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How to Research Your Symptoms Online
People use the Internet to research a myriad of things from what they should buy to why they have pain. These guidelines will help you learn how to research your symptoms online if you have concerns.
Use a Medical MD Symptom Checker
As soon as you enter the phrase, “how to research health symptoms,” into any search engine, you’ll receive results for at least one or more reputable medical MD symptom checkers. These symptoms checkers ask your age, gender, primary symptoms, if you’re pregnant, the severity of your symptoms, your current medications and past or current conditions. Once you click submit, a list of conditions that match your symptoms will appear. You’ll have the option to edit your symptoms or start over if you wish.
Check Reputable Websites
If you can’t find what you’re looking for using a free medical symptom checker, there are websites with articles or blog posts that list symptoms. Make sure you’re looking at reputable websites that end with .org or .edu because these sites tend to contain scholarly or medical information that can be trusted. The Internet is full of information that’s published and not verified. Therefore, it’s essential that you’re looking up symptoms on a website that presents information that’s been fact-checked.
Go to a Doctor’s Website
Under some circumstances, you’ll find an online symptom checker on a physician’s website. If you can’t find a MD symptom checker, you’ll find a plethora of resources on these websites. Doctors work diligently toward providing information for their patients in the way of medical library research materials, informational articles, blog posts and podcasts. Therefore, if you can find a symptom checker, you should be able to find information about the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Sometimes it helps to hear what others are experiencing when you’re undergoing symptoms that don’t match up with the search results you’ve found. Therefore, it’s time to check out user forums. These discussion areas contain experiences from users who go into detail about the symptoms they’re having, what’s happening throughout their experience and if they’re having successful or unsuccessful treatment. Be cautious, though, as these forums will not replace medical advice and may lead to more worry than help.
Check Out Question-and-Answer Websites
Much like a discussion forum, these websites are where users post specific questions to other users regarding issues they’re experiencing. Under many circumstances, these questions pertain to symptoms they’re experiencing and where they can find resources. Other users will help them find pertinent information regarding their specific symptoms when they feel they’ve exhausted every other avenue.
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How to Write Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques
Writing an article summary.
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When writing a summary, the goal is to compose a concise and objective overview of the original article. The summary should focus only on the article's main ideas and important details that support those ideas.
Guidelines for summarizing an article:
- State the main ideas.
- Identify the most important details that support the main ideas.
- Summarize in your own words.
- Do not copy phrases or sentences unless they are being used as direct quotations.
- Express the underlying meaning of the article, but do not critique or analyze.
- The summary should be about one third the length of the original article.
Your summary should include:
- Give an overview of the article, including the title and the name of the author.
- Provide a thesis statement that states the main idea of the article.
- Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
- One-paragraph summary - one sentence per supporting detail, providing 1-2 examples for each.
- Multi-paragraph summary - one paragraph per supporting detail, providing 2-3 examples for each.
- Start each paragraph with a topic sentence.
- Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas.
- Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.
Adapted from "Guidelines for Using In-Text Citations in a Summary (or Research Paper)" by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, 2020
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Writing a Summary (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)
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How To Write A Research Summary
It’s a common perception that writing a research summary is a quick and easy task. After all, how hard can jotting down 300 words be? But when you consider the weight those 300 words carry, writing a research summary as a part of your dissertation, essay or compelling draft for your paper instantly becomes daunting task.
A research summary requires you to synthesize a complex research paper into an informative, self-explanatory snapshot. It needs to portray what your article contains. Thus, writing it often comes at the end of the task list.
Regardless of when you’re planning to write, it is no less of a challenge, particularly if you’re doing it for the first time. This blog will take you through everything you need to know about research summary so that you have an easier time with it.
What is a Research Summary?
A research summary is the part of your research paper that describes its findings to the audience in a brief yet concise manner. A well-curated research summary represents you and your knowledge about the information written in the research paper.
While writing a quality research summary, you need to discover and identify the significant points in the research and condense it in a more straightforward form. A research summary is like a doorway that provides access to the structure of a research paper's sections.
Since the purpose of a summary is to give an overview of the topic, methodology, and conclusions employed in a paper, it requires an objective approach. No analysis or criticism.
Research summary or Abstract. What’s the Difference?
They’re both brief, concise, and give an overview of an aspect of the research paper. So, it’s easy to understand why many new researchers get the two confused. However, a research summary and abstract are two very different things with individual purpose. To start with, a research summary is written at the end while the abstract comes at the beginning of a research paper.
A research summary captures the essence of the paper at the end of your document. It focuses on your topic, methods, and findings. More like a TL;DR, if you will. An abstract, on the other hand, is a description of what your research paper is about. It tells your reader what your topic or hypothesis is, and sets a context around why you have embarked on your research.
Getting Started with a Research Summary
Before you start writing, you need to get insights into your research’s content, style, and organization. There are three fundamental areas of a research summary that you should focus on.
- While deciding the contents of your research summary, you must include a section on its importance as a whole, the techniques, and the tools that were used to formulate the conclusion. Additionally, there needs to be a short but thorough explanation of how the findings of the research paper have a significance.
