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How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

Published on November 23, 2020 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Summarizing , or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.

There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:

  • Read the text
  • Break it down into sections
  • Identify the key points in each section
  • Write the summary
  • Check the summary against the article

Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or evaluating the source . You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).

Table of contents

When to write a summary, step 1: read the text, step 2: break the text down into sections, step 3: identify the key points in each section, step 4: write the summary, step 5: check the summary against the article, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about summarizing.

There are many situations in which you might have to summarize an article or other source:

  • As a stand-alone assignment to show you’ve understood the material
  • To keep notes that will help you remember what you’ve read
  • To give an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review

When you’re writing an academic text like an essay , research paper , or dissertation , you’ll integrate sources in a variety of ways. You might use a brief quote to support your point, or paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.

But it’s often appropriate to summarize a whole article or chapter if it is especially relevant to your own research, or to provide an overview of a source before you analyze or critique it.

In any case, the goal of summarizing is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source. Follow the five steps outlined below to write a good summary.

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how to summarize a scientific article example

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You should read the article more than once to make sure you’ve thoroughly understood it. It’s often effective to read in three stages:

  • Scan the article quickly to get a sense of its topic and overall shape.
  • Read the article carefully, highlighting important points and taking notes as you read.
  • Skim the article again to confirm you’ve understood the key points, and reread any particularly important or difficult passages.

There are some tricks you can use to identify the key points as you read:

  • Start by reading the abstract . This already contains the author’s own summary of their work, and it tells you what to expect from the article.
  • Pay attention to headings and subheadings . These should give you a good sense of what each part is about.
  • Read the introduction and the conclusion together and compare them: What did the author set out to do, and what was the outcome?

To make the text more manageable and understand its sub-points, break it down into smaller sections.

If the text is a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organized into clearly marked sections, usually including an introduction , methods , results , and discussion .

Other types of articles may not be explicitly divided into sections. But most articles and essays will be structured around a series of sub-points or themes.

Now it’s time go through each section and pick out its most important points. What does your reader need to know to understand the overall argument or conclusion of the article?

Keep in mind that a summary does not involve paraphrasing every single paragraph of the article. Your goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything that can be considered background information or supplementary detail.

In a scientific article, there are some easy questions you can ask to identify the key points in each part.

If the article takes a different form, you might have to think more carefully about what points are most important for the reader to understand its argument.

In that case, pay particular attention to the thesis statement —the central claim that the author wants us to accept, which usually appears in the introduction—and the topic sentences that signal the main idea of each paragraph.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Now that you know the key points that the article aims to communicate, you need to put them in your own words.

To avoid plagiarism and show you’ve understood the article, it’s essential to properly paraphrase the author’s ideas. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, not even just a sentence or two.

The best way to do this is to put the article aside and write out your own understanding of the author’s key points.

Examples of article summaries

Let’s take a look at an example. Below, we summarize this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Davis et al. (2015) set out to empirically test the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are often used to represent a healthy lifestyle, and research has shown their nutritional properties could be beneficial for various aspects of health. The authors’ unique approach is to take the saying literally and ask: do people who eat apples use healthcare services less frequently? If there is indeed such a relationship, they suggest, promoting apple consumption could help reduce healthcare costs.

The study used publicly available cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants were categorized as either apple eaters or non-apple eaters based on their self-reported apple consumption in an average 24-hour period. They were also categorized as either avoiding or not avoiding the use of healthcare services in the past year. The data was statistically analyzed to test whether there was an association between apple consumption and several dependent variables: physician visits, hospital stays, use of mental health services, and use of prescription medication.

Although apple eaters were slightly more likely to have avoided physician visits, this relationship was not statistically significant after adjusting for various relevant factors. No association was found between apple consumption and hospital stays or mental health service use. However, apple eaters were found to be slightly more likely to have avoided using prescription medication. Based on these results, the authors conclude that an apple a day does not keep the doctor away, but it may keep the pharmacist away. They suggest that this finding could have implications for reducing healthcare costs, considering the high annual costs of prescription medication and the inexpensiveness of apples.

However, the authors also note several limitations of the study: most importantly, that apple eaters are likely to differ from non-apple eaters in ways that may have confounded the results (for example, apple eaters may be more likely to be health-conscious). To establish any causal relationship between apple consumption and avoidance of medication, they recommend experimental research.

An article summary like the above would be appropriate for a stand-alone summary assignment. However, you’ll often want to give an even more concise summary of an article.

For example, in a literature review or meta analysis you may want to briefly summarize this study as part of a wider discussion of various sources. In this case, we can boil our summary down even further to include only the most relevant information.

Using national survey data, Davis et al. (2015) tested the assertion that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and did not find statistically significant evidence to support this hypothesis. While people who consumed apples were slightly less likely to use prescription medications, the study was unable to demonstrate a causal relationship between these variables.

Citing the source you’re summarizing

When including a summary as part of a larger text, it’s essential to properly cite the source you’re summarizing. The exact format depends on your citation style , but it usually includes an in-text citation and a full reference at the end of your paper.

You can easily create your citations and references in APA or MLA using our free citation generators.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

Finally, read through the article once more to ensure that:

  • You’ve accurately represented the author’s work
  • You haven’t missed any essential information
  • The phrasing is not too similar to any sentences in the original.

If you’re summarizing many articles as part of your own work, it may be a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to double-check that your text is completely original and properly cited. Just be sure to use one that’s safe and reliable.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Paraphrasing

 Plagiarism

  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words. Want to make your life super easy? Try our free text summarizer today!

A summary is always much shorter than the original text. The length of a summary can range from just a few sentences to several paragraphs; it depends on the length of the article you’re summarizing, and on the purpose of the summary.

You might have to write a summary of a source:

  • As a stand-alone assignment to prove you understand the material
  • For your own use, to keep notes on your reading
  • To provide an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
  • In a paper , to summarize or introduce a relevant study

To avoid plagiarism when summarizing an article or other source, follow these two rules:

  • Write the summary entirely in your own words by paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
  • Cite the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.

An abstract concisely explains all the key points of an academic text such as a thesis , dissertation or journal article. It should summarize the whole text, not just introduce it.

An abstract is a type of summary , but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing . For example, you might summarize a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.

All can be done within seconds with our free text summarizer .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, May 31). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-summarize/

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Writing Article Summaries

  • Understanding Article Summaries 

Common Problems in Article Summaries

Read carefully and closely, structure of the summary, writing the summary.

  • Sample Outlines and Paragraphs

Understanding Article Summaries

An article summary is a short, focused paper about one scholarly article that is informed by a critical reading of that article. For argumentative articles, the summary identifies, explains, and analyses the thesis and supporting arguments; for empirical articles, the summary identifies, explains, and analyses the research questions, methods, findings, and implications of the study.

Although article summaries are often short and rarely account for a large portion of your grade, they are a strong indicator of your reading and writing skills. Professors ask you to write article summaries to help you to develop essential skills in critical reading, summarizing, and clear, organized writing. Furthermore, an article summary requires you to read a scholarly article quite closely, which provides a useful introduction to the conventions of writing in your discipline (e.g. Political Studies, Biology, or Anthropology).

The most common problem that students have when writing an article summary is that they misunderstand the goal of the assignment. In an article summary, your job is to write about the article, not about the actual topic of the article. For example, if you are summarizing Smith’s article about the causes of the Bubonic plague in Europe, your summary should be about Smith’s article: What does she want to find out about the plague? What evidence does she use? What is her argument? You are not writing a paper about the actual causes of Bubonic plague in Europe.

