How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

Chances are that you won't be an expert on every given topic that you need to write about. Whether you are summarizing a main idea for a blog post or aiming for more academic writing, you need to know how to write a summary of an article.

The good news is that there are two great ways to create article summaries: on your own or with the help of AI tools

When you want to summarize an article in your own words, this guide will help you to make your main ideas crystal clear and get those important concepts down on the page. 

Let's get started! 

When to Summarize an Article

How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

For many writers, they wonder when they should create an article summary as opposed to simply citing the main points an author makes. Quotes are often great for short tidbits of information (as long as they are properly cited), but you might want to boil a very long article down to just a few sentences. 

This is where summarizing can come in handy. 

Article summaries offer a short glimpse into the most important points of the original article. If you want to reference the findings of a scientific article as a whole rather than just one thesis statement, you can use a summary or paraphrasing to do so. The idea here is that you want to get across the conclusions and findings of the article in your own words. 

How to Write a Summary of an Article Manually

There are two primary ways you can create article summaries: manual or with the assistance of AI tools. We'll first take a look at how to write an article summary manually before moving on to the powerful tools that take away some of the heavy lifting. 

1. Close Reading of the Original Article

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How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

The first thing you need to do is read the article carefully. You should know what its thesis statement is and what evidence it uses to support that idea. These key points are essential to conveying the main ideas and important details in your overall summary. The original text is your best source for writing effective summaries. 

Taking notes and highlighting your document can be extremely useful as you narrow down to the most important information. Annotating an article is a common way to jot down anything memorable that strikes you as you do a close reading

2. Pinpoint the Main Idea and Key Points

What do you want to write about for your article summary? After you have finished the entire article, it is time to start writing the main point. Can you explain the premise of the article in a few sentences? Only the most important details should be included at this stage rather than a list of all examples. 

For each key point in the article, you may want to create a sentence that summarizes the original text succinctly. If you have trouble with this, write one sentence for each paragraph and then start to whittle it down using transitional words to guide you through the article. 

3. Questions to Ask Yourself as You Read the Entire Article

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How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

Of course, writing a concise summary also requires you to ask questions as you draw a conclusion from the article or data. 

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself as you move from the introduction to the conclusion of the paper, preparing to make your arguments: 

  • Is the idea presented in the article new or novel? 
  • Is it something that your reader would consider common knowledge? 
  • Are you including your own interpretation of the ideas within the article? 
  • How does this article summary reinforce and contradict your own work? 
  • What does the article contribute to the original thesis? 

4. Narrow the Focus for a Concise Summary

If you are creating an article summary, chances are that you do not want to spend paragraphs of space talking about another author's work. Instead, you should focus on what is truly important in the piece and how it relates to your own overview of work. 

Identify a narrow focus to keep things as short and sweet as possible. A few sentences or a paragraph should be more than enough to summarize an article. You don't need to include all of the details in your summaries but can refer back to the original text for anyone interested in learning more. 

5. Format for an Article Summary 

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How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

Sometimes, it can help to have a detailed format guide for how to write an article summary. Articles can typically be boiled down to an example that looks something like this for a paragraph overview of the findings: 

  • Introduce the author and the main idea studied in the article. 
  • Summarize the main points under each subheading of the arguments in the original text. 
  • Write roughly one sentence for each detail that supports that thesis statement.
  • Write a detailed conclusion about the ideas reached in the article. 

Do not yet add your own reflections or conclusions to the piece. This opportunity to write your own note about work related to the original text comes after the end of your summary. It should be clear which ideas are your own and which ones belong to the initial article's author. 

6. Citing Article Summaries

To be on the safe side, you should always cite articles referenced in academic writing. The specific citation method used will depend on what area you are writing in, though MLA and APA formats are both quite common. 

The good news is that you can create citations using online tools like EasyBib and Citation Machine

Don't forget that you will also need to include in-line citations that reference the original text. These are usually included in parentheses after the summary and allow a reader to refer to the bibliography or works cited page in order to learn more. 

7. Tips to Avoid Plagiarism & Ensure Accuracy

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How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

No matter how you choose to write your article summary, you will need to ensure that you have zero plagiarism in your finished piece. Tools like Copyscape can help you pinpoint pieces that have been lifted from another source word for word. If you do find any, you can put them in quotes and give proper credit to the initial author. 

We also have compiled a list of Copyscape alternatives to help you identify plagiarism. 

It helps you to avoid plagiarism if you take notes on the article in your own words as you go. This also ensures that you are writing down accurate article summaries instead of trying to recall the data and information as you wrap up reading a rather lengthy article. 

How to Write a Summary of an Article Fast with AI

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How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

Of course, there is more than one way to help your writing and get across the main ideas from an article these days. Artificial intelligence is a great way to kickstart your writing and create something unique and original with your article summaries.

Here are a few guidelines for using AI to write an article summary. 

Give the AI Tool the Text

Many of the AI tools on the market today are not actually hooked up to the internet. That means they may not have access to the same resources and websites that you do. As a result, you will usually need to provide the full text of the article that you wish to summarize. 

This can be as simple as doing a copy and paste into the chat box. 

Give the Prompt

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How to Write a Summary of an Article: 7 Tips to Master This Important Skill

From here, the AI tool will do all of the heavy lifting for you. The only thing you need to do is ask it to provide an article summary. You might phrase it something like this: 

  • Write a one-paragraph summary of the below article. 
  • Write a two- to three-sentence summary of the key points in this article. 
  • Provide a quick synopsis of this article. 

You can be as detailed as you want to be about how the AI tool should focus on the given text, how long you want it to be, and even if you want it to include direct quotations from the text to support its conclusions. 

If you think that you could use AI to create a summary as quickly as possible, you may want to try Jasper for yourself. Jasper has a “text summarizer” capability that is built specifically for this purpose. Give it the text you want to analyze, a prompt, and watch it work its magic in less than two minutes! 

See our full Jasper review here to see if this tool is right for you.

Check out how Jasper compares against the best summary generator tools in this article.

Final Thoughts: How to Write a Summary of an Article

There will eventually come a time when you need to reference someone else's work in your own writing. Whether you want to write your own summary of an article or let AI do the heavy lifting for you, make sure you cite the article with the appropriate method. Always give credit where credit is due!

With some of these guidelines, you should be able to identify what you need to do to create a written summary for your next paper or article! 

Tran Danh
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Tran Danh

I'm Tran Danh, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

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