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How to Write Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques

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Writing an article SUMMARY

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:

  • Introduction
    • 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.
  • Body Paragraphs
    • Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
    • The number of paragraphs will depend on the length of the original article. 
      • 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.
  • Concluding Paragraph
    • 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

Additional Resources

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How to Write a Summary - Guide & Examples (from

Writing a Summary (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)