Further, as a part of critical reading, you will often consider your own position on a topic or an argument; it is tempting to include an assessment or opinion about the thesis or findings, but this is not the goal of an article summary. Rather, you must identify, explain, and analyse the main point and how it is supported.

Your key to success in writing an article summary is your understanding of the article; therefore, it is essential to read carefully and closely. The Academic Skills Centre offers helpful instruction on the steps for critical reading: pre-reading, active and analytical reading, and reflection.

Argumentative Articles

As you read an argumentative article, consider the following questions:

  • What is the topic?
  • What is the research question? In other words, what is the author trying to find out about that topic?
  • How does the author position his/her article in relation to other studies of the topic?
  • What is the thesis or position? What are the supporting arguments?
  • How are supporting arguments developed? What kind of evidence is used?
  • What is the significance of the author’s thesis? What does it help you to understand about the topic?

Empirical Articles

As you read an empirical article, consider the following questions:

  • What is the research question?
  • What are the predictions and the rationale for these predictions?
  • What methods were used (participants, sampling, materials, procedure)? What were the variables and controls?
  • What were the main results?
  • Are the findings supported by previous research?
  • What are the limitations of the study?
  • What are the implications or applications of the findings?

Create a Reverse Outline

Creating a reverse outline is one way to ensure that you fully understand the article. Pre-read the article (read the abstract, introduction, and/or conclusion). Summarize the main question(s) and thesis or findings. Skim subheadings and topic sentences to understand the organization; make notes in the margins about each section. Read each paragraph within a section; make short notes about the main idea or purpose of each paragraph. This strategy will help you to see how parts of the article connect to the main idea or the whole of the article.

A summary is written in paragraph form and generally does not include subheadings. An introduction is important to clearly identify the article, the topic, the question or purpose of the article, and its thesis or findings. The body paragraphs for a summary of an argumentative article will explain how arguments and evidence support the thesis. Alternatively, the body paragraphs of an empirical article summary may explain the methods and findings, making connections to predictions. The conclusion explains the significance of the argument or implications of the findings. This structure ensures that your summary is focused and clear.

Professors will often give you a list of required topics to include in your summary and/or explain how they want you to organize your summary. Make sure you read the assignment sheet with care and adapt the sample outlines below accordingly.

One significant challenge in writing an article summary is deciding what information or examples from the article to include. Remember, article summaries are much shorter than the article itself. You do not have the space to explain every point the author makes. Instead, you will need to explain the author’s main points and find a few excellent examples that illustrate these points.

You should also keep in mind that article summaries need to be written in your own words. Scholarly writing can use complex terminology to explain complicated ideas, which makes it difficult to understand and to summarize correctly. In the face of difficult text, many students tend to use direct quotations, saving them the time and energy required to understand and reword it. However, a summary requires you to summarize, which means “to state briefly or succinctly” (Oxford English Dictionary) the main ideas presented in a text. The brevity must come from you, in your own words, which demonstrates that you understand the article.

Sample Outlines and Paragraph

Sample outline for an argumentative article summary.

  • General topic of article
  • Author’s research question or approach to the topic
  • Author’s thesis
  • Explain some key points and how they support the thesis
  • Provide a key example or two that the author uses as evidence to support these points
  • Review how the main points work together to support the thesis?
  • How does the author explain the significance or implications of his/her article?

Sample Outline for an Empirical Article Summary

  • General topic of study
  • Author’s research question
  • Variables and hypotheses
  • Participants
  • Experiment design
  • Materials used
  • Key results
  • Did the results support the hypotheses?
  • Implications or applications of the study
  • Major limitations of the study

Sample Paragraph

The paragraph below is an example of an introductory paragraph from a summary of an empirical article:

Tavernier and Willoughby’s (2014) study explored the relationships between university students’ sleep and their intrapersonal, interpersonal, and educational development. While the authors cited many scholars who have explored these relationships, they pointed out that most of these studies focused on unidirectional correlations over a short period of time. In contrast, Tavernier and Willoughby tested whether there was a bidirectional or unidirectional association between participants’ sleep quality and duration and several psychosocial factors including intrapersonal adjustment, friendship quality, and academic achievement. Further they conducted a longitudinal study over a period of three years in order to determine whether there were changes in the strength or direction of these associations over time. They predicted that sleep quality would correlate with measures of intrapersonal adjustment, friendship quality, and academic achievement; they further hypothesized that this correlation would be bidirectional: sleep quality would predict psychosocial measures and at the same time, psychosocial measures would predict sleep quality.

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Writing an article summary.

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When writing a summary, the goal is to compose a concise and objective overview of the original article. The summary should focus only on the article's main ideas and important details that support those ideas.

Guidelines for summarizing an article:

  • State the main ideas.
  • Identify the most important details that support the main ideas.
  • Summarize in your own words.
  • Do not copy phrases or sentences unless they are being used as direct quotations.
  • Express the underlying meaning of the article, but do not critique or analyze.
  • The summary should be about one third the length of the original article. 

Your summary should include:

  • Give an overview of the article, including the title and the name of the author.
  • Provide a thesis statement that states the main idea of the article.
  • Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
  • One-paragraph summary - one sentence per supporting detail, providing 1-2 examples for each.
  • Multi-paragraph summary - one paragraph per supporting detail, providing 2-3 examples for each.
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas.
  • Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.

 Adapted from "Guidelines for Using In-Text Citations in a Summary (or Research Paper)" by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, 2020

Additional Resources

All links open in a new window.

How to Write a Summary - Guide & Examples  (from Scribbr.com)

Writing a Summary  (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)

  • Next: Writing an article REVIEW >>
  • Last Updated: Aug 16, 2023 11:47 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.randolph.edu/summaries

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How Do You Summarize an Article

A summary has  two aims :

  • to reproduce the overarching ideas in a text, identifying the  general  concepts that run through the entire piece, and
  • to express these overarching ideas using  precise , specific language.

Your Summary Should Include :

1. Introduction

  • Start with an overview of the article which includes the author’s name and the title of the article.
  • Include a sentence that states the main idea of the article.

​​2. Body 

  • Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence.
  • The number of paragraphs in your summary depends on the length of the original article.
  • Each paragraph focuses on a separate main idea and just the most important details from the article.

​3. Conclusion

  • Summarize the main idea and the underlying meaning of the article.

Adapted from " Guidelines for Writing a Summary " by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Saint Michael's College.

Tips on Summarizing

Please see the video  Tips on Summarizing  on the  Ohio State Flipped ESL  YouTube channel.  This video investigates the basic elements needed to create an effective one-sentence summary and a summary paragraph.

Additional Resources on How to Summarize

Here are some additional resources on how to summarize an academic article:

  • Summarizing (U of T)
  • How to Summarize a Research Article (UConn)
  • Guidelines for Summarizing an article (Andrews University)
  • Guidelines for using In-text citations in a summary or research paper (Saint Michael's College)
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How To Write A Research Summary

Deeptanshu D

It’s a common perception that writing a research summary is a quick and easy task. After all, how hard can jotting down 300 words be? But when you consider the weight those 300 words carry, writing a research summary as a part of your dissertation, essay or compelling draft for your paper instantly becomes daunting task.

A research summary requires you to synthesize a complex research paper into an informative, self-explanatory snapshot. It needs to portray what your article contains. Thus, writing it often comes at the end of the task list.

