how to write summary of an article sample

What you include in a summary depends on how the summary will be used.

Form and Function

As a writer, you decide what goes into your summary based on what the summary needs to do for your readers. If you write a summary to remind yourself about the content of an article you read as part of a large research project, you'll decide about how much detail to include in your summary based on the scope and focus of your research. If you write a summary to include as part of a review of literature, you'll shape the summary based on how much you believe your target readers know about your topic before they begin reading your review of literature. A summary can be as short as a single sentence (a précis or nutshell statement) or as long as 30% of the length of the original article you're summarizing (a detailed summary). Choosing among the options for a summary means thinking about what your readers need.

As an End in Itself

Most of the summaries that we write to remind ourselves of articles we've read serve only that purpose. For a short project or paper that uses only five to ten sources, a nutshell statement or précis for each source may suffice. For a longer project (more sources or extending over a long time), more detailed summaries help writers remember sources accurately.

Teachers may also assign summaries as ends in themselves when the articles are complex and teachers need to be sure that everyone understands the points in the assigned readings. Or teachers may assign summaries to help students practice writing accurately and concisely about the subject matter. Sometimes these summaries serve to introduce students to jargon or concepts particular to that discipline.

Finally, summaries are sometimes written as separate pieces of reference works. Typically called abstracts, these summaries help readers decide if they need/want to read an entire article.

Defining the Précis or Nutshell Statement

Our English word precise comes from the same root as the French word précis, and the nutshell statement or précis is a precise and concise restatement of the original article's main point. Typically only one or two sentences, the précis or nutshell doesn't aim to capture the details, supporting arguments, or types of proof a longer summary does. Instead, the précis boils down an article to its essential main point.

The précis can be a complicated sentence (or two), especially if the main point (otherwise known as the thesis or claim) of the original piece is complex. And a précis can be extremely difficult to write even though it is short because the writer must take great care to capture the complexity of the original main idea. If you write a précis or nutshell statement to summarize an article, be sure to spend enough time revising to make it both clear and accurate.

Example Article

Computers and Education in America

In the last decade, computers have invaded every aspect of education, from kindergarten through college. The figures show that schools have spent over two billion dollars installing two million new computers. Recently, with the explosive increase of sites on the Internet, computers have taken another dramatic rise. In just five years, the number of Internet hosts has skyrocketed from 2 million to nearly 20 million. It is not uncommon for 6th graders to surf the Net, design their own home pages, and e-mail their friends or strangers they have "met" on the Web. Computer literacy is a reality for many junior high students and most high school students.

In the midst of this technological explosion, we might well stop and ask some key questions. Is computer technology good or bad for education? Are students learning more or less? What, exactly, are they learning? And who stands to benefit from education's current infatuation with computers and the Internet?

In the debate over the virtues of computers in education, the technological optimists think that computers and the Internet are ushering us into the next literacy revolution, a change as profound as Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. In contrast, a much smaller but growing number of critics believe that cyberspace is not the ideal classroom. I agree with the critics. If you consider your own experience, you'll agree that the benefits of computer literacy are at best wildly overrated. At their worst, computers and the Internet pander to the short attention spans and the passive viewing habits of a young television generation.

The technological optimists sing a siren song of an enchanted new land where the educational benefits of computers and the Internet are boundless. First, they boast that children can now access information on every conceivable subject. If little Eva or little Johnny wants to learn about far-away cultures, they can access sites from their own homes that will teach them about the great languages and cultures of the world. Second, these starry-eyed optimists warble about how the Internet has created a truly democratic space, where all children--rich, poor, black, white, and brown--have equal access to information and education. Third, they claim that computers will allow students to have e-mail conversations with experts on any subject around the world. No longer will students be limited by their own classroom, their teacher, or their environment. Distance learning is the wave of the future, and classrooms will become obsolete or at least optional. In the words of John Sculley, former CEO of Apple Computer, the new technologies have created an "avalanche of personal creativity and achievement" and they have given students the "ability to explore, convey, and create knowledge as never before." Children who used to hate going to school will now love to learn to read and write, to do math and science. They will voluntarily spend hours learning on the Web instead of being bored to death by endless books and stodgy teachers.

Sound too good to be true? Let's examine these claims, one by one. First, promoters of computer learning are endlessly excited about the quantity of information available on the Internet. The reality, however, is quite a different story. If you've worked on the Internet, you know that finding and retrieving information from a Web site can sometimes be tedious and time consuming. And once you find a site, you have no idea whether the information will be valuable. Popular search engines such as Yahoo! are inefficient at finding relevant information, unless you just want to buy a book on or find a street map for Fargo, North Dakota. Information is definitely available on the Web, but the problem is finding relevant, reliable, and non-commercial information.

Next, the optimists claim that the Internet is truly a democratic space with equal access for everyone. Again, the reality falls short. First, access to an Internet provider at home costs over a hundred dollars a month, once you add up service and long distance fees. And then there's the technology barrier--not every person has the skills to navigate the Web in any but the most superficial way. Equal access is still only a theoretical dream, not a current reality.

Finally, computers do allow students to expand their learning beyond the classroom, but the distance learning is not a utopia. Some businesses, such as Hewlett Packard, do have mentoring programs with children in the schools, but those mentoring programs are not available to all students. Distance learning has always been a dream of administrators, eager to figure out a cheaper way to deliver education. They think that little Eva and Johnny are going to learn about Japanese culture or science or algebra in the evening when they could be talking with their friends on the phone or watching television. As education critic Neil Postman points out, these administrators are not imagining a new technology but a new kind of child: "In [the administrator's] vision, there is a confident and typical sense of unreality. Little Eva can't sleep, so she decides to learn a little algebra? Where does little Eva come from? Mars?" Only students from some distant planet would prefer to stick their nose in a computer rather than watch TV or go to school and be with their friends.

In addition to these drawbacks are other problems with computers in education. There is the nasty issue of pornography and the rampant commercialism on the Internet. Schools do not want to have their students spend time buying products or being exposed to pornography or pedophiles. Second, the very attractiveness of most Web sites, with their color graphics and ingenious links to other topics, promotes dabbling and skimming. The word "surfing" is appropriate, because most sites encourage only the most surface exploration of a topic. The Internet thus accentuates what are already bad habits for most students: Their short attention spans, their unwillingness to explore subjects in depth, their poor reading and evaluation skills. Computers also tend to isolate students, to turn them into computer geeks who think cyberspace is actually real. Some students have found they have a serious and addictive case of "Webaholism," where they spend hours and hours on the computer at the expense of their family and friends. Unfortunately, computers tend to separate, not socialize students. Finally, we need to think about who has the most to gain or lose from computers in the schools. Are administrators getting more students "taught" for less money? Are big companies training a force of computer worker bees to run their businesses? Will corporate CEO's use technology to isolate and control their employees?

In short, the much ballyhooed promise of computers for education has yet to be realized. Education critic Theodore Roszak has a warning for us as we face the brave new world of computer education:

Like all cults, this one has the intention of enlisting mindless allegiance and acquiescence. People who have no clear idea of what they mean by information or why they should want so much of it are nonetheless prepared to believe that we live in an Information Age, which makes every computer around us what the relics of the True Cross were in the Age of Faith: emblems of salvation.

