Writer's Studio

Writing a Summary

  • A summary condenses data, information, and/or original interpretive comments and leaves only the major points
  • A summary can vary in length from one sentence to several pages
  • Summaries within your own writing must carry an acknowledgment or attribution



  • Eliminate all unnecessary words within paragraphs to distill the content
  • Combine major ideas
  • Reform into a prose summary


  • Create a paragraph-by-paragraph outline capturing major claims and support
  • Organize with major claims and support in order of importance
  • Re-case as a prose summary

Repetition and Variation

  • Identify the primary claim or idea
  • Look for repetition and variations of this idea
  • Join the primary and secondary ideas in a prose summary