- To keep the summary well-organized, try to cover the various sections of the research paper in separate paragraphs. Besides, how the idea of particular factual research came up first must be explained in a separate paragraph.
- As a general practice worldwide, research summaries are restricted to 300-400 words. However, if you have chosen a lengthy research paper, try not to exceed the word limit of 10% of the entire research paper.
How to Structure Your Research Summary
The research summary is nothing but a concise form of the entire research paper. Therefore, the structure of a summary stays the same as the paper. So, include all the section titles and write a little about them. The structural elements that a research summary must consist of are:
It represents the topic of the research. Try to phrase it so that it includes the key findings or conclusion of the task.
The abstract gives a context of the research paper. Unlike the abstract at the beginning of a paper, the abstract here, should be very short since you’ll be working with a limited word count.
This is the most crucial section of a research summary as it helps readers get familiarized with the topic. You should include the definition of your topic, the current state of the investigation, and practical relevance in this part. Additionally, you should present the problem statement, investigative measures, and any hypothesis in this section.
This section provides details about the methodology and the methods adopted to conduct the study. You should write a brief description of the surveys, sampling, type of experiments, statistical analysis, and the rationality behind choosing those particular methods.
Create a list of evidence obtained from the various experiments with a primary analysis, conclusions, and interpretations made upon that. In the paper research paper, you will find the results section as the most detailed and lengthy part. Therefore, you must pick up the key elements and wisely decide which elements are worth including and which are worth skipping.
This is where you present the interpretation of results in the context of their application. Discussion usually covers results, inferences, and theoretical models explaining the obtained values, key strengths, and limitations. All of these are vital elements that you must include in the summary.
Most research papers merge conclusion with discussions. However, depending upon the instructions, you may have to prepare this as a separate section in your research summary. Usually, conclusion revisits the hypothesis and provides the details about the validation or denial about the arguments made in the research paper, based upon how convincing the results were obtained.
The structure of a research summary closely resembles the anatomy of a scholarly article . Additionally, you should keep your research and references limited to authentic and scholarly sources only.
Tips for Writing a Research Summary
The core concept behind undertaking a research summary is to present a simple and clear understanding of your research paper to the reader. The biggest hurdle while doing that is the number of words you have at your disposal. So, follow the steps below to write a research summary that sticks.
1. Read the parent paper thoroughly
You should go through the research paper thoroughly multiple times to ensure that you have a complete understanding of its contents. A 3-stage reading process helps.
a. Scan: In the first read, go through it to get an understanding of its basic concept and methodologies.
b. Read: For the second step, read the article attentively by going through each section, highlighting the key elements, and subsequently listing the topics that you will include in your research summary.
c. Skim: Flip through the article a few more times to study the interpretation of various experimental results, statistical analysis, and application in different contexts.
Sincerely go through different headings and subheadings as it will allow you to understand the underlying concept of each section. You can try reading the introduction and conclusion simultaneously to understand the motive of the task and how obtained results stay fit to the expected outcome.
2. Identify the key elements in different sections
While exploring different sections of an article, you can try finding answers to simple what, why, and how. Below are a few pointers to give you an idea:
- What is the research question and how is it addressed?
- Is there a hypothesis in the introductory part?
- What type of methods are being adopted?
- What is the sample size for data collection and how is it being analyzed?
- What are the most vital findings?
- Do the results support the hypothesis?
- What is the final solution to the problem statement?
- What is the explanation for the obtained results?
- What is the drawn inference?
- What are the various limitations of the study?
3. Prepare the first draft
Now that you’ve listed the key points that the paper tries to demonstrate, you can start writing the summary following the standard structure of a research summary. Just make sure you’re not writing statements from the parent research paper verbatim.
Instead, try writing down each section in your own words. This will not only help in avoiding plagiarism but will also show your complete understanding of the subject. Alternatively, you can use a summarizing tool (AI-based summary generators) to shorten the content or summarize the content without disrupting the actual meaning of the article.
SciSpace Copilot is one such helpful feature! You can easily upload your research paper and ask Copilot to summarize it. You will get an AI-generated, condensed research summary. SciSpace Copilot also enables you to highlight text, clip math and tables, and ask any question relevant to the research paper; it will give you instant answers with deeper context of the article..
4. Include visuals
One of the best ways to summarize and consolidate a research paper is to provide visuals like graphs, charts, pie diagrams, etc.. Visuals make getting across the facts, the past trends, and the probabilistic figures around a concept much more engaging.
5. Double check for plagiarism
It can be very tempting to copy-paste a few statements or the entire paragraphs depending upon the clarity of those sections. But it’s best to stay away from the practice. Even paraphrasing should be done with utmost care and attention.
6. Religiously follow the word count limit
You need to have strict control while writing different sections of a research summary. In many cases, it has been observed that the research summary and the parent research paper become the same length. If that happens, it can lead to discrediting of your efforts and research summary itself. Whatever the standard word limit has been imposed, you must observe that carefully.
