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Where to Find Book Summaries Online

Because everyone is pressed for time, the need to look up the summary of this book or that one is sometimes a priority. Therefore, a wide variety of sites are available containing them. Follow these guidelines to learn where to find book summaries online.

Websites and Blogs

Many websites and blogs offer summaries of chapters in books for free to their readers. Some present notes, reflections, and reviews that their readers can comment on, discuss, or reflect on. The purpose of these websites and blogs is to present an informal setting for people to enjoy books without feeling the pressure of making a purchase. Some of the bloggers and website owners also provide video and audio summaries, as well.

Subscription Services and Book Apps

It’s possible to find chapter summaries of books available through subscription services, as well as book apps. Some of these services provide audio, PDF, and infographics of the books. If that’s not enough, some of these book apps and subscription services also offer links to videos, reports and TED talks for the books, as well. Some of these services provide audio, PDF, and infographics of the books. If that’s not enough, some of these book apps and subscription services also provide links to videos, reports and TED talks for the books, as well.

YouTube Channels Offering Book Summaries

If you would rather not read a summary of books, there are many YouTube channels offering book summaries online. These “YouTubers” select a book, present information about it, provide insights, highlight reviews about it, and summarize its plot. Some of these channels follow a specific niche topic while others are about books in general.

Research or Special Interest Book Summary Websites

For those who need a summary of a book that covers a research or special interest topic, there are dozens of book summary websites focusing specifically on this. While you may not find a short summary of Hamlet, you will see religious book summaries, book summaries for health-related topics, or topics for business-related books.

Students Searching for Book Summaries

Students are constantly on the lookout for book summaries for research purposes, as well as for books they need to read for classes. For example, they may need a summary of Roberts rules or a simple summary of Macbeth to help them write a research paper, and a book summary website will help them achieve that goal. These book summary sites contain information about the author, release date, characters, plot, and then move on to the summaries, like a short summary of Othello, for example.


summary of the text example

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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 May 31, 2023.

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, other interesting articles, 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.

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summary of the text example

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?

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.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Paraphrasing


  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words. Want to make your life super easy? Try our free text summarizer today!

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.

All can be done within seconds with our free text summarizer .

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How to tell what you know well

Examples of summaries

This is an informative summary from a Wikipedia fragment of text about Johannes Gutenberg , the German who introduced printing to Europe.

A text about Johannes Gutenberg – (194 words)

Johannes Gutenberg (1398 – 1468) was a German goldsmith and publisher who introduced printing to Europe. His introduction of mechanical movable type printing to Europe started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. It played a key role in the scientific revolution and laid the basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.

Gutenberg many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type, the use of oil-based ink for printing books, adjustable molds, and the use of a wooden printing press. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike.

In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information—including revolutionary ideas—transcended borders, and captured the masses in the Reformation. The sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class.

The summary of the text (63 words)

The German Johannes Gutenberg introduced printing in Europe. His invention had a decisive contribution in spread of mass-learning and in building the basis of the modern society.

Gutenberg major invention was a practical system permitting the mass production of printed books. The printed books allowed open circulation of information, and prepared the evolution of society from to the contemporary knowledge-based economy.

A descriptive summary of a two minutes video clip from the “Speak easy” series:

A summary of a Speakeasy video (89 words)

The Speakeasy series’ first video is illustrating a very simple truth: if someone cannot communicate effectively, then the person won’t be able to present their own ideas or knowledge to an audience.

Learning communication techniques i.e. using voice, body language, ability to control emotions, rhythm and logic in narration can help any person improve their performance in oral presentations. And the most important idea the clip transmits: anyone motivated, ambitious and practices communication, can learn to better public speakers.

A descriptive summary of the “most powerful love story ever told”, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, a literary masterpiece:

No fear Shakespeare!

A summary of William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”

Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is the world most famous romantic tragedy. In this play, a long lasting dispute between the Montague and Capulet families from the city of Verona causes the death of (Montague) Romeo and of Juliet (a Capulet).

The first half of the play, with jokes and love poetry is more like a comedy: the two teenagers, Romeo and Juliet rush impetuously into love. But conflict, revenge and secret plots create an intense pressure on them and lead the lovers to finally commit suicide in despair.

Shakespeare compresses the action of the play to four days. By condensing the timeframe, he indicates how the speed of events conspires to bring the two lovers to their tragic end. Conflict and implacable fate, the leading themes of the tragedy, anticipate the play conclusion: the death of Romeo and Juliet is a sacrifice bringing the end of the bloody warfare between the two noble families from Verona.

