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Research Summary – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Summary

Research Summary

Definition:

A research summary is a brief and concise overview of a research project or study that highlights its key findings, main points, and conclusions. It typically includes a description of the research problem, the research methods used, the results obtained, and the implications or significance of the findings. It is often used as a tool to quickly communicate the main findings of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or decision-makers.

Structure of Research Summary

The Structure of a Research Summary typically include:

  • Introduction : This section provides a brief background of the research problem or question, explains the purpose of the study, and outlines the research objectives.
  • Methodology : This section explains the research design, methods, and procedures used to conduct the study. It describes the sample size, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Results : This section presents the main findings of the study, including statistical analysis if applicable. It may include tables, charts, or graphs to visually represent the data.
  • Discussion : This section interprets the results and explains their implications. It discusses the significance of the findings, compares them to previous research, and identifies any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Conclusion : This section summarizes the main points of the research and provides a conclusion based on the findings. It may also suggest implications for future research or practical applications of the results.
  • References : This section lists the sources cited in the research summary, following the appropriate citation style.

How to Write Research Summary

Here are the steps you can follow to write a research summary:

  • Read the research article or study thoroughly: To write a summary, you must understand the research article or study you are summarizing. Therefore, read the article or study carefully to understand its purpose, research design, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • Identify the main points : Once you have read the research article or study, identify the main points, key findings, and research question. You can highlight or take notes of the essential points and findings to use as a reference when writing your summary.
  • Write the introduction: Start your summary by introducing the research problem, research question, and purpose of the study. Briefly explain why the research is important and its significance.
  • Summarize the methodology : In this section, summarize the research design, methods, and procedures used to conduct the study. Explain the sample size, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Present the results: Summarize the main findings of the study. Use tables, charts, or graphs to visually represent the data if necessary.
  • Interpret the results: In this section, interpret the results and explain their implications. Discuss the significance of the findings, compare them to previous research, and identify any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Conclude the summary : Summarize the main points of the research and provide a conclusion based on the findings. Suggest implications for future research or practical applications of the results.
  • Revise and edit : Once you have written the summary, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free of errors. Make sure that your summary accurately represents the research article or study.
  • Add references: Include a list of references cited in the research summary, following the appropriate citation style.

Example of Research Summary

Here is an example of a research summary:

Title: The Effects of Yoga on Mental Health: A Meta-Analysis

Introduction: This meta-analysis examines the effects of yoga on mental health. The study aimed to investigate whether yoga practice can improve mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression, stress, and quality of life.

Methodology : The study analyzed data from 14 randomized controlled trials that investigated the effects of yoga on mental health outcomes. The sample included a total of 862 participants. The yoga interventions varied in length and frequency, ranging from four to twelve weeks, with sessions lasting from 45 to 90 minutes.

Results : The meta-analysis found that yoga practice significantly improved mental health outcomes. Participants who practiced yoga showed a significant reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as stress levels. Quality of life also improved in those who practiced yoga.

Discussion : The findings of this study suggest that yoga can be an effective intervention for improving mental health outcomes. The study supports the growing body of evidence that suggests that yoga can have a positive impact on mental health. Limitations of the study include the variability of the yoga interventions, which may affect the generalizability of the findings.

Conclusion : Overall, the findings of this meta-analysis support the use of yoga as an effective intervention for improving mental health outcomes. Further research is needed to determine the optimal length and frequency of yoga interventions for different populations.

References :

  • Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., Dobos, G., & Berger, B. (2013). Yoga for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and anxiety, 30(11), 1068-1083.
  • Khalsa, S. B. (2004). Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: a bibliometric analysis of published research studies. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 48(3), 269-285.
  • Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(1), 3-12.

Purpose of Research Summary

The purpose of a research summary is to provide a brief overview of a research project or study, including its main points, findings, and conclusions. The summary allows readers to quickly understand the essential aspects of the research without having to read the entire article or study.

Research summaries serve several purposes, including:

  • Facilitating comprehension: A research summary allows readers to quickly understand the main points and findings of a research project or study without having to read the entire article or study. This makes it easier for readers to comprehend the research and its significance.
  • Communicating research findings: Research summaries are often used to communicate research findings to a wider audience, such as policymakers, practitioners, or the general public. The summary presents the essential aspects of the research in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for non-experts to understand.
  • Supporting decision-making: Research summaries can be used to support decision-making processes by providing a summary of the research evidence on a particular topic. This information can be used by policymakers or practitioners to make informed decisions about interventions, programs, or policies.
  • Saving time: Research summaries save time for researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders who need to review multiple research studies. Rather than having to read the entire article or study, they can quickly review the summary to determine whether the research is relevant to their needs.

Characteristics of Research Summary

The following are some of the key characteristics of a research summary:

  • Concise : A research summary should be brief and to the point, providing a clear and concise overview of the main points of the research.
  • Objective : A research summary should be written in an objective tone, presenting the research findings without bias or personal opinion.
  • Comprehensive : A research summary should cover all the essential aspects of the research, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • Accurate : A research summary should accurately reflect the key findings and conclusions of the research.
  • Clear and well-organized: A research summary should be easy to read and understand, with a clear structure and logical flow.
  • Relevant : A research summary should focus on the most important and relevant aspects of the research, highlighting the key findings and their implications.
  • Audience-specific: A research summary should be tailored to the intended audience, using language and terminology that is appropriate and accessible to the reader.
  • Citations : A research summary should include citations to the original research articles or studies, allowing readers to access the full text of the research if desired.

When to write Research Summary

Here are some situations when it may be appropriate to write a research summary:

  • Proposal stage: A research summary can be included in a research proposal to provide a brief overview of the research aims, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes.
  • Conference presentation: A research summary can be prepared for a conference presentation to summarize the main findings of a study or research project.
  • Journal submission: Many academic journals require authors to submit a research summary along with their research article or study. The summary provides a brief overview of the study’s main points, findings, and conclusions and helps readers quickly understand the research.
  • Funding application: A research summary can be included in a funding application to provide a brief summary of the research aims, objectives, and expected outcomes.
  • Policy brief: A research summary can be prepared as a policy brief to communicate research findings to policymakers or stakeholders in a concise and accessible manner.

Advantages of Research Summary

Research summaries offer several advantages, including:

  • Time-saving: A research summary saves time for readers who need to understand the key findings and conclusions of a research project quickly. Rather than reading the entire research article or study, readers can quickly review the summary to determine whether the research is relevant to their needs.
  • Clarity and accessibility: A research summary provides a clear and accessible overview of the research project’s main points, making it easier for readers to understand the research without having to be experts in the field.
  • Improved comprehension: A research summary helps readers comprehend the research by providing a brief and focused overview of the key findings and conclusions, making it easier to understand the research and its significance.
  • Enhanced communication: Research summaries can be used to communicate research findings to a wider audience, such as policymakers, practitioners, or the general public, in a concise and accessible manner.
  • Facilitated decision-making: Research summaries can support decision-making processes by providing a summary of the research evidence on a particular topic. Policymakers or practitioners can use this information to make informed decisions about interventions, programs, or policies.
  • Increased dissemination: Research summaries can be easily shared and disseminated, allowing research findings to reach a wider audience.

Limitations of Research Summary

Limitations of the Research Summary are as follows:

  • Limited scope: Research summaries provide a brief overview of the research project’s main points, findings, and conclusions, which can be limiting. They may not include all the details, nuances, and complexities of the research that readers may need to fully understand the study’s implications.
  • Risk of oversimplification: Research summaries can be oversimplified, reducing the complexity of the research and potentially distorting the findings or conclusions.
  • Lack of context: Research summaries may not provide sufficient context to fully understand the research findings, such as the research background, methodology, or limitations. This may lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the research.
  • Possible bias: Research summaries may be biased if they selectively emphasize certain findings or conclusions over others, potentially distorting the overall picture of the research.
  • Format limitations: Research summaries may be constrained by the format or length requirements, making it challenging to fully convey the research’s main points, findings, and conclusions.
  • Accessibility: Research summaries may not be accessible to all readers, particularly those with limited literacy skills, visual impairments, or language barriers.

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  • How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

Published on November 23, 2020 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Summarizing , 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 evaluating the source . You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).

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, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about summarizing.

There are many situations in which you might have to summarize 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 analyze or critique it.

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

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

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 organized 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.

Key points of a scientific article
Introduction or problem was addressed?
Methods
Results supported?
Discussion/conclusion

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 summarize this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Davis et al. (2015) set out to empirically test the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are often used to represent a healthy lifestyle, and research has shown their nutritional properties could be beneficial for various aspects of health. The authors’ unique approach is to take the saying literally and ask: do people who eat apples use healthcare services less frequently? If there is indeed such a relationship, they suggest, promoting apple consumption could help reduce healthcare costs.

The study used publicly available cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants were categorized as either apple eaters or non-apple eaters based on their self-reported apple consumption in an average 24-hour period. They were also categorized as either avoiding or not avoiding the use of healthcare services in the past year. The data was statistically analyzed to test whether there was an association between apple consumption and several dependent variables: physician visits, hospital stays, use of mental health services, and use of prescription medication.

Although apple eaters were slightly more likely to have avoided physician visits, this relationship was not statistically significant after adjusting for various relevant factors. No association was found between apple consumption and hospital stays or mental health service use. However, apple eaters were found to be slightly more likely to have avoided using prescription medication. Based on these results, the authors conclude that an apple a day does not keep the doctor away, but it may keep the pharmacist away. They suggest that this finding could have implications for reducing healthcare costs, considering the high annual costs of prescription medication and the inexpensiveness of apples.

However, the authors also note several limitations of the study: most importantly, that apple eaters are likely to differ from non-apple eaters in ways that may have confounded the results (for example, apple eaters may be more likely to be health-conscious). To establish any causal relationship between apple consumption and avoidance of medication, they recommend experimental research.

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 meta analysis 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.

Using national survey data, Davis et al. (2015) tested the assertion that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and did not find statistically significant evidence to support this hypothesis. While people who consumed apples were slightly less likely to use prescription medications, the study was unable to demonstrate a causal relationship between these variables.

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 summarizing 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.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Paraphrasing

 Plagiarism

  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words. Want to make your life super easy? Try our free text summarizer today!

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 summarizing, and on the purpose of the 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 summarize or introduce a relevant study

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

  • Write the summary entirely in your own words by paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
  • Cite 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 summarize 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 summarize a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.

All can be done within seconds with our free text summarizer .

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 Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, May 31). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved July 4, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-summarize/

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How To Write A Research Summary

Deeptanshu D

It’s a common perception that writing a research summary is a quick and easy task. After all, how hard can jotting down 300 words be? But when you consider the weight those 300 words carry, writing a research summary as a part of your dissertation, essay or compelling draft for your paper instantly becomes daunting task.

A research summary requires you to synthesize a complex research paper into an informative, self-explanatory snapshot. It needs to portray what your article contains. Thus, writing it often comes at the end of the task list.

Regardless of when you’re planning to write, it is no less of a challenge, particularly if you’re doing it for the first time. This blog will take you through everything you need to know about research summary so that you have an easier time with it.

How to write a research summary

What is a Research Summary?

A research summary is the part of your research paper that describes its findings to the audience in a brief yet concise manner. A well-curated research summary represents you and your knowledge about the information written in the research paper.

While writing a quality research summary, you need to discover and identify the significant points in the research and condense it in a more straightforward form. A research summary is like a doorway that provides access to the structure of a research paper's sections.

Since the purpose of a summary is to give an overview of the topic, methodology, and conclusions employed in a paper, it requires an objective approach. No analysis or criticism.

Research summary or Abstract. What’s the Difference?

They’re both brief, concise, and give an overview of an aspect of the research paper. So, it’s easy to understand why many new researchers get the two confused. However, a research summary and abstract are two very different things with individual purpose. To start with, a research summary is written at the end while the abstract comes at the beginning of a research paper.

A research summary captures the essence of the paper at the end of your document. It focuses on your topic, methods, and findings. More like a TL;DR, if you will. An abstract, on the other hand, is a description of what your research paper is about. It tells your reader what your topic or hypothesis is, and sets a context around why you have embarked on your research.

Getting Started with a Research Summary

Before you start writing, you need to get insights into your research’s content, style, and organization. There are three fundamental areas of a research summary that you should focus on.

  • While deciding the contents of your research summary, you must include a section on its importance as a whole, the techniques, and the tools that were used to formulate the conclusion. Additionally, there needs to be a short but thorough explanation of how the findings of the research paper have a significance.
  • To keep the summary well-organized, try to cover the various sections of the research paper in separate paragraphs. Besides, how the idea of particular factual research came up first must be explained in a separate paragraph.
  • As a general practice worldwide, research summaries are restricted to 300-400 words. However, if you have chosen a lengthy research paper, try not to exceed the word limit of 10% of the entire research paper.

How to Structure Your Research Summary

The research summary is nothing but a concise form of the entire research paper. Therefore, the structure of a summary stays the same as the paper. So, include all the section titles and write a little about them. The structural elements that a research summary must consist of are:

It represents the topic of the research. Try to phrase it so that it includes the key findings or conclusion of the task.

The abstract gives a context of the research paper. Unlike the abstract at the beginning of a paper, the abstract here, should be very short since you’ll be working with a limited word count.

Introduction

This is the most crucial section of a research summary as it helps readers get familiarized with the topic. You should include the definition of your topic, the current state of the investigation, and practical relevance in this part. Additionally, you should present the problem statement, investigative measures, and any hypothesis in this section.

Methodology

This section provides details about the methodology and the methods adopted to conduct the study. You should write a brief description of the surveys, sampling, type of experiments, statistical analysis, and the rationality behind choosing those particular methods.

Create a list of evidence obtained from the various experiments with a primary analysis, conclusions, and interpretations made upon that. In the paper research paper, you will find the results section as the most detailed and lengthy part. Therefore, you must pick up the key elements and wisely decide which elements are worth including and which are worth skipping.

This is where you present the interpretation of results in the context of their application. Discussion usually covers results, inferences, and theoretical models explaining the obtained values, key strengths, and limitations. All of these are vital elements that you must include in the summary.

Most research papers merge conclusion with discussions. However, depending upon the instructions, you may have to prepare this as a separate section in your research summary. Usually, conclusion revisits the hypothesis and provides the details about the validation or denial about the arguments made in the research paper, based upon how convincing the results were obtained.

