Summary Essay & Note-Taking Exercise
Read from Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, Lester & Lester, chapters 7 & 8 (pages 95-134), & on the outline, 9i (pages 152-165). Also, read additional description of citing periodicals as described below.
Outline and summarize an article from a periodical, preferably a journal.
Complete an outline and draft of a summary of an article and post it in the “Summary Drafts” list in Discussions by Thursday, 1/14. Visit the Discussion and comment on one other summary draft.
E-mail an outline and final draft of an article, including a “Works Cited” page, to your instructor by January 19.
Length: 1.5-2 pages. Include your outline and a Work Cited page, which do not count toward the page count.
Important: Include a copy of one of the articles with your summary. You can do this by cutting and pasting the article into a Word file and attaching it. Also, you can include a URL if it is a free online database.
By the end of the unit, students will be able to:
Find an appropriate article with useable, valuable information for research.
Identify a published author’s organization in a formal outline.
Write a clear outline showing the organization of a published source.
Select and condense an author’s important points in one’s own words.
Avoid plagiarism by substantial paraphrasing.
Sustain a convincing, objective tone in one’s own writing.
Avoid passive verb construction by using active voice in one’s own writing.
Conclude a summary with an even more condensed abstract of information one has discovered through research.
Use a formal “Works Cited” page.
Summarizing – the Continual Process: Though summarizing sounds like a boring and predictable pastime, it is one of the keys to successful research. In addition, because everyone summarizes differently, we cannot take it for granted.
You will need to find an article in a periodical that is about some aspect of your topic. (It may or may not be an article that you will actually use and cite in your final research paper, though it probably will be.)
To summarize an entire article, begin by finding the author’s organization. This will allow you to quickly go back and fill in the important points and write a summary of the article. When summarizing, your own opinion is not necessary. You are selecting what you consider that the author focused on when writing the article. You need to condense the important points on a few type-written double-spaced pages.
This is also a note-taking exercise, so for the purposes of research, summarizing here does not always mean to leave out specifics. In fact, well-chosen specific details can create the strongest summaries by supplying those details that are most important to larger ideas or events.
The most helpful first step will be breaking down the article into a coherent outline form. Review the section on outlining in the text. Putting the article in outline form will help to avoid merely recopying or plagiarizing an article. When you are satisfied that your outline is complete, use it as a fairly strict guide to write your paper.
The purpose is to retell the article from the journal so that the reader can read your paper and know the important points in the article. However, you have to use your own language, while choosing words appropriate to summarizing the article. One of the purposes is to be concise and concentrated.
Do not use quotations from the article for this paper. Your short essay will be a paraphrase of the article.
A summary, to be convincing, needs to sustain an objective tone. Objectivity means a judgment without emotion or bias. In reality this may be impossible or at best very difficult. Therefore, when writing, the goal is to create an objective tone. Phrases that indicate a personal judgment or emotional decision weaken the paper if the aim is to create an objective tone. Therefore, such phrases are best edited out of the initial draft.
The purpose of the summary is to put the article concisely and directly in front of the reader while not using the author’s words. A careful editing of the draft can help to do this. Use the rubric (score sheet) as a checklist to edit your draft. Consider each of the items separately and check your draft for each item. It will be used to evaluate your summary. Also visit the link to make comments on summaries written by others in the Discussion.
Be sure to title your paper. The title is another exercise in summarizing since you must condense the central thought to a phrase of your own.
WORKS CITED PAGE
Normally you would not cite one work. However, for practice at citing, include a formal “Works Cited” page as described in the text with your summary or the SCC library website under “Cite”. The format for listing different kinds of publications (section 14) is on pages 250-288 of the text. That section of the book has sections for many kinds of publication, including periodicals (14e) . For this paper, it is fine to put the formal citation at the bottom of the second page if you have a lot of room.
Visit “Summary Drafts” on the Discussions to post a first draft of your summary. Read a few other drafts; use posted rubric (score sheet) below to help with your comments on the summary of others.
Post the draft on the Forum by October 15. Submit the Final copy with an attached e-mail to the instructor by October 21.
– How do you keep an outline parallel?
– What are some methods of creating an objective tone?
– What does substantial paraphrasing mean?
Summary Rubric (Evaluation Sheet)
Evaluation of Summary Score Sheet (Rubric used to evaluate your paper):
Evaluated on –
Identifies completely work,
author, and source with “Works Cited” page — 10 pts—————————————
Covers all major points————————— 5 pts—————————————
Identifies central premise———————— 5———————————————-
Is edited to be clear and concise—————- 10———————————————-
Outline reflects source/organization———– 10——————————————–
Edited to maintain objective tone————– 10——————————————–
Uses standard grammar,
punctuation, spelling, etc.———————— 15——————————————–
Chooses effective & appropriate details—— 10——————————————–
Avoids passive verb construction————– 5———————————————-
Does not use a quotation or wording of the original——- 5——————————
Refers to entire paper in conclusion———— 10——————————————–
TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS 100pts
Rubric: Summary Essay
Rubric: Summary Essay
Criteria Ratings Pts
Identifies completely work, author, and source with “Works Cited” page
Covers all major points
Outline reflects source/organization
Identifies central premise
Edited to be clear & concise
Edited to maintain objective tone
Uses standard grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc
Chooses effective & appropriate details
Avoids passive verb construction
Does not use a quotation or wording of the original
Maintains focus throughout
Refers to entire paper in conclusion
Total Points: 100
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