Types of Summaries
A summary should be accurate and while 100% objectivity isn't possible, the summary writer should strive to stay as close as possible to this position. Most importantly, the summary writer should fairly represent the author's ideas. Writers of summaries should save their own ideas and interpretations for the response, rather than including these things in the summary. The purpose for the summary can alter how it is written. Also, the reader's needs and interests must be considered when crafting a summary. A key skill to develop for use in written summary is the ability to paraphrase (to express the author's ideas using the summarizer's own words). There are three types of summary:
Main Point Summary
A main point summary reads much like an article abstract, giving the most important "facts" of the text. It should identify the title, author, and main point or argument. When relevant, it can also include the text's source (book, essay, periodical, journal, etc.). As in all types of summary, a main point summary uses author tags, such as "In her article, Salahub states," or "Ms. Salahub argues/explains/says/asks/suggests." These tags will make it clear which ideas are those of the author and the text being summarized, not the summarizer. This type of summary might also use a quote from the text, but the quote should be representative of the text's main idea or point. A main point summary is often used when writing academic papers as a way to introduce the reader to a source and to place the main point of that source into the context of an argument or discussion of an issue. "In his essay Dropping the Sat? which is posted on the Affirmative Action and Diversity Project's Website, George Will considers the proposal by some that schools stop using student's SAT scores when choosing which students to admit. Mr. Will explains that at most prominent schools in America, the SAT is a key factor in determining college admissions. Mr. Will argues that...
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