7. Proofread your research summary multiple times
The process of writing the research summary can be exhausting and tiring. However, you shouldn’t allow this to become a reason to skip checking your academic writing several times for mistakes like misspellings, grammar, wordiness, and formatting issues. Your research summary can stand out from the others, provided it is drafted perfectly on both technicality and comprehension parameters.
8. Watch while you write
Keep a keen observation of your writing style. You should use the words very precisely, and in any situation, it should not represent your personal opinions on the topic. You should write the entire research summary in utmost impersonal, precise, factually correct, and evidence-based writing.
9. Ask a friend/colleague to help
Once you are done with the final copy of your research summary, you must ask a friend or colleague to read it. You must test whether your friend or colleague could grasp everything without referring to the parent paper. This will help you in ensuring the clarity of the article.
Once you become familiar with the research paper summary concept and understand how to apply the tips discussed above in your current task, summarizing a research summary won’t be that challenging. While traversing the different stages of your academic career, you will face different scenarios where you may have to create several research summaries.
In such cases, you just need to look for answers to simple questions like “Why this study is necessary,” “what were the methods,” “who were the participants,” “what conclusions were drawn from the research,” and “how it is relevant to the wider world.” Once you find out the answers to these questions, you can easily create a good research summary following the standard structure and a precise writing style.
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How students can write an effective summary for research papers.
10 Best Tips To Write A Summary For Research Papers
There is no one perfect way to write an effective summary for a research paper. However, some key elements should always be included. To write an effective summary, you first need to understand the purpose of the summary. A summary is simply a brief overview of the main points of a research paper. It should not include any new information or arguments, but simply, concisely state the main points.
The summary should be placed at the beginning of the research paper, after the title and abstract. It should be written in a clear and concise manner and should be no more than one paragraph long. When writing the summary, keep the following in mind:
- It should be written in a clear and concise manner.
- It should be no more than one paragraph long.
- It should not include any new information or arguments.
- The summary should briefly describe the main points of the paper.
10 Useful Tips For Students To Write An Effective Summary
To write an effective summary, students can take help from the useful tips given below:
1. Read The Entire Research Paper
Before you can write an effective summary, you must first read and understand the research paper. This may seem like a time-consuming task, but it is essential to write a good summary. Make sure that you understand all of the main points of the paper before you begin writing.
2. Take Notes As You Read
As you read, take notes on the main points of the paper. These notes will come in handy when you are writing your summary. Be sure to note any important information, such as the main conclusions of the author's writing. This useful tip will also help you to write an effective summary for a blog in less time.
3. Organize Your Thoughts
Once you have finished reading and taking notes on the paper, it is time to start writing your summary. Before you begin, take a few minutes to organize your thoughts. Write down the main points that you want to include in your summary. Then, arrange these points in a logical order.
4. Write The Summary
Now that you have organized your thoughts, it is time to start writing the summary. Begin by stating the author’s thesis statement or main conclusion. Then, briefly describe each of the main points from the paper. Be sure to write in a clear and concise manner. When you are finished, reread your summary to make sure that it accurately reflects the content of the paper.
5. Write The Introduction
After you have written the summary, it is time to write the introduction. The introduction should include an overview of the paper and a brief description of the summary. It should also state the main idea.
6. Introduce The Report's Purpose
The summary of a research paper should include a brief description of the paper's purpose. It should state the paper's thesis statement and briefly describe each of the main points of the paper.
7. Use Keywords To Introduce The Report
When introducing the summary of a research paper, use keywords that will be familiar to the reader. This will help them understand what the summary is about and why it is important.
8. State The Author's Conclusions
The summary of a research paper should include a brief statement of the author's conclusions. This will help your teacher understand what the paper is trying to achieve.
9. Keep It Concise
A summary should be concise and to the point. It should not include any new information or arguments. It should be no more than one paragraph long.
10. Edit And Proofread
After you have written the summary, edit and proofread it to make sure that it is accurate and clear. This will help ensure that your summary is effective and free of any grammar or spelling errors.
Tools To Write An Effective Summary For A Research Paper
1. summary by google docs.
Recently Google has announced a new "summary" feature in their online docs. This will automatically generate a summary of the content written in Google Docs. This summary generating feature uses the latest AI technologies to generate a quick and precise summary of the entire content within seconds. It focuses on the main ideas and best sentences, and then writes them in the summary section with one click. This will help students to generate the best summary of the papers without any hassle.
A text summarizer is a free online tool that can be used to create a summary of a text within seconds. Students can use a summarizer to provide an overview of the main points in the paper. Besides this, an online text summarizer can help students save time when writing a research paper. By creating a summary of the text, they can quickly and easily create a concise version of the paper that can be used as a reference point, with a single click.
3. Grammar Check
The purpose of a grammar checker tool is to help students edit and proofread their summary. This will ensure that the summary is error-free and clear. Apart from this, the grammar checker can help students to improve their writing skills as well, as it highlights all the writing errors within the content and provides the best suggestions to fix them.
Why Write An Effective Summary For A Research Paper?
The summary of a research paper is important because it gives your teacher a quick and easy way to understand the paper's main points. Additionally, an effective summary can help you save time when writing a research paper. By writing a summary, you can quickly and easily create a concise version of the paper that can be used as a reference point.
