Summary Assignment Description
A foundational writing genre in the study of composition is the art of crafting effective summaries. Before we can advance our own rhetorical skills, we must first master strategies to strengthen the way we integrate the ideas of other authors through strategic quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
Step 1: Choose a Critical Text to Summarize
Choose an article to write about. You must choose a new piece of writing that is current (published within the last year) or one of the articles in the back of our textbook from Part 5 . You will propose the article you want to summarize and after instructor approval, you will want to get familiar with your text.
- Read the text closely several times, taking time to highlight and interact with it.
- Identify the main argument of the piece (not just “what it’s about”). Put it into your own words.
- Divide the piece into sections. (This step will depend on the length of the piece; in a short piece, a section might be one paragraph, but in a longer one, a section may be comprised of several paragraphs dealing with the same subtopic).
- Identify what each section is “saying” and also what it is “doing.”
- Check your own understanding. Do you see how the material in each section serves to support the main argument?
Step 2: Begin Writing your Brief Summary
Features of Effective Summary Writing include the following;
- is short, often significantly shorter than the original.
- typically begins by identifying the text’s title, author, publication, and main argument.
- traces the main ideas of a text, skipping any repetitive or non-essential details.
- proceeds chronologically, in the same order as the original text.
- should make sense to someone who has never read the original text before.
- is written in the summarizer’s language, not the author’s – attributive / identifying tags should be used in every sentence to separate summarizer and author.
- can include a few brief quotations and, of course, they’re copied carefully, punctuated correctly, and documented in MLA style.
- Recaptures only the words and ideas contained in the original text, not the summarizer’s opinion or critique. (Do not include your own personal commentary)
Formatting and Source Requirements:
- The PA.P.ER is double spaced, has 1” margins, and uses 12-point Times New Roman font. The summary’s heading follows MLA format. Word length 1000 words.
- The summary writer mentions the author’s name periodically, using attributive tags (“In her ESS.ay Tyler notes . . .” or “Klein argues against . . .”) to remind the reader where the material originated.
- The summary writer uses few direct quotes. If the summary writer includes a direct quote, the word or words borrowed from the original are accurate (identical to the original wording), and are signaled through the use of quotation marks and MLA in-text documentation (see Purdue Owl for guidelines).
- Paraphrases differ from the original in both wording and sentence structure.
- MLA in-text citations are accurate and format is correct
- Works cited format is correct
- The writer clearly identifies and correctly punctuates the source, author, title, and main argument (not just “what it’s about”) in the first sentence.
- The main argument is completely in the writer’s own words and accurately represents the author’s intentions.
Content and Development
- The writer effectively uses mostly his or her own words (paraphrasing) to demonstrate a strong, objective understanding of the whole text.
- The writer follows the author’s train of thought chronologically and demonstrates effective pacing; the writer moves smoothly from beginning to end of the text.
- The writer demonstrates fairness, being careful not to plagiarize or to misrepresent any of the author’s words or ideas.
- The writer leaves out personal analysis, interpretation, and commentary, focusing only on what the author says.
- The summary is sufficiently developed but meets 750-1000 words total not counting citation information or works cited.
quotations, and citations
- Attributive/identifying tags are used consistently and appropriately (in every sentence).
- The writer smoothly integrates and cites 2-3 brief quotations from the text and punctuates them according to MLA guidelines.
- Quotations do not “stand alone.”
Editing and Formatting
- Sentences are clear and smooth.
- There are no distracting errors in sentence structure or mechanics.
- The writer follows formatting directions (MLA heading, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, etc).
Academic Register Development
write PA.PERS. with a clear thesis, logical structure, and cohesive, well-developed paragraphs
Language and Style
write PA.PERS/ with clear, varied, well-constructed sentences, with usage and mechanics conforming to standard edited English
Advance Rhetorical Strategies
identify writing conventions and rhetorical expectations across a range of academic genres