I think if you examine your own experience with computers, you'll agree that the cult of computers is still an empty promise for most students. Computers, the Internet, and the Web will not magically educate students. It still must be done with reading, study, good teaching, and social interaction. Excellence in education can only be achieved the old fashioned way--students must earn it.

--Dudley Erskine Devlin

Example Précis

Devlin believes the benefits of computers in education claimed by the technological optimists are wildly overrated in that equal access on the Internet is not a reality; that finding relevant and reliable information is tedious and time-consuming; that distance learning assumes an unrealistic learner; and that pornography, commercialism, "surfing," and social isolation are not consistent with the goals of education.

As Part of a Response or Position Paper

Many teachers ask students to react in some way to an assigned reading. Typically, such writing assignments include a summary to show that writers understood the original reading. Writers may begin their response or position paper with the summary, or they might work summary into their response. In either case, the summary needs to be clear and distinctive from the response or reaction.

As Part of an Annotated Bibliography

After a citation or bibliography entry, a brief summary constitutes the annotation in an objective annotated bibliography. Typically less detailed and shorter than the detailed summary that might begin a response paper, a summary as annotation rarely includes any quoted material and instead concentrates on main ideas. The length of the annotation or summary depends on how readers will use the bibliography. If readers are looking for a nutshell statement to help them decide whether to read the article, then the briefest summary will usually suffice. If readers are hoping to learn about the range of articles written about a topic (so that they don't have to read the articles themselves), then annotations usually are longer and include more details from the article.

In a critical annotated bibliography, the annotation includes both the summary as well as one or two lines of analysis/judgment of the published work's worth for a given topic/line of argument.

Example Critical Annotated Bibliography Entry

Rosen, Jeffrey. "The end of obscenity." The New Republic July 1996: 6-7.

In this article, Rosen talks about the Internet and the overturn of the Communications Decency Act. He believes the Philadelphia judges who overturned this Act deserve credit for enumerating the possibility of one person corrupting cyberspace with obscenities, but they did not take into account that the public are the ones who decipher what is considered to be obscenity. This article appears in a professional publication that targets readers concerned with law and the government. This article is useful to our research because it has to do with language on the Internet and the censorship of it.

Example Objective Annotated Bibliography Entry

Jolly, Frank. "Helping Children Learn About TV." Journal of Communication 30.3 (1980): 84-93.

In this article, Jolly expresses dismay about the time consumed by television, especially when children watch "inselectively." He does admit that programming brings language into the home and does affect the growing child in positive ways as far as language is concerned. Jolly includes statistics and graphs, including a bar graph indicating the time spent watching TV by children at different socio-economic levels. The article appears in a professional journal and is written for an audience of teachers.

As Part of a Larger Paper

Summaries of various sorts fit into larger papers. We often see summaries as part of a review of literature that sets the context for the writer's research or position in a controversy. Sometimes writers use summaries of polarized arguments to show the range of points of view in a dispute. Even more often, summaries are frequently used as "proof" for an argument or your position, to explain a given idea or fact, or to show where the information you are using came from. This is why many writers compose summaries frequently as they are researching for a larger essay. Writing a complete summary of each essay/book you cover in your research is a good time-saver because you can simply "paste" the summary at an appropriate point in your draft or refer to it for a central quote or idea.

When you're using summaries for one of these purposes, be sure to think about what your readers already know about the topic. If your readers know relatively little on your topic, your summaries will almost certainly be longer and give readers more background information. If you believe that your readers know a good deal about your topic, you can probably set the context or prove your point with a précis or brief summary.

Example of Summary to Set Context in a Review of Literature

(Note how the writer uses the source "summary" to set up a theoretical explanation of reading and then extends that definition to her argument about hypertext.)

The prior knowledge readers have about reading can be called reading schemata. David Rumelhart (1980) defines schemata as "the building blocks of cognition" that are "employed in the process of interpreting sensory data (both linguistic and nonlinguistic), in retrieving information from memory, in organizing actions, in determining goals and subgoals, in allocating resources, and generally in guiding the flow of processing in the system" (p. 33-34). If reading conventions are schematic, then a hypertext reader, even one with little experience reading from a computer screen, brings prior knowledge about reading paper texts to the task of reading hypertexts. This prior knowledge can be adapted to the development of hypertext-reading schemata. Rumelhart calls the evolution of schema "tuning" (p. 53). If we watch, analyze, and learn how readers read hypertexts, then we may be able to facilitate an evolution of paper text reading schemata to hypertext reading schemata.

Rumelhart says that one kind of "tuning" schemata amounts to "replacing a constant portion of a schema with a variable one--that is, adding a new variable to a schema" (p. 53). One constant portion of a paper text navigation schema, for example, is that texts are fixed in a linear structure. When a reader sees sentences and paragraphs on a computer screen that look like text in a paper document, the reader may instantiate a linear text navigation schema. But when the reader realizes that there are no page numbers, and no pages as the reader knows them, then the constant, that documents are made up of pages in a linear sequence, is replaced with a variable that sentences and paragraphs can appear like they do on pages, but not necessarily on paper. If the reader "tunes" this portion of the linear text navigation schema, then the reader becomes open to developing hypertext navigation schemata.

Rumelhart, D.E. (1980). Schemata: The building blocks of cognition. In R. J. Spiro, B. C. Bruce, and W. F. Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension (pp. 38-58). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Concise Statement of the Main Idea

Authors sometimes state their main idea in a thesis that will jump out at readers, but not always. And even those authors who seem to state a main point early in an article may refine that main idea by the end of the article. Sometimes, authors make several points in one text, and they expect readers to understand how the points relate to each other. So deciding on the main point of an essay can be difficult, especially when the author doesn't make the thesis stand out clearly. Looking for the main point many times means putting sub-points together on your own and/or summarizing information in a different order than it is presented in the original article. The key is to use your own words to generalize about the entire article, rather than following the organization and/or wording exactly as the author has described it.

Citing the Author and Title

A summary should clearly note that the information being conveyed is not your own. To be clear about who originally wrote the material, always begin your summary with the author's name and the title of the piece (i.e., book, article, Web page, etc.). You can introduce the author and title in any of several ways:

  • According to author Mick Jagger in "Why My Lips are so Big," . . . (go on to main point).
  • Mick Jagger, famous lead singer for the Rolling Stones, in "Why My Lips are so Big" describes . . . (go on to main point).
  • An unfortunate childhood disease is the reason Mick Jagger provides for his readers in an article whose title reflects the question often asked of Jagger, "Why My Lips are so Big."

Even if you don't know the author, be sure to note the title at the beginning of your summary.

Details and Quotations

Once you have determined the main point and presented it for your reader, you need to note major supporting points if the author includes those. If not, look instead at the supporting detail that demonstrates to your reader how the original author makes his/her point. You do not need to summarize all the information an author provides; just show the key examples or details or outline the kinds of evidence the author uses. In other words, give your reader enough detail to illustrate the types of proof the author uses in the original article.

Documenting Sources

Even if your only purpose is to summarize a short article, you need to give your readers publication or copyright information about that article. Typically, any piece of writing that refers to another publication includes a "Works Cited" page or a "Bibliography." Quotations and/or paraphrases also need to be cited through footnotes, endnotes, or in-text documentation. The proper way to cite this information differs according to your audience.