What Are The Main Elements Of An Effective Summary For Research Papers?
There are several elements that should be included in an effective summary for a research paper. These elements include:
- A brief statement of the paper's thesis statement.
- A description of each of the paper's main points.
- A final thought or impression that leaves the reader with a sense of closure.
- Edit and proofread the summary to ensure accuracy and clarity.
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A quick guide on how to write a research paper summary
One of the most important skills you can imbibe as an academician is to master the art of writing a research paper summary. During your academic journey, you may need to summarize research findings quite often and for varied reasons – be it to write an introduction for a peer-reviewed publication, to submit a critical review, or to simply create a useful database for future referencing. It can be quite challenging to effectively summarize complex work, which is where a pre-determined work-flow can help you optimize the process. Investing time in developing this skill can also help you improve your scientific acumen, increasing your efficiency and productivity at work. This article illustrates some useful advice on how to write a research summary effectively.
1. Determine the focus of your summary
Before you begin, determine the aim of your research paper summary. This will give you more clarity on how to summarize a research paper, including what to showcase and where to find the information you need, which accelerates the entire process. If you are aiming for the summary to be a supporting document or a proof of principle for your current research findings, then you can look for elements that are relevant to your work. On the other hand, if your summary is intended to be a critical review of the research article, you may need to use a completely different lens while reading the paper, and conduct your own research regarding the accuracy of the data presented. Then again, if the summary is intended to be a source of information for future referencing, you will likely have a different approach. This makes determining the focus of your summary a key step in writing an effective research paper summary.
2. Invest enough time to understand the topic deeply
In order to write an effective summary, you need to dive into the topic of the research article. Begin by doing a quick scan for relevant information under each section of the paper. The abstract is a great starting point as it helps you to quickly identify the top highlights of the research article, speeding up the process of understanding the key findings in the paper. Be sure to do a careful read of the research paper, preparing notes that describe each section in your own words. This will save your time and energy in revisiting the paper to confirm relevant details and ease the process of writing a research paper summary. When reading the paper, be sure to acknowledge and ignore any pre-conceived notions that you might have regarding the research topic. This will not only help you understand the topic better but will also help you develop a more balanced perspective, ensuring that your research paper summary is devoid of any personal opinions or biases.
3. Keep the summary crisp, brief and engaging
A research paper summary is usually intended to highlight and explain the key points of any study, saving the time required to read through the entire article. Thus, your primary goal while compiling the summary should be to keep it as brief, crisp and readable as possible. Usually, a short introduction followed by 1-2 paragraphs is adequate for an effective research article summary. Avoid going into too much technical detail while describing the main results and conclusions of the study. Rather focus on connecting the main findings of the study to the hypothesis, which can make the summary more engaging. For example, instead of simply reporting an original finding – “the graph showed a decrease in the mortality rates…”, you can say, “there was a decline in the number of deaths, as predicted by the authors while beginning the study…” or “there was a decline in the number of deaths, which came as a surprise to the authors as this was completely unexpected…”. Unless you are writing a critical review of the research article, the language used in the summary should revolve merely around reporting the findings, not assessing them. On the other hand, if you intend to submit your summary as a critical review, make sure to provide sufficient external evidence to support your final analysis. Invest sufficient time in editing and proofreading your research paper summary thoroughly to ensure you’ve captured the findings accurately. You can also get an external opinion on the preliminary draft of the research summary from colleagues or peers who have not worked on the research topic.
Mistakes to avoid while writing your research paper summary
In addition to the above steps, watch out for these red flags while writing your summary.
- Not paying attention to the word limit and recommended format, especially while submitting a critical review
- Evaluating the findings instead of maintaining an objective, unbiased view while reading the research paper
- Skipping the essential editing step, which can help eliminate avoidable errors and ensure that the language does not misrepresent the findings
- Plagiarism; it is critical to write in your own words or paraphrase appropriately when reporting the findings in your summary
We hope the recommendations listed above will help answer the question of how to summarize a research paper and enable you to tackle the process effectively.
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- Writing Article Summaries
- Understanding Article Summaries
Common Problems in Article Summaries
Read carefully and closely, structure of the summary, writing the summary.
- Sample Outlines and Paragraphs
Understanding Article Summaries
An article summary is a short, focused paper about one scholarly article that is informed by a critical reading of that article. For argumentative articles, the summary identifies, explains, and analyses the thesis and supporting arguments; for empirical articles, the summary identifies, explains, and analyses the research questions, methods, findings, and implications of the study.
Although article summaries are often short and rarely account for a large portion of your grade, they are a strong indicator of your reading and writing skills. Professors ask you to write article summaries to help you to develop essential skills in critical reading, summarizing, and clear, organized writing. Furthermore, an article summary requires you to read a scholarly article quite closely, which provides a useful introduction to the conventions of writing in your discipline (e.g. Political Studies, Biology, or Anthropology).
