How to Write a Summary?

how to write a summary

Writing a summary may seem like an easy task, but it requires a certain skill set to get it right. A summary is a condensed version of an original text that captures and presents the most important points clearly and concisely. The purpose of a summary is to provide readers with an overview of the key ideas in a text without getting into the nitty-gritty details. In this blog, we will discuss what a summary is, its purpose, and the essential components that make up a good summary. We will also dive into how to write an effective summary and offer some alternatives to summaries if you want to switch things up. Whether you are writing for academic or professional purposes, this guide will equip you with all the necessary tools to write an excellent summary.

What is a Summary?

What is a Summary

A summary is a brief overview of the main points of a longer piece of writing or speech. It is often used to condense information into a shorter format, making it easier to understand and remember. A well-written summary should capture the original work’s essential ideas and key details while also conveying its tone and style. Summaries can be helpful in many situations, such as when studying for exams, preparing project reports or presentations, or simply trying to understand complex topics better. Providing a clear and concise summary can save time and improve your ability to communicate effectively with others.

What is the Purpose of a Summary?

What is the Purpose of a Summary

The purpose of a summary is to provide a brief, concise overview of the main points and key ideas presented in a piece of writing. A summary is useful for readers who want to quickly understand the main message of a text without having to read through all of the details. Summaries are commonly used in academic and professional settings, such as when reviewing research papers or business reports.

They can also be helpful for personal use, such as when trying to summarize a book or article for personal study or discussion. By providing a condensed version of the original text, summaries can save time and help readers to focus on the most important information.

Components of a Summary

Components of a Summary

When writing a summary, there are several key components to keep in mind.

First, you want to make sure that you include all of the main points from the original text.

Second, you want to make sure that your summary is concise and to the point.

Third, you want to ensure you do not include personal opinions or biases in your summary.

Fourth, you want to make sure that you accurately represent the author’s intent. And fifth, you want to make sure that your summary is well-organized and easy to follow. Following these key components ensures that your summary is effective and will serve its purpose.

How to Write a Summary?

How to Write a Summary

Writing a summary involves condensing a larger piece of text into a shorter version while capturing the main ideas and key points. It requires careful reading and understanding of the original content. Here are some steps to help you write an effective summary:

1. Read the original text

Read the entire text carefully to grasp the main ideas and the overall structure. Take notes on important points, key arguments, supporting evidence, and any relevant examples.

2. Identify the main idea

Determine the text’s central theme or main idea. What is the author trying to convey? This will serve as the foundation of your summary.

3. Highlight key points

Identify the supporting points, examples, and evidence that contribute to the main idea. Look for the most important and relevant information that adds depth and context to the text.

4. Omit unnecessary details

Eliminate any repetitive or extraneous information that doesn’t contribute significantly to the main idea. Focus on including only the essential points to keep your summary concise.

5. Organize the summary

Logically structure your summary. You can follow the original text’s organization or reorganize it based on your understanding. Use paragraphs or bullet points to break down the content into digestible sections.

6. Use your own words

Express the main ideas and supporting points using your own words. Avoid copying sentences directly from the original text. This helps you internalize the information and ensures that the summary reflects your understanding.

7. Maintain objectivity

Summaries should be objective and unbiased. Present the information without adding personal opinions or interpretations unless explicitly asked to do so.

8. Check for coherence and flow

Ensure that the summary flows smoothly and maintains coherence. Use transitional phrases or words to connect different ideas and create a cohesive summary.

9. Review and revise

Read through your summary and revise it for clarity, accuracy, and conciseness. Ensure you haven’t omitted important information or misrepresented the original text.

10. Trim and polish

Revise your summary further to meet any length or word count requirements. Trim unnecessary words or phrases without sacrificing the clarity and accuracy of the content.

Remember, a good summary should capture the essence of the original text while being concise and clear. Practice summarizing different types of texts to enhance your skills, as summarization is valuable in academic, professional, and everyday communication.

Alternatives to Summaries

Alternatives to Summaries

1. Paraphrasing

Instead of summarizing the entire text, you can rephrase specific sentences or paragraphs to capture the key ideas. Paraphrasing allows you to present the information differently while maintaining the original meaning.

2. Bullet points or lists

Present the main points or ideas concisely and organized using bullet points or numbered lists. This format helps readers quickly grasp the key concepts without going into extensive detail.

3. Infographics or visual representations

Use visual aids such as charts, graphs, diagrams, or infographics to present the information visually. This method can effectively convey complex data or relationships between different elements.

4. Extracting quotes

Select significant quotes from the original text that encapsulate the main ideas or provide notable insights. By using direct quotes, you can highlight the author’s perspective and add credibility to your presentation of the information.

5. Comparative analysis

Compare and contrast different texts, theories, or viewpoints on a particular topic. This approach allows you to analyze the similarities and differences, providing a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

6. Critique or evaluation

Instead of simply summarizing, you can critically analyse or evaluate the original text. Discuss the presented ideas’ strengths, weaknesses, and implications, offering your perspective on the matter.

7. Storytelling or anecdotal approach

Present the main ideas or concepts within the context of a story or personal anecdote. This method can make the information more relatable and engaging for the reader.

8. Q&A format

Structure the presentation of information in a question-and-answer format. Pose relevant questions and provide concise answers, addressing the key points or concepts from the original text.

9. Concept mapping or mind mapping

Create a visual representation of the main ideas and their relationships using concept maps or mind maps. This method helps to organize and connect different concepts or elements visually.

10. Multimedia presentations

Utilize multimedia elements such as images, videos, or audio recordings to enhance the presentation of information. This approach can provide a more dynamic and immersive experience for the audience.


In conclusion, summaries are an essential part of academic report writing. They help readers understand the main points of a document without having to read the entire thing. A good summary should be concise, accurate, and well-structured. Remember to include all the key points and avoid adding new information or personal opinions. If you find that summarizing is not your cup of tea, there are alternative ways to present information, such as paraphrasing or quoting. To learn more about how to write summaries effectively, check out our detailed guide on summary writing techniques.

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