Regardless of when you’re planning to write, it is no less of a challenge, particularly if you’re doing it for the first time. This blog will take you through everything you need to know about research summary so that you have an easier time with it.

How to write a research summary

What is a Research Summary?

A research summary is the part of your research paper that describes its findings to the audience in a brief yet concise manner. A well-curated research summary represents you and your knowledge about the information written in the research paper.

While writing a quality research summary, you need to discover and identify the significant points in the research and condense it in a more straightforward form. A research summary is like a doorway that provides access to the structure of a research paper's sections.

Since the purpose of a summary is to give an overview of the topic, methodology, and conclusions employed in a paper, it requires an objective approach. No analysis or criticism.

Research summary or Abstract. What’s the Difference?

They’re both brief, concise, and give an overview of an aspect of the research paper. So, it’s easy to understand why many new researchers get the two confused. However, a research summary and abstract are two very different things with individual purpose. To start with, a research summary is written at the end while the abstract comes at the beginning of a research paper.

A research summary captures the essence of the paper at the end of your document. It focuses on your topic, methods, and findings. More like a TL;DR, if you will. An abstract, on the other hand, is a description of what your research paper is about. It tells your reader what your topic or hypothesis is, and sets a context around why you have embarked on your research.

Getting Started with a Research Summary

Before you start writing, you need to get insights into your research’s content, style, and organization. There are three fundamental areas of a research summary that you should focus on.

  • While deciding the contents of your research summary, you must include a section on its importance as a whole, the techniques, and the tools that were used to formulate the conclusion. Additionally, there needs to be a short but thorough explanation of how the findings of the research paper have a significance.
  • To keep the summary well-organized, try to cover the various sections of the research paper in separate paragraphs. Besides, how the idea of particular factual research came up first must be explained in a separate paragraph.
  • As a general practice worldwide, research summaries are restricted to 300-400 words. However, if you have chosen a lengthy research paper, try not to exceed the word limit of 10% of the entire research paper.

How to Structure Your Research Summary

The research summary is nothing but a concise form of the entire research paper. Therefore, the structure of a summary stays the same as the paper. So, include all the section titles and write a little about them. The structural elements that a research summary must consist of are:

It represents the topic of the research. Try to phrase it so that it includes the key findings or conclusion of the task.

The abstract gives a context of the research paper. Unlike the abstract at the beginning of a paper, the abstract here, should be very short since you’ll be working with a limited word count.

Introduction

This is the most crucial section of a research summary as it helps readers get familiarized with the topic. You should include the definition of your topic, the current state of the investigation, and practical relevance in this part. Additionally, you should present the problem statement, investigative measures, and any hypothesis in this section.

Methodology

This section provides details about the methodology and the methods adopted to conduct the study. You should write a brief description of the surveys, sampling, type of experiments, statistical analysis, and the rationality behind choosing those particular methods.

Create a list of evidence obtained from the various experiments with a primary analysis, conclusions, and interpretations made upon that. In the paper research paper, you will find the results section as the most detailed and lengthy part. Therefore, you must pick up the key elements and wisely decide which elements are worth including and which are worth skipping.

This is where you present the interpretation of results in the context of their application. Discussion usually covers results, inferences, and theoretical models explaining the obtained values, key strengths, and limitations. All of these are vital elements that you must include in the summary.

Most research papers merge conclusion with discussions. However, depending upon the instructions, you may have to prepare this as a separate section in your research summary. Usually, conclusion revisits the hypothesis and provides the details about the validation or denial about the arguments made in the research paper, based upon how convincing the results were obtained.

The structure of a research summary closely resembles the anatomy of a scholarly article . Additionally, you should keep your research and references limited to authentic and  scholarly sources only.

Tips for Writing a Research Summary

The core concept behind undertaking a research summary is to present a simple and clear understanding of your research paper to the reader. The biggest hurdle while doing that is the number of words you have at your disposal. So, follow the steps below to write a research summary that sticks.

1. Read the parent paper thoroughly

You should go through the research paper thoroughly multiple times to ensure that you have a complete understanding of its contents. A 3-stage reading process helps.

a. Scan: In the first read, go through it to get an understanding of its basic concept and methodologies.

b. Read: For the second step, read the article attentively by going through each section, highlighting the key elements, and subsequently listing the topics that you will include in your research summary.

c. Skim: Flip through the article a few more times to study the interpretation of various experimental results, statistical analysis, and application in different contexts.

Sincerely go through different headings and subheadings as it will allow you to understand the underlying concept of each section. You can try reading the introduction and conclusion simultaneously to understand the motive of the task and how obtained results stay fit to the expected outcome.

2. Identify the key elements in different sections

While exploring different sections of an article, you can try finding answers to simple what, why, and how. Below are a few pointers to give you an idea:

  • What is the research question and how is it addressed?
  • Is there a hypothesis in the introductory part?
  • What type of methods are being adopted?
  • What is the sample size for data collection and how is it being analyzed?
  • What are the most vital findings?
  • Do the results support the hypothesis?

Discussion/Conclusion

  • What is the final solution to the problem statement?
  • What is the explanation for the obtained results?
  • What is the drawn inference?
  • What are the various limitations of the study?

3. Prepare the first draft

Now that you’ve listed the key points that the paper tries to demonstrate, you can start writing the summary following the standard structure of a research summary. Just make sure you’re not writing statements from the parent research paper verbatim.

Instead, try writing down each section in your own words. This will not only help in avoiding plagiarism but will also show your complete understanding of the subject. Alternatively, you can use a summarizing tool (AI-based summary generators) to shorten the content or summarize the content without disrupting the actual meaning of the article.

SciSpace Copilot is one such helpful feature! You can easily upload your research paper and ask Copilot to summarize it. You will get an AI-generated, condensed research summary. SciSpace Copilot also enables you to highlight text, clip math and tables, and ask any question relevant to the research paper; it will give you instant answers with deeper context of the article..

4. Include visuals

One of the best ways to summarize and consolidate a research paper is to provide visuals like graphs, charts, pie diagrams, etc.. Visuals make getting across the facts, the past trends, and the probabilistic figures around a concept much more engaging.

5. Double check for plagiarism

It can be very tempting to copy-paste a few statements or the entire paragraphs depending upon the clarity of those sections. But it’s best to stay away from the practice. Even paraphrasing should be done with utmost care and attention.

Also: QuillBot vs SciSpace: Choose the best AI-paraphrasing tool

6. Religiously follow the word count limit

You need to have strict control while writing different sections of a research summary. In many cases, it has been observed that the research summary and the parent research paper become the same length. If that happens, it can lead to discrediting of your efforts and research summary itself. Whatever the standard word limit has been imposed, you must observe that carefully.

7. Proofread your research summary multiple times

The process of writing the research summary can be exhausting and tiring. However, you shouldn’t allow this to become a reason to skip checking your academic writing several times for mistakes like misspellings, grammar, wordiness, and formatting issues. Proofread and edit until you think your research summary can stand out from the others, provided it is drafted perfectly on both technicality and comprehension parameters. You can also seek assistance from editing and proofreading services , and other free tools that help you keep these annoying grammatical errors at bay.

8. Watch while you write

Keep a keen observation of your writing style. You should use the words very precisely, and in any situation, it should not represent your personal opinions on the topic. You should write the entire research summary in utmost impersonal, precise, factually correct, and evidence-based writing.