Some trailers of movies after Romeo and Juliet play:

A descriptive summary of 400 words for the fantasy novel “ Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland by Lewis Carroll , a 150 pages book:

A summary of “Alice in the Wonderland”

“Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland” is a very popular book for children that adults can also enjoy reading. The author is Charles Dodson, an English writer who published the book in 1865 under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll.

Through its fantasy story and main theme: “ a growing girl exploring the wonders of world “, the book has been very influential over the years, both in popular culture and in literature. The book is an enigmatic work, and over the years, readers have been puzzled by the language and the logic of Wonderland.

The protagonist of the book is Alice , a seven years old girl who must find her way in a strange world called “Wonderland”. During her magic journey through Wonderland, Alice encounters peculiar human-like creatures or talking animals: the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse.

The White Rabbit is Alice’s guide and he leads her on many places and adventures through the book. The always hurrying rabbit is a symbol of forever running time.

The smiling Cheshire Cat , who can disappear and reappear, is the only character in the entire novel who listens to Alice. The Cat is giving “advice” to Alice and teaches her the strange rules leading the world she is traveling through.The Cheshire-Cat’s smile is a metaphor of Wonderland’s magic and it is as famous and enigmatic as Mona Lisa’s smile.

Each character teaches Alice something about life and growing up in a hazardous world. Every object or setting in “Alice in the Wonderland” functions as a symbol and often the symbols work together to convey a particular meaning to a scene.

Through an intricate symbolism, Lewis Carroll suggests the complexity of life.This could be the message learned by Alice in her magic, initiatory journey: don’t try to find meaning in all the situations you encounter in the “wonder” world of life, don’t give up and continue your way.

Some trailers of movies after “Alice’s adventures in the wonderland”

“Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland” – Cover book by the Romanian painter Violeta Zabulica-Diordiev.

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What Is a Written Summary?

  • An Introduction to Punctuation

Examples of Summaries

Steps in composing a summary, characteristics of a summary, a checklist for evaluating summaries.

  • On the Summary App Summly

The Lighter Side of Summaries

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

A summary, also known as an abstract, precis , or synopsis , is a shortened version of a text that highlights its key points. The word "summary" comes from the Latin, " sum ."

A Summary of the Short Story "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield "'Miss Brill' is the story of an old woman told brilliantly and realistically, balancing thoughts and emotions that sustain her late solitary life amidst all the bustle of modern life. Miss Brill is a regular visitor on Sundays to the Jardins Publiques (the Public Gardens) of a small French suburb where she sits and watches all sorts of people come and go. She listens to the band playing, loves to watch people and guess what keeps them going, and enjoys contemplating the world as a great stage upon which actors perform. She finds herself to be another actor among the so many she sees, or at least herself as 'part of the performance after all.' One Sunday Miss Brill puts on her fur and goes to the Public Gardens as usual. The evening ends with her sudden realization that she is old and lonely, a realization brought to her by a conversation she overhears between a boy and a girl, presumably lovers, who comment on her unwelcome presence in their vicinity. Miss Brill is sad and depressed as she returns home, not stopping by as usual to buy her Sunday delicacy, a slice of honey-cake. She retires to her dark room, puts the fur back into the box and imagines that she has heard something cry." -K. Narayana Chandran.

A Summary of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" "One way of discovering the overall pattern of a piece of writing is to summarize it in your own words. The act of summarizing is much like stating the  plot of a play. For instance, if you were asked to summarize the story of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet,' you might say:

It's the story of a young prince of Denmark who discovers that his uncle and his mother have killed his father, the former king. He plots to get revenge, but in his obsession with revenge he drives his sweetheart to madness and suicide, kills her innocent father, and in the final scene poisons and is poisoned by her brother in a duel, causes his mother's death, and kills the guilty king, his uncle.

This summary contains a number of dramatic elements: a cast of characters (the prince; his uncle, mother, and father; his sweetheart; her father, and so on), a scene (Elsinore Castle in Denmark), instruments (poisons, swords), and actions (discovery, dueling, killing)." -Richard E. Young, Alton L. Becker, and Kenneth L. Pike.

The primary purpose of a summary is to "give an accurate, objective representation of what the work says." As a general rule, "you should not include your own ideas or interpretations." -Paul Clee and Violeta Clee

"Summarizing condenses in your own words the main points in a passage:

  • Reread the passage, jotting down a few keywords.
  • State the main point in your own words and be objective. Don't mix your reactions with the summary.
  • Check your summary against the original, making sure that you use  quotation marks  around any exact phrases that you borrow." -Randall VanderMey, et al.

