3.5 Walk Before You Run: Gathering, Synthesizing, and Understanding Your Sources: End-of-Chapter Exercises

End-of-Chapter Exercises

You have now read about summarizing and you have also looked at two specific types of papers that academics use to share their source summaries and findings with each other. Now, it is time to practice!

  1. Choose a source that you have read a few (ideally at least 2) times throughout the course of your prelimnary research.
  2. Summarize the source using 3 paragraphs.
    • The first paragraph should include the introductory material.
    • The second paragraph should be the “meat” of the source or the main claim and results the author(s) of the source presented.
    • The third paragraph should be the concluding material.
  3. Now, using that same source, write the summary using only one paragraph(6-8 sentences).
    • Not only will this help you practice your summarization skills, but you will also spend some time practicing the art of concision.
  4. Finally, take the paragraph summary you just wrote and make it even shorter (3-4 sentences).

If you followed along with the chapter, you will recognize that the first summarization skills come into play when you are trying to create a summary essay over a specific source, the second when you are preparing a summary for an annotated bibliography, and the third when you are looking to create a literature review. Each of these summaries should be able to accurately represent the same source. You should not reach each and think that they are three separate summaries for three separate sources. If you do, then the pieces of information you chose to include are not the most important aspects of the article.

Remember: You have to be mindful of what information you are marking as important (i.e. choosing to include in the summary) because the smaller the summary gets the less space you have to, essentially, convey the same material.

 

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