The most common problem that students have when writing an article summary is that they misunderstand the goal of the assignment. In an article summary, your job is to write about the article, not about the actual topic of the article. For example, if you are summarizing Smith’s article about the causes of the Bubonic plague in Europe, your summary should be about Smith’s article: What does she want to find out about the plague? What evidence does she use? What is her argument? You are not writing a paper about the actual causes of Bubonic plague in Europe.
Further, as a part of critical reading, you will often consider your own position on a topic or an argument; it is tempting to include an assessment or opinion about the thesis or findings, but this is not the goal of an article summary. Rather, you must identify, explain, and analyse the main point and how it is supported.
Your key to success in writing an article summary is your understanding of the article; therefore, it is essential to read carefully and closely. The Academic Skills Centre offers helpful instruction on the steps for critical reading: pre-reading, active and analytical reading, and reflection.
As you read an argumentative article, consider the following questions:
- What is the topic?
- What is the research question? In other words, what is the author trying to find out about that topic?
- How does the author position his/her article in relation to other studies of the topic?
- What is the thesis or position? What are the supporting arguments?
- How are supporting arguments developed? What kind of evidence is used?
- What is the significance of the author’s thesis? What does it help you to understand about the topic?
As you read an empirical article, consider the following questions:
- What is the research question?
- What are the predictions and the rationale for these predictions?
- What methods were used (participants, sampling, materials, procedure)? What were the variables and controls?
- What were the main results?
- Are the findings supported by previous research?
- What are the limitations of the study?
- What are the implications or applications of the findings?
Create a Reverse Outline
Creating a reverse outline is one way to ensure that you fully understand the article. Pre-read the article (read the abstract, introduction, and/or conclusion). Summarize the main question(s) and thesis or findings. Skim subheadings and topic sentences to understand the organization; make notes in the margins about each section. Read each paragraph within a section; make short notes about the main idea or purpose of each paragraph. This strategy will help you to see how parts of the article connect to the main idea or the whole of the article.
A summary is written in paragraph form and generally does not include subheadings. An introduction is important to clearly identify the article, the topic, the question or purpose of the article, and its thesis or findings. The body paragraphs for a summary of an argumentative article will explain how arguments and evidence support the thesis. Alternatively, the body paragraphs of an empirical article summary may explain the methods and findings, making connections to predictions. The conclusion explains the significance of the argument or implications of the findings. This structure ensures that your summary is focused and clear.
Professors will often give you a list of required topics to include in your summary and/or explain how they want you to organize your summary. Make sure you read the assignment sheet with care and adapt the sample outlines below accordingly.
One significant challenge in writing an article summary is deciding what information or examples from the article to include. Remember, article summaries are much shorter than the article itself. You do not have the space to explain every point the author makes. Instead, you will need to explain the author’s main points and find a few excellent examples that illustrate these points.
You should also keep in mind that article summaries need to be written in your own words. Scholarly writing can use complex terminology to explain complicated ideas, which makes it difficult to understand and to summarize correctly. In the face of difficult text, many students tend to use direct quotations, saving them the time and energy required to understand and reword it. However, a summary requires you to summarize, which means “to state briefly or succinctly” (Oxford English Dictionary) the main ideas presented in a text. The brevity must come from you, in your own words, which demonstrates that you understand the article.
Sample Outlines and Paragraph
Sample outline for an argumentative article summary.
- General topic of article
- Author’s research question or approach to the topic
- Author’s thesis
- Explain some key points and how they support the thesis
- Provide a key example or two that the author uses as evidence to support these points
- Review how the main points work together to support the thesis?
- How does the author explain the significance or implications of his/her article?
Sample Outline for an Empirical Article Summary
- General topic of study
- Author’s research question
- Variables and hypotheses
- Experiment design
- Materials used
- Key results
- Did the results support the hypotheses?
- Implications or applications of the study
- Major limitations of the study
The paragraph below is an example of an introductory paragraph from a summary of an empirical article:
Tavernier and Willoughby’s (2014) study explored the relationships between university students’ sleep and their intrapersonal, interpersonal, and educational development. While the authors cited many scholars who have explored these relationships, they pointed out that most of these studies focused on unidirectional correlations over a short period of time. In contrast, Tavernier and Willoughby tested whether there was a bidirectional or unidirectional association between participants’ sleep quality and duration and several psychosocial factors including intrapersonal adjustment, friendship quality, and academic achievement. Further they conducted a longitudinal study over a period of three years in order to determine whether there were changes in the strength or direction of these associations over time. They predicted that sleep quality would correlate with measures of intrapersonal adjustment, friendship quality, and academic achievement; they further hypothesized that this correlation would be bidirectional: sleep quality would predict psychosocial measures and at the same time, psychosocial measures would predict sleep quality.
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Six elements a research summary should include
Summarizing a research paper (or papers) sounds like it should be a pretty quick, easy task. After all, how hard can writing 200 words be?! But whether you’re writing a summary to include in your essay or dissertation, or you need to draft a compelling abstract for your own paper, distilling complex research into an informative, easy-to-read snapshot can be one of the most daunting parts of the research process. For that reason, it’s often the activity that gets left to last.