" a general procedure you can use [for composing a summary]:

Step 1 : Read the text for its main points. Step 2 : Reread carefully and make a descriptive outline . Step 3 : Write out the text's thesis or main point. Step 4 : Identify the text's major divisions or chunks. Each division develops one of the stages needed to make the whole main point. Step 5 : Try summarizing each part in one or two sentences. Step 6: Now combine your summaries of the parts into a coherent whole, creating a condensed version of the text's main ideas in your own words." -(John C. Bean, Virginia Chappell, and Alice M. Gillam, Reading Rhetorically . Pearson Education, 2004)

"The purpose of a summary is to give a reader a condensed and objective account of the main ideas and features of a text. Usually, a summary has between one and three paragraphs or 100 to 300 words, depending on the length and complexity of the original essay and the intended audience and purpose. Typically, a summary will do the following:

  • Cite the author and title of the text. In some cases, the place of publication or the context for the essay may also be included.
  • Indicate the main ideas of the text. Accurately representing the main ideas (while omitting the less important details) is the major goal of the summary.
  • Use direct quotations of keywords, phrases, or sentences. Quote the text directly for a few key ideas; paraphrase the other important ideas (that is, express the ideas in your own words).
  • Include author tags. ("According to Ehrenreich" or "as Ehrenreich explains") to remind the reader that you are summarizing the author and the text, not giving your own ideas.
  • Avoid summarizing specific examples or data unless they help illustrate the thesis or main idea of the text.
  • Report the main ideas as objectively as possible. Do not include your reactions; save them for your response. -(Stephen Reid,  The Prentice Hall Guide for Writers , 2003)

"Good summaries must be fair, balanced, accurate, and complete. This checklist of questions will help you evaluate drafts of a summary:

  • Is the summary economical and precise?
  • Is the summary neutral in its representation of the original author's ideas, omitting the writer's own opinions?
  • Does the summary reflect the proportionate coverage given various points in the original text?
  • Are the original author's ideas expressed in the summary writer's own words?
  • Does the summary use attributive tags (such as 'Weston argues') to remind readers whose ideas are being presented?
  • Does the summary quote sparingly (usually only key ideas or phrases that cannot be said precisely except in the original author's own words)?
  • Will the summary stand alone as a unified and coherent piece of writing?
  • Is the original source cited so that readers can locate it?" -John C. Bean

On the Summary App  Summly

"Upon hearing, in March of [2013], reports that a 17-year-old schoolboy had sold a piece of software to Yahoo! for $30 million, you might well have entertained a few preconceived notions about what sort of child this must be...The app [that then 15-year-old Nick] D'Aloisio designed, Summly , compresses long pieces of text into a few representative sentences. When he released an early iteration, tech observers realized that an app that could deliver brief, accurate summaries would be hugely valuable in a world where we read everything—from news stories to corporate reports—on our phones, on the go...There are two ways of doing natural language processing: statistical or semantic,' D'Aloisio explains. A semantic system attempts to figure out the actual meaning of a text and translate it succinctly. A statistical system—the type D'Aloisio used for Summly— doesn't bother with that; it keeps phrases and sentences intact and figures out how to pick a few that best encapsulate the entire work. 'It ranks and classifies each sentence, or phrase, as a candidate for inclusion in the summary. It's very mathematical. It looks at frequencies and distributions, but not at what the words mean." -Seth Stevenson.

"Here are some...famous works of literature that could easily have been summarized in a few words:

  • 'Moby-Dick:' Don't mess around with large whales, because they symbolize nature and will kill you.
  • 'A Tale of Two Cities:' French people are crazy.
  • Every poem ever written: Poets are extremely sensitive.

Think of all the valuable hours we would save if authors got right to the point this way. We'd all have more time for more important activities, such as reading newspaper columns." -Dave Barry.

"To summarize: It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem." -Douglas Adams.