Note: If you're writing a stand-alone summary of an essay from one of your textbooks, check with your teacher about whether you need to turn in a separate "Works Cited" page. Teachers will sometimes forego this formality when you're citing only a single source that is known to the whole class.

Style and Tone

Students often mistakenly assume that the style of a summary is unimportant. If the summary covers the main points, they think, then the summary is adequate. In fact, style and tone count heavily in summary. Most important, readers who look at a summary for the sole purpose of getting a quick glimpse of the article don't want to read extra words and phrases that don't further the meaning. So brevity counts! Moreover, readers want to be able to count on the summary for an accurate representation of the original piece. If the writer allows personal opinion to color word choice, then the tone of the summary can mislead readers.


Summaries should not include the opinion of the summary writer at all, not even in the smallest phrases or through biased word choices. Because we often use value-laden words without realizing it, we can easily misrepresent an author's view or color it with our own opinions. Especially when editing, watch for any value-laden words like these:

Compare the two student-written examples closely to see how easily opinion can slip through in a seemingly straightforward summary sentence.

Example Summaries

Non-objective summary : " Not surprisingly, the students did not like the test, for it showed their ignorance in a broad spectrum of topics.

Objective summary : The article reveals his opinion that students do not ask pertinent questions in an attempt to keep their ignorance concealed.

Both writers are summarizing the opinion of the author, but the first example does not attribute the thought to the author of the article. The highlighted sections allow the reader to infer that it is the summary writer's opinion that the students were ignorant and that the summary writer found this to be no surprise.

Using Author Tags

Even after you note the author and title at the beginning of your summary, readers can sometimes lose track of how much of your paper summarizes an article. When this happens, readers don't see the end of your summary and the beginning of your reaction or opinion. The best way to avoid this problem in an extended summary (or even one that includes only four to five sentences) is to repeat the author's name or appropriate pronouns. When you repeat the name, use verbs that underscore the author's purpose in writing the original article.

For example, Jaime O'Neill not only describes his classroom experiment in "No Allusions in the Classroom," but he also argues for "common knowledge." Look at the example summary again to see how many ways this student refers to O'Neill and describes O'Neill's writing.

Example Summary

Note: The author tags are underlined

Author Jaime O'Neill's article, "No Allusions in the Classroom," emphasizes the communication problem between teachers and students due to the students' lack of basic knowledge. The author supports this assertion by using a combination of personal experience, evidence obtained from recent polls, other professors' opinions, and the results of an experiment he conducted in his own classroom. The experiment O'Neill conducted was an ungraded eighty-six question "general knowledge" test issued to students on the first day of classes. On this test, "most students answered incorrectly far more often than they answered correctly." Incorrect answers included fallacies such as: "Darwin invented gravity" and "Leningrad was in Jamaica." Compounding the problem, students don't ask questions. This means that their teachers assume they know things that they do not. O'Neill shows the scope of this problem by showing that, according to their teachers, this seems to be a typical problem across the United States. O'Neill feels that common knowledge in a society is essential to communicate. Without this common knowledge, learning is made much more difficult because teacher and student do not have a common body of knowledge from which to draw. The author shows the deterioration of common knowledge through poll results, personal experience, other teachers' opinions, and his own experiment's results.

Jaime O'Neill, No Allusions in the Classroom, Newsweek , September 23, 1985.

Putting it All Together

Look at one more sample of a stand-alone detailed summary assigned to give students practice in the summary skills noted here as Key Issues. Look for a concise statement of the main idea, citation of the author and title, author tags throughout the summary, details and quotations to illustrate types of proof, and the style and tone. The sample is annotated with instructor’s comments.

Note: Comments are accessible at the bottom of the page.

John (Fire) Lame Deer, Richard Erdoes Summary of "Talking to the Owls and Butterflies"

John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes once had a discussion *Comment 1 about how they believed white men have made it difficult for themselves and Indians to "experience nature in the good way by being part of it" by creating a materialistic and unnatural society and way of life, but not necessarily without final hope. *Comment 2 Richard Erdoes wrote about their conversation in "Talking to the Owls and Butterflies," a request for the modern people of the world to sit down like the stones and trees, and "think and feel like animals."

John (Fire) Lame Deer believes that men have not only changed animals' living habits and attitudes, but they have also changed themselves by living such an organized life of career and habits, so that they are now trapped in the materialistic world that they put themselves in. "Watch the ashes, don't smoke, you'll stain the curtains. Watch the goldfish bowl, don't breath on the parakeet, don't lean your head against the wallpaper; your hair might be greasy. Don't spill liquor on the table; it has a delicate finish." *Comment 3 John (Fire) Lame Deer tells us of a reservation joke. "What is cultural deprivation? Answer: Being an upper-middle-class white kid living in a split level suburban home with a color TV." Americans have learned to sanitize everything, so that all nature has been taken out of it. This includes humans, food, and life. White men got rid of the man and woman smells, using perfumes and deodorant. White men have made food artificial, the taste and color. "Raw liver, raw kidney--that's what we old fashioned full bloods like to get our teeth into." Changing the food in this way results in bad nutrition; the Indians didn't need the vitamins and pills. He believes that white men do not enjoy the life in the open, the way he feels it should be. He gives us a vision in the beginning of the critique of how he believes life is supposed to be experienced. Let's have the grass for a mattress, experiencing it's sharpness and softness." "Talking to the Owls and Butterflies" speaks of how all life is sacred. "Men are spreading death" living in this world of materialistic, artificial trade. John *Comment 4 (Fire) Lame Deer says that white men do not want to experience the world, they don't want to hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it. He says that men are scared of the world they have created. The Indians of long ago didn't have heart trouble or cancer. All the illnesses they had, the medicine men had a cure for, but the white men destroyed their sweat lodges along with the cures. The men of the planet should not take it for granted, literally taking and not giving; selecting animals to die depending on the income they bring. The Indians use to apologize, explain, and pray to the spirits of the animals they killed. He wants modern men to experience nature, the earth, the weather, living beings and spirits the way that he and his people do.

John (Fire) Lame Deer feels that white men will soon come around, that they are at the end of their vicious materialistic and industrial circle. *Comment 5 Everything as it is now will end and men will soon live with the earth as Lame Deer illustrates. "The day is coming when nature will stop the electricity....There is a Light Man coming, to bring new light." Men will learn about the weather and about nature when they leave their houses and offices. Life will slow down, no more heart problems, just like the old Indians. Lame Deer believes men are moving back towards the natural part of life, living life as the Indians did. He believes that the original spirit and wisdom lies within each man, just like they see it in the animals of the wild. "Sometimes I feel like the first being in one of our Indian legends. This was a giant made of earth, water, the moon and the winds. He had timber for hair, a whole forest for trees. He had a huge lake in his stomach and a waterfall in his crotch." Each man is part of nature, is able to feel and live with nature, only if they let themselves be.

Bibliography Lame Deer, J., & Erdoes, R. (1998). "Talking to the Owls and Butterflies." In T. H. Crusius and C. E. Channell, The Aims of Argument: A Rhetoric and Reader , 2e; pp. 209-215. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

Comment 1: A good summary always includes the title and author. For this essay that involves a unique collaboration, the student has found a graceful way to explain that Lame Deer talked to Richard Erdoes who then wrote and edited the essay. Comment 2: This writer finds a successful way to capture the sense of the overall argument in the introduction to the rest of the summary. Comment 3: In an essay so dominated by details, each summary writer will choose those that best capture the "flavor" of the original. In this sample, the writer chooses to quote some details and paraphrase others but includes many of the details that make the original essay interesting to read. Comment 4: Notice that this writer uses Lame Deer's name as well as "he" and "his" as author tags. Many of the verbs the writer uses with his author tags reinforce the emotional element of Lame Deer's position. Comment 5: This writer uses a paragraph break in the summary to indicate the two main chunks of the original essay.