9. Ask a friend/colleague to help

Once you are done with the final copy of your research summary, you must ask a friend or colleague to read it. You must test whether your friend or colleague could grasp everything without referring to the parent paper. This will help you in ensuring the clarity of the article.

Once you become familiar with the research paper summary concept and understand how to apply the tips discussed above in your current task, summarizing a research summary won’t be that challenging. While traversing the different stages of your academic career, you will face different scenarios where you may have to create several research summaries.

In such cases, you just need to look for answers to simple questions like “Why this study is necessary,” “what were the methods,” “who were the participants,” “what conclusions were drawn from the research,” and “how it is relevant to the wider world.” Once you find out the answers to these questions, you can easily create a good research summary following the standard structure and a precise writing style.

how to summarize a scientific article example

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  • Exercise type: Discussion
  • Topic: Science & Society
  • Category: Literacy Practices

How to write a summary

  • Download Student Worksheet

Directions for teachers:

Discuss Begin by introducing your students to the concept of summarizing. Merriam-Webster defines a summary as “a short restatement of the main points (as of an argument) for easier remembering, for better understanding or for showing the relation of points.” Class assignments often ask students to summarize, but students also summarize in conversations with friends and family members.

Divide your students into pairs or small groups and ask them to use the following prompts to think about when and how they summarize information.

1. When do you summarize or interact with summaries from others? Be sure to consider examples outside of class assignments.

2. For each of the scenarios you described above, what is the goal of the summary? How does the goal affect the information included in the summary?

3. For each of the scenarios described above, who is the summary for? How does the information included in a summary depend on the audience?

4. How might your goal or audience affect the length of your summary and the language you choose to use?

5. When you’ve encountered complex information in the past (in a story, presentation or conversation), what techniques have helped you turn that info into a summary?

Read and take notes Ask each pair or small group to choose one of the Science News ’ Top 10 articles of the year to read. Make sure students know that they will have to summarize the article after reading. You can ask students to identify a note-taking technique in advance and/or encourage them to identify the following key points as they read. If time is available, consider having students answer the associated comprehension questions  to aid in understanding.

Key points to look for

As you read an article, identify the following:

  • The main point and any details that support the main point
  • A secondary idea and any supporting details
  • The who, what, where when, how and why of the article
  • Important events and the timeline of those events
  • Problems and their resolutions
  • Any caveats or counterpoints to the main or secondary ideas
  • Any questions that come up along the way or remain unanswered at the end

Brainstorm and outline Before students write their summaries individually, ask them to consider the prompts that follow.

1. What is the goal of your summary?

2. Who is your audience?

3. Given your goal and audience, how long should your summary be?

4. What was the main point of the article? That should be the start of your summary.

5. Given the length you’ve chosen, what information can you include and what must you leave out? Refer back to your notes to identify the most important information to include.

Write and review Students should now write their summaries. After writing the summary, students should review the summary they’ve written using the prompts that follow. Then, students can revise the summary based on the answers.

1. Have I been brief?

2. Have I restated the essential information without repeating the exact words and phrases used in the original article — or, have I “used my own words”?

3. Have I missed any key points that I identified under the “Read and take notes” header that should be included?

4. What specific facts have I used from the original article? Have I incorporated those facts correctly?

5. Have I attributed information where necessary?

Share and reflect Now have students read their summaries aloud in their small groups and answer the following prompts.

1. How were the summaries similar? Was there information that every group member thought was essential?

2. How were they different? What did some group members choose to leave out that others included? Why?

3. Could your summary be improved? What would you change about your summary after hearing other summaries?

4. How might you write your summary differently if you had chosen a different audience and/or goal?

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How to Summarize an Article

Last Updated: February 23, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Richard Perkins and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Richard Perkins is a Writing Coach, Academic English Coordinator, and the Founder of PLC Learning Center. With over 24 years of education experience, he gives teachers tools to teach writing to students and works with elementary to university level students to become proficient, confident writers. Richard is a fellow at the National Writing Project. As a teacher leader and consultant at California State University Long Beach's Global Education Project, Mr. Perkins creates and presents teacher workshops that integrate the U.N.'s 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the K-12 curriculum. He holds a BA in Communications and TV from The University of Southern California and an MEd from California State University Dominguez Hills. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 738,819 times.

You might summarize an article as part of an assignment or to better understand the author’s ideas. An article summary provides an overview of the author’s thesis, purpose, and main ideas. Before you start your summary, read the article several times and make notes in the margins. Then, write a first draft that summarizes the article effectively. Finally, get feedback on your article and make revisions to finalize it.

Reading the Article

  • If you have any questions, ask your instructor to get clarification.

Step 2 Scan the article to identify the main points.

  • Highlight or underline the thesis, research question, or purpose.
  • Mark the supporting points.
  • Highlight the section headings.
  • Note the method of study, if there is one.
  • Highlight the findings, conclusions, or results.

Step 3 Read the article 2-3 times to ensure you understand it.

  • If possible, read it aloud to help you process the information.
  • Reading the article several times will help you get a better understanding of the ideas. It’s difficult to fully understand an article on a first reading.

Step 4 Write notes in...

  • It’s okay to write short phrases and fragments rather than full sentences.

Tip: Making notes in your own words will help you avoid plagiarism once you sit down to write your summary.

Step 5 Write 1-sentence summaries of each section of the article.

  • You might write, “Lopez asserts that homework helps students retain more knowledge based on exam scores and self-reporting.”

Drafting a Summary

Step 1 Begin the introduction with an overview of the author and the article.

  • You might say, “Inez Lopez is a former high school educator who now teaches curriculum planning as a researching professor. Her article entitled “Homework Smarts: Why Kids Need Homework” discusses why students benefit from regular homework assignments. Lopez also differentiates between effective homework and busywork, which helps educators change their lessons for the better.”

Step 2 End the introduction with your thesis about the article’s main ideas.

  • For instance, you’d write, “Lopez argues homework is necessary to support in-class instruction because students retain more information, the class covers more curriculum, and students get more one-on-one attention in class.”

Step 3 Summarize each main point in a sentence for a short summary.

  • A short summary is 1 page or shorter. For a short summary, you’ll write either 1 long paragraph or an introduction, a body paragraph, and a conclusion.
  • Write, “According to Lopez, students who complete homework assignments for their core classes perform better academically.”

Tip: Summaries are usually about 1/3 of the length of the original article. You’ll only write a short summary if your original article was no longer than 3 pages long.

Step 4 Discuss each point in a body paragraph for a longer summary.

  • If your summary is longer than 1 page, it’s considered a longer summary.
  • You might write, “In her study, Lopez compared 2 different classrooms at the same high school, one that had homework and one that didn’t. Lopez asserts that students who completed homework assignments performed better academically.”

Step 5 Provide 2-3 supporting examples for each of the main points.

  • You might write, “To support her claims, Lopez explains that students who did their homework scored 40% higher on exams, participated in class at a higher rate than students who weren’t assigned homework, and completed academic units 30% faster than classes that didn’t do homework.”

Step 6 Explain the research methods if the author used any.

  • For instance, you’d write, “In her research, Lopez studied two classes at the same high school. Both classes had a similar demographic and socioeconomic makeup and were provided the same academic supports. The control classroom did not receive homework, while the experimental classroom did. Lopez tracked the students’ homework completion rate, assignment scores, class participation, and progress through the curricula. Additionally, she conducted short student surveys after each exam.”

