Why to Know How to Summarize an Article?

Why to Know How to Summarize an Article?

College life comes up with dozens of tasks that you need to prepare. Besides knowledge, they require specific skills to succeed. Summarizing an article is just one of them. Being able to do it, you will surely demonstrate to the professor that you have understood the information properly. However, summarizing an article is far from only restating the arguments in your own words. When it comes to such tasks, most students experience difficulties because they do not know what to start with. Moreover, it is significant to include everything that a professor expects you to write. This article will learn how to summarize an article step by step and do your assignment successfully.

What is the Purpose of Summarizing an Article?

It is impossible to come up with a good summary of the article without a clear understanding of why you are doing it. Sometimes,  you need to do this to outline significant information and use it later, for instance, in a research paper. As a result, you already have supporting arguments and a general idea of what to talk about.

Generally, the article summary aims to contract the data and come up with a better understanding of the information. The skill of summarizing an article is what many subjects require because it is a great way to study some expert’s perspective in the field or introduce a definite topic. Also, it shows how you can read and interpret the data. Did you catch the author’s idea? Can you summarize the mentioned arguments in a few sentences only? In fact, you will need this skill throughout the lifetime, starting with the college years and ending with building your career. For example, the company management may ask you to read a definite article and present its brief overview during the important meeting.  That’s why you need to know how you write a good article summary, not only to get a high grade at college but also to be an efficient employee at the company you work in. 

What are the 5 Steps to Summarizing?

While summarizing an article, you should keep in mind its main goal – to give the audience a clear insight into the original paper. You can easily achieve this aim by following the next steps.

Step 1: Read the text

How do you summarize an article in a research paper? To summarize the article properly, you should ensure that you understand it well. It means you need to read it a few times. It would be better to divide the reading into the following stages:

  1.  Scanning. You should quickly scan the article to understand the overall idea and the shape.
  2.  Reading. Highlight the key points while reading the source, and take notes at the same time.
  3.  Skimming. You need to skim the article once again to make sure that you understood everything correctly. If necessary, re-read some difficult passages to clarify the points.

Mind a few simple tricks that will help you determine the central points while reading:

  • Begin with an abstract. As a rule, it already contains the summary of the author and tells what you may expect from the source.
  • Be attentive to heading and subheadings.  They are able to provide you with an understanding of what every part is about.
  • Read the introduction simultaneously with the conclusion. Compare them. Check what the author wanted to do and what the result was.

Step 2: Divide the text into a few sections

It is better to break the overall text into a few parts to understand all sub-points better and make your summarizing more manageable. Generally, the articles are divided into sections. In the case of scientific papers, everything is much easier as they are following an empirical structure. It means you will deal with such sections as introduction, methods, etc. You can write some phrase or word that describes the paragraph content on the margin. This will help you identify the focus of every part. In case several parts are dedicated to a similar point, you may group them into relevant sections.

Step 3: Determine main points in every section

Now you need to look attentively at every part of the article and determine the significant points. Think about what the reader should know to understand the overall text. Here you should be very careful and remember that the article summary must not present the idea of every paragraph. Your task is to decide what information is key and what factors play a background role. Here are a few questions that may help you:

  1.   Introduction: Are any hypotheses mentioned?
  2.   Methods: How was mentioned data collected and then analyzed?
  3.   Results: What are the most significant findings?
  4.   Conclusion: What are the author’s key recommendations?

In case you deal with another type of article, you need to distinguish the significant points for readers. A thesis statement is the first thing that you should consider.  It is what the writer wants us to accept. A topic sentence is also important, as it presents the main idea of every paragraph.

Step 4: Craft summary

Once you know the article’s main points, you need to express them in your own words.  You must be very careful not to come across plagiarism issues. Paraphrase the writer’s ideas instead of simply copying the original words and pasting them in your own text. It is better to put the source aside and come up with your own understanding of the content.

If you’re going to summarize a part of a large text, then you should remember a proper citation of the source. The way you will do it depends on the citation style that you use, but anyway, it would include an in-text citation that you can arrange according to MLA or APA standards.

Step 5: Check the summary

After finishing the summary, it is high time to read it again to make sure that:

  • You introduced the writer’s work accurately
  • You included all significant data
  • The text doesn’t contain similar to the original source phrases

Suppose you summarize a few articles within your work. In that case, it is highly recommended to use a plagiarism checker tool to ensure that your text is 100% original and all phrases are cited correctly. It is better to spend some time on this rather than risking your reputation.  

Last-Minute Tips on Article Summary

You should realize that summarizing the article is not equal to criticizing. Your task is to present your views of the original source to the readers. Keep in mind the following tips to save your time and effort while summarizing an article:

  1. Understand the central ideas. After reading, you need to stop and identify the main ideas. Write all of them down, and then choose those which are closer to the point of view of the original writer.
  2. Avoid writing too much. An article summary is a short piece of work, so avoid long sentences that constantly repeat the same ideas.
  3. Follow the author’s way. Determine the author’s argument and analysis, and follow it. Exclude everything that is not related to a central idea of the article.
  4. Ask somebody to read your paper. If there is somebody who you fully trust, then show your work. A fresh look at your paper will help you identify and improve available mistakes. As a result, you can make the summary engaging and easy to read.
  5. Keep an eye on the length. The length matters when it comes to an article summary. It should not be too long, and you should include all important ideas at the same time.  Once your paper is ready, back to the source and check whether it is about 1/3 of the article’s length. At the same time, if your paper is too short, then you need to add a few important details.


Now you know the answer to the question, “How do you summarize an article in 3 sentences?”. To succeed, you need to read the article attentively, write down key points and present them in your own words. Still, suppose you face certain difficulties or are too busy with other assignments or activities. In that case, you can approach a professional writing service that will do everything instead of you. There is no doubt that this type of task is quite challenging as you should deal with another person’s ideas and be able to present them properly to the target audience. That’s why cooperation with skilled specialists seems to be a great idea. Its result will surely please both you and your tutor. While the experts summarize a necessary article, you can do other, more important, or more interesting things. Summarizing an article is not an easy task to do, but it is a part of the college curriculum, so take advantage of professional assistance without any hesitation and breathe with relief.  

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