How To Summarize An Article Effectively In 5 Steps

Summarization is the process of breaking a sentence down into its most meaningful components. It Is one of the primary tasks of an English language writer and it requires a lot of mastering. When you are asked to summarize an article, it is purposely to provide the essence of the message most directly and concisely. Doing this may be difficult especially when it is a long article but the best students or writers know how to overcome this difficulty.

Few Things to Note When Summarizing An Article

At the end of the article:

  • The reader must understand the author and the subject.

  • The reader must understand the essence or gist of the article including the ideas behind it or theories underlying it.

  • Readers must understand why you are trying to tell them the essence of the article.

Note that all of the above would make your summary effective and perfect for a good mark. So, when you want to summarize an article, you should have them standby within you.  

To make summarizing an article as easy as wearing your shoes, and end up having the few things above, here are 5 steps to follow.

How to Summarize an article step by step

1. Understand the title

The title is the first thing that you must always focus on and understand. If you do not understand what the author is trying to say in the headline of the article, you will probably struggle to understand anything on the page.  You can start by trying to understand each word in the title to break it down to your level. Here is an example:

“Is Bitcoin a bubble?”

When you study this title, you will be able to know that the article revolves around "Bitcoin," bubble," and a question that is already answered within the article. Now, it's time for you to go head to the next phase.

2. Understand the introduction of the article

The first paragraph of an article is usually useful to summarize. It explains in detail the title of the article and the author's purpose for the article. The first paragraph is also usually the answer to any possible question that you may have. You can use sentences in this phase to summarize your entire summary.

In cases where you have a long article or story to summarize, look out for the abstract. Articles like that usually have an abstract and it will help you get the main idea of the article.

3. Jump to reading the conclusion

The conclusion of a piece of writing is the point in the document that you would want to focus on. This is where the author will explain or close the book. Most times, the author usually has some points to answer or repeat here. Also,  there are many stories to tell that would take a few paragraphs to summarize.

A good article will definitely have a conclusion and this is a bonus for you. This is because the conclusion of an article is the summary of the article and this is what you are planning to do. The conclusion is a shortcut to summarize an article. So, grab the opportunity!

4. Read the whole article

Now, it is time to read the whole article to get more ideas to support the main idea that you have gotten in the introduction and the conclusion. You will be able to read several paragraphs in this phase that will help you get some keywords. So, all you need here is more of your paper and pencil to jot down the key ideas as you read.

Note: To avoid plagiarism when summarizing an article, you have to write the ideas in your own words, not verbatim. 

Also, you are likely to forget some important things here so try to read through it a couple of times and make sure you get all the keywords as you read.

When you want to summarize a long article, or you do want to read the article, you do not need this phase especially when you have a limited time to do the work. In this case, when you want to summarize an article without reading, stand only with the title, introduction, conclusion, and title of headings of each chapter. Although, this is if the article has.

5. Analyze the information in the article

The very last step is to go through the information given in the article in detail and analyze it. Read closely and bring the main ideas you have gotten in the Introduction and conclusion together with the ideas you jotted when you read the whole article. You may need to lookup certain words again. You may also need to re-read some points. It is very useful for you to have an estimate of how long it will take you to learn the information in the article. The more time it takes you to learn it, the better.

In summary, you should be able to have a clear idea of what is being presented in the article, understand what the author is trying to convey to the reader, and be able to summarize all the information in the summary clearly and concisely. 

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