The structure of a research summary closely resembles the anatomy of a scholarly article . Additionally, you should keep your research and references limited to authentic and  scholarly sources only.

Tips for Writing a Research Summary

The core concept behind undertaking a research summary is to present a simple and clear understanding of your research paper to the reader. The biggest hurdle while doing that is the number of words you have at your disposal. So, follow the steps below to write a research summary that sticks.

1. Read the parent paper thoroughly

You should go through the research paper thoroughly multiple times to ensure that you have a complete understanding of its contents. A 3-stage reading process helps.

a. Scan: In the first read, go through it to get an understanding of its basic concept and methodologies.

b. Read: For the second step, read the article attentively by going through each section, highlighting the key elements, and subsequently listing the topics that you will include in your research summary.

c. Skim: Flip through the article a few more times to study the interpretation of various experimental results, statistical analysis, and application in different contexts.

Sincerely go through different headings and subheadings as it will allow you to understand the underlying concept of each section. You can try reading the introduction and conclusion simultaneously to understand the motive of the task and how obtained results stay fit to the expected outcome.

2. Identify the key elements in different sections

While exploring different sections of an article, you can try finding answers to simple what, why, and how. Below are a few pointers to give you an idea:

  • What is the research question and how is it addressed?
  • Is there a hypothesis in the introductory part?
  • What type of methods are being adopted?
  • What is the sample size for data collection and how is it being analyzed?
  • What are the most vital findings?
  • Do the results support the hypothesis?

Discussion/Conclusion

  • What is the final solution to the problem statement?
  • What is the explanation for the obtained results?
  • What is the drawn inference?
  • What are the various limitations of the study?

3. Prepare the first draft

Now that you’ve listed the key points that the paper tries to demonstrate, you can start writing the summary following the standard structure of a research summary. Just make sure you’re not writing statements from the parent research paper verbatim.

Instead, try writing down each section in your own words. This will not only help in avoiding plagiarism but will also show your complete understanding of the subject. Alternatively, you can use a summarizing tool (AI-based summary generators) to shorten the content or summarize the content without disrupting the actual meaning of the article.

SciSpace Copilot is one such helpful feature! You can easily upload your research paper and ask Copilot to summarize it. You will get an AI-generated, condensed research summary. SciSpace Copilot also enables you to highlight text, clip math and tables, and ask any question relevant to the research paper; it will give you instant answers with deeper context of the article..

4. Include visuals

One of the best ways to summarize and consolidate a research paper is to provide visuals like graphs, charts, pie diagrams, etc.. Visuals make getting across the facts, the past trends, and the probabilistic figures around a concept much more engaging.

5. Double check for plagiarism

It can be very tempting to copy-paste a few statements or the entire paragraphs depending upon the clarity of those sections. But it’s best to stay away from the practice. Even paraphrasing should be done with utmost care and attention.

Also: QuillBot vs SciSpace: Choose the best AI-paraphrasing tool

6. Religiously follow the word count limit

You need to have strict control while writing different sections of a research summary. In many cases, it has been observed that the research summary and the parent research paper become the same length. If that happens, it can lead to discrediting of your efforts and research summary itself. Whatever the standard word limit has been imposed, you must observe that carefully.

7. Proofread your research summary multiple times

The process of writing the research summary can be exhausting and tiring. However, you shouldn’t allow this to become a reason to skip checking your academic writing several times for mistakes like misspellings, grammar, wordiness, and formatting issues. Proofread and edit until you think your research summary can stand out from the others, provided it is drafted perfectly on both technicality and comprehension parameters. You can also seek assistance from editing and proofreading services , and other free tools that help you keep these annoying grammatical errors at bay.

8. Watch while you write

Keep a keen observation of your writing style. You should use the words very precisely, and in any situation, it should not represent your personal opinions on the topic. You should write the entire research summary in utmost impersonal, precise, factually correct, and evidence-based writing.

9. Ask a friend/colleague to help

Once you are done with the final copy of your research summary, you must ask a friend or colleague to read it. You must test whether your friend or colleague could grasp everything without referring to the parent paper. This will help you in ensuring the clarity of the article.

Once you become familiar with the research paper summary concept and understand how to apply the tips discussed above in your current task, summarizing a research summary won’t be that challenging. While traversing the different stages of your academic career, you will face different scenarios where you may have to create several research summaries.

In such cases, you just need to look for answers to simple questions like “Why this study is necessary,” “what were the methods,” “who were the participants,” “what conclusions were drawn from the research,” and “how it is relevant to the wider world.” Once you find out the answers to these questions, you can easily create a good research summary following the standard structure and a precise writing style.

example of summary of a research paper

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researchprospect post subheader

Writing a Summary – Explanation & Examples

Published by Alvin Nicolas at October 17th, 2023 , Revised On October 17, 2023

In a world bombarded with vast amounts of information, condensing and presenting data in a digestible format becomes invaluable. Enter summaries. 

A summary is a brief and concise account of the main points of a larger body of work. It distils complex ideas, narratives, or data into a version that is quicker to read and easier to understand yet still retains the essence of the original content.

Importance of Summaries

The importance of summarising extends far beyond just making reading more manageable. In academic settings, summaries aid students in understanding and retaining complex materials, from textbook chapters to research articles. They also serve as tools to showcase one’s grasp of the subject in essays and reports. 

In professional arenas, summaries are pivotal in business reports, executive briefings, and even emails where key points need to be conveyed quickly to decision-makers. Meanwhile, summarising skills come into play in our personal lives when we relay news stories to friends, recap a movie plot, or even scroll through condensed news or app notifications on our smartphones.

Why Do We Write Summaries?

In our modern information age, the sheer volume of content available can be overwhelming. From detailed research papers to comprehensive news articles, the quest for knowledge is often met with lengthy and complex resources. This is where the power of a well-crafted summary comes into play. But what drives us to create or seek out summaries? Let’s discuss.

Makes Important Things Easy to Remember

At the heart of summarisation is the goal to understand. A well-written summary aids in digesting complex material. By distilling larger works into their core points, we reinforce the primary messages, making them easier to remember. This is especially crucial for students who need to retain knowledge for exams or professionals prepping for a meeting based on a lengthy report.

Simplification of Complex Topics

Not everyone is an expert in every field. Often, topics come laden with jargon, intricate details, and nuanced arguments. Summaries act as a bridge, translating this complexity into accessible and straightforward content. This is especially beneficial for individuals new to a topic or those who need just the highlights without the intricacies.

Aid in Researching and Understanding Diverse Sources

Researchers, writers, and academics often wade through many sources when working on a project. This involves finding sources of different types, such as primary or secondary sources , and then understanding their content. Sifting through each source in its entirety can be time-consuming. Summaries offer a streamlined way to understand each source’s main arguments or findings, making synthesising information from diverse materials more efficient.

Condensing Information for Presentation or Sharing

In professional settings, there is often a need to present findings, updates, or recommendations to stakeholders. An executive might not have the time to go through a 50-page report, but they would certainly appreciate a concise summary highlighting the key points. Similarly, in our personal lives, we often summarise movie plots, book stories, or news events when sharing with friends or family.

Characteristics of a Good Summary

Crafting an effective summary is an art. It’s more than just shortening a piece of content; it is about capturing the essence of the original work in a manner that is both accessible and true to its intent. Let’s explore the primary characteristics that distinguish a good summary from a mediocre one:

Conciseness

At the core of a summary is the concept of brevity. But being concise doesn’t mean leaving out vital information. A good summary will:

  • Eliminate superfluous details or repetitive points.
  • Focus on the primary arguments, events, or findings.
  • Use succinct language without compromising the message.

Objectivity

Summarising is not about infusing personal opinions or interpretations. A quality summary will:

  • Stick to the facts as presented in the original content.
  • Avoid introducing personal biases or perspectives.
  • Represent the original author’s intent faithfully.

A summary is meant to simplify and make content accessible. This is only possible if the summary itself is easy to understand. Ensuring clarity involves:

  • Avoiding jargon or technical terms unless they are essential to the content. If they are used, they should be clearly defined.
  • Structuring sentences in a straightforward manner.
  • Making sure ideas are presented in a way that even someone unfamiliar with the topic can grasp the primary points.

A jumble of ideas, no matter how concise, will not make for a good summary. Coherence ensures that there’s a logical flow to the summarised content. A coherent summary will:

  • Maintain a logical sequence, often following the structure of the original content.
  • Use transition words or phrases to connect ideas and ensure smooth progression.
  • Group related ideas together to provide structure and avoid confusion.

Steps of Writing a Summary

The process of creating a compelling summary is not merely about cutting down content. It involves understanding, discerning, and crafting. Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a summary that encapsulates the essence of the original work:

Reading Actively

Engage deeply with the content to ensure a thorough understanding.

  • Read the entire document or work first to grasp its overall intent and structure.
  • On the second read, underline or highlight the standout points or pivotal moments.
  • Make brief notes in the margins or on a separate sheet, capturing the core ideas in your own words.

Identifying the Main Idea

Determine the backbone of the content, around which all other details revolve.

  • Ask yourself: “What is the primary message or theme the author wants to convey?”
  • This can often be found in the title, introduction, or conclusion of a piece.
  • Frame the main idea in a clear and concise statement to guide your summary.

List Key Supporting Points

Understand the pillars that uphold the main idea, providing evidence or depth to the primary message.

  • Refer back to the points you underlined or highlighted during your active reading.
  • Note major arguments, evidence, or examples that the author uses to back up the main idea.
  • Prioritise these points based on their significance to the main idea.

Draft the Summary

Convert your understanding into a condensed, coherent version of the original.

  • Start with a statement of the main idea.
  • Follow with the key supporting points, maintaining logical order.
  • Avoid including trivial details or examples unless they’re crucial to the primary message.
  • Use your own words, ensuring you are not plagiarising the original content.

Fine-tune your draft to ensure clarity, accuracy, and brevity.

  • Read your draft aloud to check for flow and coherence.
  • Ensure that your summary remains objective, avoiding any personal interpretations or biases.
  • Check the length. See if any non-essential details can be removed without sacrificing understanding if it is too lengthy.
  • Ensure clarity by ensuring the language is straightforward, and the main ideas are easily grasped.

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Dos and Don’ts of Summarising Key Points

Summarising, while seemingly straightforward, comes with its nuances. Properly condensing content demands a balance between brevity and fidelity to the original work. To aid in crafting exemplary summaries, here is a guide on the essential dos and don’ts:

Use your Own Words

This ensures that you have truly understood the content and are not merely parroting it. It also prevents issues of plagiarism.

Tip: After reading the original content, take a moment to reflect on it. Then, without looking at the source, write down the main points in your own words.

Attribute Sources Properly

Giving credit is both ethical and provides context to readers, helping them trace back to the original work if needed. How to cite sources correctly is a skill every writer should master.

Tip: Use signal phrases like “According to [Author/Source]…” or “As [Author/Source] points out…” to seamlessly incorporate attributions.

Ensure Accuracy of the Summarised Content

A summary should be a reliable reflection of the original content. Distorting or misrepresenting the original ideas compromises the integrity of the summary.

Tip: After drafting your summary, cross-check with the original content to ensure all key points are represented accurately and ensure you are referencing credible sources .

Avoid Copy-Pasting Chunks of Original Content

This not only raises plagiarism concerns but also shows a lack of genuine engagement with the material.

Tip: If a particular phrase or sentence from the original is pivotal and cannot be reworded without losing its essence, use block quotes , quotation marks, and attribute the source.

Do not Inject your Personal Opinion

A summary should be an objective reflection of the source material. Introducing personal biases or interpretations can mislead readers.

Tip: Stick to the facts and arguments presented in the original content. If you find yourself writing “I think” or “In my opinion,” reevaluate the sentence.

Do not Omit Crucial Information

While a summary is meant to be concise, it shouldn’t be at the expense of vital details that are essential to understanding the original content’s core message.

Tip: Prioritise information. Always include the main idea and its primary supports. If you are unsure whether a detail is crucial, consider its impact on the overall message.

Examples of Summaries

Here are a few examples that will help you get a clearer view of how to write a summary. 

Example 1: Summary of a News Article

Original Article: The article reports on the recent discovery of a rare species of frog in the Amazon rainforest. The frog, named the “Emerald Whisperer” due to its unique green hue and the soft chirping sounds it makes, was found by a team of researchers from the University of Texas. The discovery is significant as it offers insights into the biodiversity of the region, and the Emerald Whisperer might also play a pivotal role in understanding the ecosystem balance.

Summary: Researchers from the University of Texas have discovered a unique frog, termed the “Emerald Whisperer,” in the Amazon rainforest. This finding sheds light on the region’s biodiversity and underscores the importance of the frog in ecological studies.

Example 2: Summary of a Research Paper

Original Paper: In a study titled “The Impact of Urbanisation on Bee Populations,” researchers conducted a year-long observation on bee colonies in three urban areas and three rural areas. Using specific metrics like colony health, bee productivity, and population size, the study found that urban environments saw a 30% decline in bee populations compared to rural settings. The research attributes this decline to factors like pollution, reduced green spaces, and increased temperatures in urban areas.

Summary: A study analysing the effects of urbanisation on bee colonies found a significant 30% decrease in bee populations in urban settings compared to rural areas. The decline is linked to urban factors such as pollution, diminished greenery, and elevated temperatures.

Example 3: Summary of a Novel

Original Story: In the novel “Winds of Fate,” protagonist Clara is trapped in a timeless city where memories dictate reality. Throughout her journey, she encounters characters from her past, present, and imagined future. Battling her own perceptions and a menacing shadow figure, Clara seeks an elusive gateway to return to her real world. In the climax, she confronts the shadow, which turns out to be her own fear, and upon overcoming it, she finds her way back, realising that reality is subjective.

Summary: “Winds of Fate” follows Clara’s adventures in a surreal city shaped by memories. Confronting figures from various phases of her life and battling a symbolic shadow of her own fear, Clara eventually discovers that reality’s perception is malleable and subjective.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a summary.

A summary condenses a larger piece of content, capturing its main points and essence.  It is usually one-fourth of the original content.

What is a summary?

A summary is a concise representation of a larger text or content, highlighting its main ideas and points. It distils complex information into a shorter form, allowing readers to quickly grasp the essence of the original material without delving into extensive details. Summaries prioritise clarity, brevity, and accuracy.

When should I write a summary?

Write a summary when you need to condense lengthy content for easier comprehension and recall. It’s useful in academic settings, professional reports, presentations, and research to highlight key points. Summaries aid in comparing multiple sources, preparing for discussions, and sharing essential details of extensive materials efficiently with others.