Having a few questions top of mind while you draft your summary can really help to structure your thoughts and make sure you include the most important aspects of the research. In short, every academic summary should cover ‘the why’, ‘the how’, ‘the who’ and ‘the what’ of a study. Asking yourself the following six questions as you start to think about your summary can help you to structure your thoughts and find the right words.
1. Why is this study necessary and important?
The ‘why’ can often be found in the first sentence of the introduction or background of a research article. Let’s have a look at a 2014 paper about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans (1) :
“ Plastic pollution is globally distributed across all oceans due to its properties of buoyancy and durability, and the sorption of toxicants to plastic while traveling through the environment have led some researchers to claim that synthetic polymers in the ocean should be regarded as hazardous waste.”
Another quick way of identifying the ‘why’ of the research is to search for the subject of the study (eg. ‘Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans’) in Wikipedia. This can help inject wider significance into your research summary, for example:
“Waterborne plastic poses a serious threat to fish , seabirds , marine reptiles , and marine mammals , as well as to boats and coasts.”
The Abstract of this paper also points to a gap in the research – the lack of data on the amount of plastic waste in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Who were the participants?
It’s good practice to include statistical information about the study subjects or participants in your summary. This will quickly tell your reader how well the key findings are backed up. This part of the summary can combine a short narrative description of the participants (eg. age, location etc); what was ‘done’ to the participants as part of the study; what impact the study had on the participants and a brief description of the control group.
3. What were the methods used?
How was the study carried out? What kind of materials were used to conduct the study and in what quantities or doses? Again, where possible include statistics here: number of materials; sample sizes; metrics (weight, volume, concentration etc). Here’s an example summary of a methods section from the above paper on ocean plastic:
“Net tows were conducted using neuston nets with a standard mesh size of 0.33 mm towed between 0.5 and 2 m s −1 at the sea surface for 15–60 minutes outside of the vessel’s wake to avoid downwelling of debris. Samples were preserved in 5% formalin. Microplastic was manually separated from natural debris, sorted through stacked Tyler sieves into three size classes counted individually and weighed together.”
Including information about the consistency of methods or techniques used will help underline the credibility of the research.
4. What were the key findings of the study?
Stick to the high level, headline finding of the research here. What do the quantitative results of the study reveal that was previously unknown? Again, including statistics where you can will help reinforce the findings, but remember to keep it brief. Here’s an example from the same plastic pollution paper:
“Based on the model results, the authors estimate that at least 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are currently floating at sea.”
5. What conclusion was drawn from the research?
At this stage, try to focus on the overall outcome of the research, but also what makes the study both significant and novel. What was uncovered as part of the research that wasn’t previously known? Do the results of the study tell us something different to what was previously known or assumed?
In the plastic pollution paper, what was previously unknown was an estimate of the amount of plastic in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. The authors explain that their results confirm the same pattern of dispersal in the Southern Hemisphere as for the Northern Hemisphere:
“Surprisingly, the total amounts of plastics determined for the southern hemisphere oceans are within the same range as for the northern hemisphere oceans, which is unexpected given that inputs are substantially higher in the northern than in the southern hemisphere .”
6. What kind of relevance does the research have for the wider world? (the big why)
Rounding off your summary with a powerful statement that shows how the outcome of the research has a wider significance is good practice. The ‘big why’ can often be found in the Discussion or at the end of the Conclusion of a research article, and often in the Abstract as well.
Including clear, concise research summaries in your essay or dissertation can be very beneficial in strengthening your argument and demonstrating your understanding of complex research, all of which can help to improve your final grade. Using this six-point formula as a way of structuring your summary will also help you to think more critically about the research you read and make it easier for you to communicate your understanding both verbally and in writing.
Try out Scholarcy’s Smart Summarizer to help draft your own research summary.
Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L., Carson, H., Thiel, M., Moore, C., Borerro, J., Galgani, F., Ryan, P. and Reisser, J., 2014. Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea. PLoS ONE , 9(12), p.e111913.
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- How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples
How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples
Published on November 23, 2020 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 4, 2022.
Summarizing , or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.
There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:
- Read the text
- Break it down into sections
- Identify the key points in each section
- Write the summary
- Check the summary against the article
Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or evaluating the source . You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).
Table of contents
When to write a summary, step 1: read the text, step 2: break the text down into sections, step 3: identify the key points in each section, step 4: write the summary, step 5: check the summary against the article, frequently asked questions about summarizing.
There are many situations in which you might have to summarize an article or other source:
- As a stand-alone assignment to show you’ve understood the material
- To keep notes that will help you remember what you’ve read
- To give an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
When you’re writing an academic text like an essay , research paper , or dissertation , you’ll integrate sources in a variety of ways. You might use a brief quote to support your point, or paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.
But it’s often appropriate to summarize a whole article or chapter if it is especially relevant to your own research, or to provide an overview of a source before you analyze or critique it.
In any case, the goal of summarizing is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source. Follow the five steps outlined below to write a good summary.
You should read the article more than once to make sure you’ve thoroughly understood it. It’s often effective to read in three stages:
- Scan the article quickly to get a sense of its topic and overall shape.
