Research articles usually use standard formats to communicate in a clear manner any kind of information regarding an experiment. A good research article would usually contain a title, an abstract, an introduction, the methodology, the results, a discussion and some references.
When you have to write a summary for research paper, you will need to know how to proceed from start to finish. Every detail is important if you want to come up with a good article summary in a due course.
1. Determine the Focus of Your Summary
You will first need to determine why you’re writing that certain summary. If you want to make a review that you can, later on, read again and remind yourself of the content of the article, you may want to make your summary a slighter longer one. However, if the summary was written with the purpose of being included in a paper that you are currently writing, you may want to stick to how that certain article relates to your paper.
2. Scan the Article
Before you start reading the entire article, you need to scan it for content first. Briefly, go over the article and look at each of its sections to find:
- The reason for doing the research and the question stated (usually found in the introduction)
- The hypothesis (or hypotheses) that were tested in the article (also in the introduction)
- How they tested the hypothesis (found in the methodology)
- What the findings were (look for them in the results)
- How those findings were interpreted (found in the discussion)
When scanning with the purpose of writing summary papers, each key sentence should be underlined or written in the margin of the article. The abstract may be able to help identify some of the points; still, you cannot rely solely on it since the information is very condensed and you can miss certain key aspects.
3. Read the Article
Once you finished scanning your article, you need to read it thoroughly next. Take each section and read it several times, considering your highlighted notes. As you read with the purpose of writing a summary for research paper, ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the design address the issues of the research?
- What is the contribution of this study in answering the main question?
- Are the results convincing or surprising?
- What aspects did they still leave unanswered?
When you feel like you can explain this study to someone else who has yet to read the article, then you are ready to start writing about it. Be careful to take notes in your own words so that you can avoid plagiarism in your summary papers. If you find yourself sticking too closely to the original language and the changes to the wording are minor, then you didn’t really understand the study.
4. Write the Summary
Just like the abstract, the purpose of a summary for research paper will be to give the audience a brief overview of what that study says. You will need to find out what information is relevant and explain it briefly but thoroughly.
All first drafts of your summary papers should follow the order of the original article. Having said that, the structure would look something like this:
- State the question of the research and explain why it’s important.
- State the hypotheses that were tested.
- Describe the methods in a few paragraphs (participants, design, procedure, materials, independent and dependent variables, how they analyzed the data)
- Talk about the results and explain why they were significant.
- State what the key implications were and don’t overstate the importance of their findings.
- The results and their interpretation should be directly related to the hypothesis.
This first draft of writing the summary for research paper should be focused on content rather than length. The chances are that it will need further condensing, but that will be left for the next step.
5. Edit Your Summary
Most of the time, a research summary will end up being too long, and will need further condensing. The text will need to be edited for accuracy, which means you will need to add further information where it’s necessary. Try to avoid any generalities, and keep your summary papers concise, focused.
At the same time, the paper will need to be edited for style (your readers need to be able to understand you). To make it look smart, you need to:
- Eliminate wordiness (such as adverbs or other words that aren’t really necessary)
- Use concrete and specific language
- Use language that is scientifically accurate
- Paraphrase instead of quoting other personalities
If you properly determine your focus, and then scan and read your research articles, you can definitely manage to write and edit your summary paper in a way that will come nothing short of perfection.
A research summary is a professional piece of writing that describes your research to some prospective audience. Main priority of a research summary is to provide the reader with a brief overview of the whole study. To write a quality summary, it is vital to identify the important information in a study, and condense it for the reader. Having a clear knowledge of your topic or subject matter enables you to easily comprehend the contents of your research summary.
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The guidelines used in developing a research summary include:
Developing the first draftThe first step when you start writing a research summary is to write the first draft of the summary. The draft should follow the order of the original research. You should adjust the length of the draft as per the content on the respective research article. Some ingredients of the first draft include:
Stating the research question and providing the reasons why it is interesting
Stating the hypothesis that should be tested
Briefly describing the methods. The participants, design, procedure, materials, independent variable (what was manipulated), depended variables (what was measured), and analysis of data should be included here.
The results and the significance should be described
The key implications of the results should be explained. The results together with its interpretation should link directly to the set hypothesis.
Your research summary should have enough words for the reader to understand your results. For example:
The summary above shows both the results and information regarding the variables that were examined together with the outcome of interest. It is vital for you to introduce the study in a manner that will make the summary sensible in the original context.
After writing your draft, you should edit your work to check for accuracy and completeness. You should add information to the summary where necessary. More commonly, if the article is understandable you should do away with redundancy or the information that appears being less important.
Do not lose your concentration on your research question, avoid generalities and be concise.
The styleYou should write your summary to an interested audience like your classmates. The summary should be interesting to the audience. The audience should not struggle to understand your summary. Your main discussion points should be added to your summary.
Eliminate wordinessAll the verbs used in the summary should be clear and concise.
For example “From the results it is clearly evident that there was no observed change in data” can be shortened to “The results show no significant change of data.
Using specific, concrete languagePrecise language should be used in the summary. Specific examples can also be used in citing and supporting assertions. You should avoid vague references.
Using scientifically accurate languageYou are expected to support or fail to support a study, and one study may not be used to prove a hypothesis.
Use paraphrasing rather than direct quotesIn any scientific writing, direct quotes are seldom used. You are expected to paraphrase your work. You are expected to offer credit for all the information that is paraphrased.
Re-readRead through whatever you have written. Ask your classmate to read through too so as to identify some errors that you missed.