To write a summary of a research paper, you must read and understand what it’s all about, combine the main points, and express the ideas concisely and in your own words.
A research paper’s abstract serves as a summary of the paper, but you may have to read the entire text to get what you need.
Purpose of a summary
Consider your purpose. Are you making a summary for your own research paper, or are you summarizing somebody else’s paper?
Your research paper’s summary should repeat your thesis and briefly restate the key concepts mentioned in your paper. If you are summarizing a research paper that you didn’t write, you should avoid plagiarizing the material.
To avoid plagiarism, observe the following: cite your sources, enclose quotations and your source’s ideas in quotation marks, and express paraphrases and summaries in your own words.
This is important especially if the information appears only in specific sources. However, you may not need to do this for general information that is readily available or considered as common knowledge.
Understanding of a paper
If you are writing a summary of another’s research paper for your own paper or article, the summarized material should connect to your topic. If you’re taking notes for future reading, you don’t need to link it to your paper’s topic right away, but you have to include all the crucial information that will guide your research later on.
As mentioned, you need to understand the research paper to summarize it properly. Know the general structure of the paper. Look at each part’s titles and read the beginning and ending sentences of paragraphs – these usually contain the core ideas. This will create a mental map of the paper, so you’ll find it easier to navigate through the details.
These are the things to look for:
- The reason for the research study
- The question that the paper is answering
- The hypothesis
- The methods of testing the hypothesis
- The results of the study
- The discussion of the findings
Most important points in a summary
Mark important words, figures, and sentences among these sections and write them down in a separate paper. Arrange these notes in a way that is easily understandable then expound on them using your own language.
Here are some helpful things to include in the summary:
- The hypothesis, research question, and why it’s significant.
- How the experiment is done – who are the participants, what materials were used, the procedures carried out, the dependent and independent variables, and how the researchers have analyzed the data.
- The results of the study – Explain the outcomes of the study. Include essential data and whether the results supported the hypothesis well, have proved against it, whether they have answered the question adequately or not, and what their implications are.
- The interpretations – give a brief explanation of the discussion.
Checking of a summary of research paper
A research paper summary may be as short as one or two sentences especially if you are just mentioning the study in an article.
However, make sure that the summary is relevant to the broader topic that you’re writing about. Mention the study’s author and the year of its publication. Follow the MLA or APA citation format and label the sources at the end of your article.
You may need to revise your summary so that it matches your purpose better. If your summary seems incomplete, go over the research paper and gather more details. You may need to consult other sources to make up for what the paper misses. Discard extra information that’s not directly relevant to your topic – a summary is supposed to be concise, so concentrate on key points.