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A summary is no more than 20% of the original length of a text. Sometimes, you will be asked to write even shorter summaries, for example, one page for long articles. Writing a summary is a process of selecting main ideas and eliminating less important ideas while still presenting a good view of the whole text.
1.Read! Preview the article then follow up with a close reading of the text. (For more on active reading, see the following link:
2.Find and note the main argument/idea/thesis. This step is important because it helps you decide which details to include. (Describe in your own words).
3.Find and note details that support the main idea or purpose.
4.Highlight important details by finding key words and phrases in your notes (words that cannot be replaced with synonyms).
5.Decide which ideas can be left out (usually specific examples, statistics, quotations).
6.Link remaining ideas together to write a summary that gives a “picture” of the whole.
7.Proofread to eliminate direct quotes, copied phrases, and extra words wherever you can. (Using “active voice” – subject + verb – is helpful).