Writing an Effective Summary

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©2015 by Robin L. Simmons.
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ENC 1102,
Freshman Composition II
Writing an
Effective
Summary
As you collect
sources for your
research essay,
you will need to
summarize the
research that you
find.
A summary is a
significant
reduction
of the original
source.
To write an effective summary,
follow these guidelines:
• Determine the main idea of the piece you
•
•
•
have read or viewed.
Write one sentence that captures that main
idea.
As you read or view, note the major areas of
evidence that the piece provides.
Then write one sentence that communicates
the gist of each of these major areas.
Avoid these
common
problems …
To avoid plagiarizing, do not look at
the source while you are composing
the summary.
Use what
you
remember
from the
reading or
viewing.
Write the summary in
your own words.
After you have
written the
summary, you
can revisit the
source to
confirm facts.
Do not express an opinion about
the source. Neither disagree ...
… nor sing its praises.
Do not
open the
summary
with “In
this article,
it says ...”
or “This
video is
about …”
Stinks!
Use this formula:
Specific name of
piece + strong action
verb + main idea.
The 60 Minutes story “Thrift Shop
Masterpiece” explains the
controversy surrounding a possible
Jackson Pollack painting.
That
sounds
so
much
better!
Show me
what you
can do!
First Summary Directions
• Watch the 60 Minutes video “Thrift Shop
•
•
•
•
•
Masterpiece.”
Determine the main idea.
Decide the areas of evidence.
Write a summary of the video in 8 – 10
sentences.
Be sure to follow the format guidelines on
your syllabus!
This summary is due at our next class
meeting.
Second Summary Directions
• Read the New York Times article
•
•
•
•
“Shocking Truth about Piranhas
Revealed!”
Determine the main idea.
Decide the areas of evidence.
Write a summary of the article in 8 – 10
sentences.
This summary is homework. It is due at
our next class meeting.
For Tuesday,
check out and
bring to class
two books for
your topic.
The END.
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