Summarizing means to "sum up" the content of a paper; this includes the thoughts of the writer. Writing a summary allows the reader a glimpse into the material before she reads the actual document. When crafting a summary it is always best to put yourself in the place of the reader. Determine what he should know and begin to craft your summary.

Think about the main idea of your research paper and write down three "key" terms that were used in the document. For example, if your paper is about the American Revolution include this as a relevant term to use in your summary.

Write down three to four factors about your research paper that you would like the reader to know. Think about the reference materials you used for research.

Highlight relevant sentences throughout your research paper. Include three sentences that may stand out. For example, if you used historical facts or data, highlighting those sentences may be helpful.

Place the terms you wrote and the highlighted sentences into one document. Create a paragraph and read it aloud. Reading the paragraph with the highlighted terms and relevant paragraphs may not make sense. However, this will allow you to develop your thoughts about the summary.

Write down three things that the reader can learn from reading your research paper. For example, if the paper involves women in college, include a sentence like readers should know "98 percent of women attend college by the age of 25."

Begin to write your summary in a clear, concise manner. Use key terms and snippets from the highlighted paragraphs. Revise it until it flows smoothly.


Summaries should include the main idea of the research paper.


Including five sentences or more composes a good summary.


Do not use first-person language in the summary.

Related Articles