How can I summarise a source without plagiarising?

To summarise without plagiarising: Read the source thoroughly, understand its main ideas, and then write the summary in your own words. Avoid copying phrases verbatim. Attribute the source properly. Use paraphrasing techniques and cross-check your summary against the original to ensure distinctiveness while retaining accuracy. Always prioritise understanding over direct replication.

What is the difference between a summary and an abstract?

A summary condenses a text, capturing its main points from various content types like books, articles, or movies. An abstract, typically found in research papers and scientific articles, provides a brief overview of the study’s purpose, methodology, results, and conclusions. Both offer concise versions, but abstracts are more structured and specific.

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In our vast world of information, conveying ideas in our own words is crucial. This brings us to the practice of “paraphrasing.” 

Academic sources, also known as scholarly sources or academic references, are materials used by researchers, scholars, and students to support their academic work. These sources are specifically created for use in academic contexts and contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field of study.

The vast sea of information is merely a click away in today’s fast-paced, digitally dominated world. With the proliferation of blogs, forums, news outlets, and social media platforms, anyone can become an ‘expert’ and share ‘facts’.

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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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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.

Key points of a scientific article
Introduction or problem was addressed? formulated?
Methods
Results
Discussion/conclusion

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.

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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 4 July 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/how-to-write-a-summary/

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Research Summary Structure, Samples, Writing Steps, and Useful Suggestions

Updated 13 Jun 2024

What is a Research Summary and Why Is It Important?

A research summary is a type of paper designed to provide a brief overview of a given study - typically, an article from a peer-reviewed academic journal. It is a frequent type of task encountered in US colleges and universities, both in humanitarian and exact sciences, which is due to how important it is to teach students to properly interact with and interpret scientific literature and in particular, academic papers, which are the key way through which new ideas, theories, and evidence are presented to experts in many fields of knowledge. A research summary typically preserves the structure/sections of the article it focuses on. Get the grades you want with our professional research paper helper .

How to Write a Research Summary – Typical Steps

Follow these clear steps to help avoid typical mistakes and productivity bottlenecks, allowing for a more efficient through your writing process:

  • Skim the article in order to get a rough idea of the content covered in each section and to understand the relative importance of content, for instance, how important different lines of evidence are (this helps you understand which sections you should focus on more when reading in detail). Make sure you understand the task and your professor's requirements before reading the article. In this step, you can also decide whether to write a summary by yourself or ask for a cheap research paper writing service instead.
  • Analyze and understand the topic and article. Writing a summary of a research paper involves becoming very familiar with the topic – sometimes, it is impossible to understand the content without learning about the current state of knowledge, as well as key definitions, concepts, models. This is often performed while reading the literature review. As for the paper itself, understanding it means understanding analysis questions, hypotheses, listed evidence, how strongly this evidence supports the hypotheses, as well as analysis implications. Keep in mind that only a deep understanding allows one to efficiently and accurately summarize the content.
  • Make notes as you read. You could highlight or summarize each paragraph with a brief sentence that would record the key idea delivered in it (obviously, some paragraphs deserve more attention than others). However, be careful not to engage in extensive writing while still reading. This is important because, while reading, you might realize that some sections you initially considered important might actually be less important compared to information that follows. As for underlining or highlighting – do these only with the most important evidence, otherwise, there is little use in “coloring” everything without distinction.
  • Assemble a draft by bringing together key evidence and notes from each paragraph/ section. Make sure that all elements characteristic of a research summary are covered (as detailed below).
  • Find additional literature for forming or supporting your critical view (this is if your critical view/position is required), for instance, judgments about limitations of the study or contradictory evidence.
Read Also:  Criminal Justice Research Topics To Impress Your Teacher

Research Summary Structure

The research summary format resembles that found in the original paper (just a concise version of it). Content from all sections should be covered and reflected upon, regardless of whether corresponding headings are present or not. Key structural elements of any research summary are as follows:

  • Title – it announces the exact topic/area of analysis and can even be formulated to briefly announce key finding(s) or argument(s) delivered.
  • Abstract – this is a very concise and comprehensive description of the study, present virtually in any academic article (the length varies greatly, typically within 100-500 words). Unlike an academic article, your research summary is expected to have a much shorter abstract.
  • Introduction – this is an essential part of any research summary which provides necessary context (the literature review) that helps introduce readers to the subject by presenting the current state of the investigation, an important concept or definition, etc. This section might also describe the subject’s importance (or might not, for instance, when it is self-evident). Finally, an introduction typically lists investigation questions and hypotheses advanced by authors, which are normally mentioned in detail in any research summary (obviously, doing this is only possible after identifying these elements in the original paper).
  • Methodology – regardless of its location, this section details experimental methods or data analysis methods used (e.g. types of experiments, surveys, sampling, or statistical analysis). In a research summary, many of these details would have to be omitted; hence, it is important to understand what is most important to mention.
  • Results section – this section lists in detail evidence obtained from all experiments with some primary data analysis, conclusions, observations, and primary interpretations being made. It is typically the largest section of any analysis paper, so, it has to be concisely rewritten, which implies understanding which content is worth omitting and worth keeping.
  • Discussion – this is where results are being discussed in the context of current knowledge among experts. This section contains interpretations of results, theoretical models explaining the observed results, study strengths and especially limitations, complementary future exploration to be undertaken, conclusions, etc. All these are important elements that need to be conveyed in a summary.
  • Conclusion – in the original article, this section could be absent or merged with “Discussion”. Specific research summary instructions might require this to be a standalone section. In a conclusion, hypotheses are revisited and validated or denied, based on how convincing the evidence is (key lines of evidence could be highlighted).
  • References – this section is for mentioning those cited works directly in your summary – obviously, one has to provide appropriate citations at least for the original article (this often suffices). Mentioning other works might be relevant when your critical opinion is also required (supported with new unrelated evidence).

Note that if you need some model research summary papers done before you start writing yourself (this will help familiarize you with essay structure and various sections), you could simply recruit our company by following the link provided below.

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Research Summary Writing Tips

Below is a checklist of useful research paper tips worth considering when writing research summaries:

  • Make sure you are always aware of the bigger picture/ direction. You need to keep in mind a complete and coherent picture of the story delivered by the original article. It might be helpful to reread or scan it quickly to remind yourself of the declared goals, hypotheses, key evidence, and conclusions – this awareness offers a constant sense of direction, which ensures that no written sentence is out of context. It is useful doing this even after you have written a fourth, a third, or half of the paper (to make sure no deviation occurs).
  • Consider writing a detailed research outline before writing the draft – it might be of great use when structuring your paper. A research summary template is also very likely to help you structure your paper.
  • Sketch the main elements of the conclusion before writing it. Do this for a number of reasons: validate/invalidate hypotheses; enumerate key evidence supporting or invalidating them, list potential implications; mention the subject’s importance; mention study limitations and future directions for research. In order to include them all, it is useful having them written down and handy.
  • Consider writing the introduction and discussion last. It makes sense to first list hypotheses, goals, questions, and key results. Latter, information contained in the introduction and discussion can be adapted as needed (for instance, to match a preset word count limit). Also, on the basis of already written paragraphs, you can easily generate your discussion with the help of a conclusion tool ; it works online and is absolutely free of charge. Apart from this, follow a natural order.
  • Include visuals – you could summarize a lot of text using graphs or charts while simultaneously improving readability.
  • Be very careful not to plagiarize. It is very tempting to “borrow” or quote entire phrases from an article, provided how well-written these are, but you need to summarize your paper without plagiarizing at all (forget entirely about copy-paste – it is only allowed to paraphrase and even this should be done carefully). The best way to stay safe is by formulating your own thoughts from scratch.
  • Keep your word count in check. You don’t want your summary to be as long as the original paper (just reformulated). In addition, you might need to respect an imposed word count limit, which requires being careful about how much you write for each section.
  • Proofread your work for grammar, spelling, wordiness, and formatting issues (feel free to use our convert case tool for titles, headings, subheadings, etc.).
  • Watch your writing style – when summarizing content, it should be impersonal, precise, and purely evidence-based. A personal view/attitude should be provided only in the critical section (if required).
  • Ask a colleague to read your summary and test whether he/she could understand everything without reading the article – this will help ensure that you haven’t skipped some important content, explanations, concepts, etc.

For additional information on formatting, structure, and for more writing tips, check out these research paper guidelines on our website. Remember that we cover most research papers writing services you can imagine and can offer help at various stages of your writing project, including proofreading, editing, rewriting for plagiarism elimination, and style adjustment.

Research Summary Example 1

Below are some defining elements of a sample research summary written from an imaginary article.

Title – “The probability of an unexpected volcanic eruption in Yellowstone” Introduction – this section would list those catastrophic consequences hitting our country in  case of a massive eruption and the importance of analyzing this matter. Hypothesis –  An eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would be preceded by intense precursory activity manifesting a few weeks up to a few years in advance. Results – these could contain a report of statistical data from multiple volcanic eruptions happening worldwide looking specifically at activity that preceded these events (in particular, how early each type of activity was detected). Discussion and conclusion – Given that Yellowstone is continuously monitored by scientists and that signs of an eruption are normally detected much in advance and at least a few days in advance, the hypothesis is confirmed. This could find application in creating emergency plans detailing an organized evacuation campaign and other response measures.

Research Summary Example 2

Below is another sample sketch, also from an imaginary article.

Title – “The frequency of extreme weather events in US in 2000-2008 as compared to the ‘50s” Introduction – Weather events bring immense material damage and cause human victims. Hypothesis – Extreme weather events are significantly more frequent nowadays than in the ‘50s Results – these could list the frequency of several categories of extreme events now and then: droughts and associated fires, massive rainfall/snowfall and associated floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, arctic cold waves, etc. Discussion and conclusion – Several types of extreme events indeed became significantly more frequent recently, confirming this hypothesis. This increasing frequency correlates reliably with rising CO2 levels in atmosphere and growing temperatures worldwide and in the absence of another recent major global change that could explain a higher frequency of disasters but also knowing how growing temperature disturbs weather patterns, it is natural to assume that global warming (CO2) causes this increase in frequency. This, in turn, suggests that this increased frequency of disasters is not a short-term phenomenon but is here to stay until we address CO2 levels.

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Let Professionals Help With Your Research Summary

Writing a research summary has its challenges, but becoming familiar with its structure (i.e. the structure of an article), understanding well the article that needs to be summarized, and adhering to recommended guidelines will help the process go smoothly.

Simply create your account in a few clicks, place an order by uploading your instructions, and upload or indicate the article requiring a summary and choose a preferred writer for this task (according to experience, rating, bidding price). Our transparent system puts you in control, allowing you to set priorities as you wish (to our knowledge, few competitors have something equivalent in place). Obviously, we can help with many other essay types such as critical thinking essay, argumentative essay, etc. In particular, the research paper definition article on our website highlights a few popular paper types we work with.

Another unique advantage is that we allow and encourage you to communicate directly with your writer (if you wish) guiding his or her work – feel free to request partial drafts, to clarify potential issues you worry about, or even to revise papers as often as needed (for free) until you achieve a satisfactory result. We’ve implemented a system where money is released to writers only after students are fully satisfied with what they get. If you feel like giving it a try, it’s easy and worry-free! Just follow the link below.

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As a trained writer and an expert in book publishing and finalization, Paul knows how to engage readers in his text. As an author himself, Paul never misses a chance to write. Writing is his true passion as he explores technology, education, and entertainment among many popular subjects these days. His mentoring experience and skills of creative guidance make his writing accessible, clear, and fun to follow.

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How to Summarize a Paper, a Story, a Book, a Report or an Essay

  • Posted on June 25, 2024 June 25, 2024

Summarizing skills empower you to condense extensive information into digestible, concise points. In academic settings, mastering this skill lets you capture the essence of long papers or complex theories, aiding in study and communication. 

Professionals rely on summarization to distill lengthy reports and documents into actionable insights critical for decision-making and efficient workflow. 

As you learn to summarize effectively , you enhance your ability to understand and convey key messages swiftly and clearly, essential in scholarly and business environments. 

What is Summarizing?

Summarizing involves condensing a larger text into its essential points, allowing you to grasp the main ideas quickly and effectively. Effective summaries retain the original message’s core , offering a clear overview without delving into every detail. 

This skill is invaluable in managing information overload, enabling students and professionals to absorb and communicate key points with precision.

Key Elements of a Summary

Creating a practical summary demands precision and skill. You must distill complex information into its most essential points while retaining the essence of the original content. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Conciseness: Keep it brief while covering all critical aspects.
  • Clarity: Use clear, straightforward language to ensure understanding.
  • Objectivity: Maintain the original text’s intent without inserting personal views.
  • Accuracy: Reflect the source material faithfully, avoiding misinterpretation.

How To Summarize a Paper

Mastering the art of summarizing research papers is a valuable skill for students and researchers. It equips you to efficiently grasp the core ideas of a study without getting bogged down in every detail. 

1. Deep Dive with Active Reading

Don’t just passively skim the paper. Engage actively by underlining, highlighting, or taking margin notes. Focus on capturing key concepts, methodologies used, and the main findings the author(s) presented. 

Pay particular attention to the introduction, which lays the groundwork by outlining the research question , relevant background information, and the overall significance of the study.

2. Deconstruct the Paper’s Structure

Research papers typically follow a standard structure. The introduction sets the stage, the methodology section details how the research was conducted, and the results section presents the data and findings. 

Finally, the discussion section interprets the results, explains their implications, and acknowledges limitations. As you read, be mindful of how each section builds upon the others to answer the central research question.

3. Identify the Golden Nuggets

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the paper’s structure and content, it’s time to separate the essential from the interesting. 

Ask yourself critical questions: 

  • What is the core research question the author(s) are trying to answer? 
  • Why is it important? 
  • What methodologies were employed to gather data (surveys, experiments, etc.)? 
  • What were the most significant findings from the research? 
  • How do the authors interpret these results, and what are the broader implications of their work?

4. Craft a Cohesive Summary

Now that you’ve extracted the key elements, it’s time to synthesize them into a concise and informative summary. Write in your own words to avoid plagiarism , and strive for clarity and conciseness. 

Focus on capturing the essence of the paper, ensuring your summary effectively conveys the research question, methodology, key findings, and the authors’ conclusions. The length of your summary will depend on the specific requirements – a one-paragraph abstract for a literature review or a multi-page report for a class assignment.