Processes for Standard Summaries

The descriptions that follow focus either primarily on reading or writing, although they both make reference to each other. Choose the one that best represents your own preferred way of writing: do you begin with reading and spend a lot of time with sources? If so, choose source analysis.

Or, do you begin writing as soon as possible, consistently revising? If so, choose writing.

Process For Finding Main Point

Deciding on the main point of an essay can be difficult, since authors frequently make several points in one text. While all the points made might be important to demonstrate why the author believes what he does, they can usually be subsumed into a more general point that the entire article makes. Looking for this more general point many times means putting sub-points together on your own and/or summarizing information in a different order than it is presented in the original article. The steps here help ensure that you find the main point rather than only the first point that the author makes.

Steps For Finding Main Point

  • Read the article through once.
  • Read again, listing all points made.
  • Look over the list for a more general purpose these points serve.
  • Write one sentence that summarizes this general purpose. (i.e., the "why anyone wrote this thing to begin with" line).
  • Check that purpose for accuracy by re-reading the article.
  • Revise summary statement accordingly.

Process For Summarizing Support

Once you have your one-sentence summary of the overall purpose and content of the article, it's time to concentrate on demonstrating to the reader the types of support and proof the author uses to make his/her point. You may be able to use your original notes for this information, but it's frequently useful to return to the text again with a different focus in mind. Your question this time is: how does she/he demonstrate his/her point?

Steps For Summarizing Support

  • Read through the article again, listing every example, quote, or argument the author uses.
  • Look through your list for commonalities or categories of proof. For example, does the author use several different types of statistical analyses or does she rely on other published sources?
  • Write a summary sentence that introduces all the different categories of proof.
  • Provide one or two representative examples from your list. Choose examples that are either the most common or the most persuasive.

LeCourt, Donna, Kate Kiefer, &Stephen Reid. (1996). Summaries. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University.

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Research Method

Home » Chapter Summary & Overview – Writing Guide and Examples

Chapter Summary & Overview – Writing Guide and Examples

Table of Contents

Chapter Summary

Chapter Summary

Chapter summary is a brief overview of the key points or events covered in a specific chapter of a book, academic paper, or other written work. It typically includes a concise description of the main ideas, arguments, or themes explored in the chapter, as well as any important supporting details or evidence .

Chapter summaries are often used as study aids, providing readers with a quick way to review and understand the content of a particular section of a longer work. They may also be included as part of a book’s table of contents or used as a promotional tool to entice potential readers.

How to Write Chapter Summary

Writing a chapter summary involves condensing the content of a chapter into a shorter, more concise form while still retaining its essential meaning. Here are some steps to help you write a chapter summary:

  • Read the chapter carefully: Before summarizing a chapter, it is important to read it thoroughly to ensure that you understand the main ideas and points being made.
  • Identify the main ideas: Identify the main ideas and arguments that the chapter is presenting. These may be explicit, or they may be implicit and require some interpretation on your part.
  • Make notes: Take notes while reading to help you keep track of the main ideas and arguments. Write down key phrases, important quotes, and any examples or evidence that support the main points.
  • Create an outline : Once you have identified the main ideas and arguments, create an outline for your summary. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you include all the important points.
  • Write the summary : Using your notes and outline, write a summary of the chapter. Start with a brief introduction that provides context for the chapter, then summarize the main ideas and arguments, and end with a conclusion that ties everything together.
  • Edit and revise: After you have written the summary, review it carefully to ensure that it is accurate and concise. Make any necessary edits or revisions to improve the clarity and readability of the summary.
  • Check for plagiarism : Finally, check your summary for plagiarism. Make sure that you have not copied any content directly from the chapter without proper citation.

Chapter Summary in Research Paper

In a Research Paper , a Chapter Summary is a brief description of the main points or findings covered in a particular chapter. The summary is typically included at the beginning or end of each chapter and serves as a guide for the reader to quickly understand the content of that chapter.

Here is an example of a chapter summary from a research paper on climate change:

Chapter 2: The Science of Climate Change

In this chapter, we provide an overview of the scientific consensus on climate change. We begin by discussing the greenhouse effect and the role of greenhouse gases in trapping heat in the atmosphere. We then review the evidence for climate change, including temperature records, sea level rise, and changes in the behavior of plants and animals. Finally, we examine the potential impacts of climate change on human society and the natural world. Overall, this chapter provides a foundation for understanding the scientific basis for climate change and the urgency of taking action to address this global challenge.

Chapter Summary in Thesis

In a Thesis , the Chapter Summary is a section that provides a brief overview of the main points covered in each chapter of the thesis. It is usually included at the beginning or end of each chapter and is intended to help the reader understand the key concepts and ideas presented in the chapter.

For example, in a thesis on computer science field, a chapter summary for a chapter on “Machine Learning Algorithms” might include:

Chapter 3: Machine Learning Algorithms

This chapter explores the use of machine learning algorithms in solving complex problems in computer science. We begin by discussing the basics of machine learning, including supervised and unsupervised learning, as well as different types of algorithms such as decision trees, neural networks, and support vector machines. We then present a case study on the application of machine learning algorithms in image recognition, demonstrating how these algorithms can improve accuracy and reduce error rates. Finally, we discuss the limitations and challenges of using machine learning algorithms, including issues of bias and overfitting. Overall, this chapter highlights the potential of machine learning algorithms to revolutionize the field of computer science and drive innovation in a wide range of industries.

Examples of Chapter Summary

Some Examples of Chapter Summary are as follows:

Research Title: “The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: A Review of the Literature”

Chapter Summary:

Chapter 1: Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the research problem, which is the impact of social media on mental health. It presents the purpose of the study, the research questions, and the methodology used to conduct the research.

Research Title : “The Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults: A Meta-Analysis”

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This chapter reviews the existing literature on the effects of exercise on cognitive functioning in older adults. It provides an overview of the theoretical framework and previous research findings related to the topic. The chapter concludes with a summary of the research gaps and limitations.

Research Title: “The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Effectiveness: A Case Study of Successful Business Leaders”

Chapter 3: Methodology

This chapter presents the research methodology used in the study, which is a case study approach. It describes the selection criteria for the participants and the data collection methods used. The chapter also provides a detailed explanation of the data analysis techniques used in the study.

Research Title: “Factors Influencing Employee Engagement in the Workplace: A Systematic Review”

Chapter 4: Results and Discussion

This chapter presents the findings of the systematic review on the factors influencing employee engagement in the workplace. It provides a detailed analysis of the results, including the strengths and limitations of the studies reviewed. The chapter also discusses the implications of the findings for practice and future research.

