How to Write a Summary
When writing a summary of a lengthy document, your goal is to boil down the document so that its main points can be read quickly and easily. At the same time, the overall gist of the document should remain in tact.
In order to write a summary of a lengthy document, you must read the document yourself and get a solid understanding of its main purpose and its main points. As you read the lengthy document, you should take note of what you find to be the most important points.
If you can write on the document, highlighting important points is perhaps the easiest method for narrowing down the information you will include in your summary. If you cannot write on the document, you might attach Post-it notes to the document on the pages with important information and write a small note to yourself regarding the information contained on that page. Another alternative would be to keep a notebook and to simply write the page number on which the information is listed and then write a brief summary of the main points found on that page.
After you have finished reading the document and taking notes, you will need to go back through your notes in order to determine the main points that are to be included in your summary. You may find that you took more notes than you have room for in your summary. If this is the case, you will need to further narrow down your notes by weeding out the most important information.
Remember, when writing a summary of a lengthy document, your goal is to provide the reader with an overview of the most important points the author is trying to make. Even if you personally feel that certain points are more important than others, you are to remain true to the original document and to avoid interjecting your own opinion or bias.
If the original document is divided into sections, one method for writing your summary is to summarize each of the sections of the original document. In this case, your summary should also be broken down into the same sections as the original document. Then, write a brief summary of the section you are summarizing. This is perhaps the easiest method for summarizing a large document, though other methods can be used as well.
The length of your summary will be largely dependent upon the requirements that you are given. When writing the summary, however, you should not write in list form or use other similar methods to reduce the length of the summary. Rather, you should write in paragraph form just as in the original document.
Since you are summarizing a larger document, your goal is not to write a thorough essay with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Rather, your purpose is to provide the reader with an overview of the original document that highlights the most important points. In this way, the reader can gain a basic understanding of the original document without reading it, but can refer to the original document for clarification and detail.
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