  • K. Narayana Chandran,  Texts and Their Worlds II . Foundation Books, 2005)
  • Richard E. Young, Alton L. Becker, and Kenneth L. Pike,  Rhetoric: Discovery and Change . Harcourt, 1970
  • Paul Clee and Violeta Clee,  American Dreams , 1999.
  • Randall VanderMey, et al.,  The College Writer , Houghton, 2007
  • Stephen Reid,  The Prentice Hall Guide for Writers , 2003
  • John C. Bean, Virginia Chappell, and Alice M. Gillam  Reading Rhetorically . Pearson Education, 2004
  • Seth Stevenson, "How Teen Nick D'Aloisio Has Changed the Way We Read."  Wall Street Journal Magazine , November 6, 2013
  • Dave Barry,  Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-Free Book . Doubleday, 1985
  • Douglas Adams,  The Restaurant at the End of the Universe . Pan Books, 1980
  • How and When to Paraphrase Quotations
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summary of the text example

What's your favorite book about?When faced with this question, most people will reply by briefly describing their favorite story. This description will likely include the book's title, the author's name, the main characters' names, and the plot. When a person explains these features of a text, they are creating a summary. A summary is a brief overview of a work's main…

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What's your favorite book about?

When faced with this question, most people will reply by briefly describing their favorite story. This description will likely include the book's title, the author's name, the main characters' names, and the plot. When a person explains these features of a text, they are creating a summary. A summary is a brief overview of a work's main points.

Readers use summaries for many purposes, including reviewing sources to study for exams or deciding if they want to read a text. Writers also benefit from creating summaries, as the skill lets them review their own knowledge of a source and develop concise writing skills.

Summary Text, stack of books, StudySmarter.

Summary Text Meaning

A summary text is an overview of another source. It is shorter than the original source and only focuses on general ideas. To write a summary text, writers identify the main points of another source and describe them in their own words.

Summaries are useful because they briefly introduce readers to a larger text. They also show that the writer of the summary has understood the source.

  • A summary text is a condensed overview of another source.

Types of Summary Text s

There are several types of summary texts. Some will focus on just describing the source at hand and others will analyze the source.

Descriptive Summaries

A descriptive summary is an objective overview of important information from another source. When writing a descriptive summary, writers do not mention their own opinions or interpretations of another source. Instead, they focus solely on the facts.

An important type of descriptive summary for academic researchers is called an abstract.

An abstract is a concise summary of a research paper.

After researchers finish a paper, they typically write an abstract to tell readers what the main objectives, methodology, and findings of their research were. These summaries are approximately between one hundred and three hundred words, so writers have to only focus on the most important aspects of the research. For instance, the following summary is an example of an abstract.

The Covid-19 pandemic necessitated a global shift to online learning. While researchers have examined the impact of remote learning on elementary students' academic performance, less is known about elementary teachers' perceptions of teaching online during the pandemic. This qualitative inquiry used interviews to better understand how elementary teachers experienced remote instruction. The results suggest that teachers need more guidance from administration and resources to manage stress. These findings can inform the development of future distance learning plans that better address teachers' needs.

Note how the author of this abstract got right to the point. They briefly provided context by mentioning the pandemic, situated the research alongside similar research, and then stated the main objective. They then noted how they conducted research and what they found. The abstract provides a comprehensive overview of the main points of the research.

Evaluative Summaries

An evaluative summary is a type of summary text in which a writer both summarizes the important information from a source and evaluates it. When writing an evaluative summary writers can mention their opinions and analyze the text. Evaluative summaries are therefore often longer than descriptive summaries. However, they still focus on the main points of a source rather than specific details.

Although writers can mention their opinion in an evaluative summary, they should still utilize academic language. This means that writers should avoid slang and informal phrases. They should not make statements like "This was an awesome book!" Instead, they should analyze the text and explain their claims with supporting evidence. For instance, the writer of an evaluative summary might write something like: "The author does an excellent job using imagery such as the pear tree to represent the love between the main characters."

Techniques in Summary Texts

To write a summary, writers need to follow the rules of how to summarize.

To summarize is to briefly describe something's main points.

To summarize information, readers have to take the following steps:

1. Read All of the Text

To understand the main ideas of a source, readers need to ensure they have read it in full. Reading it from start to finish at least once is a critical first step to summarize a text.

Read the text with a pencil or pen in hand to actively engage with it. Annotating while reading helps readers stay focused and note important detail and points.

2. Identify Relevant Information

After reading the text, readers should outline the most important ideas to make sure they understand them. Note them in the order they appear. Referencing your annotations, such as your highlights of key quotes or actions in the text, can help streamline this step.

Remember that summaries are overviews of general ideas in a source. This means that writers should not note specific details within a source.

3. Write the Summary

Once readers have a strong understanding of what the most important information from a text is, they can start writing the summary text. Writers should start by mentioning key information about the source, such as the title, author, and publication date. Then they should identify and explain the most important ideas of the text.

A key feature of summary texts is that they are shorter than the source they are about. Writers writing a summary text should thus make sure they are describing the source concisely.

