The Process of Summarizing Information

Summarizing informationImportant Qualities in a Summary

Writing a summary is condensing a piece of text to its main points while using your own words. There are many types of documents and information that can be summarized. Regardless of the type of information that is being summarized, or where the information was obtained, the summarizing process will remain basically the same. The important qualities of the summary will also be identical. A good summarizing practice should have the following qualities:

  • Summaries should be comprehensive. All main ideas that are essential for the author to develop the thesis should be included.
  • A summary should be concise. Any unnecessary information and details should be removed. Information that is repeated can be left out.
  • The summary should be coherent. Information needs to be logically presented, and reading it should provide an easily understood grasp of the paper topic.
  • Summaries should be independent. Although presenting another writer’s ideas, you shouldn’t be trying to imitate that writer. Write in your own voice using your own words.

Whether summarizing information from science, entertainment or some other area the same qualities are desirable. Along the same lines, it doesn’t matter where information was obtained, be it through a lecture, an article or the internet. The principles used to summarize information hold.

Basic Principles to Follow in the Process of Summarizing Information

Summarizing information is a process that is done in 3 stages. These stages and the steps in each stage are as follows:

1. Pre-writing stage

  • Read information the first time for basic understanding
  • Read text a second time for a more complete understanding. Identify the thesis statement and main ideas. Take notes using your own words.
  • Write an outline for the summary, using your own words

2. Writing stage

  • Identify the text title, the type of text, authors name and the authors thesis statement. The thesis statement should be in your own words.
  • Summarize the complete document. Use summarizing words and phrases to present information logically and show relationships between ideas, sentences and paragraphs.
  • Make sure that you don’t include personal opinions, ideas or interpretations in the summary.
  • Write a concluding statement, again without including a personal opinion

3. Revision stage

  • Revise for accuracy and logic
  • Proofread and edit mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

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