Purpose of Chapter Summary

Some Purposes of the Chapter Summary are as follows:

  • Comprehension : A chapter summary can help readers understand the main points of a chapter or book. It can help readers remember important details, keep track of the plot or argument, and connect the key ideas.
  • Review : A chapter summary can be a useful tool for reviewing the material covered in a chapter. It can help readers review the content quickly and efficiently, and it can also serve as a reference for future study.
  • Study aid: A chapter summary can be used as a study aid, especially for students who are preparing for exams or writing papers. It can help students organize their thoughts and focus on the most important information.
  • Teaching tool: A chapter summary can be a useful teaching tool for educators. It can help teachers introduce key concepts and ideas, facilitate class discussion, and assess student understanding.
  • Communication : A chapter summary can be used as a way to communicate the main ideas of a chapter or book to others. It can be used in presentations, reports, and other forms of communication to convey important information quickly and concisely.
  • Time-saving : A chapter summary can save time for busy readers who may not have the time to read an entire book or chapter in detail. By providing a brief overview of the main points, a chapter summary can help readers determine whether a book or chapter is worth further reading.
  • Accessibility : A chapter summary can make complex or technical information more accessible to a wider audience. It can help break down complex ideas into simpler terms and provide a clear and concise explanation of key concepts.
  • Analysis : A chapter summary can be used as a starting point for analysis and discussion. It can help readers identify themes, motifs, and other literary devices used in the chapter or book, and it can serve as a jumping-off point for further analysis.
  • Personal growth : A chapter summary can be used for personal growth and development. It can help readers gain new insights, learn new skills, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

When to Write Chapter Summary

Chapter summaries are usually written after you have finished reading a chapter or a book. Writing a chapter summary can be useful for several reasons, including:

  • Retention : Summarizing a chapter helps you to better retain the information you have read.
  • Studying : Chapter summaries can be a useful study tool when preparing for exams or writing papers.
  • Review : When you need to review a book or chapter quickly, a summary can help you to refresh your memory.
  • Analysis : Summarizing a chapter can help you to identify the main themes and ideas of a book, which can be useful when analyzing it.

Advantages of Chapter Summary

Chapter summaries have several advantages:

  • Helps with retention : Summarizing the key points of a chapter can help you remember important information better. By condensing the information, you can identify the main ideas and focus on the most relevant points.
  • Saves time : Instead of re-reading the entire chapter when you need to review information, a summary can help you quickly refresh your memory. It can also save time during note-taking and studying.
  • Provides an overview : A summary can give you a quick overview of the chapter’s content and help you identify the main themes and ideas. This can help you understand the broader context of the material.
  • Helps with comprehension : Summarizing the content of a chapter can help you better understand the material. It can also help you identify any areas where you might need more clarification or further study.
  • Useful for review: Chapter summaries can be a useful review tool before exams or when writing papers. They can help you organize your thoughts and review key concepts and ideas.
  • Facilitates discussion: When working in a group, chapter summaries can help facilitate discussion and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It can also help to identify areas of confusion or disagreement.
  • Supports active reading : Creating a summary requires active reading, which means that you are engaging with the material and thinking critically about it. This can help you develop stronger reading and critical thinking skills.
  • Enables comparison : When reading multiple sources on a topic, creating summaries of each chapter can help you compare and contrast the information presented. This can help you identify differences and similarities in the arguments and ideas presented.
  • Helpful for long texts: In longer books or texts, chapter summaries can be especially helpful. They can help you break down the material into manageable chunks and make it easier to digest.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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  • 08 May 2019

Toolkit: How to write a great paper

A clear format will ensure that your research paper is understood by your readers. Follow:

1. Context — your introduction

2. Content — your results

3. Conclusion — your discussion

Plan your paper carefully and decide where each point will sit within the framework before you begin writing.

how to write summary of an article sample

Collection: Careers toolkit

Straightforward writing

Scientific writing should always aim to be A, B and C: Accurate, Brief, and Clear. Never choose a long word when a short one will do. Use simple language to communicate your results. Always aim to distill your message down into the simplest sentence possible.

Choose a title

A carefully conceived title will communicate the single core message of your research paper. It should be D, E, F: Declarative, Engaging and Focused.


Add a sentence or two at the end of your concluding statement that sets out your plans for further research. What is next for you or others working in your field?

Find out more

See additional information .


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Research & Instruction Librarians

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What's in a Summary

  • A complete citation for the work.
  • The author's main point
  • Supporting details--How the author supports, defines, or illustrates the main idea


  • The purpose or intent
  • The intended audience
  • Special features of the work such as illustrations, maps, tables, etc.

Annotated Bibliographies

by Z. Johnson

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "references" or "works cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following:

  • Summarize : Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
  • Assess : After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  • Reflect : Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

. . . more writing help by Prof. Johnson

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

  • Writing Summaries One page explanation from the Columbia University Writing Center.
  • Summary Writing Advice on writing different types of summaries for various purposes, from Sandra Jamieson, Drew University
  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Handout from OWL at Purdue is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.
  • How to Write a Critical Book Review A list of questions derived from Robert Blackey, "Words to the Whys: Crafting Critical Book Reviews," The History Teacher, 27.2 (Feb. 1994): 159-66.
  • Writing Annotated Bibliographies Explanation from the University of Newcastle Library
  • Guidelines for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography Describes Annotation and Annotated Bibliography. Provides Examples. From Campus Library serving University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia Community College
  • Process for Writing a Summary Handout was adapted by Judith Kilborn with the author's permission from Donna Gorrell's The Purposeful Writer: A Rhetoric with Readings, 2nd ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1993) for the Write Place. From St. Cloud State University and LEO: Literacy Education Online
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Research Paper Summary

Ai generator.

how to write summary of an article sample

Whether you are a student, an academic scholar, or even working in business, there is no denying that a research paper summary is the one tool that you are going to expect when it comes to writing your research paper or research studies. There is also no denying how useful the summary is going to be when you have to report it to your superiors or your professors without having to go through the entire research paper. Students know for themselves that writing a summary of their research paper is useful. With that, here are examples of research paper summaries to download.

10+ Research Paper Summary Examples

1. economics research paper summary.

Economics Research Paper Summary

2. Goals Research Paper Summary

Goals Research Paper Summary

Size: 243 KB

3. Past Research Paper Summary

Past Research Paper Summary

Size: 371 KB

4. Project Management Research Paper Summary

Project management Research Paper Summary

Size: 681 KB

5. Qualitative Research Paper Summary

Qualitative Research Paper Summary

Size: 109 KB

6. Reading Research Paper Summary

Reading Research Paper Summary

7. Research Paper Proposal Summary

Research Paper Proposal Summary

Size: 187 KB

8. Research Paper Summary Format

Research Paper Summary Format

Size: 120 KB

9. Research Paper Summary Generator

Research Paper Summary Generator

10. Sample Research Paper Summary

Sample Research Paper Summary

Size: 111 KB

11. Style Research Paper Summary

Style Research Paper Summary

Size: 199 KB

What Is a Research Paper Summary?

Research paper summaries are short but descriptive writings that are expected in a research paper . What goes in a research paper summary is the main topic or the main plot of your research paper. However, what is and should never be included are any new discoveries, arguments and new leads that help your research. The purpose of the summary is to simply give out the general point of view or the outline of your research paper and nothing else. This is often the mistake made by students when they think of a research paper summary. The need to add all new leads to help their research in the summary. The only main thing to focus on your summary is the overview and the general outline . 