5. Refine and Polish Your Work

The final step is crucial. Carefully proofread your summary to ensure it accurately reflects the original paper and avoids introducing personal opinions or biases. Double-check for factual accuracy, grammar , and a logical flow of information. 

A well-crafted summary should be a self-contained piece that effectively communicates the essence of the research paper.

How To Summarize a Story

Summarizing a story effectively involves condensing the plot into its critical points while maintaining the essence of the narrative. It’s a great way to test your comprehension and share the core of a story without revealing all the details.

1. Identify the Key Players and the Setting

Start by establishing the story’s foundation. Who are the main characters, and what is their relationship to each other? Briefly introduce them and mention the setting where the story unfolds. This provides context for the events to follow.

2. Decipher the Driving Force: What’s the Conflict?

Every story revolves around a central conflict, a problem the protagonist faces. This could be an external challenge, like a villain or a dangerous situation, or an internal struggle, like a moral dilemma or a personal growth journey. Understanding this conflict is crucial for summarizing the story’s core.

3. Chart the Course: Major Plot Points in Sequence

Once you’ve grasped the conflict, identify the significant events that propel the story forward. These are not minor details but turning points that raise the stakes, force the protagonist to make crucial decisions, or bring them closer to resolving the conflict. Summarize these critical events in chronological order.

4. Climax: The Moment of Truth (But Keep the Resolution a Secret!)

The climax is the peak of the story’s tension, where the conflict reaches its most critical stage. Briefly describe this turning point without revealing how it’s resolved.

5. Wrap it Up: A Hint of the Outcome (Without Spoilers!)

The very end of your summary should touch upon the resolution – did the protagonist overcome the conflict? Did they achieve their goal or learn a valuable lesson? However, avoid revealing explicit details to avoid spoiling the story for those who have yet to experience it.

How To Summarize a Book

Summarizing a book requires condensing a vast amount of information into a concise and informative piece. It’s like creating a miniature version that captures the book’s essence without getting bogged down in every detail. 

1. Deep Reading and Note-Taking

Go beyond simply reading the book. Actively engage with the text by underlining key points, jotting down notes in the margins, or creating a separate document to capture your thoughts. Focus on capturing the main characters, the central conflict that drives the plot, and any significant themes explored throughout the story.

2. Break Down the Book’s Structure

Most novels follow a similar structure. The beginning introduces the main characters, setting the stage for the story’s world. The plot thickens as the central conflict emerges, propelling the characters on their journeys. 

The climax presents the most intense moment of tension, followed by a resolution that ties up loose ends or leaves room for interpretation. As you take notes, be mindful of how each part of the book builds upon the others to create a cohesive narrative.

3. Identify the Core Elements

Once you’ve finished reading and grasped the book’s structure well, it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Ask yourself key questions:

  • Who are the main characters, and what are their motivations?
  • What is the central conflict that drives the plot?
  • What significant events occur throughout the story, and how do they shape the characters’ journeys?
  • What are the underlying themes explored by the author?

Now that you’ve identified the book’s key elements weave them together to create a concise and informative summary. 

  • A brief introduction mentioning the book’s title, author, and genre.
  • An introduction to the main characters and the setting.
  • A description of the central conflict that propels the plot.
  • A summary of the major plot points, focusing on turning points and significant events. (Avoid spoilers for major plot twists!)
  • A hint about the resolution, without revealing the ending.
  • Briefly touch upon the book’s central themes.

5. Refine and Polish

Proofread your summary carefully to ensure it accurately reflects the book and avoids introducing your opinions. Check for factual accuracy, grammar, and a logical flow of information. 

Your polished summary should be a self-contained piece that effectively conveys the book’s essence, leaving the reader intrigued and wanting to delve deeper.

How To Summarize a Report

Reports are dense with information, so summarizing them requires pinpointing the crucial elements and presenting them concisely. 

1. Decipher the Report’s Purpose

Before diving in, understand the report’s objective. Is it presenting research findings, analyzing a business situation, or making policy recommendations? Knowing the purpose helps you identify the most important information.

2. Follow the Map: Structure is Key

Reports typically follow a logical structure. Look for headings and subheadings that organize the content. Pay close attention to sections like:

  • Introduction: This sets the stage by outlining the report’s purpose, background information, and the research question or problem being addressed.
  • Methodology: This explains how the research was conducted, whether data was collected, or the analysis was performed.
  • Findings: This is the heart of the report, presenting the results and key pieces of information discovered.
  • Discussion: Here, the author interprets the findings, explains their significance, and draws conclusions.
  • Recommendations: Based on the analysis, this section may propose solutions or suggest actions to be taken.

As you navigate the report’s structure, ask yourself critical questions to pinpoint the key elements:

  • What is the main research question or problem addressed?
  • What methods were used to gather data or conduct the analysis?
  • What were the most significant findings from the report?
  • How does the author interpret these results, and what are the main conclusions?
  • Are there any recommendations or suggestions for future action?

4. Craft a Clear and Concise Summary

Once you’ve identified the essential information, weave it into a well-structured summary. 

  • A brief introduction mentioning the report’s title, author, and purpose.
  • A concise explanation of the research question or problem being addressed.
  • A summary of the methodology used, focusing on how the information was gathered or analyzed (avoid excessive detail).
  • The report’s key findings are presented clearly and concisely.
  • The author’s main conclusions are based on the findings.
  • If applicable, a mention of any recommendations or suggestions for future action.

5. Ensure Accuracy and Objectivity

Proofread your summary meticulously to ensure it accurately reflects the report’s content and avoids introducing your opinions or biases. Double-check for factual accuracy, grammar, and a logical flow of information.

How To Summarize an Essay

Summarizing an essay effectively is valuable for students and anyone encountering academic writing . It allows you to quickly grasp the main points and assess its argument without getting bogged down in every detail. 

1. Start With Active Reading

Make sure to do more than skim the essay. Give it a close read, underlining or highlighting key points and taking notes in the margins. Focus on capturing the central argument, the primary evidence to support it, and any counter-arguments the author addresses. 

Pay particular attention to the thesis statement, which typically appears in the introduction and encapsulates the essay’s main point.

2. Deconstruct the Essay’s Structure

Most essays follow a standard structure . The introduction sets the stage by outlining the topic, providing relevant background information, and presenting the thesis statement. The body paragraphs delve deeper, focusing on a single point supporting the thesis. 

Evidence such as facts, statistics, or quotes from credible sources bolsters the argument. The conclusion summarizes the main points and reiterates the thesis statement, sometimes offering the author’s final thoughts or implications of the argument.

3. Identify the Key Elements

Once you familiarize yourself with the essay’s structure and content, it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff. Ask yourself critical questions:

  • What is the main argument the author is trying to convey (the thesis statement)?
  • What evidence does the author use to support their argument?
  • Does the author acknowledge any opposing viewpoints or counter-arguments? If so, how are they addressed?

Now that you’ve identified the key elements synthesize them into a concise and informative summary. 

  • A brief introduction mentioning the essay’s title and author.
  • A clear statement of the essay’s main argument (the thesis statement).
  • A summary of the main points used to support the thesis, focusing on the most significant evidence presented by the author.

The final step is crucial. Proofread your summary carefully to ensure it accurately reflects the essay’s content and avoids introducing your opinions or biases. Double-check for factual accuracy, grammar, and a logical flow of information. 

A well-crafted summary should be a self-contained piece that effectively conveys the essence of the essay’s argument.

Perfecting the Practice of Summarization

Learning how to summarize is a vital skill that enhances your understanding, communication, and efficiency in academia, professional settings, or daily life. 

By mastering the summarizing techniques, you become adept at distilling complex information into essential, manageable pieces. This ability saves time, deepens comprehension, and facilitates clearer, more effective communication.

As you do, you will find that your ability to extract key points from dense materials improves, as does your capacity to convey these points to others succinctly and effectively. This skill will serve you well in all aspects of your life, making you a more proficient student, a capable professional, and a clearer communicator overall.

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Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques

Writing an article summary.

  • Writing an article REVIEW
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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 Scribbr.com)

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

  • Next: Writing an article REVIEW >>
  • Last Updated: Mar 15, 2024 9:32 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.randolph.edu/summaries

example of summary of a research paper

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How to Write a Research Paper Summary

Journal submission: Tips to submit better manuscripts | Paperpal

One of the most important skills you can imbibe as an academician is to know how to summarize a research paper. During your academic journey, you may need to write a summary of findings in research quite often and for varied reasons – be it to write an introduction for a peer-reviewed publication , to submit a critical review, or to simply create a useful database for future referencing.

It can be quite challenging to effectively write a research paper summary for often complex work, which is where a pre-determined workflow can help you optimize the process. Investing time in developing this skill can also help you improve your scientific acumen, increasing your efficiency and productivity at work. This article illustrates some useful advice on how to write a research summary effectively. But, what is research summary in the first place?  

A research paper summary is a crisp, comprehensive overview of a research paper, which encapsulates the purpose, findings, methods, conclusions, and relevance of a study. A well-written research paper summary is an indicator of how well you have understood the author’s work. 

Table of Contents

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  • 2. Invest enough time to understand the topic deeply 

Use Paperpal to summarize your research paper. Click here to get started!

  • Mistakes to avoid while writing your research paper summary 

Let Paperpal do the heavy lifting. Click here to start writing your summary now!

Frequently asked questions (faq), how to write a research paper summary.

Writing a good research paper summary comes with practice and skill. Here is some useful advice on how to write a research paper summary effectively.  

1. Determine the focus of your summary

Before you begin to write a summary of research papers, determine the aim of your research paper summary. This will give you more clarity on how to summarize a research paper, including what to highlight and where to find the information you need, which accelerates the entire process. If you are aiming for the summary to be a supporting document or a proof of principle for your current research findings, then you can look for elements that are relevant to your work.

On the other hand, if your research summary is intended to be a critical review of the research article, you may need to use a completely different lens while reading the paper and conduct your own research regarding the accuracy of the data presented. Then again, if the research summary is intended to be a source of information for future referencing, you will likely have a different approach. This makes determining the focus of your summary a key step in the process of writing an effective research paper summary. 

2. Invest enough time to understand the topic deeply

In order to author an effective research paper summary, you need to dive into the topic of the research article. Begin by doing a quick scan for relevant information under each section of the paper. The abstract is a great starting point as it helps you to quickly identify the top highlights of the research article, speeding up the process of understanding the key findings in the paper. Be sure to do a careful read of the research paper, preparing notes that describe each section in your own words to put together a summary of research example or a first draft. This will save your time and energy in revisiting the paper to confirm relevant details and ease the entire process of writing a research paper summary.

When reading papers, be sure to acknowledge and ignore any pre-conceived notions that you might have regarding the research topic. This will not only help you understand the topic better but will also help you develop a more balanced perspective, ensuring that your research paper summary is devoid of any personal opinions or biases. 

3. Keep the summary crisp, brief and engaging

A research paper summary is usually intended to highlight and explain the key points of any study, saving the time required to read through the entire article. Thus, your primary goal while compiling the summary should be to keep it as brief, crisp and readable as possible. Usually, a short introduction followed by 1-2 paragraphs is adequate for an effective research article summary. Avoid going into too much technical detail while describing the main results and conclusions of the study. Rather focus on connecting the main findings of the study to the hypothesis , which can make the summary more engaging. For example, instead of simply reporting an original finding – “the graph showed a decrease in the mortality rates…”, you can say, “there was a decline in the number of deaths, as predicted by the authors while beginning the study…” or “there was a decline in the number of deaths, which came as a surprise to the authors as this was completely unexpected…”.

Unless you are writing a critical review of the research article, the language used in your research paper summaries should revolve around reporting the findings, not assessing them. On the other hand, if you intend to submit your summary as a critical review, make sure to provide sufficient external evidence to support your final analysis. Invest sufficient time in editing and proofreading your research paper summary thoroughly to ensure you’ve captured the findings accurately. You can also get an external opinion on the preliminary draft of the research paper summary from colleagues or peers who have not worked on the research topic. 

Mistakes to avoid while writing your research paper summary

Now that you’ve understood how to summarize a research paper, watch out for these red flags while writing your summary. 

  • Not paying attention to the word limit and recommended format, especially while submitting a critical review 
  • Evaluating the findings instead of maintaining an objective , unbiased view while reading the research paper 
  • Skipping the essential editing step , which can help eliminate avoidable errors and ensure that the language does not misrepresent the findings 
  • Plagiarism, it is critical to write in your own words or paraphrase appropriately when reporting the findings in your scientific article summary 

We hope the recommendations listed above will help answer the question of how to summarize a research paper and enable you to tackle the process effectively. 

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example of summary of a research paper

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To generate your research paper summary, simply login to the platform and use the Paperpal Copilot Summary feature to create a flawless summary of your work. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you craft a summary in minutes:

  • Paste relevant research articles to be summarized into Paperpal; the AI will scan each section and extract key information.
  • In minutes, Paperpal will generate a comprehensive summary that showcases the main paper highlights while adhering to academic writing conventions.
  • Check the content to polish and refine the language, ensure your own voice, and add citations or references as needed.

The abstract and research paper summary serve similar purposes but differ in scope, length, and placement. The abstract is a concise yet detailed overview of the research, placed at the beginning of a paper, with the aim of providing readers with a quick understanding of the paper’s content and to help them decide whether to read the full article. Usually limited to a few hundred words, it highlights the main objectives, methods, results, and conclusions of the study. On the other hand, a research paper summary provides a crisp account of the entire research paper. Its purpose is to provide a brief recap for readers who may want to quickly grasp the main points of the research without reading the entire paper in detail.

The structure of a research summary can vary depending on the specific requirements or guidelines provided by the target publication or institution. A typical research summary includes the following key sections: introduction (including the research question or objective), methodology (briefly describing the research design and methods), results (summarizing the key findings), discussion (highlighting the implications and significance of the findings), and conclusion (providing a summary of the main points and potential future directions).

The summary of a research paper is important because it provides a condensed overview of the study’s purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. It allows you to quickly grasp the main points and relevance of the research without having to read the entire paper. Research summaries can also be an invaluable way to communicate research findings to a broader audience, such as policymakers or the general public.

