How to Summarize an Article in Six Easy Steps

This is some textbook inside of a div block. How do TED Talk speakers take huge topics and condense them into abbreviated talks ? These talks, much about complex topics like neuroscience and interstellar travel, captivate their audience, flush when the audience knows nothing about the subject prior to tuning in. so if anyone knows how to distill large amounts of information, it ’ randomness TED Talk speakers.

I wanted to know the mysterious, and after doing some excavate, I uncovered three principles that TED Talk presenters follow. As I considered these principles, I realized you can besides apply them to summarize articles .

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here ’ s how :

How to summarize articles in six quick steps

TED has three childlike principles for scripting talks :

  1. Focus on one major idea
  2. Make sure the script has a structure
  3. Ensure each point has a purpose and speaks to your audience

Keeping these principles in beware, we can follow a solid six-step framework to summarize articles .

Step 1: Define your audience

Shayla Price, founder of PrimoStats, describes the biggest mistake people make when writing article summaries is that they don ’ thymine write for a specific person : “ Writers forget to add details that matter to their specific audience. Article summaries must adjust based on your aim consultation ‘s goals and concerns. Answer the question : What should my consultation do with this newly information ? ” – Shayla price To define your audience, read the article ’ mho abstract for a general sympathy of what ’ s inside. While reading the abstract, think about who will read your drumhead :

  1. What’s their level of understanding on the subject?
  2. What information would they find useful?
  3. What information is irrelevant?

For exemplar, a compendious for an article talking about color psychology can have different audiences that require different information :

  1. A team lead at a marketing agency might want information about color psychology relating to buyer behavior
  2. An instructor grading a paper you’re writing might want information proving or disproving the thesis for your paper
  3. Readers of a graphic design blog might want information discussing the validity of color psychology

After setting your hearing, you ’ ll know which data is pertinent for your compendious .

Step 2: Read the article three times

TED speakers don ’ metric ton hop on stage without a deep understand of the subject they ’ ra present, and you can ’ metric ton write a summary without one either. A quick pass through your article won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate cut it, but fortunately, you don ’ t need to read it ten times either. Three rounds is batch .

First round

Consider your foremost round your passive circle. This round is equivalent to laying on a beach with your favorite book. No critical think. No re-reading passages over and over to understand them. Your goal is to get the effect of what ’ s going on within the pages of the article—that ’ south all .

Second round

Time to start active read. Highlight significant concepts and leave questions in the margins for concepts you don ’ triiodothyronine understand . A symbol caption can besides be helpful to organize your thoughts, like color-coding your highlights or using symbols to denote key points . But be careful you aren ’ metric ton mindlessly highlighting as you read through the textbook, differently you ’ ll end up besides many highlights that don ’ t provide any prize : To help you highlight, upload the article to Wordtune Read via a PDF, a link to the report card, or copy and paste the in the text . With the highlight article from Wordtune Read, I can cursorily identify and review winder points .

Third round

last, go through the article one last time and answer the questions you left in the margins. Answering remaining questions gives you a solid agreement of the newspaper so you ’ ra well-equipped to summarize it .

Step 3: Summarize each page

meter to write summaries for each page or, if it makes sense, each core section. Page-level summaries ensure you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate forget anything relevant when writing a summary for the entire article. When I uploaded a research composition to Wordtune Read, I got 31 brief summaries. I can copy those summaries and keep them in a separate document. That room, I know I won ’ t leave out any substantive points when I go to write my own drumhead . If the summaries don ’ t fit the hearing you intend to write for, you can click the “ rewrite ” button until you find one that ’ sulfur desirable . As you read through each of Wortune ’ second summaries, think back to your target audience. Save any summaries you think they ’ vitamin d find utilitarian by copying or exporting them .

Step 4: Write your summary’s first draft

With Wordtune ’ second summaries and your dirty article, it ’ randomness time to piece everything together. Again, we can take some steering from TED Talks. TED encourages speakers to have a integrated script with a clearly begin, middle, and end.

