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Tips for Summarizing Academic Articles
TO DO BEFORE SUMMARIZING
- Select one of your review articles.
- Do a quick survey read (read abstract, main headings, subheadings and some topic sentences).
- Copy paste the QUESTION PROMPTS (1-15) below onto a Word document and assign a descriptive file name to it; something that clearly signals what the document is - NOT “article1.doc”.
- Derive detailed responses to QUESTION PROMPTS 1-15 while doing a more careful reading of the selected article.
- Write these detailed responses/summary points in your own words. If you must borrow direct wording from the article, be sure to place this in quotation marks and note page location.
- Note page location after each summary point.
- Save and secure.
- What was the goal in writing this article?
- What is well known or understood thus far with respect to this area of research?
- What is not so well known or understood with respect to this area of research?
- What is the focus of the author’s attention in terms of concepts/variables and their relationships or status?
- What question(s) does the author want to answer?
- What are some of the issues or problems with conducting this type of inquiry that were mentioned in the article?
- What was discovered? Refer to both major and minor findings.
- How did the author go about doing this research (i.e. what techniques of data gathering or data were used)?
- What appears to be the target population? In other words, what is the author making to inferences to in terms of a target population (Canadian hospitals? Children in non-state funded daycares in New York? Graduating police officers in Ontario?)?
- What appears to be the timeframe covered in the study?
- What new ideas does this work present?
- What practical implications for better understanding the problem/issue does this work have?
- What advice is given? To whom does it seem to be directed?
- What limitations does the research have?
- What are the suggestions for further research?