  When writing a research paper summary, it is crucial to avoid plagiarism by properly attributing the original authors’ work. To learn how to summarize a research paper while avoiding plagiarism, follow these critical guidelines: (1) Read the paper thoroughly to understand the main points and key findings. (2) Use your own words and sentence structures to restate the information, ensuring that the research paper summary reflects your understanding of the paper. (3) Clearly indicate when you are paraphrasing or quoting directly from the original paper by using appropriate citation styles. (4) Cite the original source for any specific ideas, concepts, or data that you include in your summary. (5) Review your summary to ensure it accurately represents the research paper while giving credit to the original authors.

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How to Write a Summary of a Research Paper

Last Updated: July 10, 2020 References

This article was reviewed by Annaliese Dunne and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Annaliese Dunne is a Middle School English Teacher. With over 10 years of teaching experience, her areas of expertise include writing and grammar instruction, as well as teaching reading comprehension. She is also an experienced freelance writer. She received her Bachelor's degree in English. This article has been viewed 28,511 times.

Writing a summary of an academic research paper is an important skill, and it shows that you understand all of the relevant information presented to you. However, writing a summary can be tough, since it requires you to be completely objective and keep any analysis or criticisms to yourself. By keeping your goal in mind as you read the paper and focusing on the key points, you can write a succinct, accurate summary of a research paper to prove that you understood the overall conclusion.

Reading the Research Paper

Step 1 Figure out the focus of your summary.

  • For instance, if you’re supporting an argument in your own research paper, focus on the elements that are similar to yours.
  • Or, if you’re comparing and contrasting methodology, focus on the methods and the significance of the results.

Step 2 Scan through the article to pick out important information.

  • You can also read the abstract of the paper as a good example of what the authors find to be important in their article.

Step 3 Read the article fully 1 to 2 times.

  • Depending on how long and dense the paper is, your initial reading could take you up to an hour or more.

Step 4 Underline or highlight important information.

  • The important information will usually be toward the end of the paper as the authors explain their findings and conclusions.

Step 5 Take notes summarizing sections in your own words.

  • Writing a summary without plagiarizing, or copying the paper, is really important. Writing notes in your own words will help you get into the mindset of relaying information in your own way.

Including Relevant Information

Step 1 Aim to report the findings, not evaluate them.

  • For example, “The methods used in this paper are not up to standards and require more testing to be conclusive.” is an analysis.
  • ”The methods used in this paper include an in-depth survey and interview session with each candidate.” is a summary.

Step 2 Keep your summary brief.

  • If you’re writing a summary for class, your professor may specify how long your summary should be.
  • Some summaries can even be as short as one sentence.

Step 3 State the research question and hypothesis.

  • ”Environmental conditions in North Carolina pose a threat to frogs and toads.”

Step 4 Describe the testing and analyzation methods.

  • For example: “According to the climate model, frog and toad populations have been decreasing at a rapid rate over the past 10 years, and are on track to decrease even further in the coming years.”

Step 5 Talk about the results and how significant they were.

  • For example: “Smith and Herman (2008) argue that by decreasing greenhouse gases, frog and toad populations could reach historical levels within 20 years, and the climate model projections support that statement.”
  • You can add in the authors and year of publication at any time during your summary.

Step 6 Edit your summary for accuracy and flow.

  • If you have time, try reading your summary to someone who hasn’t read the original paper and see if they understand the key points of the article.

Expert Q&A

  • Make sure you fully understand the paper before you start writing the summary. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Plagiarism can have serious consequences in the academic world, so make sure you’re writing your summary in your own words. [12] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/593/2014/06/How_to_Summarize_a_Research_Article1.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ufv.ca/media/assets/academic-success-centre/handouts/Summarizing-a-Scholarly-Journal-Article-rev2018.pdf
  • ↑ https://integrity.mit.edu/handbook/academic-writing/summarizing
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/summary-using-it-wisely/
  • ↑ https://davidson.libguides.com/c.php?g=349327&p=2361763

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How to Write Research Summary

By: Henrique Bertulino

How to Write Research Summary

A research summary or a research article comprehensively covers a topic. It is a brief overview of a study typically from a peer-reviewed journal. Many universities and colleges give such assignments and assess the students' performance based on how they interpret the scientific knowledge and data presented in the written academic article . If you are a student worried about your next assignment that involves in-depth analysis, then you have landed on the right page. The way you analyze and provide critical review determines your grades. That is why learning how to summarize research is crucial for your academic success.

Find Out the Focus Area of Your Paper

Assemble all relevant points, read and make an analysis, find additional literature, start writing the summary, proofread and edit, dos and don'ts of writing a research summary, step-by-step guide to writing a summary paper.

Writing a research report requires you to read the entire article thoroughly. First, skim through the paper and understand the gist of the article. Once you have gone through the contents, you will have a fairly good idea of what the paper is all about. Identify the topic and build the content around it. Read other papers and information on the same topic to build a better understanding of the subject. It is important to gauge the purpose of the research quickly. Figure out:

  • What is the research all about?
  • How has the researcher addressed the issue?
  • What are the key findings?

The main points can be listed in bullet form. This way, you will not miss out on any important point.

Jot down all the key points presented in the article. When you quickly go through the paper, you will identify the research question, hypothesis, and purpose behind the entire research. Here is what you should note down when skimming through the article.

  • Write down the purpose of the research;
  • Mention the research question;
  • Note the hypothesis presented;
  • Determine the methodology used;
  • Find out the key findings;
  • The interpretation and critical analysis of those key points;
  • Present your analysis.

When scanning through the research project, you must scribble down your thoughts in the margins. This helps narrow down your points, and you will be able to analyze the summary better.

Although there is an abstract section in the research paper that contains concise information, it still can't be fully relied on. You must make notes and write down all the points as you skim through the article. This way, you won't miss out on any important information. At the same time, the notes will help you formulate a better research summary. Don't bank on the abstract and use it as a summarized version.

After skimming through the original document, you must now give it a good read. Read it in detail from start to finish. Take a look at the notes you made in the margins as well. Read all the sections in the content to summarize it. This way, you can address relevant points.

  • How has the research contributed to answering the main question?
  • Is the methodology working well with the central concept?
  • Which points did the researcher not discuss?
  • Does the research make an impact in future studies?
  • What is the scope of the research project?

It is a good idea to read out the summary to someone you know. If you know the topic well and you can easily narrate it to someone else, this means you are now ready to write an executive summary on your own. Please, note that summary writing doesn't mean that you have to duplicate what is already written. Do not write the same words. Instead, when writing the summary, close the original article so that you avoid copying the content.

Don't just stick to the information given in the paper. Collect research articles and information from other sources as well. Your literature review should comprise on various topics. Study any research paper you find on this particular topic. Include it when summarizing. This shows that you have taken the assignment seriously and have done some background reading.

Be clear and use short sentences to convey your message. It is somewhat like an abstract but in more detail. Make sure to use only relevant information to write a research summary. Do not clutter and use wordiness. Follow this order to write a compelling summary.

  • State the research question;
  • Write the hypothesis;
  • Discuss the methodology used in the paper, including the number of participants, independent and dependent variables, and the process;
  • Mention the results and key findings;
  • Analyze the data and give your input;
  • Remember that the interpretation and result should be related to the hypothesis;
  • The first draft should be written in a carefree way, you can always edit it later.

It is important to keep your summary papers compact and concise. You don't want to lose the purpose of your research summary by overstuffing keywords. Don't write generic statements. It should be relevant to the topic. Once you have written the paper, make sure it is plagiarism-free. You don't earn a bad grade just because you have used the same words as written in the original document. Here are a few points to consider when proofreading your research summary.

  • Make sure all the information is covered;
  • Double-check your notes and literature review to ensure nothing is missed out;
  • Paraphrase quotes instead of copying them as are, or else it could be counted as plagiarism;
  • Cut down unnecessary long sentences;
  • Check out for grammar and spellings;
  • Avoid any typo errors;
  • Read the summary out loud;
  • Tweak the article for better clarity.

Your summary is ready to be submitted. Before you send the assignment to your professor, make sure to keep a check on these dos and don'ts of submitting a research paper.

  • Use appropriate subheadings where necessary;
  • Do some background reading;
  • Make notes as you read;
  • Add relevant literature and additional findings;
  • Paraphrase quotes of famous personalities instead of copying them as is;
  • Do make sure that it is not a copy of the original document;
  • Read it out loud before submitting.
  • Don't begin writing before finding out the purpose of the research;
  • Don't rely too much on the abstract;
  • Don't clutter the document with heavy sounding words;
  • Avoid plagiarism. Make sure to avoid similar words;
  • Avoid wordiness and overstuffing of keywords.

This simple guide to writing an impressive research summary will help you earn a good grade in your assignment. You will be able to understand the topic of your study in detail. Edit the document only when you have finished writing your first draft. Good luck!

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  • Research Summary: What Is It & How To Write One

Angela Kayode-Sanni

Introduction

A research summary is a requirement during academic research and sometimes you might need to prepare a research summary during a research project for an organization.

Most people find a research summary a daunting task as you are required to condense complex research material into an informative, easy-to-understand article most times with a minimum of 300-500 words.

In this post, we will guide you through all the steps required to make writing your research summary an easier task. 

What is a Research Summary?

A research summary is a piece of writing that summarizes the research of a specific topic into bite-size easy-to-read and comprehend articles. The primary goal is to give the reader a detailed outline of the key findings of a research.

It is an unavoidable requirement in colleges and universities. To write a good research summary, you must understand the goal of your research, as this would help make the process easier. 

A research summary preserves the structure and sections of the article it is derived from.

Research Summary or Abstract: What’s The Difference?

The Research Summary and Abstract are similar, especially as they are both brief, straight to the point, and provide an overview of the entire research paper. However, there are very clear differences.

To begin with, a Research summary is written at the end of a research activity, while the Abstract is written at the beginning of a research paper. 

A Research Summary captures the main points of a study, with an emphasis on the topic, method , and discoveries, an Abstract is a description of what your research paper would talk about and the reason for your research or the hypothesis you are trying to validate.

Let us take a deeper look at the difference between both terms.

What is an Abstract?

An abstract is a short version of a research paper. It is written to convey the findings of the research to the reader. It provides the reader with information that would help them understand the research, by giving them a clear idea about the subject matter of a research paper. It is usually submitted before the presentation of a research paper.

What is a Summary?

A summary is a short form of an essay, a research paper, or a chapter in a book. A research summary is a narration of a research study, condensing the focal points of research to a shorter form, usually aligned with the same structure of the research study, from which the summary is derived.

What Is The Difference Between an Abstract and a Summary?

An abstract communicates the main points of a research paper, it includes the questions, major findings, the importance of the findings, etc.

An abstract reflects the perceptions of the author about a topic, while a research summary reflects the ideology of the research study that is being summarized.

Getting Started with a Research Summary

Before commencing a research summary, there is a need to understand the style and organization of the content you plan to summarize. There are three fundamental areas of the research that should be the focal point:

  • When deciding on the content include a section that speaks to the importance of the research, and the techniques and tools used to arrive at your conclusion.
  • Keep the summary well organized, and use paragraphs to discuss the various sections of the research.
  • Restrict your research to 300-400 words which is the standard practice for research summaries globally. However, if the research paper you want to summarize is a lengthy one, do not exceed 10% of the entire research material.

Once you have satisfied the requirements of the fundamentals for starting your research summary, you can now begin to write using the following format:

  • Why was this research done?   – A clear description of the reason the research was embarked on and the hypothesis being tested.
  • Who was surveyed? – Your research study should have details of the source of your information. If it was via a survey, you should document who the participants of the survey were and the reason that they were selected.
  • What was the methodology? – Discuss the methodology, in terms of what kind of survey method did you adopt. Was it a face-to-face interview, a phone interview, or a focus group setting?
  • What were the key findings? – This is perhaps the most vital part of the process. What discoveries did you make after the testing? This part should be based on raw facts free from any personal bias.
  • Conclusion – What conclusions did you draw from the findings?
  • Takeaways and action points – This is where your views and perception can be reflected. Here, you can now share your recommendations or action points.
  • Identify the focal point of the article –  In other to get a grasp of the content covered in the research paper, you can skim the article first, in a bid to understand the most essential part of the research paper. 
  • Analyze and understand the topic and article – Writing a summary of a research paper involves being familiar with the topic –  the current state of knowledge, key definitions, concepts, and models. This is often gleaned while reading the literature review. Please note that only a deep understanding ensures efficient and accurate summarization of the content.
  • Make notes as you read – Highlight and summarize each paragraph as you read. Your notes are what you would further condense to create a draft that would form your research summary.

How to Structure Your Research Summary

  • Title – This highlights the area of analysis, and can be formulated to briefly highlight key findings.
  • Abstract – this is a very brief and comprehensive description of the study, required in every academic article, with a length of 100-500 words at most. 
  • Introduction – this is a vital part of any research summary, it provides the context and the literature review that gently introduces readers to the subject matter. The introduction usually covers definitions, questions, and hypotheses of the research study. 
  • Methodology –This section emphasizes the process and or data analysis methods used, in terms of experiments, surveys, sampling, or statistical analysis. 
  • Results section – this section lists in detail the results derived from the research with evidence obtained from all the experiments conducted.
  • Discussion – these parts discuss the results within the context of current knowledge among subject matter experts. Interpretation of results and theoretical models explaining the observed results, the strengths of the study, and the limitations experienced are going to be a part of the discussion. 
  • Conclusion – In a conclusion, hypotheses are discussed and revalidated or denied, based on how convincing the evidence is.
  • References – this section is for giving credit to those who work you studied to create your summary. You do this by providing appropriate citations as you write.

Research Summary Example 1

Below are some defining elements of a sample research summary.

Title – “The probability of an unexpected volcanic eruption in Greenwich”

Introduction – this section would list the catastrophic consequences that occurred in the country and the importance of analyzing this event. 

Hypothesis –  An eruption of the Greenwich supervolcano would be preceded by intense preliminary activity manifesting in advance, before the eruption.

Results – these could contain a report of statistical data from various volcanic eruptions happening globally while looking critically at the activity that occurred before these events. 

Discussion and conclusion – Given that Greenwich is now consistently monitored by scientists and that signs of an eruption are usually detected before the volcanic eruption, this confirms the hypothesis. Hence creating an emergency plan outlining other intervention measures and ultimately evacuation is essential. 

Research Summary Example 2

Below is another sample sketch.

Title – “The frequency of extreme weather events in the UK in 2000-2008 as compared to the ‘60s”

Introduction – Weather events bring intense material damage and cause pain to the victims affected.