Step 7 Describe the results and conclusions if the article is about research.

  • You could write, “Lopez collected data such as student scores, number of incidences of class participation, and rate of lesson progression. Additionally, she asked students to rate their confidence, understanding of the material, and readiness to move on to the next unit on a survey after each exam. Based on her data, Lopez concluded that students progress as much as 30% faster if they complete daily homework assignments. To improve academic performance, Lopez recommends that teachers in core subjects assign homework every night.”

Step 8 Conclude your summary by restating the thesis and its significance.

  • Write something like, “According to Lopez, students are able to retain information and progress rapidly if they’re required to do homework. Her work provides teachers with a tool to promote academic success and advice on how to use homework effectively to help students.”

Making Your Summary Effective

Step 1 Make sure your summary is about 1/3 of the length of the article.

  • Your summary doesn’t need to be exact in length. As long as it’s about 1/3 of the article’s length, it should be sufficient.

Variation: If your assignment sheet lists a different length, always do as your instructor asks. For instance, your instructor might give you a word count goal of 1,500 words. If this is the case, follow their instructions.

Step 2 Use author tags to attribute the ideas to the original author.

  • You’d write, "Lopez believes," "Lopez finds that," and "Lopez argues." It’s also okay to use pronouns. You might write, “She goes on to say,” “She further asserts,” or “She refutes this idea.”

Step 3 Avoid using direct quotations because they aren’t in your words.

Warning: Copying phrases or sentences from the original article is plagiarism. If you’re summarizing the article as part of an assignment, you will likely lose credit if you don’t restate the ideas in your own words.

Finalizing Your Summary

Step 1 Ask someone to read your paper and provide feedback.

  • For instance, ask your classmate, a writing tutor, or your teacher to give you feedback.

Step 2 Compare your summary to the assignment requirements.

  • You may want to do several rounds of revisions depending on the purpose of your assignment. If you’re writing this summary for a grade, make sure your final product is your best work.

Step 4 Proofread your summary to make sure it’s free of errors.

  • Ask someone else to proofread your paper for you if you can. Then, make changes if they spot any errors.

Step 5 Check the summary against the article to make sure it’s accurate.

  • Don’t include any of your own ideas, analysis, or opinions in a summary. Focus solely on the original author’s ideas.

Expert Q&A

Richard Perkins

  • Make sure you follow all of your instructor’s directions so you get full credit. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to summarize a scientific article example

  • Make sure you put all of the author’s ideas in your own words so you don’t accidentally plagiarize. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

Sample Summaries

how to summarize a scientific article example

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Write

  • ↑ https://libguides.randolph.edu/summaries
  • ↑ Richard Perkins. Writing Coach & Academic English Coordinator. Expert Interview. 1 September 2021.
  • ↑ https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/how-to-summarize-an-article-the-smart-way/
  • ↑ https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-write-university/how-approach-any-assignment/writing-article-summaries
  • ↑ https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/introduction-structure/
  • ↑ https://otis.libguides.com/mla_citations/in-text
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html

About This Article

Richard Perkins

To summarize an article, start by introducing the article title and the author’s full name so the reader knows what you’re referring to. Then, give a brief overview and explanation of the topic of the article, which will either be the author’s argument or the main premise of their research. Next, outline the points they use to back up their research, but avoid direct quotations to keep your summary brief. Finally, state the author’s conclusions before going back to make sure everything you stated in your summary matches up with the original article. For tips on how to use author tags to avoid plagiarizing in a summary, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples

Published on 25 September 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 12 May 2023.

Summarising , or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.

There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:

  • Read the text
  • Break it down into sections
  • Identify the key points in each section
  • Write the summary
  • Check the summary against the article

Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or analysing the source. You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).

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Table of contents

When to write a summary, step 1: read the text, step 2: break the text down into sections, step 3: identify the key points in each section, step 4: write the summary, step 5: check the summary against the article, frequently asked questions.

There are many situations in which you might have to summarise an article or other source:

  • As a stand-alone assignment to show you’ve understood the material
  • To keep notes that will help you remember what you’ve read
  • To give an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review

When you’re writing an academic text like an essay , research paper , or dissertation , you’ll integrate sources in a variety of ways. You might use a brief quote to support your point, or paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.

But it’s often appropriate to summarize a whole article or chapter if it is especially relevant to your own research, or to provide an overview of a source before you analyse or critique it.

In any case, the goal of summarising is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source. Follow the five steps outlined below to write a good summary.

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how to summarize a scientific article example

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You should read the article more than once to make sure you’ve thoroughly understood it. It’s often effective to read in three stages:

  • Scan the article quickly to get a sense of its topic and overall shape.
  • Read the article carefully, highlighting important points and taking notes as you read.
  • Skim the article again to confirm you’ve understood the key points, and reread any particularly important or difficult passages.

There are some tricks you can use to identify the key points as you read:

  • Start by reading the abstract . This already contains the author’s own summary of their work, and it tells you what to expect from the article.
  • Pay attention to headings and subheadings . These should give you a good sense of what each part is about.
  • Read the introduction and the conclusion together and compare them: What did the author set out to do, and what was the outcome?

To make the text more manageable and understand its sub-points, break it down into smaller sections.

If the text is a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organised into clearly marked sections, usually including an introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

Other types of articles may not be explicitly divided into sections. But most articles and essays will be structured around a series of sub-points or themes.

Now it’s time go through each section and pick out its most important points. What does your reader need to know to understand the overall argument or conclusion of the article?

Keep in mind that a summary does not involve paraphrasing every single paragraph of the article. Your goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything that can be considered background information or supplementary detail.

In a scientific article, there are some easy questions you can ask to identify the key points in each part.

If the article takes a different form, you might have to think more carefully about what points are most important for the reader to understand its argument.

In that case, pay particular attention to the thesis statement —the central claim that the author wants us to accept, which usually appears in the introduction—and the topic sentences that signal the main idea of each paragraph.

Now that you know the key points that the article aims to communicate, you need to put them in your own words.

To avoid plagiarism and show you’ve understood the article, it’s essential to properly paraphrase the author’s ideas. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, not even just a sentence or two.

The best way to do this is to put the article aside and write out your own understanding of the author’s key points.

Examples of article summaries

Let’s take a look at an example. Below, we summarise this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.

An article summary like the above would be appropriate for a stand-alone summary assignment. However, you’ll often want to give an even more concise summary of an article.

For example, in a literature review or research paper, you may want to briefly summarize this study as part of a wider discussion of various sources. In this case, we can boil our summary down even further to include only the most relevant information.

Citing the source you’re summarizing

When including a summary as part of a larger text, it’s essential to properly cite the source you’re summarizing. The exact format depends on your citation style , but it usually includes an in-text citation and a full reference at the end of your paper.

You can easily create your citations and references in APA or MLA using our free citation generators.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

Finally, read through the article once more to ensure that:

  • You’ve accurately represented the author’s work
  • You haven’t missed any essential information
  • The phrasing is not too similar to any sentences in the original.

If you’re summarising many articles as part of your own work, it may be a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to double-check that your text is completely original and properly cited. Just be sure to use one that’s safe and reliable.

A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words.

Save yourself some time with the free summariser.

A summary is always much shorter than the original text. The length of a summary can range from just a few sentences to several paragraphs; it depends on the length of the article you’re summarising, and on the purpose of the summary.