- Read the article carefully, highlighting important points and taking notes as you read.
- Skim the article again to confirm you’ve understood the key points, and reread any particularly important or difficult passages.
There are some tricks you can use to identify the key points as you read:
- Start by reading the abstract . This already contains the author’s own summary of their work, and it tells you what to expect from the article.
- Pay attention to headings and subheadings . These should give you a good sense of what each part is about.
- Read the introduction and the conclusion together and compare them: What did the author set out to do, and what was the outcome?
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
To make the text more manageable and understand its sub-points, break it down into smaller sections.
If the text is a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organized into clearly marked sections, usually including an introduction , methods , results , and discussion .
Other types of articles may not be explicitly divided into sections. But most articles and essays will be structured around a series of sub-points or themes.
Now it’s time go through each section and pick out its most important points. What does your reader need to know to understand the overall argument or conclusion of the article?
Keep in mind that a summary does not involve paraphrasing every single paragraph of the article. Your goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything that can be considered background information or supplementary detail.
In a scientific article, there are some easy questions you can ask to identify the key points in each part.
If the article takes a different form, you might have to think more carefully about what points are most important for the reader to understand its argument.
In that case, pay particular attention to the thesis statement —the central claim that the author wants us to accept, which usually appears in the introduction—and the topic sentences that signal the main idea of each paragraph.
Now that you know the key points that the article aims to communicate, you need to put them in your own words.
To avoid plagiarism and show you’ve understood the article, it’s essential to properly paraphrase the author’s ideas. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, not even just a sentence or two.
The best way to do this is to put the article aside and write out your own understanding of the author’s key points.
Examples of article summaries
Let’s take a look at an example. Below, we summarize this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Davis et al. (2015) set out to empirically test the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are often used to represent a healthy lifestyle, and research has shown their nutritional properties could be beneficial for various aspects of health. The authors’ unique approach is to take the saying literally and ask: do people who eat apples use healthcare services less frequently? If there is indeed such a relationship, they suggest, promoting apple consumption could help reduce healthcare costs.
The study used publicly available cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants were categorized as either apple eaters or non-apple eaters based on their self-reported apple consumption in an average 24-hour period. They were also categorized as either avoiding or not avoiding the use of healthcare services in the past year. The data was statistically analyzed to test whether there was an association between apple consumption and several dependent variables: physician visits, hospital stays, use of mental health services, and use of prescription medication.
Although apple eaters were slightly more likely to have avoided physician visits, this relationship was not statistically significant after adjusting for various relevant factors. No association was found between apple consumption and hospital stays or mental health service use. However, apple eaters were found to be slightly more likely to have avoided using prescription medication. Based on these results, the authors conclude that an apple a day does not keep the doctor away, but it may keep the pharmacist away. They suggest that this finding could have implications for reducing healthcare costs, considering the high annual costs of prescription medication and the inexpensiveness of apples.
However, the authors also note several limitations of the study: most importantly, that apple eaters are likely to differ from non-apple eaters in ways that may have confounded the results (for example, apple eaters may be more likely to be health-conscious). To establish any causal relationship between apple consumption and avoidance of medication, they recommend experimental research.
An article summary like the above would be appropriate for a stand-alone summary assignment. However, you’ll often want to give an even more concise summary of an article.
For example, in a literature review or meta analysis you may want to briefly summarize this study as part of a wider discussion of various sources. In this case, we can boil our summary down even further to include only the most relevant information.
Using national survey data, Davis et al. (2015) tested the assertion that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and did not find statistically significant evidence to support this hypothesis. While people who consumed apples were slightly less likely to use prescription medications, the study was unable to demonstrate a causal relationship between these variables.
Citing the source you’re summarizing
When including a summary as part of a larger text, it’s essential to properly cite the source you’re summarizing. The exact format depends on your citation style , but it usually includes an in-text citation and a full reference at the end of your paper.
You can easily create your citations and references in APA or MLA using our free citation generators.
APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator
Finally, read through the article once more to ensure that:
- You’ve accurately represented the author’s work
- You haven’t missed any essential information
- The phrasing is not too similar to any sentences in the original.
If you’re summarizing many articles as part of your own work, it may be a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to double-check that your text is completely original and properly cited. Just be sure to use one that’s safe and reliable.
A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words.
A summary is always much shorter than the original text. The length of a summary can range from just a few sentences to several paragraphs; it depends on the length of the article you’re summarizing, and on the purpose of the summary.
You might have to write a summary of a source:
- As a stand-alone assignment to prove you understand the material
- For your own use, to keep notes on your reading
- To provide an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
- In a paper , to summarize or introduce a relevant study
To avoid plagiarism when summarizing an article or other source, follow these two rules:
- Write the summary entirely in your own words by paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
- Cite the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.
An abstract concisely explains all the key points of an academic text such as a thesis , dissertation or journal article. It should summarize the whole text, not just introduce it.
