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How To Write A Summary Of An Article: Guidlines, Structure, Examples

26 Apr 2018

Almost every student feels confused when he faces this task for the first time, which is why it is important to clarify the definition of an article summary before we can go on to the mains steps in article review writing.

What Is An Article Summary?

A brief paper focuses on a specific scientific article. Although it usually has the same structure and goal, there may be certain differences in its content depending on the type of work you are summarizing. For example, if you are working on an argumentative piece, your paper has to detect, clarify, and analyze the given thesis and all arguments provided in its support. However, the requirements are different for an empirical article. In the case with an empirical work, you will have to do the same steps but your main focus will be not thesis and arguments but research methods, main questions, and findings.

Why is it a responsible task? Although this paper is so short that it rarely can significantly influence your academic performance, it is still an important part in your education as it is a clear indicator of a student’s reading and writing skills. This kind of task is given to students in order to help them improve critical thinking skills, as well as learn how to read and analyze the text, how to read focusing on the main points, and how to clearly organize your ideas in a short paper.

Why do you need to write it and what is its purpose? Writing a summary of an article, as a part of an educational program at college or university may have three key goals:

  • To present a big piece of information in a clear and concise manner;
  • To provide arguments against the article author’s opinion;
  • To use the scientific article as a resource that supports your ideas and arguments in another work.

This task can be assigned to students or research assistants. However, its purpose is usually the same. This paper’s main goal is to provide a comprehensive but yet short descriptive comment on a particular article, telling your readers about the author’s main focus in his work and the key points of it.

Steps In Writing A Summary Of An Article

Now, when you understand the meaning and goals of this task, it is just the time to learn what the most efficient ways to cope with it are. How to write a summary of an article? It is easier than you think before you get to it!

Here are the key steps to writing a top-notch summary with ease:

  1. Read the article closely, with an eye on its main focus;
  2. Make notes as you read to save yourself some time;
  3. Identify the key ideas or questions of the text;
  4. Keep an eye on the text’s key arguments or methods (depending on the type of article you are reading);
  5. Make a list of questions that you have to answer in your paper;
  6. Make an outline;
  7. Write your summary;
  8. Review and edit your paper before submitting it.

What if you can’t handle it? Do not worry if you still have no idea how to summarize an article! Often, if you do not get how to handle this task, it is just enough to find a clear and quality article summary example to see how it should look like. However, even if this does not help much, there is one more solution that can save the situation – you can take advantage of using academic paper writing services at our website and get a paper you need fast and with no efforts! This way you will ensure a high grade and save lots of time.

Structure Of Article Summary

In order to write a good summary, you have to follow a clear and appropriate structure. As a rule, such works are given in a form of paragraphs. Therefore, they usually do not require including subheadings. Also, it is important to keep each section of your work brief, straight to the point, and clear – there is no need for making smooth transitions between your paper’s sections, just keep in mind that it is a concise and focused scientific paper. Below you can find an example of a good structure.

Sample Structure For A Summary Of An Argumentative Article:

  1. Intro:
    1. Providing general info about the article including its topic, main question or describing the author’s individual approach to the topic;
  2. Statement of the author’s thesis
  3. Key points:
    1. Provide and clarify the key ideas that author presents in a support of his thesis;
    2. Share a few examples that author has used;
  4. Make a conclusion:
    1. Discuss how the given ideas and examples support thesis;
    2. Discuss how the author explains the relevance and significance of his work

Sample Structure For A Summary Of An Empirical Article:

  1. Intro:
    1. Tell the readers about the topic of a study;
    2. State the main research question;
    3. Clarify the given hypotheses and variables;
  2. Methods:
    1. Describe the design of an experienced;
    2. Indicate what materials were used;
    3. Tell about participants;
  3. Findings:
    1. Give the obtained results and discuss whether they support the hypotheses or not;
  4. Conclusion:
    1. Tell about the applications or implications of a particular study;
    2. Highlight the main limitations of this study

Summary of an article examples

Josh Smith, the author of “Rules of Sharing and Copying Java Code”, specifies that, as he believes, any code that has been copied from someone else has to be cited or it should be assumed as plagiarism and violation of copyright. He also insists that we should discuss plagiarism not only as a form of copying what someone has said or written, but also as a form of stealing another one’s codes, and other intellectual property. Smith offers to discuss how to cite other’s works within the programs. He supports his idea stating that the due credit is always given to the authors of different resources and provides examples of citations for different sources to show that anyone can identify the author of a code or its unit and give credit to him. Another idea is that we should stop unsuitable sharing. Smith insists that any code should not be shared in an electronic form in order to prevent plagiarism and unsuitable sharing.

The target audience of the author are students of computer science faculties. Students are either unaware of the issue with plagiarism or they have never considered how this issue can affect them when writing a code. Smith’s guidelines and ideas are useful and precise. However, there is one thing that the author forgot – sometimes, studying someone else’s code can help you learn much new, which is why it would be good if the author could also share some guidelines on which circumstances would be appropriate for doing it and which are not.


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