How to Write a Research Paper Summary

Being able to write a research paper summary is important and quite a useful skill. As this does not only work for students on their research paper, but it also works for employees who are given the task to write a project summary. It basically works just the same. To get a glimpse of what you can do to make your research paper summary, here are simple steps you can follow.

Step 1: Take the Main Part of Your Research

When you make your summary, the first paragraph will mainly be about your research paper. The first part is to take the main part of your research. The main part or the main topic should be what it is about. Make sure what you are writing is what your research paper is about, as there are times when your topic may not be the main goal of your paper.

Step 2: Break It Down to Smaller Topics

Since the first paragraph is focused on the introduction and the main topic, the second paragraph will focus mainly on breaking down your main or general topic into smaller subtopics. By doing this, it is easier for you to divide and explain every single important detail of your research paper. Students are often tasked to do this in order for them to get a better outlook of their research paper and how they are able to piece together the smaller topics to the main topic.

Step 3: Get the Gist

The third and final paragraph will be the gist of your research paper. This includes the heart or the main part, the findings and the conclusion. The gist has to be a general summary of your research paper. It should have the facts that support it, the findings of your research and the hypothesis. Add in your conclusion at the end.

Step 4: Proofread Your Work

Lastly, make sure to proofread your entire research paper summary. This is just to make sure you did not misspell any words, your punctuations are in the correct place and the tone of your writing fits the paper you are making.

What is a research paper summary?

Research paper summaries are short but descriptive writings  that are expected in a research paper. What goes in a research paper summary is the main topic or the main plot of your research paper.

What are the characteristics of a research paper summary?

The characteristics of a research paper summary are the following:

  • The introduction and the main topic
  • The breaking of the main topic to sub topics
  • The gist of the research paper summary
  • The conclusion

How lengthy can a research paper summary be?

The normal length of a research paper summary should not exceed more than a page. However, when it comes to the number of words for a summary, your wording should not exceed the maximum number of four hundred words.

When it comes to writing a research paper, there is no denying that you must also write a summary for it. Since a research paper can sometimes be overwhelming to those who will be listening to you talk about it, you can relieve it by making a summary of your paper. This will also help them follow what you are discussing and what it is about.


Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

10 Examples of Public speaking

20 Examples of Gas lighting

how to write summary of an article sample

How to Write a Great Executive Summary

From business plans to reports to press releases, you can’t underestimate the power of a good executive summary. A well-crafted executive summary will help encapsulate your ideas, engage your audience, and “sell” your ultimate goal.

While it may seem like a no-brainer, you’ll want to approach your executive summary with a strategic mindset and attention to the “bigger picture” of what your document is trying to convey.

In this article, we’ll look at what to consider when writing an executive summary for different types of documents, as well as tips for how to make an impact and draw your readers in.

how to write summary of an article sample

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What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a pared down version of a larger document, such as a business plan . It provides a quick overview of your business strategy, with details like the description of your company, market research, and financial information. Preparing an engaging executive summary can help potential stakeholders connect with your business, giving you the opportunity to engrain them in your mission and vision .

For your executive summary to be effective, you need to focus on your audience—think about who’s actually reading it and what information is most important to them. Then tread accordingly. For instance, if you’re writing an executive summary to share with your company’s shareholders, the information should be focused on how healthy your revenue has been and is projected to be. If you’re writing a press release, you’ll want your executive summary to focus less on numbers and more on your brand’s positive impact in the industry.

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how to write summary of an article sample

How to write an executive summary

There’s no best approach to writing an executive summary, but here are some common steps entrepreneurs take to craft an abstract for their business plan. 

1. Introduce your business 

The first paragraph of your executive summary should grab the reader’s attention and make them excited about reading the rest of your business plan. It should be relevant to your industry, as well as give readers insight into your short-term and long-term goals. Ideally, an investor or potential partner should be able to read your executive summary and get an instant insight into what your business is about.

 Key things to highlight in the executive summary introduction:

  • How you started your business and what inspired you
  • Your company’s traits and values (sustainable, charitable, employee-centric)
  • The industry or niche you’re operating in 
  • Products and services your company provides  

2. Describe the pain point or problem that needs solving

People are interested in knowing whether you can positively contribute to their lives and impact the environment. You can demonstrate your potential by mentioning the pain point your company will solve. Highlighting a pain point in your executive summary shows you’ve researched your target audience and generated a business idea based on a need in the market.

For maximum impact, learn who your customer is and the biggest pain point they’re facing. Send a survey or interview them to get better insights. The more information you have about the problem you’re going to solve, the better you’ll be able to reiterate why it is important and why your company matters. 

3. Outline the solution

In this section, you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how your solution will address the problem you highlighted in the previous paragraph. What results should the audience expect? How is your offering different from the other solutions available in the market? Be as specific as possible about what makes your solution unique.

Case studies, facts, and influencer endorsements can be excellent ways to demonstrate the feasibility of your product or service.

what to include in an executive summary

4. Include information about your competitors

Your readers will want to know who you’ll be competing against and how you plan to capture the market. Include brief details about your main competitors and how you differ from them—that is to say, you should highlight the unique aspects of your offering to make people want to learn more about your company.

You can even use a few sentences to talk about your business in a delightful way. Focus on your business’s strengths and achievements, whether it’s high market share or having a positive environmental impact. Mention these triumphs in your executive summary so your readers know that you’re capable of winning. 

5. Offer a financial overview

Most executive summaries include some financial information intended to demonstrate a potential return on investment for interested parties. Your financial overview may come in the form of a table, showing how much you expect to spend on your company per month or per annum and how much you expect to earn from your various sales strategies. 

When mentioning your numbers, make sure to include your projections for the coming years. Generally, it’s a good idea to highlight what you expect to earn in the next three to five years. Share insights on how you plan to grow your revenue, so readers know what developments and ROI to expect in the foreseeable future.

Executive summary examples

If you’re looking for inspiration to write your executive summary, here are some great examples:

Footwear and apparel brand Allbirds uses an executive summary to describe its vision and mission statement. With sustainability being the company's key focus, Allbirds highlights through the summary the environmentally conscious initiatives it has been working on. Not only that—the brand takes a subtle dig at its competitors, noting how the global footwear industry contributes to environmental damage. 

Allbirds executive summary

Allbirds further mentions that it operates its certified B Corporation in a sustainable way, knowing consumers are likely invested in this area. Those interested in the company’s environmental impact can learn more by reading its annual sustainability report .

Soap brand ORRIS has an executive summary on its About page to shed light on its ethos of using the finest plant-derived ingredients to create skin care products. 

Cotopaxi executive summary

The brand also highlights the ingredients it doesn’t use —something good to mention upfront, especially when it’s a skin care item—touting its products are free of surfactants, sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. 

Furthermore, the executive summary provides insight into ORRIS’ vision of addressing particular skin concerns through the unique therapeutic and sensuous qualities of its natural ingredients.

Outdoor gear brand Cotopaxi publishes an annual impact report highlighting its contribution toward sustainable and social change. Here’s what shows up as an executive summary in its 2020 report : 

how to write summary of an article sample

The summary—titled “Overview”—focuses on the brand’s mission and internal principles. It also discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and mentions the company has taken steps to support affected stakeholders and teams. This sets the stage for the rest of the report by telling readers that they’ll learn more about Cotopaxi’s new principles and how it’s stepping up to the plate to assist stakeholders in combating the challenges posed by COVID-19.