An abstract is a type of summary , but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing . For example, you might summarize a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
McCombes, S. (2022, November 04). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-summarize/
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How to Summarize Any Research Article Better: Proven Tips Outlined
Rev › Blog › Marketing › How to Summarize Any Research Article Better: Proven Tips Outlined
You’ve got content gold on your hands— primary and secondary research materials from some of the top market research companies. Now, it’s time to decide how it relates to your products, project, or consumers. What’s more, you need to distill each article’s essential parts into easy-to-read, accurate, informative, and, most importantly, concise summaries. Overwhelming? Maybe. Impossible? Heck no; you just need a good strategy. So, where to start?
You’ve landed on the right page! These tips and techniques provide a template to help guide you through the process.
Know Your Focus
The streaming TV hit, Cobra Kai, brings to mind Mr. Miyagi’s age-old wisdom– ‘Focus, Daniel-San.’ Focus is vital, as some sections of a research article are more relevant to your strategy than others.
For example, a summary crafted for a school project or a university may focus on the experiment itself. In contrast, the article’s results and discussion sections may be more relevant to consumer marketing or for a business model.
Once you establish your focus, you’re less likely to waste time.
Read The Research Article
But before you do, let’s look at the makeup of these articles. Market research, focus group data, and surveys usually consist of five or more sections.
- An abstract or hypothesis
- Explanation of the methods used
- Tests or experiments performed
- Summation and or discussion of the results
- A list of references or source materials
Read The Abstract
Since some of the research articles you find will not work for your purpose, you should always start with the abstract. It’s an overview of the data and explains the purpose of the study as well as the expected results. So you’ll know whether to include the article or move on to the next piece of research.
Take Good Notes
The next step– read the article from abstract to references. But be prepared! Your mind may wander when faced with numbers, statistics, and long-winded wording. So grab your highlighter and pen and start taking notes.
Depending on the space available, you can write your notes in the margin. If you’re in a time crunch, check out Rev . We’ve designed a convenient application perfect for taking notes! Download our Voice Recorder App for free and read your notes out loud. You’ll get a 99% accurate transcription of your summary notes sent to your email or account with a simple tap.
Research Hack: As an overview, a research article may not include every insight from the participants, interviews, or market data. Take a look at the references. You may find some hidden gems that will help your strategy stand out.
Outline Your Thoughts
You’ve made notes, sifted through the numbers and statistics; but, there’s still a ton of information. An outline will make your writing process much more efficient. Although each research article is relatively straight-forward, you want your summary to stay on strategy.
Write A Summary
Okay, you’re ready to condense someone else’s work. Rather than stress over grammar and length, take the pressure off by writing a rough draft. Use key points from your notes, REV transcriptions, your outline, and the research article’s sections as your guide.
Identify The Goal And The Methods Used
Like the author’s abstract, the beginning of your summary should address the research article’s fundamental objective . This section may also include critical details about demographics, customer behavior, or trends. When summarizing, consider three key questions.
- What is the goal of the research?
- What methods did the author(s) use?
- Are potential obstacles to success listed?
Methods vary in market research. You may have focus groups , in-depth interviews , or online discussions. Depending on the reason for your summary, the raw audio or video clips used in the study may hold nuggets. If full transcripts aren’t available, save time by uploading the clips to Rev. Our human transcription service costs $1.50 per minute, and we offer a 99% accuracy guarantee. We also offer a more cost-effective A.I. speech-to-text solution for only $0.25 per minute .
Describe The Observations
The experiment is the “meat” of the research. In your own words, briefly explain what the author(s) observed as the testing played out in real-time. You can talk about the time it took participants to complete tasks or directives. Were they excited about the client’s brand or disinterested? Basically, you’re recapping the participant’s reactions.
Discuss The Outcome
As with any study, the results make or break the goal of the research. Was the test successful? Was anyone surprised by the outcome, or were there any unexpected developments? Pay careful attention to detail as you layout all conclusions reached by the author(s).
Article Summary Quick Tips: Do This, Not That
Is your head spinning yet? You can simplify the editing process by following these technical takeaways.
- Be Careful Not To Draw Your Own Conclusions: You are summarizing the results of the research. The last thing you want to do is editorialize your summary. To avoid this, use the third-person point of view and present tense.
- Keep Your Copy Clean And Free Of Errors: Reread your text. Eliminate words like “that,” “in fact,” “however,” and adverbs. Make sure your summary is accurate. Then, use free websites like Hemingway App or paid services such as Grammarly to check for grammar or spelling issues.
- Watch For Plagiarism: Unless you’re using a word coined by the researcher, paraphrase your text. If you notice similar wording in your summary, reread the article so you can explain the data in your own words.
- Cite Your Sources: Steer clear of directly quoting the research. It’s best to paraphrase the data and reference the source using: the name of the university, the name of the journal and year of publication, or the name of the researcher, team, or society and year of study.
Finalize Your Article Summary
Remember, you want your summary to be clear, straight-forward, and compelling. The market research article or study you’ve chosen may prove vital to you or your client’s business strategy and brand analysis. Take your time. Read and reread your summary. Make sure it’s representative of the research. And always triple-check your text for technical and factual accuracy.
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