Writing a Good Essay: Summarizing Ideas

Writing a summary is quite different from paraphrasing. A summary of a document, speech or ideas entails understanding what is being spoken about and writing the main points. This will show the overview of what is being discussed. This means that a clear and careful attention ought to be paid to the speech or text so as to interpret all the facts correctly. The summary should have few words covering all the facts precisely. A summary, unlike a paraphrase that rewrites the ideas in other words, summarizing singles out the main theme and ideas being passed across in the text. It helps you and the reader to quickly understand the direction and the key message in the original text.

You have to ensure you rewrite a long text into a short for covering all the main ideas without plagiarizing. The first step is to read to understand the text according to writer. In case you find vocabularies, be sure to look them up in the dictionary and know how they have been used. Sort out the important ideas from the less important according to the topic being discussed.

The following are the general steps identified to guide you on writing an effective summary:

  • Carefully read the original text
  • Identify the summary material
  • Make a decision whether your summary will be descriptive or informative
  • Rewrite the text in short and precise sentences
  • Point out the original text
  • Method of writing a summary
  • Taking notes

Writing down main ideas of each part of the original text will reveal the meaningful ideas appearing in the text. This will enable you sort out the main ideas form descriptions that are not relevant to the topic. When reviewing your notes, you will realize that each paragraph has its own ideas and meaning which relates it to the preceding paragraph. This will bring the picture of a series of ideas interconnecting to for the topic of discussion.

Selection and elimination

Since a summary entails an overview of the most important ideas, it is crucial that you leave out the less important information. This will involve circling, underlining and highlighting what you identify as the main ideas. This will help you eliminate the less important parts. Identify the key words that express the message or main statement. From time to time, you will need to ask yourself the following questions: what is the author’s main point? What is the central proposition here? This method works best in articles or texts with main ideas that are followed by explanations.

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