How to Write Research Summary

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Originally published Jul 03, 2017, updated Feb 15, 2021
How to Write Research Summary

A research summary or a research article comprehensively covers a topic. It is a brief overview of a study typically from a peer-reviewed journal. Many universities and colleges give such assignments and assess the students' performance based on how they interpret the scientific knowledge and data presented in the article. If you are a student worried about your next assignment that involves in-depth analysis, then you have landed on the right page. The way you analyze and provide critical review determines your grades. That is why learning how to summarize research is crucial for your academic success.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Summary Paper

Find Out the Focus Area of Your Paper

Writing a research report requires you to read the entire article thoroughly. First, skim through the paper and understand the gist of the article. Once you have gone through the contents, you will have a fairly good idea of what the paper is all about. Identify the topic and build the content around it. Read other papers and information on the same topic to build a better understanding of the subject. It is important to gauge the purpose of the research quickly. Figure out:

  • What is the research all about?
  • How has the researcher addressed the issue?
  • What are the key findings?

The main points can be listed in bullet form. This way, you will not miss out on any important point.

Assemble All Relevant Points

Jot down all the key points presented in the article. When you quickly go through the paper, you will identify the research question, hypothesis, and purpose behind the entire research. Here is what you should note down when skimming through the article.

  • Write down the purpose of the research;
  • Mention the research question;
  • Note the hypothesis presented;
  • Determine the methodology used;
  • Find out the key findings;
  • The interpretation and critical analysis of those key points;
  • Present your analysis.

Make Notes

When scanning through the research project, you must scribble down your thoughts in the margins. This helps narrow down your points, and you will be able to analyze the summary better.

Although there is an abstract section in the research paper that contains concise information, it still can't be fully relied on. You must make notes and write down all the points as you skim through the article. This way, you won't miss out on any important information. At the same time, the notes will help you formulate a better research summary. Don't bank on the abstract and use it as a summarized version.

Read and Make an Analysis

After skimming through the original document, you must now give it a good read. Read it in detail from start to finish. Take a look at the notes you made in the margins as well. Read all the sections in the content to summarize it. This way, you can address relevant points.

  • How has the research contributed to answering the main question?
  • Is the methodology working well with the central concept?
  • Which points did the researcher not discuss?
  • Does the research make an impact in future studies?
  • What is the scope of the research project?

It is a good idea to read out the summary to someone you know. If you know the topic well and you can easily narrate it to someone else, this means you are now ready to write an executive summary on your own. Please, note that summary writing doesn't mean that you have to duplicate what is already written. Do not write the same words. Instead, when writing the summary, close the original article so that you avoid copying the content.

Find Additional Literature

Don't just stick to the information given in the paper. Collect research articles and information from other sources as well. Your literature review should comprise on various topics. Study any research paper you find on this particular topic. Include it when summarizing. This shows that you have taken the assignment seriously and have done some background reading.

Start Writing the Summary

Be clear and use short sentences to convey your message. It is somewhat like an abstract but in more detail. Make sure to use only relevant information to write a research summary. Do not clutter and use wordiness. Follow this order to write a compelling summary.

  • State the research question;
  • Write the hypothesis;
  • Discuss the methodology used in the paper, including the number of participants, independent and dependent variables, and the process;
  • Mention the results and key findings;
  • Analyze the data and give your input;
  • Remember that the interpretation and result should be related to the hypothesis;
  • The first draft should be written in a carefree way, you can always edit it later.

Proofread and Edit

It is important to keep your summary papers compact and concise. You don't want to lose the purpose of your research summary by overstuffing keywords. Don't write generic statements. It should be relevant to the topic. Once you have written the paper, make sure it is plagiarism-free. You don't earn a bad grade just because you have used the same words as written in the original document. Here are a few points to consider when proofreading your research summary.

  • Make sure all the information is covered;
  • Double-check your notes and literature review to ensure nothing is missed out;
  • Paraphrase quotes instead of copying them as are, or else it could be counted as plagiarism;
  • Cut down unnecessary long sentences;
  • Check out for grammar and spellings;
  • Avoid any typo errors;
  • Read the summary out loud;
  • Tweak the article for better clarity.

Dos and Don'ts of Writing a Research Summary

Your summary is ready to be submitted. Before you send the assignment to your professor, make sure to keep a check on these dos and don'ts of submitting a research paper.

Do's

  • Use appropriate subheadings where necessary;
  • Do some background reading;
  • Make notes as you read;
  • Add relevant literature and additional findings;
  • Paraphrase quotes of famous personalities instead of copying them as is;
  • Do make sure that it is not a copy of the original document;
  • Read it out loud before submitting.

Don'ts

  • Don't begin writing before finding out the purpose of the research;
  • Don't rely too much on the abstract;
  • Don't clutter the document with heavy sounding words;
  • Avoid plagiarism. Make sure to avoid similar words;
  • Avoid wordiness and overstuffing of keywords.

This simple guide to writing an impressive research summary will help you earn a good grade in your assignment. You will be able to understand the topic of your study in detail. Edit the document only when you have finished writing your first draft. Good luck!

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