How to Write a Summary for Your Research Paper
Is your research paper abstract larger – or almost the same size – as the original content? So, you need to follow today’s article. We have put together some important tips on how to create a good summary. Therefore, keep following the reading.
About the act of summarizing
Abstract is a very important tool when studying. It brings together the essential points of each subject, helping you to remember extensive content quickly. The point is that it is not always simple to do this. Sometimes, you can insert unnecessary information in summary or create confusing excerpts. The result is a text that more hinders than helps to learn.
The first issue you need to understand is that the summaries must be concise. That is, nothing to write much. Another important point is to have mastery of the subject on which you are writing. Only then will it be possible to create valuable content that will make a difference when reviewing.
Steps to make a good summary
Follow the steps that we will detail below and improve the construction of your summaries.
Read the original content carefully
It would help if you studied the subject on which you will write a summary. Only when you understand the content will it be possible to summarize it.
Write down the central ideas of the text
After studying the material, take a blank sheet and list the central themes of the text. Write keywords, formulas, dates, important names, and anything else that is essential.
Create a list of questions
On the same sheet, with the central ideas, write some important questions. These will vary depending on the material studied; however, they must start with “what,” “how,” “when,” “where,” “with whom.”
Another interesting tip about creating questions is to imagine the doubts you would have about the text if you had not read it. These questions need to be answered in summary.
Make a mind map
Mind maps are a kind of graphic summaries. They are built in the form of a diagram. In the center of the image, you place the central idea of the content. Then it pulls out branches with the most important points that explain that subject.
Each branch will have smaller subdivisions, and so on. Always use short phrases, abbreviations, or keywords in each topic. Abuse creativity and colors when building the map.
Create associations that make you remember the subject you studied. This includes the use of acronyms, images, some funny comments from the teacher, etc.
After having everything outlined in mind-maps, questions, and keywords, it is time to write your summary. Remember that it needs to contain only the main information on the subject. That is, do not specify everything you have studied; otherwise, your summary loses its effectiveness.
When developing the text, create an introduction, development, and conclusion plan. Organize the ideas in chronological order and, as you write, make observations with the associations created in the previous step.
There, you’ve finished your summary. It doesn’t seem very easy to be elaborated at first, but with practice, this process becomes more and more simple. Therefore, study carefully and dedicate yourself to the preparation of abstracts.
Essential guide to academic abstracts
Writing a summary in the academic community is quite similar to writing a summary generally; however, in this section, we will discuss the standout features of writing an academic summary.
1. Don’t start at the end
The summary is not the first thing you will write when you are making your scientific article.
You must carry out all the construction of your thinking, make all the pertinent readings and any necessary critical analyzes necessary to structure the entire development of your article, defining very well which are the relevant points and the arguments addressed.
Only after all this will you outline a summary that summarizes all the elements you have already written.
If you summarize, first of all, likely, parts of the text will not remain cohesive, and those important elements will be left behind. Therefore, we suggest that the summary is the last thing.
2. Define the nature of your abstract
This certainty is important for you to define the logic of the writing used in abstract construction.
An informative text should have a more neutral tone, more open to presenting, in the same way as the indicative summary when scoring what is most important in a given object of analysis.
Both types of abstracts differ from one with critical content to analyze a given object of study’s argumentative and scientific bases.
The methodological criteria applied to this type of summary are much more rigorous than the informative and indicative, requiring a certain degree of theoretical and practical depth.
3. The objective
As already said, the goal is what you want to achieve at the end of the job. For this reason, it is one of the essential elements of any scientific research. The general objective is one that gives direction, defines where your work goes. Specific objectives specify how you will follow the general objective path.
Think of them as a train: the overall objective defines which direction the train goes. The specific objectives define which tracks exactly the train will follow towards the general objective.
Both objectives must be present in summary but a summarized form. Define your article’s purpose in one or two sentences, starting with the general objective and punctuating some essential elements of the specific objectives.
4. The method
At this point in the summary elaboration, you have already defined its nature and the general and specific objectives of your work. The methodology defines how the objectives will be achieved.
Let us think again of the train’s example: we already know where it is going and on which track. Now we have to know what kind of technology it will use: will magnetic force drive the train? Will you still use steam or coal?
These analogies help us to understand what kind of techniques will be used so that our research can reach its objective, and must present all these details in summary.
Synthesize the methodology in three sentences, defining the parts well:
- First part: the nature of the methodology used (qualitative, quantitative, bibliographic review, etc.);
- Second part: the denomination of the methodology used must be exposed to the object of the analysis;
- Third part: it should delimit the cutouts using temporal, geographic, and other criteria, and the research techniques used.
5. The results
The results must be presented directly, using a simple introductory phrase such as “the results found are …” or “as results, we observe …”.
They should be synthesized in about three sentences, covering the most important results for understanding the research.
An important detail is that the results should be displayed in text form. Even if all your work is structured in tables, these graphic elements should not be included in the abstract. Remember: the summary is limited to a short expository paragraph.
6. The conclusions
At this point, your summary already contains all the necessary and important elements to summarize your scientific research. The conclusion will close your work with a flourish. In this section, you will expose your analysis results based on the research done, proving, or not your hypothesis.
Be direct and effective in drawing up the conclusion’s text, which may be extended a little further, given the need or not for further details.
Make sure the goal and conclusion match. There is nothing stranger than finding a manuscript in which the objective and conclusion are in disagreement, which is an item of relevance to journal reviewers.
7. The last tip: the initial phrase
When your summary is ready, you will create the initial and main sentences. Although standard academic rules clarify that this sentence should bring your theme, you can add an emphatic tone to the exhibition. You can clarify how your research is relevant to a particular problem or the improvement of society’s conditions in some specific elements, etc. In this sentence, you will hold the reader’s collar and pull it into the text.
8. Bonus: the keywords
Include keywords (or descriptors) that identify the article. The keywords are used for indexing the text and used in searches of bibliographic databases. Try to search for keywords that have identification with the text, that is, terms that, by reading, will already give the reader the information they are looking for about their work.