With the summariser tool you can easily adjust the length of your summary.

You might have to write a summary of a source:

  • As a stand-alone assignment to prove you understand the material
  • For your own use, to keep notes on your reading
  • To provide an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
  • In a paper , to summarise or introduce a relevant study

To avoid plagiarism when summarising an article or other source, follow these two rules:

  • Write the summary entirely in your own words by   paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
  • Reference the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.

An abstract concisely explains all the key points of an academic text such as a thesis , dissertation or journal article. It should summarise the whole text, not just introduce it.

An abstract is a type of summary , but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing . For example, you might summarise a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, May 12). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 22 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/how-to-write-a-summary/

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BIO 101 - Finding, Reading, Summarizing, Critiquing, and Citing Scientific Research Articles

  • Finding Science Research Articles
  • What's Peer Reviewed?

Resources for Summarizing

Resources for critiquing.

A Summary is a shortened version of the main points of the article, in your own words. A summary is factual, not an opinion or interpretation.

  • How to Summarize a Research Article from UConn (PDF) The process of writing a summary of an article
  • Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quoting from the Harvard Guide to Using Sources Examples of the difference between summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting
  • How to summarize a research article (PDF) Handout from University of the Frasier Valley writing center

A Critique (or Review) is a judgment about how good the article is according to some standard criteria. It can include interpretation and comparison but it's not a reflection or emotional reaction to the article.

  • How to critique a journal article from the University of Illinois at Springfield (PDF) Questions to answer in a critique
  • How to Read and Review a Scientific Article from Duke University (PDF) First summarize, then critique
  • Checklist for critiquing an article (Word file) A list of things to cover in a critique
  • A Rough Guide to Bad Science Printable infographic style guide to bad science and bad science writing
  • Rough Guide to Types of Scientific Evidence A printable infographic style guide to types of science studies and their relative strength
  • << Previous: What's Peer Reviewed?
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  • v.7(5); 2012 Oct

HOW TO WRITE A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE

Barbara j. hoogenboom.

1 Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Robert C. Manske

2 University of Wichita, Wichita, KS, USA

Successful production of a written product for submission to a peer‐reviewed scientific journal requires substantial effort. Such an effort can be maximized by following a few simple suggestions when composing/creating the product for submission. By following some suggested guidelines and avoiding common errors, the process can be streamlined and success realized for even beginning/novice authors as they negotiate the publication process. The purpose of this invited commentary is to offer practical suggestions for achieving success when writing and submitting manuscripts to The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and other professional journals.

INTRODUCTION

“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking” Albert Einstein

Conducting scientific and clinical research is only the beginning of the scholarship of discovery. In order for the results of research to be accessible to other professionals and have a potential effect on the greater scientific community, it must be written and published. Most clinical and scientific discovery is published in peer‐reviewed journals, which are those that utilize a process by which an author's peers, or experts in the content area, evaluate the manuscript. Following this review the manuscript is recommended for publication, revision or rejection. It is the rigor of this review process that makes scientific journals the primary source of new information that impacts clinical decision‐making and practice. 1 , 2

The task of writing a scientific paper and submitting it to a journal for publication is a time‐consuming and often daunting task. 3 , 4 Barriers to effective writing include lack of experience, poor writing habits, writing anxiety, unfamiliarity with the requirements of scholarly writing, lack of confidence in writing ability, fear of failure, and resistance to feedback. 5 However, the very process of writing can be a helpful tool for promoting the process of scientific thinking, 6 , 7 and effective writing skills allow professionals to participate in broader scientific conversations. Furthermore, peer review manuscript publication systems requiring these technical writing skills can be developed and improved with practice. 8 Having an understanding of the process and structure used to produce a peer‐reviewed publication will surely improve the likelihood that a submitted manuscript will result in a successful publication.

Clear communication of the findings of research is essential to the growth and development of science 3 and professional practice. The culmination of the publication process provides not only satisfaction for the researcher and protection of intellectual property, but also the important function of dissemination of research results, new ideas, and alternate thought; which ultimately facilitates scholarly discourse. In short, publication of scientific papers is one way to advance evidence‐based practice in many disciplines, including sports physical therapy. Failure to publish important findings significantly diminishes the potential impact that those findings may have on clinical practice. 9

BASICS OF MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION & GENERAL WRITING TIPS

To begin it might be interesting to learn why reviewers accept manuscripts! Reviewers consider the following five criteria to be the most important in decisions about whether to accept manuscripts for publication: 1) the importance, timeliness, relevance, and prevalence of the problem addressed; 2) the quality of the writing style (i.e., that it is well‐written, clear, straightforward, easy to follow, and logical); 3) the study design applied (i.e., that the design was appropriate, rigorous, and comprehensive); 4) the degree to which the literature review was thoughtful, focused, and up‐to‐date; and 5) the use of a sufficiently large sample. 10 For these statements to be true there are also reasons that reviewers reject manuscripts. The following are the top five reasons for rejecting papers: 1) inappropriate, incomplete, or insufficiently described statistics; 2) over‐interpretation of results; 3) use of inappropriate, suboptimal, or insufficiently described populations or instruments; 4) small or biased samples; and 5) text that is poorly written or difficult to follow. 10 , 11 With these reasons for acceptance or rejection in mind, it is time to review basics and general writing tips to be used when performing manuscript preparation.

“Begin with the end in mind” . When you begin writing about your research, begin with a specific target journal in mind. 12 Every scientific journal should have specific lists of manuscript categories that are preferred for their readership. The IJSPT seeks to provide readership with current information to enhance the practice of sports physical therapy. Therefore the manuscript categories accepted by IJSPT include: Original research; Systematic reviews of literature; Clinical commentary and Current concept reviews; Case reports; Clinical suggestions and unique practice techniques; and Technical notes. Once a decision has been made to write a manuscript, compose an outline that complies with the requirements of the target submission journal and has each of the suggested sections. This means carefully checking the submission criteria and preparing your paper in the exact format of the journal to which you intend to submit. Be thoughtful about the distinction between content (what you are reporting) and structure (where it goes in the manuscript). Poor placement of content confuses the reader (reviewer) and may cause misinterpretation of content. 3 , 5

It may be helpful to follow the IMRaD format for writing scientific manuscripts. This acronym stands for the sections contained within the article: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each of these areas of the manuscript will be addressed in this commentary.

Many accomplished authors write their results first, followed by an introduction and discussion, in an attempt to “stay true” to their results and not stray into additional areas. Typically the last two portions to be written are the conclusion and the abstract.

The ability to accurately describe ideas, protocols/procedures, and outcomes are the pillars of scientific writing . Accurate and clear expression of your thoughts and research information should be the primary goal of scientific writing. 12 Remember that accuracy and clarity are even more important when trying to get complicated ideas across. Contain your literature review, ideas, and discussions to your topic, theme, model, review, commentary, or case. Avoid vague terminology and too much prose. Use short rather than long sentences. If jargon has to be utilized keep it to a minimum and explain the terms you do use clearly. 13

Write with a measure of formality, using scientific language and avoiding conjunctions, slang, and discipline or regionally specific nomenclature or terms (e.g. exercise nicknames). For example, replace the term “Monster walks” with “closed‐chain hip abduction with elastic resistance around the thighs”. You may later refer to the exercise as “also known as Monster walks” if you desire.

Avoid first person language and instead write using third person language. Some journals do not ascribe to this requirement, and allow first person references, however, IJSPT prefers use of third person. For example, replace “We determined that…” with “The authors determined that….”.

