy wrote. “Because representation matters.”

Pancholy said his school visits are meant “to let all young people know that they’re seen. To let them know that they matter.” When he talks about his characters feeling “different,” he said he is always surprised by how many children of various identities and backgrounds want to share how they feel different too.

“That’s the power of books. They build empathy,” Pancholy wrote. “I wonder why a school board is so afraid of that?”

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    A summary is written in your own words. It contains few or no quotes. A summary is always shorter than the original text, often about 1/3 as long as the original. It is the ultimate "fat-free" writing. An article or paper may be summarized in a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs. A book may be summarized in an article or a short paper.

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    A summary is a comprehensive and objective restatement of the main ideas of a text (an article, book, movie, event, etc.) Stephen Wilhoit, in his textbook A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings, suggests that keeping the qualities of a good summary in mind helps students avoid the pitfalls of unclear or disjointed summaries. These qualities ...

  15. TLDR This

    Article Metadata Extraction. TLDR This, the online article summarizer tool, not only condenses lengthy articles into shorter, digestible content, but it also automatically extracts essential metadata such as author and date information, related images, and the title. Additionally, it estimates the reading time for news articles and blog posts ...

  16. How to Write a Summary

    Table of contents. When to write a summary. Step 1: Read the text. Step 2: Break the text down into sections. Step 3: Identify the key points in each section. Step 4: Write the summary. Step 5: Check the summary against the article. Frequently asked questions.

  17. AI Text Summarizer

    QuillBot's AI Text Summarizer, trusted by millions globally, utilizes cutting-edge AI to summarize articles, papers, or documents into key summary paragraphs. Try our free AI text summarization tool now!

  18. Resoomer

    Identify the important ideas and facts. To help you summarize and analyze your argumentative texts, your articles, your scientific texts, your history texts as well as your well-structured analyses work of art, Resoomer provides you with a "Summary text tool" : an educational tool that identifies and summarizes the important ideas and facts of your documents.

  19. A summary of an article, book, speech or other piece of writing

    A summary of an article, book, speech or other piece of writing. Today's crossword puzzle clue is a general knowledge one: A summary of an article, book, speech or other piece of writing. We will try to find the right answer to this particular crossword clue. Here are the possible solutions for "A summary of an article, book, speech or other ...

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    Answers for A summary of an article, book, speech or other piece of writing (8) crossword clue, 8 letters. Search for crossword clues found in the Daily Celebrity, NY Times, Daily Mirror, Telegraph and major publications. Find clues for A summary of an article, book, speech or other piece of writing (8) or most any crossword answer or clues for crossword answers.

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    Crossword Answers: a summary of an article, book or speech (8) RANK. ANSWER. CLUE. ABSTRACT. A summary of an article, book or speech (8) COPY. From "abundance, plenty", word first for a transcript of an original, later an individual specimen of an article, book, newspaper or other work; matter to be typeset/printed; or, an imitation or repro ...

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  23. Full text: Canada's 2024 federal budget from Chrystia Freeland

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  24. O.J. Simpson's Book Publisher on the Interview When He 'Confessed' to

    Years after Mr. Simpson was acquitted, he wrote a book and gave a shocking interview. The whole endeavor cost the publisher, Judith Regan, her job. By Jacob Bernstein In 1994, O.J. Simpson pleaded ...

  25. Let's hear it for free speech and trusting our own discernment

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