Summarizing is the way to used borrowed information from an outside source. The summary should not include your own ideas. The purpose of a summary is to condense what another author has written. This means reducing what the author has written to its main points. A good summary presents a clear, concise idea of the main points of an article. To write an effective summary, you need a clear understanding of the original article. This means taking time to read the article carefully to determine the author’s purpose and main ideas.
The following steps will help you write an effective summary.
- Read the article one time quickly for general understanding.
Determine the author’s main idea.
- Read the article again more carefully.
As you read, underline main ideas, key terms, and fact.
- Take notes on the article on a separate piece of paper.
Your notes will be a rough outline of the article.
- Using your notes as a guide, write the first draft of your summary.
It should include the following:
- A topic sentence that states the name of the article (including the author, if available) and the main point.
- Supporting sentences that explain, in your own words, the main ideas in the article. Try answering: What?, Where?, When?, Who?, Why?
- A final statement that summarizes the author’s conclusions.
- Revise and edit the draft of your summary.
- Make sure you have accurately summarized the author’s main ideas.
- If you included any of the author’s minor points, eliminate them.
- Eliminate any of your own thoughts or opinions about the topic.
The Model of Summary
Dirty coal already accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the leading cause of global warming. All the top emitters of greenhouse gases depend mainly on coal for electric power, since it is cheaper than other fossil fuels, such as natural gas and oil. Thus, coal is essential to industry. And what about the planet?
There are lots of ways, in theory, to build low-emission power plants. One option is to turn coal into a gas and burn it in an ultra-efficient turbine. This “gasification” approach is not only highly efficient but it also produces nearly all of its carbon-dioxide pollution in a concentrated stream that could be pumped safely underground, where it won’t warm the atmosphere. Another route is to burn coal in pure oxygen without gasification, which also yields pure waste that can be pumped underground.
However, clean-coal plants are a lot more expensive than conventional “dirty coal” technology, and so no investor is willing to invest.
(Article source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/01/02/dirty-coal-is-winning.html.)
Main idea: Clean coal is impossible because no investor wants to invest.
- Dirty coal is the main cause of global warming.
- Coal is essential to industry because it is cheaper than other fossil fuels.
- In theory, there are many ways to build clean-coal power plants, but they are much more expensive than conventional dirty-coal plants.
- Investors do not want to invest in clean coal.
Coal is essential to industry because it is cheaper than other fossil fuels, but dirty coal is the main cause of global warming. In theory, there are many ways to build clean-coal power plants, but they are much more expensive than conventional dirty-coal plants. Thus, Investors do not want to invest in clean coal.
How to Write a Good Summary
There are three keys to writing a good summary:
- Use your own words and your own sentence structure.
- Remember that a summary is much shorter than a paraphrase. Include only the main points and main supporting points, leaving out most details.
- Do not change the meaning of the original.
Write a one-paragraph summary of the passage “Understanding Non Verbal Communication Cues” on page 4.
Step 1 Read the original passage several times until you understand it well. You may find it helpful to understand the main points.
Step 2 Write a summary in your own words.
Step 3 Add an in-text citation at the end of the summary.
Step 4 Send it by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org