For novice writers, it is really helpful to seek a reading mentor that will help you pre‐read your submission. Problems such as improper use of grammar, tense, and spelling are often a cause of rejection by reviewers. Despite the content of the study these easily fixed errors suggest that the authors created the manuscript with less thought leading reviewers to think that the manuscript may also potentially have erroneous findings as well. A review from a second set of trained eyes will often catch these errors missed by the original authors. If English is not your first language, the editorial staff at IJSPT suggests that you consult with someone with the relevant expertise to give you guidance on English writing conventions, verb tense, and grammar. Excellent writing in English is hard, even for those of us for whom it is our first language!

Use figures and graphics to your advantage . ‐ Consider the use of graphic/figure representation of data and important procedures or exercises. Tables should be able to stand alone and be completely understandable at a quick glance. Understanding a table should not require careful review of the manuscript! Figures dramatically enhance the graphic appeal of a scientific paper. Many formats for graphic presentation are acceptable, including graphs, charts, tables, and pictures or videos. Photographs should be clear, free of clutter or extraneous background distractions and be taken with models wearing simple clothing. Color photographs are preferred. Digital figures (Scans or existing files as well as new photographs) must be at least 300dpi. All photographs should be provided as separate files (jpeg or tif preferred) and not be embedded in the paper. Quality and clarity of figures are essential for reproduction purposes and should be considered before taking images for the manuscript.

A video of an exercise or procedure speaks a thousand words. Please consider using short video clips as descriptive additions to your paper. They will be placed on the IJSPT website and accompany your paper. The video clips must be submitted in MPEG‐1, MPEG‐2, Quicktime (.mov), or Audio/Video Interface (.avi) formats. Maximum cumulative length of videos is 5 minutes. Each video segment may not exceed 50 MB, and each video clip must be saved as a separate file and clearly identified. Formulate descriptive figure/video and Table/chart/graph titles and place them on a figure legend document. Carefully consider placement of, naming of, and location of figures. It makes the job of the editors much easier!

Avoid Plagiarism and inadvertent lack of citations. Finally, use citations to your benefit. Cite frequently in order to avoid any plagiarism. The bottom line: If it is not your original idea, give credit where credit is due . When using direct quotations, provide not only the number of the citation, but the page where the quote was found. All citations should appear in text as a superscripted number followed by punctuation. It is the authors' responsibility to fully ensure all references are cited in completed form, in an accurate location. Please carefully follow the instructions for citations and check that all references in your reference list are cited in the paper and that all citations in the paper appear correctly in the reference list. Please go to IJSPT submission guidelines for full information on the format for citations.

Sometimes written as an afterthought, the abstract is of extreme importance as in many instances this section is what is initially previewed by readership to determine if the remainder of the article is worth reading. This is the authors opportunity to draw the reader into the study and entice them to read the rest of the article. The abstract is a summary of the article or study written in 3 rd person allowing the readers to get a quick glance of what the contents of the article include. Writing an abstract is rather challenging as being brief, accurate and concise are requisite. The headings and structure for an abstract are usually provided in the instructions for authors. In some instances, the abstract may change slightly pending content revisions required during the peer review process. Therefore it often works well to complete this portion of the manuscript last. Remember the abstract should be able to stand alone and should be as succinct as possible. 14

Introduction and Review of Literature

The introduction is one of the more difficult portions of the manuscript to write. Past studies are used to set the stage or provide the reader with information regarding the necessity of the represented project. For an introduction to work properly, the reader must feel that the research question is clear, concise, and worthy of study.

A competent introduction should include at least four key concepts: 1) significance of the topic, 2) the information gap in the available literature associated with the topic, 3) a literature review in support of the key questions, 4) subsequently developed purposes/objectives and hypotheses. 9

When constructing a review of the literature, be attentive to “sticking” or “staying true” to your topic at hand. Don't reach or include too broad of a literature review. For example, do not include extraneous information about performance or prevention if your research does not actually address those things. The literature review of a scientific paper is not an exhaustive review of all available knowledge in a given field of study. That type of thorough review should be left to review articles or textbook chapters. Throughout the introduction (and later in the discussion!) remind yourself that a paper, existing evidence, or results of a paper cannot draw conclusions, demonstrate, describe, or make judgments, only PEOPLE (authors) can. “The evidence demonstrates that” should be stated, “Smith and Jones, demonstrated that….”

Conclude your introduction with a solid statement of your purpose(s) and your hypothesis(es), as appropriate. The purpose and objectives should clearly relate to the information gap associated with the given manuscript topic discussed earlier in the introduction section. This may seem repetitive, but it actually is helpful to ensure the reader clearly sees the evolution, importance, and critical aspects of the study at hand See Table 1 for examples of well‐stated purposes.

Examples of well-stated purposes by submission type.

The methods section should clearly describe the specific design of the study and provide clear and concise description of the procedures that were performed. The purpose of sufficient detail in the methods section is so that an appropriately trained person would be able to replicate your experiments. 15 There should be complete transparency when describing the study. To assist in writing and manuscript preparation there are several checklists or guidelines that are available on the IJSPT website. The CONSORT guidelines can be used when developing and reporting a randomized controlled trial. 16 The STARD checklist was developed for designing a diagnostic accuracy study. 17 The PRISMA checklist was developed for use when performing a meta‐analyses or systematic review. 18 A clear methods section should contain the following information: 1) the population and equipment used in the study, 2) how the population and equipment were prepared and what was done during the study, 3) the protocol used, 4) the outcomes and how they were measured, 5) the methods used for data analysis. Initially a brief paragraph should explain the overall procedures and study design. Within this first paragraph there is generally a description of inclusion and exclusion criteria which help the reader understand the population used. Paragraphs that follow should describe in more detail the procedures followed for the study. A clear description of how data was gathered is also helpful. For example were data gathered prospectively or retrospectively? Who if anyone was blinded, and where and when was the actual data collected?

Although it is a good idea for the authors to have justification and a rationale for their procedures, these should be saved for inclusion into the discussion section, not to be discussed in the methods section. However, occasionally studies supporting components of the methods section such as reliability of tests, or validation of outcome measures may be included in the methods section.

The final portion of the methods section will include the statistical methods used to analyze the data. 19 This does not mean that the actual results should be discussed in the methods section, as they have an entire section of their own!

Most scientific journals support the need for all projects involving humans or animals to have up‐to‐date documentation of ethical approval. 20 The methods section should include a clear statement that the researchers have obtained approval from an appropriate institutional review board.

Results, Discussion, and Conclusions

In most journals the results section is separate from the discussion section. It is important that you clearly distinguish your results from your discussion. The results section should describe the results only. The discussion section should put those results into a broader context. Report your results neutrally, as you “found them”. Again, be thoughtful about content and structure. Think carefully about where content is placed in the overall structure of your paper. It is not appropriate to bring up additional results, not discussed in the results section, in the discussion. All results must first be described/presented and then discussed. Thus, the discussion should not simply be a repeat of the results section. Carefully discuss where your information is similar or different from other published evidence and why this might be so. What was different in methods or analysis, what was similar?