A good executive summary is all about your strategy

Hopefully by now you have a better idea of how to use an executive summary to your advantage, what to consider when writing one, and how to make sure you’re getting your point across in an effective, concise, and compelling way.

When you can master these elements, you’re well on your way to accomplishing your personal and business goals.

Executive summary FAQ

What is the main purpose of an executive summary.

An executive summary is often written to provide a snapshot of the key elements present in a company’s business plan. It is aimed at individuals who don’t have time to read an entire document or report. When written well, an executive summary can convince readers to place their trust in the company.

When should you write an executive summary?

Although the executive summary is the very first section of your business plan, it should be written last. Writing it before you complete other sections of the document can result in a summary that doesn’t align with your mission and vision. Work on the core body content first, then craft a bullet-point list of all the key parts you can summarize to share with the audience. 

How long should an executive summary be?

The length of your executive summary will depend on the document you’re summarizing and how you plan to use it. For a start, keep your summary at one to four paragraphs, but stay open to extending its length if the need arises. An effective executive summary for a business plan is typically one to two pages long, for instance.

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How To Write A Resume Summary Statement (With Examples)

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  • How To Write A Resume
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A resume summary is a few sentences that explain who you are as a professional and why you’re the perfect fit for the position you’re applying to. It’s like having a hook on your resume to get the employer to keep reading. Resume summaries are also a summary of your career so that your employer has a snapshot of your experience.

If you’re considering adding a resume summary to your resume, want to rework a summary that you have, or want to change your objective statement into a summary, then you’ve come to the right place. Below there will be resume summary tips and tricks as well as several examples.

Key Takeaways

Tailor your resume summary statement to each position you apply for.

Your resume summary statement should focus on who you are as a professional — don’t try to fit in your entire resume.

Keep your resume summary statement to two to four lines long.

A resume summary statement is not the same thing as an objective statement.

Resume Summary Statement

What is a resume summary statement?

The benefits of a resume summary statement, how to write a resume summary statement, resume summary statement examples, the five w’s of a resume summary statement, resume summary statement vs. resume objective, final thoughts, resume summary statement faq, ask the experts.

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A resume summary, sometimes called a professional summary or summary statement, is a brief overview of your experience and skills at the top of your resume. It’s often written in the form of 2 to 4 sentences, but it can be bullet points.

Resume summaries are a way to give the employer a basic overview of your career and skills before they read the rest of your resume. That’s why it’s important to customize this section as much as possible for each job you apply to as a way to showcase how well you fit the position.

A resume summary statement can have several benefits, including making your resume stand out, capturing keywords, and putting key skills at the top. It may feel odd to include a pitch at the beginning of your resume, but remember that recruiters may read hundreds of resumes, which means that giving them the info upfront can help catch their attention.

Having a resume summary statement can help you by:

Making your resume stand out. Remember that recruiters spend their day reading resumes. A resume summary by itself may not be that remarkable, but a well-written and relevant one will show the recruiter that you paid attention and customized your application.

Using keywords. This is particularly important if the hiring company uses an ATS. Altering the summary at the beginning is a lot easier than altering your resume altogether, and it puts the keywords at the top.

Highlight key skills at the top. If there are certain skills that you want to draw the hiring manager ’s attention to, then putting them at the top in the resume summary is a way to do that. It showcases that you have relevant skills and experience right away, making you a more attractive candidate.

When writing a resume summary, you’re going to want to decide on a career title for yourself, research the company you’re applying to, and keep it brief. It’s important to remember that you’re selling yourself to the company you apply to, so your resume summary should make it clear why they should select you.

Follow our five-step method for how to write a resume summary statement:

Decide upon a title. This is the headline that sums you up. It’s pretty much the only part of your summary that is just about you. You should begin with a title that explains your professional identity, such as:

Marketing Writer

Sales Professional

Software Designer

Capitalize each word. It’s a bonus if your title genuinely matches the position. Be precise and be honest – if you just graduated with a degree in business, you’re not a business analyst yet.

Research the company and the position. It should go without saying, but you need to know as much about this position as possible.

Read the job posting again. What words do they use to describe the company, the position, and the right applicant? Try to include any prominent keywords and qualities.

Look at the company’s website. Match any characteristics that repeat across their pages. If you found the job posted on a third-party site, is the job listing any different in their careers section?

Peruse other companies’ listings for similar positions. Similar traits should be desirable in similar positions. Don’t be shy about borrowing some of the terms and phrasing in other want ads.

Keep the summary brief. The average hiring manager will spend a matter of seconds glancing at a resume before they decide how to act. You want to make sure that it’s not a large block of text they’ll be tempted to skip over for an easier-to-digest snippet. Your resume summary should be:

Four to six bullet points

Two to four sentences

Show how you’d be an asset. The job market is a seller ’s market these days, so you need to make a quick, convincing case for why they should choose you.

Do not turn it into an objective statement by ending with something like “I hope to secure a ______ position with your company”.

List certifications, skills, and experience you can bring. Do your best to highlight ones that are relevant to the position. Not all of them need to be, though, so long as they showcase other valuable skills, such as diligence, attention to detail, or communication.

Mention relevant duties. There’s not a lot of space in the summary, so you want to make sure that what you put in it catches the recruiter’s eye. Mention duties that you were assigned that you’ll be doing in the new job – especially if it was something you excelled at.

Reference the rest of your resume. Try to list skills and traits that have supporting evidence in the rest of your resume. Look over what duties you performed at your previous jobs, as well as what commendations you received, and reference those in your summary.

Don’t steal your job descriptions’ thunder or be redundant, but think about anything you may have left over that didn’t make its way into the rest of your resume.

Have you streamlined a process and saved money? How much?

Do you have any achievements of note that you intend to repeat in this new position? Which?

Did you take any projects from inception to fruition? Did they add any value?

Some things to avoid. With a section this short, what you don’t put in it is almost more important than what you do. Here are some things to make sure you don’t put in your resume summary statement.

Lies or exaggerations . It can be tempting to inflate your qualifications, especially if you haven’t been getting any responses to your applications. But the consequences of this are greater than the gain, so be sure to avoid it.

Summarizing your whole resume. Despite the fact that it’s called a resume summary, it’s really a summary of you, not your resume. Don’t try to stuff everything in your resume into it – that’s what the resume itself is for. Just highlight your best and most relevant skills and qualifications.

Buzzwords. While including buzzwords in your resume itself isn’t inherently bad, getting too buzzwordy or using hackneyed terms in your summary is unlikely to catch the reader ’s attention, so they just take up space.

Things you hate doing. You may be very skilled at tasks that you really dislike. If that’s the case, don’t put them in your summary. While you want to highlight your qualifications, you also don’t want to set yourself up to be assigned to do something that you despise.

Marketing Writer Example

A creative and experienced writer combines a background in technical writing and journalism with expertise in medical writing to deliver quality, customized content in diverse content media – public relations , content marketing, web content, and software manuals. Reliably meets deadlines and thrives in an agile, quick turnaround environment while providing sales support and client-oriented projects.

Administrative Office Coordinator Example

Adaptable, reliable, and expedient with more than three years of experience supporting managers and leadership in fast-paced workplaces. Versatile skills include human resources , recruiting, customer relations, project management, and administrative support . Expertise in managing online communications platforms and multiple phone lines.

