Research Summary


A research summary is a written summation of the contents of an academic article or other piece of writing. You may write a research summary on your own writing. This is commonly done in research and dissertation work. You may also be assigned to write a research summary on a team research project, or simply an academic article or research paper. Keep reading to learn more.

Steps For Putting Your Summary Together
  • 1

    Identify The Purpose And Focus of Your Summary. There are many reasons to write a summary. You may be writing it to include with a larger research packet. You may be writing to prove you have a strong understanding of a particular piece of writing. The questions you answer in your summary can vary depending on  your purpose.

  • 2

    Go Through The Research Paper And Jot Down Important Details. You’ll want to identify key elements of the research paper. This includes the hypothesis, the methodology used to test the hypothesis, and the original research question. Of course, you will also need to note the conclusions and any impact of those conclusions if that information is available. It’s a good idea to highlight important sentences and make annotations in the margins.

    When you are finished, compile a list of questions you believe the paper answers.

  • 3

    Read The Paper From Beginning to End Keeping Your Notes And Questions in Mind. Next, read the paper from front to back. Refer back to your notes and any questions you have compiled. Take further notes to fill in any blanks and provide more detail.

  • 4

    Make Sure You Understand What You Are Reading. As you read, try to restate things using your own words. If you cannot, then you may have an issue of understanding. Consider using other texts to fill in gaps where you do not understand concepts, or seek help from your instructor.

  • 5

    Start on Your First Draft. Once you  understand the research and the findings, you can begin working on your first draft. It is generally recommended that you follow the basic order of the research paper as you write your summary.

  • 6

    Double Check For Accuracy. It is very important not to misstate anything. You also want to avoid adding in additional facts. The summary should contain only information found in the research document.

  • 7

    Edit For Spelling Grammar And Length. As always, check for errors before you turn in your paper.

Things to Consider
  • 1

    Don’t worry about length when you begin writing. Your focus should be on ensuring that your content is accurate and well written.

  • 2

    Paraphrasing is always prefered over direct quotes.

  • 3

    Write Your Summary Using Scientific Words And Phrases

  • 4

    Be Exact With Your Statements

  • 5

    Use Context as a Way to Improve Understanding

Do and Don`t
  • Describe The Significance of Any Findings
  • Write to The Appropriate Audience: Are They Familiar With The Topic or Lay Persons
  • Let readers know about materials used, instruments that were created, and any factors that may have impacted the research
  • Remember to factor in the hypothesis when you describe the results
  • Explain the relevance of the article
  • Overstate the success of the research
  • Insert your own assumptions
  • Use too many adverbs or filler words
  • Forget that this is a summary and go into minute details
  • Turn in the summary without a final edit
Mistakes to Avoid
  • Being overly vague - When referring to something give a context clue or direct reference
  • Forgetting to clearly define the methodology - Readers cannot draw good conclusions otherwise
  • Turning in the summary without a peer review - Have at least one other trusted person read the summary
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