To write a compendious with a clear structure, I recommend using the Inverted Pyramid framework—a journalistic model designed to take long stories and condense them into bite-sized bits. Top

  • Title of the research paper and author
  • Hypothesis
  • Key findings


  • Methodology for research
  • Supporting research
  • Why your audience should care about the findings


  • Discuss any limitations
  • Review the findings 

How to summarize articles with the Inverted Pyramid framework 


Front load all essential data for your drumhead with the necessary data your subscriber needs to know. Include what the study was about ( the hypothesis ), citations ( title of research newspaper and writer ), and key findings. As you ’ ra write, ask yourself, “ why would my hearing find this information useful ? ” If they wouldn ’ t find it useful, preceptor ’ thyroxine include it .


Within the middle of your compendious, include any details that support the points from above and expand on why your hearing should care. This might be methodologies or supporting inquiry mentioned throughout the article .


Finish off your compendious by discussing any limitations within the inquiry newspaper, and review the findings one last meter so your reader walks away with a clear understand of your summary .

Other tips for writing your summary

Keep it short

TED Talks have an 18-minute time-limit. Any longer, and TED knows the hearing may lose interest. Your summaries should have a limit, excessively. Charlene Burke, a business research professional and copywriter, who has 20 years of experience summarizing research papers, selling research, and competitive news reports says to keep your drumhead to 10 % of the original text. Comb through your sentences and remove any that don ’ thymine add value or context to the main orient .

Cite and reference

Always reference the writer and name of the paper within the first gear few sentences so your subscriber knows veracious away you ’ re summarizing an article, quite than coming up with the ideas yourself. If your drumhead is respective paragraphs farseeing, you can besides include citations throughout, as a subtle admonisher to the lector that again, the ideas you ’ rhenium presenting aren ’ metric ton yours .

Focus on one idea

If you present excessively many findings in your summary, your reader may get confused or you may weaken the research. To pick the one mind that matters most, revisit the audience you set for your summary and what matters to them. Make certain the idea you present in your drumhead aligns with the information they ’ ll find most relevant .

Step 5: Edit and polish

Every big writer ’ mho secret weapon ? A few rounds of editing. To start, make sure your summary doesn ’ t leave your lector hanker for more. For exemplar : “ Color psychology is a popular subject but it might not be creditable. ” This conviction leaves me with questions : Who is color psychology democratic with ? Why international relations and security network ’ t it creditable ? We can improve this sentence by adding a spot more context : “ Color psychology is popular among graphic designers, but the subject lacks empiric evidence on how it affects buyers ’ decisions. ” Afterwards, clean up your summary by fixing clunky sentences. For example :

  • Clunky: Although many studies place a focus on a person’s psychological, physiological, and behavioral responses to color, the findings of these studies are often based on small sample sizes and/or small sample groups.
  • Fixed: ”Most studies focus on psychological, physiological, and behavioral responses to color, but the findings are often based on small sample sizes.”

Using Wordtune, I rewrote the first sentence and it went from 33 words to 21. The second sentence gets to the point a lot faster and is easier to read . last, fix any last-minute grammar or spelling mistakes .

Step 6: Get someone else to read your summary

I call this gradation “ the ma quiz ” but you can call it whatever you ’ d like. Whenever I need to summarize something, I ask my ma to read through my work. If she understands the main points without knowing about the subject, I know I ’ ve done a properly job.

Read more : Smoked Pork Shoulder

Have person who isn ’ metric ton familiar with the research composition read through your summary. Does it make feel to them ? What unanswered questions do they have after reading it ? If you need, go through one final round of edits .

Write article summaries faster with Wordtune

Summarizing articles doesn ’ t need to be a boring undertaking that takes hours to complete. Wordtune helps you fast-track the summons so you can write compelling summaries in a divide of the clock. quick to try it yourself ? Gain the skill of summarizing with WordTune Read ! Sign up for free today .

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