Summary Memo

Summary Memo
Write a one-page memo that includes an evaluative summary of one of the articles provided for you in the Links
section. Refer to your course schedule for the due date.
Summary writing is outlined in Chapter 17 of your textbook, but here is a step-by-step process of how to write
your summary memo for this course:
1. Imagine that you are the owner or manager of a company or department. Be sure to choose a specific
company name (and department, if applicable) and job title for yourself.
2. Then imagine a specific one-time or recurring problem that you must resolve. Remember that the point of
this memo will be to alert employees to the problem as well as make sure it doesn’t continue to happen.
3. Next, read an article (from the Links section) that contains advice pertaining to your company or
department’s specific problem. Read through the article twice, first to understand the article as a whole
and then to underline or highlight the key points that you will summarize for your employees in your
4. Finally, write your memo based on the following guidelines:
a. The assignment should be in memo format and on company letterhead. Use 12-point Times New
Roman font and 1.5-line spacing so that I can read and comment on your draft more easily.
b. Paragraph 1 should include (1) a specific description of the problem your memo addresses and
(2) a full introduction to the article you are summarizing, including the author, title, and
publication information.
c. Paragraph 2 should include a summary of the relevant article’s key points. This summary should
be no more than 25% the length of the original article.
d. Paragraph 3 should include encouragement of your employees toward the problem’s solution.
Audience -- As you write the memo, keep your audience in mind. Overall, the memo should clearly
explain why or how the summarized information is important for them to know. Also, use clear, simple
language that all employees would understand. Finally, employees respond best to encouragement; so
encourage them toward better work instead of blaming them for problems.
Paraphrasing & Quoting -- Also remember that summarizing means that you condense a longer article
into its main idea and key points by paraphrasing (i.e. using your own words). Your paraphrase should in
no way resemble the original text; simply changing or rearranging a few words is plagiarism. A good way
to help you paraphrase is summarize the article aloud. Unless you’ve memorized the exact article, you
will be forced to use your own words to convey the article’s ideas without copying the exact words and/or
sentence structure.
If you do choose to use a direct quotation, you must put it in quotation marks and give credit to the
author. You may only use one direct quotation in your memo, and a direct quotation should only be used
if it cannot be paraphrased.
5. Read over your memo at least twice before turning it in – once to revise and once to edit. Your memo
should maintain a professional tone and be free of errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
 2006 April D. Baker
Second Baptist Church
Date: June 19, 2006
To: Office Personnel
From: Karen Hoskins, Office Manager
Subject: Proofreading Documents
Several parishioners have called to point out spelling and grammar errors in our monthly bulletin,
PowerPoint presentations, and weekly handouts. We must consistently strive to present a quality product
week after week. To help us meet this goal, I have summarized an article entitled “Does Spell-Checking
Software Need a Warning Label?” published in the July 2005 issue of Communications of the ACM by
Dennis F. Galletta and others.
Since we began using spelling and grammar checkers, it seems that we are no longer proofreading our
work. Technology is not perfect. Clearly, spelling and grammar checkers correctly flag some
misspellings and are thus helpful; however, they create just as many errors by flagging correct words as
incorrect and not flagging misused words. We have all experienced this, and it appears we are putting
too much trust in this software. After all, how does the computer know what you want to say? We
quickly forget that computers are only machines. They will make mistakes, and we can easily be lulled
into a false sense of security, even letting computers overrule our own knowledge and sound judgment.
While it is true that using spelling and grammar checkers can help us find mistakes that we otherwise
may have missed, we must also take the time to proofread documents ourselves. Only then can we
submit our work. We must strive to produce error-free publications. The article provides much more
information on spelling and grammar checkers, so I encourage each of you to read it for yourselves. I
have several copies of the article at my desk that you may pick up at your convenience.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our church and parishioners.
 2006 April D. Baker