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Writing A Research Paper Summary: Basic Tutorial For College Students

One small section of your research paper is the summary, and although it may seem insignificant, it really is an important part of your work. Unfortunately, many college students struggle with this section, so we’ve created a handy tutorial that will teach you exactly how to go about writing the summary for your research paper.

What is a research paper summary?

Before you start working, it’s important that you understand what the summary (also called a synopsis) of your work actually is, and why you need it. The synopsis of any academic work is basically a succinct explanation of what exactly the piece of writing is about.

When should you write it?

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best time to compose your synopsis is not before you do the rest of the essay. Instead, you should first complete your whole essay, and then write your synopsis right at the end. Don’t be tempted to compose it after you’ve done your research, but before you’ve done the rest of your work. This is because you may not use all your information or research, and your synopsis should not contain any new information, it should only refer to what’s already in the rest of your work.

What form should it take?

Just like any formal written piece, your summary needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning needs to introduce the topic, the middle should be the actual synopsis, and the end should close the section, just like a conclusion.

What should be in it?

Your summary needs to contain the main ideas from the rest of your research report. So, a good way to start is to read through your work and list the main ideas. Make sure you stick to the actual crux of each point, or else your synopsis will be too long.

What else do you need to know?

There are two other points that you need to keep in mind when you compose your summary for your research paper. Firstly, the major characteristic of a synopsis is that it must be short, so keep it as brief as you can. If you go into too much detail, your reader may not read the rest of your work at all. Secondly, don’t use any concepts that need an explanation or definition, as this will make your synopsis too long.


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