Summary Definition:

  • Summarising is an essential skill for academic writing.
  • A summary presents in condensed form the substance of another piece of writing.
  • Usually begins with a nutshell statement, or overall summary, then presents the essential points of the writing, not necessarily in the same order as in the original.

Paraphrase Definition:

  • Your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
  • One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
  • A more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.

Seven Steps to Effective Summarising:

1) Read the text quickly in order to find the main ideas (skimming)

2) If necessary look at special passages of the text in order to make clear that you’ve got all the main ideas (scanning).

3) Take a pencil and underline the most important words (marking).

4) Write down key words, i.e. words that sum up the meaning of the text, but which needn’t necessarily occur in the text (making notes).

5) Sum up the key words in simple sentences (summing up in simple form)

6) Combine the simple sentences by using conjunctions like “as, though, because, since” etc or participle constructions or infinitives (summing up in complex form).

7) Compare the original text with your text to find out that you’ve got the essential information (check).

Summarizing is a technique that follows strict rules:

1) The original text is cut to about one third.

2) Only the main ideas are mentioned; that means that no examples or repetitions are allowed.

3) Specific statements are combined to form general statements.

4) Direct or reported speech are changed into statements, with the exception of very important quotations.

6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

1) Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

2) Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.

3) Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase

4) Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.

5) Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.

6) Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.

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