Tips on Summarizing a Research Article

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A summary should be a short description that gives the readers a gist of the main topics being covered.

A research article presents the results of studies done in a specific sector such as Microbiology, Genetics, English language, etc… which is published in a peer-reviewed scientific or scholarly journal. They are well-structured and are divided into many parts.

Hence, summaries of research articles need to be extremely precise and informative so that the reader can have a brief idea of the article they are reading. This makes the process of summarizing sound difficult and hectic.

Don’t worry. You have come to the right place. We have some wonderful tips that will help you summarize a research article with neat structure and clear language. Just follow these suggestions to ace your summary every time.

Key Points to Be Noted

While Summarizing, keep in mind that a research paper has many aspects. Use these points to create a guideline for your summary. Don’t just skim through it, read the entire paper or else you will not have a clue about the content and might end up creating a mess in panic.

Summaries are an essential part ofsearch summarization, which allows you to find the information that you need. Therefore, writing an exceptional summary is a skill that every researcher should have. Here are some tips that will ease your anxiety and make you a summarization expert.

Read the Abstract Carefully

What mostresearch universities don’t express is that you can get much information from the abstract itself. An abstract acts like a concise summary of the paper that you can use as your baseline.

The main objective of an abstract is to assist you in finding work that is relevant to your topic. However, an abstract and a summary should never be the same. If your summary is too similar to your abstract, it would be considered poorly written.

Know Your Topic Well

Check to see what the authors will be discussing or analyzing, why the research or issue is important, whether the piece is published in reaction to another article on the subject, and so on. This can help to figure out the arguments, quotes, and statistics included in your summary.

Do not skip the introduction. It may feel like a long read, but it carries the most vital information, the thesis. Determine the research’s objectives and background to use them as the foundation of your summary.

Classify the Key Argument

You might find yourself reading the article more than once, to try and keep up with all the information. To avoid that, make notes or highlight key points to remind yourself what the article is about.

Usually, the first few paragraphs tend to spell out the overall notion of the article, so pay more attention to them. Try to find words like typically, clearly, or hypotheses. This will give you an idea as to where the thesis is and helps to keep focused on this main point throughout the entire process of summarization.

Read Through All Other Parts

Stay aligned with the different segments of the article which emphasize the important points of the article. Concentrate on the essential concepts and ideas that have been presented, and try to relate them to the fundamental notion that the authors stated at the opening of the piece.

Academic research articles can be tedious to read. It isn't absolutely necessary to read through the 1000 word Elisa process that the scientist used to identify an antibody present in rats. As long as you are keeping a note of the key points from every section.


Analyze the approach utilized and the rationality behind the author's choice. This generally refers to the study methods, calculations, or trials done on the variables.

Data Analysis

Make a list of the author's data analysis. This basically refers to the methods applied in the research to obtain the necessary data from methodology.


List the findings of the data analysis in a coherent way. The result of the experiment, the end-products, or the repercussions detected at the conclusion of the data analysis are all examples of results.


Include a brief overview of the research article's explanation of the findings. It mainly entails various suggestions of how to improve the research or conduct future research based on the current study.

Make a Rough Draft

Before formulating the final summary, it is advised to make a rough draft, to avoid missing any important points of the study. You can simply make a spider web of key points to include, or just write a short summary that you can build on.

Here are some suggestions on how to make a rough draft.

Define the Research Article

Describe the article by writing a brief outline that includes all the stages followed from the beginning till the end. This should include the methodology and the type of study conducted. You don’t have to be overly precise or worry about using sophisticated vocabulary.

It’s a good idea to try and not filter everything out at the start. Just note down the points you can recall to assist with the main part of the article.

Describe the Important Fragments

These could be referred to as the key supporting concepts of the article. Besides these may be identified with subheadings, they may take a little more digging to find. Anything that is a major point intended to support the author's main argument must be included in the summary.

The thesis or the main theoretical phenomena must be clearly stated in the summary (which totally depends on the research). All statistical data should be summarized, as this associates the work done in regard to the hypothesis. Mention any suggestions or thoughts of the author that leads to their conclusions.

Pinpoint KeyWords

 The beginning of most research articles would have a list of keywords that are vital. Make sure to include these keywords in your summary. There may be words that you are not familiar with. Always attempt to understand these words so that the reader can comprehend the content of your summary moving forward.

Be as brief as possible. The length of your summary should not be anything like the length of the research paper. Remember, the purpose of the summary is to abbreviate all the crucial information to give the reader a quick glimpse of the research. Roughly half a page or one page should do (depending on the type of study done).

Plan the Structure of the Summary

The summary should be written in paragraphs without any subheadings. The objective of an introduction is to articulate the article properly, the subject, purpose, and the thesis or findings of the article.

The body of the paragraph of academic research included the methods and findings, techniques used, and how these findings are linked to the initial hypothesis. The significance of these findings is explained in the concluding paragraph of the summary.

Some Extra Hacks

Now that you have a rough outline to follow, here are some factors to look out, while editing and standardizing your summary.

  • You are summarizingwork done by other authors and not yourself so avoid using pronouns such as me, my, us, we, our, etc…
  • Do not give your own opinion. Your job is just to give a brief overview of the research work done.
  • Don’t go into details. Keep it short and precise.
  • Do not use direct quotations from the article. This is the one time when paraphrasing is allowed. Be careful not to change the meaning or intent of the sentences while paraphrasing.
  • Stay connected to the main idea of the research. You can easily lose track of the key concept once you have a good flow going.
  • Stop and reread your paragraphs to ensure what you are writing is exactly what you aim to say.
  • Refrain from drawing your own conclusions.
  • Always describe the results. They are a key aspect of the entire study.
  • Do not use diagrams in a summary. However, you can describe in short the data presented by any diagrams in the study.
  • Do not use too many complicated words, as this might make it hard for the reader to understand.
  • Be subjective.
  • If you have to summarize multiple articles, make separate summaries for all of them and then narrow down similar key points and compile them into a single draft.

Follow These Instructions and Write Summaries without any Stress

Now that you have cracked the code on summary writing for research articles, all you have to do is practice and master your skill. Just remember to write focused and clear paragraphs to the main point, avoid plagiarism at all means by framing sentences in your own words, be precise and brief.

With strong determination and our above-mentioned tips, you will become the Gordon Ramsay of summary writing. 

(link of picture: Overwhelmed Stressed Out Burned - Free photo on Pixabay)

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