Summary Text, Typewriter, StudySmarter

Example of a Summary Text

The following is an example that demonstrates how a writer might write a descriptive summary of John Updike's short story "A&P" (1961).

A&P is a short story by American writer John Updike. It is a coming-of-age story about a teenage boy named Sammy who works at the grocery store named A&P. One day, he sees three girls come in wearing bathing suits. Sammy's boss Lengel yells at them for how they are dressed and says they cannot shop there without decent clothes on. Sammy is attracted to the girls and thinks they will be impressed if he stands up for them. Hoping it will come across as a heroic gesture, he quits in front of them. The girls leave unimpressed, and Lengel tells Sammy he should reconsider his choice. Sammy is too proud to take back what he said and quits anyway. When he walks out into the parking lot, he realizes that life will be hard from here on out. He learns about the harsh realities of adult life and the naivety of teenage impulsivity.

Note how this writer did not include any unimportant details. `There are several other elements of this short story, such as Sammy's reflections on society and the interactions with the girls. While they are interesting, these details are not essential to a descriptive summary of the text. The writer thus focused solely on the main events and the lesson to give the reader the most important information about the story.

The above summary is a descriptive summary because it is objective and does not include the author's opinions. However, if the author added their opinions, then it would make it an evaluative summary . For instance, adding the following lines at the end would change this summary from descriptive to evaluative.

Updike does an excellent job depicting Sammy's realization in a subtle, realistic manner. This story is a relatable presentation of adolescent idealism and growth.

Summary Text - Key Takeaways

  • To write a summary text, writers summarize information, which means they briefly describe it in their own words.
  • Descriptive summary texts provide objective information about another source and include abstracts, outlines, and synopses.
  • Evaluative summary texts provide analytical information about another source and include the author's opinion .
  • Writers summarizing a text should read and annotate the text, outline the text, and then write the summary with a focus on main points, rather than small details.

Frequently Asked Questions about Summary Text

--> what is a summary text.

A summary text is a condensed overview of another source. 

--> What are examples of summary texts?

An abstract is an example of a summary text because it is a concise overview of a research paper. 

--> What are the types of tools I can use for a summary text?

Highlighting the main ideas in a text and annotating a text to note important information can help writers write summary texts. 

--> How do I do a summary text?

To write a summary text writers should read all of the text, identify the most important information in the text, and then write an overview of that information. 

--> What are the 3 steps of summarizing texts?

The three steps of summarizing texts are reading the text, identifying the main ideas of the text, and writing an overview of the text. 

Final Summary Text Quiz

Summary text quiz - teste dein wissen.

What is a synopsis?

Show answer

A synopsis is a piece of writing condensed to its essential features.

Show question

A book synopsis will condense a book into _____.

Its main plot, characters, and themes

How long should a synopsis be for a novel-length book, double-spaced?

Unlike an essay, which is highly structured, a synopsis more or less mirrors _____.

The structure of the book you are synopsizing.

If you don't like a scene in a book, how should you synopsize it?

Without bias

What do you do if the book you synopsize is biased?

Include the bias

Where should you include your commentary in a book synopsis?

You should not include it.

If you have a strong thesis regarding the book, include that thesis in the beginning of your synopsis. True or false?

The goal of your synopsis is to give a reader the experience of reading the book, not the experience of _____.

You reading the book.

If there is a funny detail in a book, should you include it in a synopsis? Why or why not?

No, because you should only include major details.

What is a "turning point" in a novel?

Turning points are scenes that change the direction of the story.

You should not write about the story's theme in every paragraph of your synopsis.

True or false?

Why should you synopsize the story's main themes?

Your goal is to keep the reader engaged with the author’s story, which includes its purpose, and keeping up with the themes of the story is a great way to do this.

What is the difference between a synopsis and a summary?

A summary is almost never longer than a page, and is often a single paragraph. You can think of it this way. A summary is intended to outline or sketch the plot of a story, while a synopsis is intended to follow the plot point by point.

Which of these is a synonym for synopsis?

None of these are synonyms for synopsis

An abstract is a concise summary of a(n) _____. 

Research paper

What are the four main types of abstracts?

Informative, descriptive, critical, and highlight abstracts are the four main types of abstracts.

What are the four main components of an informative abstract?

1. The purpose of the research

2. The research question 

3. The methodology

4. Research findings

True or False? Abstracts can be written in the future tense. 

False. Abstracts should be written in the present tense.

Where does the word "abstract" come from? 

Latin, meaning detached. 

How many keywords does an abstract have?

Which type of abstract has about 450 words?

Critical abstract

Which type of abstract has about 100 words?