Hypothesis – Extreme weather events are more frequent in recent times compared to the ‘50s

Results – The frequency of several categories of extreme events now and then are listed here, such as droughts, fires, massive rainfall/snowfalls, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.

Discussion and conclusion – Several types of extreme events have become more commonplace in recent times, confirming the hypothesis. This rise in extreme weather events can be traced to rising CO2 levels and increasing temperatures and global warming explain the rising frequency of these disasters. Addressing the rising CO2 levels and paying attention to climate change is the only to combat this phenomenon.

A research summary is the short form of a research paper, analyzing the important aspect of the study. Everyone who reads a research summary has a full grasp of the main idea being discussed in the original research paper. Conducting any research means you will write a summary, which is an important part of your project and would be the most read part of your project.

Having a guideline before you start helps, this would form your checklist which would guide your actions as you write your research summary. It is important to note that a Research Summary is different from an Abstract paper written at the beginning of a research paper, describing the idea behind a research paper.

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Research Summary: What is it & how to write one

research summary

The Research Summary is used to report facts about a study clearly. You will almost certainly be required to prepare a research summary during your academic research or while on a research project for your organization.

If it is the first time you have to write one, the writing requirements may confuse you. The instructors generally assign someone to write a summary of the research work. Research summaries require the writer to have a thorough understanding of the issue.

This article will discuss the definition of a research summary and how to write one.

What is a research summary?

A research summary is a piece of writing that summarizes your research on a specific topic. Its primary goal is to offer the reader a detailed overview of the study with the key findings. A research summary generally contains the article’s structure in which it is written.

You must know the goal of your analysis before you launch a project. A research overview summarizes the detailed response and highlights particular issues raised in it. Writing it might be somewhat troublesome. To write a good overview, you want to start with a structure in mind. Read on for our guide.

Why is an analysis recap so important?

Your summary or analysis is going to tell readers everything about your research project. This is the critical piece that your stakeholders will read to identify your findings and valuable insights. Having a good and concise research summary that presents facts and comes with no research biases is the critical deliverable of any research project.

We’ve put together a cheat sheet to help you write a good research summary below.

Research Summary Guide

  • Why was this research done?  – You want to give a clear description of why this research study was done. What hypothesis was being tested?
  • Who was surveyed? – The what and why or your research decides who you’re going to interview/survey. Your research summary has a detailed note on who participated in the study and why they were selected. 
  • What was the methodology? – Talk about the methodology. Did you do face-to-face interviews? Was it a short or long survey or a focus group setting? Your research methodology is key to the results you’re going to get. 
  • What were the key findings? – This can be the most critical part of the process. What did we find out after testing the hypothesis? This section, like all others, should be just facts, facts facts. You’re not sharing how you feel about the findings. Keep it bias-free.
  • Conclusion – What are the conclusions that were drawn from the findings. A good example of a conclusion. Surprisingly, most people interviewed did not watch the lunar eclipse in 2022, which is unexpected given that 100% of those interviewed knew about it before it happened.
  • Takeaways and action points – This is where you bring in your suggestion. Given the data you now have from the research, what are the takeaways and action points? If you’re a researcher running this research project for your company, you’ll use this part to shed light on your recommended action plans for the business.

LEARN ABOUT:   Action Research

If you’re doing any research, you will write a summary, which will be the most viewed and more important part of the project. So keep a guideline in mind before you start. Focus on the content first and then worry about the length. Use the cheat sheet/checklist in this article to organize your summary, and that’s all you need to write a great research summary!

But once your summary is ready, where is it stored? Most teams have multiple documents in their google drives, and it’s a nightmare to find projects that were done in the past. Your research data should be democratized and easy to use.

We at QuestionPro launched a research repository for research teams, and our clients love it. All your data is in one place, and everything is searchable, including your research summaries! 

Authors: Prachi, Anas

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Six elements a research summary should include

example of summary of a research paper

Summarizing a research paper (or papers) sounds like it should be a pretty quick, easy task. After all, how hard can writing 200 words be?! But whether you’re writing a summary to include in your essay or dissertation, or you need to draft a compelling abstract for your own paper, distilling complex research into an informative, easy-to-read snapshot can be one of the most daunting parts of the research process. For that reason, it’s often the activity that gets left to last.

Having a few questions top of mind while you draft your summary can really help to structure your thoughts and make sure you include the most important aspects of the research. In short, every academic summary should cover ‘the why’, ‘the how’, ‘the who’ and ‘the what’ of a study. Asking yourself the following six questions as you start to think about your summary can help you to structure your thoughts and find the right words.

1.  Why is this study necessary and important?

The ‘why’ can often be found in the first sentence of the introduction or background of a research article. Let’s have a look at a 2014 paper about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans (1) :

" Plastic pollution is globally distributed across all oceans due to its properties of buoyancy and durability, and the sorption of toxicants to plastic while traveling through the environment have led some researchers to claim that synthetic polymers in the ocean should be regarded as hazardous waste."

Another quick way of identifying the ‘why’ of the research is to search for the subject of the study (eg. ‘Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans’) in Wikipedia. This can help inject wider significance into your research summary, for example:

"Waterborne plastic poses a serious threat to fish , seabirds , marine reptiles , and marine mammals , as well as to boats and coasts."

The Abstract of this paper also points to a gap in the research – the lack of data on the amount of plastic waste in the Southern Hemisphere.

2.    Who were the participants?

It’s good practice to include statistical information about the study subjects or participants in your summary. This will quickly tell your reader how well the key findings are backed up. This part of the summary can combine a short narrative description of the participants (eg. age, location etc); what was ‘done’ to the participants as part of the study; what impact the study had on the participants and a brief description of the control group.

3.    What were the methods used?

How was the study carried out? What kind of materials were used to conduct the study and in what quantities or doses? Again, where possible include statistics here: number of materials; sample sizes; metrics (weight, volume, concentration etc). Here’s an example summary of a methods section from the above paper on ocean plastic:

"Net tows were conducted using neuston nets with a standard mesh size of 0.33 mm towed between 0.5 and 2 m s −1 at the sea surface for 15–60 minutes outside of the vessel’s wake to avoid downwelling of debris. Samples were preserved in 5% formalin.Microplastic was manually separated from natural debris, sorted through stacked Tyler sieves into three size classes counted individually and weighed together."

Including information about the consistency of methods or techniques used will help underline the credibility of the research.

4.    What were the key findings of the study?

Stick to the high level, headline finding of the research here. What do the quantitative results of the study reveal that was previously unknown? Again, including statistics where you can will help reinforce the findings, but remember to keep it brief. Here’s an example from the same plastic pollution paper:

"Based on the model results, the authors estimate that at least 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are currently floating at sea."

5.    What conclusion was drawn from the research?

At this stage,  try to focus on the overall outcome of the research, but also what makes the study both significant and novel. What was uncovered as part of the research that wasn’t previously known? Do the results of the study tell us something different to what was previously known or assumed?In the plastic pollution paper, what was previously unknown was an estimate of the amount of plastic in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. The authors explain that their results confirm the same pattern of dispersal in the Southern Hemisphere as for the Northern Hemisphere:

"Surprisingly, the total amounts of plastics determined for the southern hemisphere oceans are within the same range as for the northern hemisphere oceans, which is unexpected given that inputs are substantially higher in the northern than in the southern hemisphere ."

6.    What kind of relevance does the research have for the wider world? (the big why)

Rounding off your summary with a powerful statement that shows how the outcome of the research has a wider significance is good practice. The ‘big why’ can often be found in the Discussion or at the end of the Conclusion of a research article, and often in the Abstract as well.Including clear, concise research summaries in your essay or dissertation can be very beneficial in strengthening your argument and demonstrating your understanding of complex research, all of which can help to improve your final grade. Using this six-point formula as a way of structuring your summary will also help you to think more critically about the research you read and make it easier for you to communicate your understanding both verbally and in writing. Try out Scholarcy’s Smart Summarizer to help draft your own research summary. ‍

  • ‍ ‍ Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L., Carson, H., Thiel, M., Moore, C., Borerro, J., Galgani, F., Ryan, P. and Reisser, J., 2014. Plastic Pollution in the World's Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea. PLoS ONE , 9(12), p.e111913.
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How to Write a Research Summary | A Winning Guide for Students

How to Write a Research Summary: Comprehensive Student Guide

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With a Juris Bachelor's degree and a decade of legal practice, Darious Davson excels in creating compelling and authoritative academic papers in Law and Ethics. His work is a testament to his profound knowledge of the legal system and commitment to upholding ethical writing practices. So, this experienced paper writer is your top-tier pick!

A research summary is a short version of a long research paper. It stresses the important points of the original work and introduces the reader to the main results of the work. Hence, the reader can quickly grasp the main idea and conclusion without reading the document. We created this guide to simplify writing a well-researched summary. So, let us explain things simply and clearly.

What is a Research Summary, and Why Is It Important?

Let's start with some basic terminology. A research summary is the short form of the research paper that covers the major aspects of a major research project. It covers the research's main ideas, techniques, findings, and conclusions. The summary is central in that it enables other people to effortlessly understand the essentials of your writing in a short time.

So, what is a research summary? Now you know the answer. Abstracts can help decide whether the full research paper is relevant to their needs. Furthermore, these social channels are frequently used to share the research findings with a general audience who may not have time or need to read the full paper.

When to Write a Summary?

Your research summary should be written after you have completed your research. This is critical because you must be able to present your research findings concisely without leaving anything out. Summaries can be needed when academic materials are being assessed, like in college assignments or science periodicals.

They are effective when submitting research grants or presenting your work at conferences. By summarising your research clearly and concisely, you enable your audience to grasp the information more easily and quickly. This way, your readers will be able to perceive the value of your work and engage with it on a deeper level. As you can see, writing a research paper summary is not rocket science.

Formatting Guidelines for Research Paper Summaries

Properly formatting your research summary is a key point of readability and professionalism. It guarantees that the flow of your summary is kept to the standard of academic writing. Just stick to these rules:

  • Use a clear, readable font like Times New Roman or Arial, size 12.
  • Set margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Keep the summary to one page, or about 250-300 words.
  • Use double spacing to enhance readability.
  • Align your text to the left; this makes it easier to read.
  • Include a concise title at the top of your summary.

These guidelines help you build a good summary and help your audience understand your writing. A well-formatted summary allows readers to concentrate on the content, not the arrangement, making your research more effective. So, always try to learn how to summarize a research paper correctly.

Types of Research Paper Summaries

Type Purpose Detail Level Length Typical Use Case
Abstract Provides a concise overview of the entire paper. Great detail in a brief format Usually 150-300 words Academic journals, conferences
Executive Summary Detailed summary focusing on findings and implications. Very detailed Often 1-2 pages Business reports, policy papers
Synopsis Highlights the main points of the paper. Low detail Short, under 100 words Conferences, seminars
Literature Review Summarizes existing research on a topic. Variable detail Variable, often lengthy Used within academic papers
Research Proposal Summary Outlines intended research for approval or funding. Detailed Usually 1-2 pages Grant applications, research proposals

How to Write a Research Summary – Typical Steps

A research summary comprises several steps to produce an understandable and concise article. The summary systematically breaks down the research into bite-size pieces that allow the audience to grasp the study's core aspects. This helps preserve the authenticity and nature of the original research work in a way that is easy to understand.

Read the Text

Reading a research paper before you can start the summary is very important. Begin by reading the whole document thoroughly to get an understanding of the main issues and the objectives of the document. Look for the introductory and concluding paragraphs, which usually contain the major ideas and conclusions. Following this first reading, try to read through the text two or three more times to take a closer look at the research methods, data analysis, and some of the specific findings.

Here is how to write a research summary. Remembering the authors' key phrases and technical words is crucial – these words are like the foundation for understanding the research context accurately. So, master research paper summary writing every day!

Break the Text Down Into Sections

So, the next step is to split it into the logical parts of the paper. This part of the thesis is built around the main issues of the research: the research problem, the methodology, the findings, and the conclusions. This section should be assessed individually and about the overall research to determine the significance of each part.

Spend some time looking for the main idea in each part and trying to understand how they all come together to tell the research story. This process enables readers to comprehend the text better and organize the research summary meaningfully. Segmenting the text so that all key information is present in the summary and that the summarized work accurately represents the research makes this goal possible. Are you not ready to write on your own? Just say, “Write my essay for me!” We are always ready to assist!

Identify the Key Points in Each Section

The key points in each section are identified to create a powerful summary. This is the process of isolating the key details of utmost significance to the findings and the research objectives. So, stick to this research paper summary structure guide:

Introduction Note the research question or thesis statement.
Methodology Summarize the research design, participants, and procedures used.
Results Highlight significant data points and findings.
Discussion Capture the interpretations and implications of the results.
Conclusion Identify the final summarization and recommendations made by the researchers.

By identifying these main ideas, you can be certain that the summary covers the essence of the research, presenting a clear and concise version of the original paper. Now, you know how to write a research summary.

Write the Summary

The research summary is written to combine the main points you selected into a single but comprehensive paragraph. First, the main subject of the research will be set down, as well as its goals. A brief outline of the methodology will follow this to provide an overview of the study results. Last, the crucial results are indicated; only those data directly related to the research purpose.

Discuss the results of this study, and write the final remarks and the summary of the original paper. It is important to stay objective and avoid giving personal views or understanding. So, summarizing a research paper effectively is not that difficult.

Check the Summary Against the Article

Now that you have your summary, you must see if it matches the original article. This comparison makes sure that the summary is in line with the research and that any significant information is not left out or interpretation is not misplaced. Check if the summary keeps the original focus, especially concerning the research aims and outcomes. Here is how to write a research summary correctly.

Writing an effective research paper summary is paramount. Ensure there are no technical term errors and avoid personal interpretations or unnecessary details. This verification might involve reading more than once, concentrating on details such as precision, completeness, and readability. Besides, check out our latest article on mastering the research paper format for students!

Crucial Writing Tips to Follow

To write a good research summary, you must grasp the research content and know the skills that make a summary useful and interesting. Following several writing guidelines will ensure that your conclusion is relevant and brief. As a result, your summary will serve its purpose as a valuable academic tool.

Understand the Assignment

Summarizing research findings is crucial. Before submitting your summary, you should grasp all the assignment requirements. The purpose and the specific requirements are the first steps to figuring out your writing focus and approach. Here is what you should understand:

  • Length: Check the required length to ensure your summary meets the guidelines.
  • Format: Understand the formatting requirements, including font type, size, and margin specifications.
  • Deadline: Know your deadline to manage your time effectively.

