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Identify the main argument of the piece (not just “what it’s about”). Put it into your own words.

Final Summary Assignment

A foundational writing genre in the study of composition is the art of crafting effective summaries. Before we can advance our own rhetorical skills, we must first master strategies to strengthen the way we integrate the ideas of other authors through strategic quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

Step 1: (Remember, you have already selected your article via the Week 1: Summary Proposal assignment)

1. Read the text closely several times, taking time to highlight and interact with it (review your work submitted in the Week 2: Summary Annotation Assignment)

2. Identify the main argument of the piece (not just “what it’s about”). Put it into your own words.

3. Divide the piece into sections. (This step will depend on the length of the piece; in a short piece, a section might be one paragraph, but in a longer one, a section may be comprised of several paragraphs dealing with the same subtopic).

4. Identify what each section is “saying” and also what it is “doing.”

5. Check your own understanding. Do you see how the material in each section serves to support the main argument?

Step 2: Begin Writing your Brief Summary

Features of Effective Summary Writing include the following;

* is short, often significantly shorter than the original.
* typically begins by identifying the text’s title, author, publication, and main argument.
* traces the main ideas of a text, skipping any repetitive or non-essential details.
* proceeds chronologically, in the same order as the original text.
* should make sense to someone who has never read the original text before.
* is written in the summarizer’s language, not the author’s – attributive / identifying tags should be used in every sentence to separate summarizer and author.
* can include a few brief quotations and, of course, they’re copied carefully, punctuated correctly, and documented in MLA style.
* Recaptures only the words and ideas contained in the original text, not the summarizer’s opinion or critique. (Do not include your own personal commentary)

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