Descriptive abstract

What is the difference between an informative abstract and a descriptive abstract?

An informative abstract discusses conclusions and recommendations and descriptive abstracts do not. 

Reading abstracts can help researchers...

Choose the best articles and papers for their research question.

What is a literature review?

A literature review is an overview and evaluation of relevant sources on a research topic. 

What are the steps in writing a literature review?

1. Conduct research 

2. Read and take notes 

3. Outline the literature review 

4. Write the literature review 

True or False. A literature review is a list of sources on the same topic. 

False. A literature review is a summary and evaluation of relevant sources on the topic 

True or False. All literature reviews are formatted the exact same way.

False. Literature review format and citation styles will vary depending on the required referencing guide, like MLA or APA.

Which of the following is a focused research topic? 

How does playing soccer impact Belgian teenagers' self-confidence levels? 

What does a literature review do for the reader?

All of the above.

True or False. Literature reviews can provide historical context for a topic. 

What is plagiarism?

Stealing another’s work and pretending it is one’s own

How can writers avoid plagiarism?

Cite every source that they got information from

Which of the following is an effective strategy for writing an analytical literature review?

Identifying connections among the sources' findings

What is an academic reference?

An academic reference is an acknowledgment of an external source of information. 

What is plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is the act of stealing another’s work and pretending it is one’s own. 

What style is this? Author(s). "Title of Article."  Title of  Journal , Volume, Issue, Year, pages. DOI

When does a writer need references?

When summarizing information

True or False. Writers need to add references for paraphrases. 

Which makes information from a text much shorter?


Which of the following is not included in a citation?

The title of the source  

Which of the following describes footnotes?

Numerical superscripts that correspond with numbers at the bottom of a page.

True or False. References weaken an author's credibility. 

False. References enhance an author's credibility. 

What style is this? Author's Last Name,  Author’s First Initial Second Initial if available. (Year of Publication).  Title of book . Publisher Name.

What is a research methodology?

A research methodology is a procedure a researcher chooses for carrying out research.

What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative research methodology? 

Quantitative research is based on numerical data and qualitative is based on non-numerical data.

Which type of research seeks to describe a research phenomenon in detail through quantifiable data?


Which of the following is not a part of a research methodology? 

Personal experience with the topic

What is ethnography?

The qualitative study of cultural and social phenomena.

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Paraphrasing, quoting and summarising: Summary example

  • What's in this guide
  • Introduction
  • Paraphrasing example
  • Summary example
  • Quoting example
  • Additional resources

Example of a summary

Example of summarising

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  • Last Updated: Apr 27, 2023 4:28 PM
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  • How to Write a Summary

Proficient students understand that  summarizing , identifying what is most important and restating the text (or other media) in your own words, is an important tool for college success.

After all, if you really know a subject, you will be able to summarize it. If you cannot summarize a subject, even if you have memorized all the facts about it, you can be absolutely sure that you have not learned it. And, if you truly learn the subject, you will still be able to summarize it months or years from now.

Proficient students may monitor their understanding of a text by summarizing as they read. They understand that if they can write a one- or two-sentence summary of each paragraph after reading it, then that is a good sign that they have correctly understood it. If they can not summarize the main idea of the paragraph, they know that comprehension has broken down and they need to use fix-up strategies to repair understanding.

Summary Writing Format

  • When writing a summary, remember that it should be in the form of a paragraph.
  • A summary begins with an introductory sentence that states the text’s title, author and main point of the text as you see it.
  • A summary is written in your own words.
  • A summary contains only the ideas of the original text. Do not insert any of your own opinions, interpretations, deductions or comments into a summary.
  • Identify in order the significant sub-claims the author uses to defend the main point.
  • Copy word-for-word three separate passages from the essay that you think support and/or defend the main point of the essay as you see it.
  • Cite each passage by first signaling the work and the author, put “quotation marks” around the passage you chose, and put the number of the paragraph where the passages can be found immediately after the passage.
  • Using source material from the essay is important. Why? Because defending claims with source material is what you will be asked to do when writing papers for your college professors.
  • Write a last sentence that “wraps” up your summary; often a simple rephrasing of the main point.

Example Summary Writing Format

In the essay Santa Ana , author Joan Didion’s main point is ( state main point ). According to Didion “… passage 1 …” (para.3). Didion also writes “… passage 2 …” (para.8). Finally, she states “… passage 3 …” (para. 12) Write a last sentence that “wraps” up your summary; often a simple rephrasing of the main point.

  • Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Authored by : Paul Powell. Provided by : Central Community College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Authored by : Elisabeth Ellington and Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer. Provided by : Chadron State College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Table of Contents

Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)

  • Overview of Instructor Resources

An Overview of the Writing Process

  • Introduction to the Writing Process
  • Introduction to Writing
  • Your Role as a Learner
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Using Sources

  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
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Illustration/Example Essay

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Compare/Contrast Essay

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Cause-and-Effect Essay

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Argument Essay

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Steps for Summarizing Text Complete With Samples

Table of Contents

While writing is important, so is learning how to summarize a piece of text. It is often required in different writing assignments and tests.

A good summary should be concise, understandable, and give enough information to understand the rest of the piece. If you have trouble summarizing text, we’ve got key tips and samples to help you  summarize written text samples .

pen on white lined paper selective focus photography

Four Steps for Summarizing Text

Thoroughly read the text..

In order to write a proper summary , it’s essential to read the article at least three times so you can thoroughly understand it. To effectively read a text, follow these three steps:

  • Scan  the article to get a sense of its content and overall shape.
  • Read  the article and take notes on all the points you have learned.
  • Reread  any significant and difficult passages until you’ve understood what you’re reading.

Break the Text Down Into Sections

When reading lengthy texts, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s best to break them down into smaller sections to make them more manageable. This will help you digest sentences, understand the text, or discover particular words or ideas you want to learn more about.

You can also use different headings or subheadings within the text to further divide the sections. If you’re working on a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organized into clearly marked sections.

Identify the Key Points in Each Section.

Now it’s time to find the most critical points in each section. What basic facts will your reader need to understand the article’s overall argument or conclusion?

It is important to remember that paraphrasing every paragraph in an article is not necessary. The goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything considered supplemental information.

Write the Summary

By now, you should grasp the essential points the article aims to convey. And you should be able to put them in your own words.

It is essential to paraphrase the author’s ideas properly to avoid plagiarism and show you understood the article. Avoid copying and pasting sentences directly from the original text.

Summarize Written Text Samples

A nurse shark is a nocturnal animal that spends its day in large groups of up to 40 individuals. Nurse sharks prefer specific resting locations and retreat to them every day after they have gone deep into the reef. At night, these sharks are primarily solitary. The nurse sharks spend most of their time foraging through the bottom sediments in search of food. Their diet consists mainly of crustaceans, mollusks, tunicates, and other fish, such as spiny lobsters, crabs, and shrimps.

Nurse sharks are nocturnal animals that spend their day in large groups of up to 40 individuals and prefer specific resting locations. They spend most of their time foraging through the bottom sediments in search of food.

Social media poses many risks to adolescents and teens despite its positive aspects. Teenagers have limited self-regulation capabilities and are more vulnerable to peer pressure and experimentation during their teens’ years of growth and development. This phenomenon is harmful for many reasons: Internet addiction, sleep problems, pornography, sexting, and cyberbullying. Some experts say cyberbullying, and sexting victims are at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. The impact of social media on health during adolescence may be considered in the differential diagnosis.

A multidisciplinary approach could address these issues by including the obstetrician-gynecologist, guardians, and school officials. A school’s and community’s knowledge of resources allows the obstetrician-gynecologist to assist adolescents facing these issues.

Social media is a popular means of engaging teenagers and young adults, but they also pose risks. These risks include Internet addiction, sleep problems, pornography, sexting, and cyberbullying. A multidisciplinary approach may address these issues with the help of obstetricians, gynecologists, guardians, and school officials.

Key Tips for Summarizing Text

When summarizing, you need to gather the key points of a text and distill them into one sentence that conveys your text’s main points. In writing tests like the Pearson Language Tests (PTE), a word limit of 5 to 75 words for summaries is usually imposed.

You should write ideally between 30 and 40 words. Try not to put a pause that sounds like a complete stop in your sentences. Avoid overly long sentences because the PTE scoring algorithms can’t properly handle them.

Here are some other key tips that can help you out:

  • Summarize the whole paragraphs first, then write a single sentence.
  • Concentrate on the last sentences of the paragraph. This will better help you get an idea of the topics.
  • If you’re writing in the third person, don’t use any examples or reasons.
  • Good grammar and vocabulary will help you score much higher, so make sure to proofread your work.

How Long Should a Summary Be?

The summary of a text should always be much shorter than the original text . A summary can be either just a few sentences or several paragraphs. It will depend on how long the original text is and the purpose of the summary.