As previously stated, stick to your topic at hand, and do not overstretch your discussion! One of the major pitfalls in writing the discussion section is overstating the significance of your findings 4 or making very strong statements. For example, it is better to say: “Findings of the current study support….” or “these findings suggest…” than, “Findings of the current study prove that…” or “this means that….”. Maintain a sense of humbleness, as nothing is without question in the outcomes of any type of research, in any discipline! Use words like “possibly”, “likely” or “suggests” to soften findings. 12

Do not discuss extraneous ideas, concepts, or information not covered by your topic/paper/commentary. Be sure to carefully address all relevant results, not just the statistically significant ones or the ones that support your hypotheses. When you must resort to speculation or opinion, be certain to state that up front using phrases such as “we therefore speculate” or “in the authors' opinion”.

Remember, just as in the introduction and literature review, evidence or results cannot draw conclusions, just as previously stated, only people, scientists, researchers, and authors can!

Finish with a concise, 3‐5 sentence conclusion paragraph. This is not just a restatement of your results, rather is comprised of some final, summative statements that reflect the flow and outcomes of the entire paper. Do not include speculative statements or additional material; however, based upon your findings a statement about potential changes in clinical practice or future research opportunities can be provided here.

CONCLUSIONS

Writing for publication can be a challenging yet satisfying endeavor. The ability to examine, relate, and interlink evidence, as well as to provide a peer‐reviewed, disseminated product of your research labors can be rewarding. A few suggestions have been offered in this commentary that may assist the novice or the developing writer to attempt, polish, and perfect their approach to scholarly writing.

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. PDF Summary and Analysis of Scientific Research Articles

    1 of 5 Summary and Analysis of Scientific Research Articles Being able to summarize and analyze a research article is important not only for showing your professor that you have understood your assigned reading, but it also is the first step to learning how to write your own research papers and literature reviews.

  2. PDF How to Summarize a Research Article

    Scan the article first. If you try to read a new article from start to finish, you'll get bogged down in detail. Instead, use your knowledge of APA format to find the main points. Briefly look at each section to identify: • the research question and reason for the study (stated in the Introduction) •

  3. How to Write a Summary

    Table of contents When to write a summary Step 1: Read the text Step 2: Break the text down into sections Step 3: Identify the key points in each section Step 4: Write the summary Step 5: Check the summary against the article Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions about summarizing When to write a summary

  4. Writing Article Summaries

    For example, if you are summarizing Smith's article about the causes of the Bubonic plague in Europe, your summary should be about Smith's article: What does she want to find out about the plague? What evidence does she use? What is her argument? You are not writing a paper about the actual causes of Bubonic plague in Europe.

  5. How to Summarize a Journal Article (with Pictures)

    5. Scan the argument. Continue reading through the various segments of the journal article, highlighting main points discussed by the authors. Focus on key concepts and ideas that have been proposed, trying to connect them back to that main idea the authors have put forward in the beginning of the article.

  6. How to Write Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques

    Your summary should include: Introduction Give an overview of the article, including the title and the name of the author. Provide a thesis statement that states the main idea of the article. Body Paragraphs Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.

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    Read the paper in more depth. Annotate the paper, marking or underlining key points, important phrases, and major headings and subheadings. Jot down notes on the major points and explanations (these notes should be in your voice; avoid lifting exact sentences from the article, even when taking rough notes).

  8. Summarizing Scientific Articles

    1. Introduction Start with an overview of the article which includes the author's name and the title of the article. Include a sentence that states the main idea of the article. 2. Body Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. The number of paragraphs in your summary depends on the length of the original article.

  9. Finding and Summarizing Research Articles

    Example: Increased exercise resulted in diminished diabetes symptoms (Jones, 2009). Reference Citation Author's last name, A. A., & Author's last name, B.B. (year).Title of article. Title of Journal, volume (issue), page number - page number. https://doi.org/xxxxx Iscoe, K. E., & Riddell, M. C. (2011).

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    Oct 16, 2022 It's a common perception that writing a research summary is a quick and easy task. After all, how hard can jotting down 300 words be? But when you consider the weight those 300 words carry, writing a research summary as a part of your dissertation, essay or compelling draft for your paper instantly becomes daunting task.

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    Psychological Science, 17(5), 313-317. You will need a complete reference page for your article. This can be done in APA Style. You will need a copy of the first page of the PEER REVIEWED article you chose after the reference page. Print out the first page of the article and put it behind the reference page

  12. Writing a scientific article: A step-by-step guide for beginners

    We describe here the basic steps to follow in writing a scientific article. We outline the main sections that an average article should contain; the elements that should appear in these sections, and some pointers for making the overall result attractive and acceptable for publication. Previous Next Scientific publications Writing Research Article

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    1. When do you summarize or interact with summaries from others? Be sure to consider examples outside of class assignments. 2. For each of the scenarios you described above, what is the goal...

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    Microsoft Word - summarizing.doc. Summarizing a Research Article. Research articles use a standard format to clearly communicate information about an experiment. A research article usually has seven major sections: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, and References. Sometimes there are minor variations, such as a ...

  15. How to Summarize an Article (with Pictures)

    Summarize each main point in a sentence for a short summary. Re-read the 1-sentence summary you wrote in the article margins. Pull out the main point from that section, then write a sentence that summarizes what the author is saying. Do this for each section of the article. A short summary is 1 page or shorter.

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    Table of contents When to write a summary Step 1: Read the text Step 2: Break the text down into sections Step 3: Identify the key points in each section Step 4: Write the summary Step 5: Check the summary against the article Frequently asked questions When to write a summary

  17. PDF How to Read and Review a Scientific Journal Article: Writing Summaries

    Summaries and critiques are two ways to write a review of a scientific journal article. Both types of writing ask you first to read and understand an article from the primary literature about your topic. The summary involves briefly but accurately stating the key points of the article for a reader who has not read the original article.

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    journalistic writing style, for example, the fact that the most newsworthy information comes first; as a result, the first few sentences of a news article are good candidates for a summary (Brandow, Mitze, and Rau 1995; Lin and Hovy 1997). The structure of scientific articles does not reflect relevance this explicitly. Instead, the introduction

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    The power of the abstract. Abstracts are short summaries of scientific articles. Often, they count a maximum of 350 words. In these short summaries, you can find vital information. Usually, you will find out what the article is about, how the study was conducted, what was found, and what that means in a broader context.

  20. Summarizing and Critiquing

    The process of writing a summary of an article Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quoting from the Harvard Guide to Using Sources Examples of the difference between summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting

  21. HOW TO WRITE A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE

    Reviewers consider the following five criteria to be the most important in decisions about whether to accept manuscripts for publication: 1) the importance, timeliness, relevance, and prevalence of the problem addressed; 2) the quality of the writing style (i.e., that it is well‐written, clear, straightforward, easy to follow, and logical); 3) t...

  22. How to Summarize a Research Article Quickly Using TLDR This

    Learn how to use TLDR to get quick summaries generated for your research articles.Get the 30-day Research Jumpstart Guide: https://www.sciencegradschoolcoach...

  23. Examples of how to summarize an article

    Five key steps that can help you to write a summary. Read the text. Break it down into sections. Identify the key points in each section. Simplify the sentences. Step 1. Read the text. To ensure that you fully comprehend the material, read it more than once. Three levels of reading are frequently useful:

  24. Summarize With AI: A Comprehensive Guide

    AI summarization is useful whenever you need to summarize yourself. For example, when applying to jobs, employers often want you to give a résumé summary in the cover letter (even though the résumé is right there, but whatever . . .). Summarizing your résumé with AI can save you some time, especially if you need to write a few cover ...