Mergers and Acquisitions Executive Example

A tested leader of international holding companies offers 10 years of expertise in developing proven growth strategies, mentoring both individual representative and team leaders in product benefits and client service techniques. Also known for creating engaging marketing campaigns that capture markets in a variety of verticals. Effectively improves profits and losses reports through innovative Mamp;A operations.

Recent College Graduate Example

Dedicated Statistics major with proven mathematical and actuarial abilities. Graduated with a 4.0 GPA and award for Exceptional Research Project. Diligent Junior Actuary for XYZ Consultancy – increased efficiency of risk reports by 9% in first three months.

Sales Representative Example

Driven sales manager with over 6 years of experience driving profitability through team leadership, strategic growth, and process improvement. Increased customer satisfaction team-wide by an average of 4% annually while increasing sales by 22%.

Project Manager Example

Project manager with 10+ years of experience managing software projects, coordinating teams of 100+ subcontractors, and allocating and analyzing budgets. Managed a project budget of $20M while reducing costs by an average of 13% year-over-year.

Business Analyst Example

Highly-trained business analyst with more than 4 years of experience in business management, computer services, and order processing. Monitored accuracy of business process ordering, increasing efficiency by 12% from implementation to execution.

Customer Service Position Example

Customer service professional with a commitment to customer satisfaction while upholding corporate goals and branding.

Teacher Example

Spirited elementary school teacher with over ten years of childcare, tutoring, and teaching experience. Organized new curriculum and standardized test preparation, increasing reading scores by 8% in one year.

Retail Manager Example

Energetic retail associate with 6+ years of experience driving customer traffic and engagement through product knowledge and a friendly demeanor. Efficient in training customer service teams to provide the best experience for shoppers and staff.

College Student – English Example

English Literature student with leadership and academic training at the University of Rhode Island. Expertise in social media platforms and Microsoft Office. Proven experience in research projects, time management, and organizational skills with a background in office administration. Able to provide employers with administrative support and professional communication skills.

College Student – Biology Example

Biology major with demonstrated skills in research activities and clinical experiments. Blends academic training with lab management experience from Boston College. Incorporates administrative experience in an office setting to provide employers with proven scheduling, communications, and organizational expertise.

You might be wondering about the who, what, when, where, and why of a resume summary statement. Resume summary statements can add additional polish to your resume, but you need to make sure you understand the resume summary’s purpose and how to write a good one.

What is a resume summary statement? A resume statement summary is more or less just a few well-worded, targeted sentences that sum up your skills and experiences. Think of it as a shortened cover letter or a written elevator pitch .

Where does a resume summary statement go? At the top of your resume, just under your contact information. The purpose is to quickly grab the hiring manager’s notice as soon as they begin reading.

Why do I need a resume summary statement? To make sure the reader gets the gist of who you are as soon as possible. Imagine you’re a hiring manager skimming dozens of resumes – kind of like a jobseeker skimming dozens of resume templates.

Some employers run resumes through screening software , so this is an opportunity to stick some keywords in that don’t mesh with your job description bullet points.

Who needs a resume summary statement? A well-written resume statement can be to everyone’s benefit, so having one is generally recommended. However, there are certain instances where they’re more useful than others. Such as:

If you’ve got a lot of experience in your field, it summarizes your achievements .

If you’re making a change in industries, it ties together your experiences.

If you’re just starting out, it explains how your academic experience is relevant .

When don’t I need a resume summary statement? Resume statement summaries aren’t technically required, so it isn’t as though you can’t get away without one. If you’re struggling to craft an engaging and relevant summary statement, then it may be better to omit it altogether and make use of the space in some other way.

Some people may benefit from a resume objective statement instead. If you don’t have much experience to offer, for instance, you may be better off talking about what you’re looking for rather than what you’ve done.

While there are a lot of similarities between resume summary statements and resume objectives, they aren’t the same. The way that they’re written and the purpose of them differ. Resume summary statements summarize your career and achievements in a few sentences, while an objectives statement talks about what you want to achieve.

So, you may be wondering: Is a resume summary statement or a resume objective statement better? The answer: it depends. Resume objective statements are considered old-fashioned by some nowadays, so it’s likely better to go with a resume summary statement. But that all depends on if you can write a good one.

Here’s an example resume objective

Copywriter seeking an opportunity to draw upon my skills in editing, graphic design, and content strategy to help increase company website traffic and drive B2B and B2C content engagement.

Resume objectives focus on your career goals and interest in the job you’re applying for. This is why there’s an argument that those who limited experience or who are changing career fields are better served by a resume objective.

A resume summary statement, on the other hand, looks like this:

Accomplished copywriter with over five years of experience in digital marketing, content strategy, and graphic design. Have increased organic search traffic by 43% year-over-year for the past three years through engaging B2B and B2C content.

Resume summary statements are focused more on your skills and experience, which means they’re more focused on selling you to the employer. That’s why in many ways they’re preferred by experts now, as emphasizing your skills is a way to show how you’ll be an asset to the recruiter’s organization.

Does that make a resume summary statement inherently superior ? Not necessarily. Different recruiters will be looking for different things. Some experts even just recommend putting a list of skills at the top of your resume as a way to showcase your abilities.

Which one you choose to use will depend on the circumstances and how well your resume summary statement comes out. An unengaging or flat resume summary statement isn’t going to be better than a strong objective, a list of skills, or even just using more space in your experience section.

A resume summary statement is a very short section at the top of your resume that can make a big impact on recruiters and hiring managers.

Whether you’re a job seeker with plenty of impressive and relevant experience or a recent graduate with hardly any, a resume summary statement puts your accomplishments front and center.

Taken together with a stellar cover letter , your resume summary statement allows employers to understand your professional experience more thoroughly.

Remember to make small adjustments to your resume summary statement depending on the employer and the job description .

With a tailored resume summary statement, you’re sure to get called for interviews more often.

How long should a resume summary statement be?

A resume summary statement should be about two to four lines long. Your summary should be short and to the point because it’s designed to grab readers’ attention, not bog them down with a list of every job you’ve had or your reasons for choosing your career.

Should I write a resume summary?

Yes, you should write a resume summary. Unless you have very little experience and can’t write a good resume summary, it’s generally a good idea to include one on your resume.

A solid resume summary sets your resume apart from the rest and gives hiring managers a sense of what you bring to the table right off the bat.

What’s an executive resume summary?

An executive resume summary is another name for a resume summary. Hiring managers may request an executive summary if you’re applying for a high-level or executive position.

They do this because having a summary of your experience makes it easier for them to sift through your extensive work history to find the most important pieces.

Columbia University for Career Education – How to Write a Resume Profile or Summary Statement

University of Arizona – Writing a Resume Summary Statement

What’s a quick resume tip?

Tonia Derkos Professional Resume Writing

My tip is to get rid of objectives — employers don’t care about your objective, they only care that you can fulfill their objective.

Instead, have a profile highlighting key strengths, skills, and accomplishments with concrete examples, such as percentages, goals achieved, and a proven track record of success.

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David Luther was the Content Marketing Editor for the Zippia Advice blog. He developed partnerships with external reporting agencies in addition to generating original research and reporting for the Zippia Career Advice blog. David obtained his BA from UNC Chapel Hill.

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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