Knowledge of these elements helps you firmly establish the basis of your writing. It is a very helpful tool because it structures your work according to the needs of your assignment and ensures that the content of your summary is to the point and at the expected level. Here is how to write a research summary properly.

Identify Key Points

It is important to say that identifying the key points in the research may be the most vital part of writing a research summary. First, scrutinize the original article thoroughly, highlighting the central ideas and major findings. Be meticulous while working on the thesis statement because it is a core part of the paper and represents the essay's main idea. It is also essential to comprehend the methodology since the results are interpreted within the context of the methodology.

Use different research paper summary techniques. While emphasizing the data that directly reinforces the research findings, do not forget to include the results irrelevant to the main conclusion. Ensure you mention the talks about the effects and limitations of the obtained results. A powerful summary focuses on these important aspects.

Paraphrase Succinctly

The skill of paraphrasing is crucial for a research paper. According to the University of Connecticut, this process involves reformulating the original text to create a summary with the same meaning as the original but only in clear and short words. When paraphrasing, try to avoid using too many difficult words and expressions, but at the same time, do not let the main terms of the text and the results escape your attention.

Here is how to write a summary. Use synonyms and reword sentences to produce a text that is not a copy of the original. This prevents plagiarism and makes the content friendly and understandable to audiences of diverse backgrounds.

Focus on Structure

Do you need more research paper summary guidelines? Ok! The structure of a research summarization should allow the reader to read through it effortlessly and easily understand its contents. Begin by presenting an introduction that provides context by mentioning the research subject, purpose, and significance. Besides, you can always start with a proper research summary example. Every part should be presented one after the other, and the story should continue to the end using transitions that will aid the reader in following the summary easily.

Highlight the Significance and Implications

Here is what you should learn before checking research paper summary examples. Research summaries must always be written to highlight the importance of research and its wider implications. This emphasis facilitates readers to perceive how the study is important and related to the field. So, here is what you should do:

  • Describe how the findings contribute to existing knowledge.
  • Suggest how the results can be applied in real-world settings.
  • Indicate potential directions for further investigation.
  • Discuss how the study advances theoretical frameworks or concepts.

And stick to the research paper summary format. This will ensure that your summary reflects the research's outcomes and gives them a central role. It will also help strengthen your summary and make it more interesting and informative, directly linking the study to the wider field context.

Review and Revise

Last but not least, in writing a research summary is the revision and review of the document. This is a crucial step in summarizing, as it helps avoid inaccuracies, ambiguities, and lengthy sentences. First, read your abstract carefully to determine whether it reflects the original research without too much detail. Proofread for all the grammatical issues or phrases that can be misleading to the reader.

Besides, know all the tips for writing a research paper summary. Complying with the correct use of technical terms and formatting guidelines, if any, is essential. Ask a friend or a mentor to edit your summary; a new set of eyes can bring a new perspective and reveal things you would not have noticed.

Writing a Standout Summary: Things to Avoid

While writing a research summary, it's important to watch out for common pitfalls that can erode its quality and effectiveness. These errors will make your summary clearer and have the desired impact. Therefore, paying attention to them will help you summarize the research work precisely and accurately.

Plagiarism is a vital matter to consider when preparing any academic writing, particularly research summaries. It is the act of copying or taking someone else's ideas and expressions and presenting them as one's work without permission or acknowledgement. To avoid plagiarism, ensure that you paraphrase the original text by expressing the ideas in your own words and that the original sentence is unchanged.

So, find a good research summary example. Correct citation of the direct quotations and key concepts borrowed from the source material is also crucial. Utilizing plagiarism detection software may provide a means to verify that your work is plagiarism-free. Knowing and respecting intellectual property rights can safeguard academic integrity and stimulate in-depth knowledge and the true presentation of results.

Excessive Detail

The most common error while writing a summary is including too many details. In this case, a summary will be the most important part of the research, where the researcher only has to pay attention to the objectives, methodology, key outcomes, and conclusions. Avoid the temptation to wade into the pool of minor details and complex data that do not contribute to an overall understanding of the research's main outcomes.

Rather than mixing the two, it is appropriate to find a balance between economy and fullness by considering the details essential for the reader to grasp the significance and impact of the research. Maintaining the brevity and focus of the summary makes it easier to read. It ensures that it is useful to the audience, who may not need or want a superficial amount of detail. Here is how to write a good summary!

Biased Interpretation

Interpretation may be biased, and this can distort factual comprehension. It is seen as a situation when personal opinion or judgment interferes with the presentation of research results. Here is what you need to do:

  • Avoid Personal Opinions: Keep interpretations neutral and based on the data.
  • Stick to the Facts: Refer directly to the research for support.
  • Use Neutral Language: Avoid emotionally charged or suggestive language.

It is essential to be as objective as possible, concentrating only on what the research data and results demonstrate. This method certifies the accuracy of the summary, which reflects the research without being distorted by personal views or external influences. Just stick to the research summary format.

Misrepresentation of Results

Incorrect misinformation in a research summary can grossly skew the perception of the research and its validity. This mistake could be made if the summary is skewed, important data is omitted, or the results are out of context. So, it is mandatory always to portray the research findings accurately and completely. Ensure that the data mentioned in the summary is the same as the data and conclusions of the research article.

Here is how to write a good summary. We should not jump to conclusions unsupported by the original research or leave out the negative results that are important in inferring the whole study's outcome. Accuracy and fidelity in data reproduction make the summary a trustworthy and credible source for academic and professional settings, thus ensuring the research is an authentic and ethical representation.

Incomplete Coverage

Now, you know how to write a summary. An incomplete summary is worthless because it fails to present all the information crucial to learning about the research. This problem can originate from the lack of detail regarding the important results, the failure to describe the research context, or the omission of the implications and limitations of the study. Besides, find a good research summary template for practicing.

The utmost attention should be paid to systematically presenting all research components, including hypothesis, methodology, results, and conclusions. Also, emphasize any limitations or boundaries of the research that make your topic area more effective. In addition to the above, this detail-oriented approach goes beyond the mere credibility of the summary.

What is the purpose of a research paper summary?

You must concisely overview a research study's main ideas, findings, and implications.

How long should a research paper summary be?

It should be about one page long, between 250 and 300 words. However, ask your professor first.

What are the key differences between summarizing and paraphrasing?

Summarizing involves condensing a large amount of information into a brief overview. Paraphrasing is rewording a specific text or idea without significantly shortening it.

How can I ensure objectivity and conciseness in a research paper summary?

You should stick to the facts, use neutral language, and highlight essential points of your research.

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Video Transcripts: Summarizing Sources: Definition and Examples of Summary

Summarizing sources: definition and examples of summary.

Last updated 1/5/2017

Visual: The screen shows the Walden University Writing Center logo along with a pencil and notebook. “Walden University Writing Center.” “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. The background changes to the title of the video with books in the background.

Audio: Guitar music plays.

Visual: Slide changes to the title “Summarizing Sources” and the following:

  • Central thesis, argument, or purpose
  • Main ideas, findings, or conclusions

Definition : An articulation of a source’s basic argument and main points.

Audio: Summary, in its simplest form, is an articulation of a source’s basic argument and main points. What this means is that it’s broad in nature. A summary doesn’t focus on one idea or fact from a source. Instead, it gives an overview of the entire source. This overview should include the source’s central thesis, argument, or purpose, as well as the source’s main ideas, findings, or conclusions. Think of this as a high-level overview of the source. Finally, you may also include the context in which the article was written. For example, you might note if an article was written in response to a government policy or refuting another study.

Visual: The slide changes to the following: What makes a strong summary?

  • Balancing accuracy with concision
  • High-level overview of main points
  • Ensuring your voice as the author

Audio: There are a few things you can do to write a strong summary. First, your summary should be accurate. You need to make sure you are accurately representing the source and the author’s ideas in your summary. Doing so can often be a balancing act; you don’t want to include too many details, but you do need to include enough information so that you can accurately convey what the source said to your reader. Think about your summary in this way: If you were giving a colleague the gist of the article, what main points would you include to ensure he or she understood the overall points of the source?

Next, your summary should be concise. Because a summary is a high-level overview and broad in scope, a summary will be longer than a paraphrase. A paraphrase is a concise rephrasing of a particular idea or piece of information in one or at most two sentences. As a result, even a concise summary will be longer than a paraphrase, at least a couple of sentences long. However, your summary shouldn’t be too long either; most of the time you should be able to summarize a source in one paragraph. However, the length of your summary will always depend on the length of the original source and the level of detail you need based on your assignment’s guidelines.

Finally, your summary should use paraphrases, not quotes. Because summaries are a high-level overview, put the source’s information into your own words, rather than quoting the original source. Doing so will help increase the flow of your summary and ensure your voice as the author comes through. Paraphrasing rather than quoting will also help you keep your summary concise. There could be scenarios where you might want to partially quote a key phrase, but even that should be done sparingly.

Visual: The slide changes to the following:

            In their research, DeBruin-Parecki and Slutzky’s (2016) studied current U.S. pre-K standards, which are meant to set up students for success in kindergarten and beyond. The authors collected quantitative and qualitative data from diverse survey respondents about pre-K learning standards. The key finding from this study was the positive viewpoint most pre-K teachers have of the national learning standards.

Audio: Let’s take a look at this sample summary. As you can see, this summary is a high-level overview of this source. It starts by introducing the source’s authors with a full citation and introducing the topic or focus of the source. It then transitions to discussing the data the authors collected, ending with the authors’ key finding.

This sample summary is accurate, concise, and includes paraphrased main ideas, the three things that make a strong summary. It accurately represents the source authors’ original ideas, while still being concise. The summary’s author also put all of these ideas into their own words.

Visual: The following are overlayed on the paragraph: “the authors” or “this study”

Audio: The final note I want to make here is about citations. It’s important to cite the source in the first sentence of the summary. In subsequent sentences, the citation isn’t necessarily required, although it is important to ensure the reader knows you’re continuing to discuss the same source. This might mean using phrases like “the authors” or “this study”, but you may also include citations in each of these sentences too.

If you’re not sure whether you should cite the source in each sentence in a summary, be sure to ask your instructor.

  • Annotated bibliographies
  • Compare/contrast essays
  • Explicit requests
  • Part of note taking
  • Synthesizing or paraphrasing sources
  • Literature reviews
  • Graduate writing

Audio: Alright, so now that you know what a summary is and how to write a strong summary, when should you use a summary? Students most commonly summarize sources in annotated bibliographies and compare/contrast essays. However, you may also find that an assignment prompt or course instructor asks you to summarize as part of another assignment. You may also use summarizing as one of your note-taking and reading strategies; summarizing a source is a great way to ensure you understand and can re-articulate what a source is saying.

It is important to note that summarizing usually isn’t appropriate if you’re being asked to synthesize or paraphrase a source; this is particularly true in a literature review and generally in graduate writing. While summarizing particularly important sources initially or in the note taking stage may make sense in these cases, you don’t want to rely on summarizing extensively.

Visual: Slide changes to display the following: Questions? E-mail [email protected] .

  • Previous Page: Summarizing Sources: The Process of Summarizing
  • Next Page: Summarizing Sources: Incorporating Citations Into Summaries
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Examples

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example of summary of a research paper

A term paper is an extensive research paper typically assigned at the end of a semester or academic term, allowing students to demonstrate their understanding and in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. It involves thorough research, analysis, and synthesis of information from various sources to address a specific topic or question, culminating in a comprehensive written report. Term papers are designed to assess students’ critical thinking, research skills, and ability to communicate their findings effectively, often accounting for a significant portion of their final grade. Essential components include a Thesis Statement for Research Paper , a Research Paper Cover Letter , and adherence to the Research Paper Format .

What is Term Paper?

A term paper is a detailed research paper written by students over an academic term, contributing significantly to their final grade. It demonstrates their understanding and analysis of a specific topic, includes a thesis, supporting arguments, and evidence, and requires citations from academic sources.

Term Paper Format

Title of the Paper Student’s Name Course Name and Number Instructor’s Name Date of Submission
A brief summary of the paper (150-250 words) Key points, objectives, methods, results, and conclusions

Introduction

Introduction to the topic Thesis statement Purpose and objectives Paper overview

Literature Review

Overview of Existing Research Key Theories and Studies Gaps in the Literature Relevance to the Current Study

Methodology

Research design Data collection methods Sample selection Analysis techniques
Presentation of findings Use of tables and figures (if applicable)
Interpretation of results Comparison with existing literature Implications and limitations
Summary of key findings Restatement of thesis Future research implications
List of All Sources Cited Formatted According to a Specific Citation Style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)

Appendices (if applicable)

Additional Material Raw Data Questionnaires Detailed Calculations

Formatting Guidelines

Font: Times New Roman, 12-point Spacing: Double-spaced Margins: 1 inch Page numbers: Top right corner Consistent headings and subheadings

Term Paper Examples for Students

Term Paper Examples for Students

  • The Impact of Climate Change on Coastal Ecosystems
  • The Role of Social Media in Modern Marketing Strategies
  • The Influence of Ancient Greek Philosophy on Western Thought
  • Cybersecurity Threats and Solutions in the 21st Century
  • The Effectiveness of Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • The Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health
  • An Analysis of Shakespeare’s Use of Tragic Heroes
  • The Evolution of Women’s Rights in the United States
  • The Economic Impact of Immigration Policies
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
  • The History and Future of Space Exploration
  • The Psychological Effects of Video Games on Children
  • The Ethics of Genetic Engineering
  • The Cultural Significance of Traditional Festivals in Japan
  • The Impact of Globalization on Local Economies
  • The Role of Renewable Energy in Combating Climate Change
  • The Effects of Substance Abuse on Family Dynamics
  • An Examination of Modernist Architecture
  • The Influence of the Harlem Renaissance on American Literature
  • The Legal and Social Implications of Data Privacy Laws
  • The Role of Sports in Promoting Social Integration
  • An Analysis of Economic Inequality in Developing Countries
  • The Impact of Music Therapy on Mental Health Recovery
  • The Development and Impact of the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • The Relationship Between Sleep Patterns and Academic Performance

Simple Term Paper Examples

  • The Effects of Video Games on Child Development
  • The History and Impact of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Benefits and Risks
  • The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Western Thought
  • The Impact of Immigration on the U.S. Economy
  • The Role of Education in Reducing Poverty
  • The Ethics of Animal Testing in Medical Research
  • Mental Health Stigma and Its Social Implications
  • The Evolution of E-commerce and Online Shopping
  • The Importance of Early Childhood Education

Types of Term Papers

1. analytical term papers.