Final Words

Your summary should be clear, concise, and effective in communicating the key information in your text . Remember to take good notes, write thoughtfully, and check your writing for errors. Try to summarize written text samples and apply these tips to help you practice.

Steps for Summarizing Text Complete With Samples

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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6+ Summary Writing Examples in PDF

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What Is a Summary?

Literature summary example.

literature summary example

Methodology Summary Example

methodology summary example

Internship Summary Example

internship summary example

How to Write a Summary

  • Divide your assigned reading into sections.  Before getting straight to reading your assigned text, you have to make sure that you have divided your reading into sections so that you will be able to take in things slowly. Start off by focusing to the headings and subheadings first and that you would look at bold-faced terms as well. Understand these first so that you will be able to accomplish the following steps.
  • Read your assigned text.  Now that you are able to prepare and divide your assigned text, you can now easily read your assigned text. Just read straight through and you do not have to stop in case something would trouble you—you just have to make sure that you will be able to get a feel for the tone, style, and main idea that the author tried to convey.
  • Reread your assigned text. On the second time that you will be reading your assigned text, you have to make sure that you will be able to read actively. This means that you should take note and underline the topic sentences and the key facts of the entire text. You may also take note and label the areas you want to discuss later on your summary writing. You may also take note and label the parts wherein you think your summary shouldn’t contain or the ideas, even though interesting, that are too specific that it almost gives away everything the original text contains. It is also in rereading your text that you will be able to identify the parts of the original text that you were not able to comprehend when you were just skimming and reading the assigned text straight through.
  • Start writing by writing one sentence at a time. You have now thoroughly read your assigned text, you should now definitely have a firm grasp on how you are going to summarize your assigned text. From the first to the third steps, you have divided your assigned text into manageable texts, you can now easily write down the main idea of each of the sections from your assigned text. Knowing the main ideas or key points of your assigned text will enable you to write well-developed sentences for your summary.
  • Write a thesis statement.  If you have always wondered what is the best key to a well-written summary, then now it’s time for you to know that it’s the thesis statement that makes up an excellently written summary. From the sentences you have written on the fourth step, it is possible for you to create a thesis statement that will be able to clearly communicate what the original text tried to convey and achieve. In the event that this step is difficult, it is best for you to go back to the previous steps since to get a thesis statement, you have to be able to understand the main points of the original text first.
  • Always write in active voice and in the present tense.
  • Always include the full name of the author and the full title of the work.
  • Always keep things concise because the length of your summary should not equate to the original text.
  • Cite the exact words of the author if you must use it.
  • Always avoid adding your personal opinions, ideas, or interpretations into the summary that you are writing because the purpose of summary writing is to be able to accurately convey what the author’s message is and not to provide criticism to his or her work (this is why you have to do a lot of reading).
  • Revise what you have written.  Even if you are very much certain about the accuracy of your summary, you would still have to revise what you have written. Check and revise it for style, grammar, and punctuation because even though these are the basic ones, there is still a possibility that you will be able to miss things out.

Paragraph Summary Example

paragraph summary example

Reading Summary Example

reading summary example

Report Summary Example

report summary example

Resume Summary Example

resume summary example

Major Attributes of a Summary

  • A summary should be comprehensive . Make your summary always comprehensive that the reader can definitely see that you have highlighted the major points from the assigned text and that this had been arranged well in a list. If you fail to do this, it would result in your summary looking like a complete chaos. Make sure that you will be able to meticulously choose only the ideas that could effortlessly explain what the author’s thesis is.
  • A summary should be concise.   Keep in mind that you are to write a summary and not a reflection paper of what you have just so it is just right that you have to write a summary in a concise manner. Sometimes, it can be too hard to summarize a particular original text especially if there are so many points that you want to include. If this is your case, then you must make sure that you are only to take note of the main points, to avoid following the author’s flow or pattern in the original text, and most especially, to avoid restating any similar ideas.
  • A summary should be coherent. Sure, you are to restate the main points of the original text; however, you would also have to make sure that you will be able to connect each of these main points effectively in a way that it would be exactly the way the original text had conveyed. And sure you are to restate the main points of the original text with respect to what the original text conveyed, you should make sure that it could stand as a separate write-up or paper.
  • A summary should be written independently . When writing a summary, it is not necessary for you to imitate how the author had summarized his or her own text. In fact, you should be able to write the summary using your own understanding, style, and manner. Restate it with the use of your own understanding. Do not even consider quoting the writer. However, even if it is highly suggested for you to write in your own words, you have to also make sure that you are not distorting the ideas and the intention of the writer of the original text that you are writing a summary out of.

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