Her research interests center on genre theory, transfer of writing-related knowledge, and infusing composition classrooms with the field's best understandings of how writing works. She is currently conducting a study examining the impact of smaller class size on the learning of composition students, as well as a study examining the impact of the writing-about-writing pedagogy on student writing and attitudes about writing. Doug Downs is an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition in the Department of English at Montana State University.
When you write a summary, you are demonstrating your understanding of the text and communicating it to your reader. To summarize is to condense a text to its main points and to do so in your own words. To include every detail is neither necessary nor desirable.
Instead, you should extract only those elements that you think are most important—the main idea or thesis and its essential supporting points, which in the original passage may have been interwoven with less important material. Many students make the mistake of confusing summary with analysis.
They are not the same thing. A summary, on the other hand, does not require you to critique or respond to the ideas in a text. When you analyze a piece of writing, you generally summarize the contents briefly in order to establish for the reader the ideas that your essay will then go on to analyze, but a summary is not a substitute for the analysis itself.
If you are writing a literature paper, for example, your teacher probably does not want you to simply write a plot summary.
You may include some very brief summary within a literature paper, but only as much as necessary to make your own interpretation, your thesis, clear. It is important to remember that a summary is not an outline or synopsis of the points that the author makes in the order that the author gives them.
Instead, a summary is a distillation of the ideas or argument of the text. It is a reconstruction of the major point or points of development of a text, beginning with the thesis or main idea, followed by the points or details that support or elaborate on that idea.
If a text is organized in a linear fashion, you may be able to write a summary simply by paraphrasing the major points from the beginning of the text to the end.
However, you should not assume that this will always be the case. Not all writers use such a straightforward structure. They may not state the thesis or main idea immediately at the beginning, but rather build up to it slowly, and they may introduce a point of development in one place and then return to it later in the text.
In order to write a good summary, you may have to gather minor points or components of an argument from different places in the text in order to summarize the text in an organized way. A point made in the beginning of an essay and then one made toward the end may need to be grouped together in your summary to concisely convey the argument that the author is making.
In the end, you will have read, digested, and reconstructed the text in a shorter, more concise form. You may be assigned to write a one or two page summary of an article or reading, or you may be asked to include a brief summary of a text as part of a response paper or critique.
Also, you may write summaries of articles as part of the note-taking and planning process for a research paper, and you may want to include these summaries, or at least parts of them, in your paper. The writer of a research paper is especially dependent upon summary as a means of referring to source materials.
Through the use of summary in a research paper, you can condense a broad range of information, and you can present and explain the relevance of a number of sources all dealing with the same subject.
You may also summarize your own paper in an introduction in order to present a brief overview of the ideas you will discuss throughout the rest of the paper. Depending on the length and complexity of the original text as well as your purpose in using summary, a summary can be relatively brief—a short paragraph or even a single sentence—or quite lengthy—several paragraphs or even an entire paper.
These qualities are explained below: A summary must be comprehensive: You should isolate all the important points in the original passage and note them down in a list. A summary must be concise: Eliminate repetitions in your list, even if the author restates the same points.the writing process Guidelines for Writing a Summary When you underline and annotate a text, when you ask yourself questions about its contents, when you work out an outline of its structure, you are establishing your understanding of what you are reading.
Downs, Douglas and Elizabeth Wardle. “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)envisioning “First-Year Composition” as “Introduction to . When Doug Downs and Elizabeth Wardle published their article вЂњTeaching about Writing, Righting MisconceptionsвЂќ in June , they challenged the field to imagine a .
Downs and Wardle both have practiced their “writing-about-writing” belief at different universities. Downs broke the curriculum into three sections, and taught them to approximately sixty students, around spring ’03, and spring ’05, in the course of one semester.
Downs, Douglas and Elizabeth Wardle. “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)envisioning “First-Year Composition” as “Introduction to Writing Studies.”CCC. Mar 31, · Wardle and Downs explain that the essays need act only as “springboards” to help students think about “their own reading and writing experiences,” with student writing remaining at the center of the course (Writing about Writing vii).
Furthermore, creating a reader of composition scholarship rather than a rhetoric that summarizes such.