  • Definition: Analyzes a specific issue or topic, breaking it down into its components and examining them in detail.
  • Purpose: To provide a deep understanding of the subject through detailed analysis.
  • Example: “The Economic Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture”

2. Argumentative Term Papers

  • Definition: Presents an argument on a particular topic, supporting it with evidence and reasoning.
  • Purpose: To persuade the reader of a specific viewpoint or stance.
  • Example: “The Case for Renewable Energy Sources over Fossil Fuels”

3. Definition Term Papers

  • Definition: Explores the meaning and implications of a specific concept or term.
  • Purpose: To clarify and define a concept in depth.
  • Example: “Defining Social Justice in Modern Society”

4. Compare and Contrast Term Papers

  • Definition: Examines the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.
  • Purpose: To highlight comparative aspects and provide insights into the subjects.
  • Example: “Comparing Online Education with Traditional Classroom Learning”

5. Cause and Effect Term Papers

  • Definition: Investigates the causes of a particular event or phenomenon and its effects.
  • Purpose: To understand the relationships between events and outcomes.
  • Example: “The Causes and Effects of the 2008 Financial Crisis”

6. Interpretive Term Papers

  • Definition: Provides an interpretation of a specific piece of literature, artwork, or historical event.
  • Purpose: To offer insights and perspectives on the subject.
  • Example: “Interpreting Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby'”

7. Research-Based Term Papers

  • Definition: Relies heavily on existing research and data to discuss a particular topic.
  • Purpose: To present an in-depth analysis based on extensive research.
  • Example: “The Role of Vaccinations in Public Health”

8. Reflective Term Papers

  • Definition: Reflects on a personal experience or event and its significance.
  • Purpose: To provide a personal perspective and insights.
  • Example: “Reflections on My Internship Experience in a Non-Profit Organization”

9. Case Study Term Papers

  • Definition: Focuses on a detailed examination of a particular case within a real-world context.
  • Purpose: To analyze specific instances and draw broader conclusions.
  • Example: “A Case Study of the Flint Water Crisis”

10. Expository Term Papers

  • Definition: Explains or describes a topic in a straightforward and factual manner.
  • Purpose: To inform and educate the reader about the subject.
  • Example: “An Overview of the U.S. Healthcare System”

Importance of Term Papers

1. development of research skills.

  • Encourages thorough exploration of various information sources
  • Enhances data gathering, analysis, and interpretation abilities

2. Enhancement of Writing Skills

  • Improves clarity, precision, and organization in writing
  • Refines grammar and syntax

3. Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

  • Fosters logical reasoning and problem-solving
  • Promotes evaluation and synthesis of information

4. Time Management and Discipline

  • Teaches effective planning and adherence to deadlines
  • Develops a disciplined work ethic and organizational skills

5. In-Depth Understanding of Subject Matter

  • Facilitates comprehensive knowledge of the topic
  • Enhances retention and application of theoretical concepts

How to Write a Term Paper

1. choose a topic.

  • Select a topic: Ensure it’s relevant to your course and interests you.
  • Narrow the focus: Make sure the topic is specific enough to be manageable.

2. Conduct Research

  • Gather sources: Use books, academic journals, and credible websites.
  • Take notes: Organize your notes and highlight key points.
  • Create a bibliography: Keep track of all sources for your references.

3. Develop a Thesis Statement

  • Clear and concise: Summarize the main point or argument of your paper.
  • Position: Clearly state your position or perspective on the topic.

4. Create an Outline

  • Introduction: Introduce the topic and state your thesis.
  • Body paragraphs: Organize the main points and supporting evidence.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your findings and restate your thesis.

5. Write the First Draft

  • Hook: Grab the reader’s attention.
  • Background information: Provide context.
  • Thesis statement: Present your main argument.
  • Topic sentence: State the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Evidence: Present data, quotes, and research findings.
  • Analysis: Explain how the evidence supports your thesis.
  • Transition: Link to the next paragraph.
  • Restate the thesis: Summarize your main argument.
  • Summarize main points: Recap the key points.
  • Closing statement: Provide a final thought or call to action.

6. Revise and Edit

  • Review content: Ensure your arguments are clear and supported by evidence.
  • Check organization: Ensure your paper flows logically.
  • Edit for grammar and style: Correct any grammatical errors and improve readability.

7. Format the Paper

  • Follow guidelines: Use the required formatting style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Title page: Include the title, your name, course, instructor, and date.
  • Page numbers: Ensure all pages are numbered.
  • Citations: Properly cite all sources in-text and in the bibliography.

8. Proofread

  • Final check: Look for any remaining errors or typos.
  • Read aloud: Helps catch mistakes you might overlook.
  • Peer review: Have someone else review your paper for feedback.

9. Submit the Paper

  • Meet the deadline: Ensure you submit your paper on time.
  • Follow submission guidelines: Submit according to your instructor’s requirements (e.g., online or printed copy).

FAQ’s

How do i choose a topic for my term paper.

Choose a topic that interests you, is relevant to your course, and has enough research material available.

What is the structure of a term paper?

A term paper typically includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.

How long should a term paper be?

The length varies, but a standard term paper is usually between 8-15 pages, depending on the subject and requirements.

How do I start writing a term paper?

Begin with thorough research, create an outline, and then draft your introduction to set the context for your paper.

What is a thesis statement in a term paper?

A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of your paper, usually placed at the end of the introduction.

How important is the introduction in a term paper?

The introduction is crucial as it sets the tone, provides background information, and presents your thesis statement.

What should be included in the literature review?

The literature review should summarize, analyze, and compare existing research relevant to your topic.

How do I cite sources in my term paper?

Use a citation style recommended by your instructor (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) to credit the original sources of your information.

How do I present my findings in a term paper?

Present your findings clearly and logically, using tables, charts, or graphs if necessary, in the results section.

How do I write a conclusion for a term paper?

Summarize your main points, restate the significance of your findings, and suggest areas for future research.

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How to Synthesize Written Information from Multiple Sources

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Shona McCombes is the content manager at Scribbr, Netherlands.

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BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

On This Page:

When you write a literature review or essay, you have to go beyond just summarizing the articles you’ve read – you need to synthesize the literature to show how it all fits together (and how your own research fits in).

Synthesizing simply means combining. Instead of summarizing the main points of each source in turn, you put together the ideas and findings of multiple sources in order to make an overall point.

At the most basic level, this involves looking for similarities and differences between your sources. Your synthesis should show the reader where the sources overlap and where they diverge.

Unsynthesized Example

Franz (2008) studied undergraduate online students. He looked at 17 females and 18 males and found that none of them liked APA. According to Franz, the evidence suggested that all students are reluctant to learn citations style. Perez (2010) also studies undergraduate students. She looked at 42 females and 50 males and found that males were significantly more inclined to use citation software ( p < .05). Findings suggest that females might graduate sooner. Goldstein (2012) looked at British undergraduates. Among a sample of 50, all females, all confident in their abilities to cite and were eager to write their dissertations.

Synthesized Example

Studies of undergraduate students reveal conflicting conclusions regarding relationships between advanced scholarly study and citation efficacy. Although Franz (2008) found that no participants enjoyed learning citation style, Goldstein (2012) determined in a larger study that all participants watched felt comfortable citing sources, suggesting that variables among participant and control group populations must be examined more closely. Although Perez (2010) expanded on Franz’s original study with a larger, more diverse sample…

Step 1: Organize your sources

After collecting the relevant literature, you’ve got a lot of information to work through, and no clear idea of how it all fits together.

Before you can start writing, you need to organize your notes in a way that allows you to see the relationships between sources.

One way to begin synthesizing the literature is to put your notes into a table. Depending on your topic and the type of literature you’re dealing with, there are a couple of different ways you can organize this.

Summary table

A summary table collates the key points of each source under consistent headings. This is a good approach if your sources tend to have a similar structure – for instance, if they’re all empirical papers.

Each row in the table lists one source, and each column identifies a specific part of the source. You can decide which headings to include based on what’s most relevant to the literature you’re dealing with.

For example, you might include columns for things like aims, methods, variables, population, sample size, and conclusion.

For each study, you briefly summarize each of these aspects. You can also include columns for your own evaluation and analysis.

summary table for synthesizing the literature

The summary table gives you a quick overview of the key points of each source. This allows you to group sources by relevant similarities, as well as noticing important differences or contradictions in their findings.

Synthesis matrix

A synthesis matrix is useful when your sources are more varied in their purpose and structure – for example, when you’re dealing with books and essays making various different arguments about a topic.

Each column in the table lists one source. Each row is labeled with a specific concept, topic or theme that recurs across all or most of the sources.

Then, for each source, you summarize the main points or arguments related to the theme.

synthesis matrix

The purposes of the table is to identify the common points that connect the sources, as well as identifying points where they diverge or disagree.

Step 2: Outline your structure

Now you should have a clear overview of the main connections and differences between the sources you’ve read. Next, you need to decide how you’ll group them together and the order in which you’ll discuss them.

For shorter papers, your outline can just identify the focus of each paragraph; for longer papers, you might want to divide it into sections with headings.

There are a few different approaches you can take to help you structure your synthesis.

If your sources cover a broad time period, and you found patterns in how researchers approached the topic over time, you can organize your discussion chronologically .

That doesn’t mean you just summarize each paper in chronological order; instead, you should group articles into time periods and identify what they have in common, as well as signalling important turning points or developments in the literature.

If the literature covers various different topics, you can organize it thematically .

That means that each paragraph or section focuses on a specific theme and explains how that theme is approached in the literature.

synthesizing the literature using themes

Source Used with Permission: The Chicago School

If you’re drawing on literature from various different fields or they use a wide variety of research methods, you can organize your sources methodologically .

That means grouping together studies based on the type of research they did and discussing the findings that emerged from each method.

If your topic involves a debate between different schools of thought, you can organize it theoretically .

That means comparing the different theories that have been developed and grouping together papers based on the position or perspective they take on the topic, as well as evaluating which arguments are most convincing.

Step 3: Write paragraphs with topic sentences

What sets a synthesis apart from a summary is that it combines various sources. The easiest way to think about this is that each paragraph should discuss a few different sources, and you should be able to condense the overall point of the paragraph into one sentence.

This is called a topic sentence , and it usually appears at the start of the paragraph. The topic sentence signals what the whole paragraph is about; every sentence in the paragraph should be clearly related to it.

A topic sentence can be a simple summary of the paragraph’s content:

“Early research on [x] focused heavily on [y].”

For an effective synthesis, you can use topic sentences to link back to the previous paragraph, highlighting a point of debate or critique:

“Several scholars have pointed out the flaws in this approach.” “While recent research has attempted to address the problem, many of these studies have methodological flaws that limit their validity.”

By using topic sentences, you can ensure that your paragraphs are coherent and clearly show the connections between the articles you are discussing.

As you write your paragraphs, avoid quoting directly from sources: use your own words to explain the commonalities and differences that you found in the literature.

Don’t try to cover every single point from every single source – the key to synthesizing is to extract the most important and relevant information and combine it to give your reader an overall picture of the state of knowledge on your topic.

Step 4: Revise, edit and proofread

Like any other piece of academic writing, synthesizing literature doesn’t happen all in one go – it involves redrafting, revising, editing and proofreading your work.

Checklist for Synthesis

  •   Do I introduce the paragraph with a clear, focused topic sentence?
  •   Do I discuss more than one source in the paragraph?
  •   Do I mention only the most relevant findings, rather than describing every part of the studies?
  •   Do I discuss the similarities or differences between the sources, rather than summarizing each source in turn?
  •   Do I put the findings or arguments of the sources in my own words?
  •   Is the paragraph organized around a single idea?
  •   Is the paragraph directly relevant to my research question or topic?
  •   Is there a logical transition from this paragraph to the next one?

Further Information

How to Synthesise: a Step-by-Step Approach

Help…I”ve Been Asked to Synthesize!

Learn how to Synthesise (combine information from sources)

How to write a Psychology Essay

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Development co-operation

The OECD designs international standards and guidelines for development co-operation, based on best practices, and monitors their implementation by its members. It works closely with member and partner countries, and other stakeholders (such as the United Nations and other multilateral entities) to help them implement their development commitments. It also invites developing country governments to take an active part in policy dialogue.

  • Development Co-operation Report
  • Official development assistance (ODA)

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Key messages, charting development co-operation trends and challenges.

The OECD keeps track of key trends and challenges for development co-operation providers and offers practical guidance. It draws from the knowledge and experience of Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members and partners, as well as from independent expertise, with the ultimate goal of advancing reforms in the sector, and achieving impact. Using data, evidence, and peer learning, this work is captured in publications and online tools that are made publicly available.

Making development co-operation more effective and impactful

The OECD works with governments, civil society organisations, multilateral organisations, and others to improve the quality of development co-operation. Through peer reviews and evaluations, it periodically assesses aid programmes and co-operation policies, and offers recommendations to improve their efficiency. The OECD also brings together multiple stakeholders to share good and innovative practices and discuss progress.

Strengthening development co-operation evaluation practices and systems

The OECD helps development co-operation providers evaluate their actions both to better learn from experience and to improve transparency and accountability. Innovative approaches, such as using smart and big data, digital technology and remote sensing, help gather evidence and inform policy decisions. With in-depth analysis and guidance, the Organisation helps providers manage for results by building multi-stakeholder partnerships and adapting to changing contexts and crisis situations. 

Civil society engagement in development co-operation

National and international civil society organisations (CSOs) are key partners in monitoring development co-operation policies and programmes. Development co-operation can also be channelled to or through CSOs: 

Aid is characterized as going to CSOs when it is in the form of core contributions and contributions to programmes, with the funds programmed by the CSOs. 

Aid is characterized as going through CSOs when funds are channeled through these organisations to implement donor-initiated projects. This is also known as earmarked funding.

Development co-operation TIPs - Tools, Insights, Practices

TIPs is a searchable peer learning platform that offers insights into making policies, systems and partnerships more effective. 

example of summary of a research paper

Related data

Related publications.

example of summary of a research paper

Related policy issues

  • Development co-operation evaluation and effectiveness
  • Development co-operation in practice
  • Development co-operation peer reviews and learning
  • Innovation in development co-operation

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