Summarizing a scientific article is the process of highlighting and presenting a focused overview of completed research studies. An abstract of a scientific article gives potential readers a brief and descriptive comment, which gives them insight into the focus of the article. Writing and summarizing a scientific paper is a common task for college students and research assistants. You can learn to effectively read a scientific article with a perspective to make a summary, plan to do a satisfying one, and write it completely.
Part 1 of 3: Read the article
Step 1. Read the excerpt
This is a short paragraph written by the author to summarize a research article. It is typically featured in most academic journals and is typically 100-200 words long. It provides a brief summary of the content of the scientific article and gives you the important data of the research study.
- The purpose of the excerpt is to allow researchers to quickly scan a publication and see which research articles are relevant to their work. With this, you will not only be able to know in a hundred words if the research is in your field of expertise, but you will also know if the conclusions support yours or if they differ from them.
- Remember that an excerpt and an article summary are two different things, so an article summary that looks like an excerpt is a poor summary. An excerpt is highly condensed and cannot provide the same level of detail regarding the research and its conclusions as a summary.
Step 2. Understand the context of the investigation
Make sure you know which authors will discuss or analyze, why the research or topic matters, if the scientific article was written in response to another article on the same topic, and why you are reading that particular article, that is, if it is for an academic purpose.. By doing this, you will know which arguments, phrases and data to choose and analyze in the summary.
Step 3. Go to the conclusion
Go to the conclusions and see if the proposed research allows you to learn more about the topic and understand where the complicated schemes and arguments are headed. The information is much easier to understand if you read the researchers' conclusions first.
You still have to read the scientific article after you finish with the conclusion, but only if the research is relevant. You may not have to assimilate another source to support your research if you gather more than this and if you are looking to get some dissenting opinions
Step 4. Identify the main argument or position of the article
To avoid having to read an entire article twice to remind yourself of the main idea, make sure you understand it the first time. Take notes as you read and highlight or underline the main ideas.
- Pay special attention to the opening paragraph or the second paragraph of the article. This is where the author will likely lay out his thesis for the entire article. Find out what the thesis is and determine the argument or main idea that the author or authors are trying to prove with the research.
Look up words like hypotheses, results, usually, in general, or clearly for clues as to what the thesis sentence is
- Underline, highlight or rewrite the main argument of the investigation in the margins of the article. Stay focused on this main point so that you can tie the rest of the article together with the idea and see how it all works.
- In the humanities, it is sometimes more difficult to understand a clear and concise thesis from an article about class in postmodern poetics or feminist film. Try to express on your own what is not clear to you and express as much as you can understand the author's ideas and what he tries to verify with his analysis.
Step 5. Examine the argument
Keep reading the different segments of a scientific article and highlight the main points that the author discusses. Focus on the fundamental ideas and concepts that are proposed and try to tie them to the main idea that the author has demonstrated at the beginning of the article.
- You will find different areas within the scientific article, which will be divided into subtitles for each section that focuses on a specific step or development during the course of research studies. The titles of these sections are usually placed in bold and with a larger font than the remaining text.
- Keep in mind that academic journals are boring reads. Is it really necessary to read the author's full five hundred words checking the formulas that were used in the glycerin solution that was given to the frogs in the research study? Maybe, but maybe not. Normally, it is not essential to read all the words in research articles, as long as you understand the main idea and the reason why the content is in that article.
Step 6. Take notes as you read
Efficiency is the linchpin when conducting research and gathering information from academic journals. Actively read as you read the material. Circle or highlight each part of the scientific article and focus on the subsection titles.
Typically, these segments will consist of the introduction, methodology, research results, and conclusion, plus a list of references
Part 2 of 3: Plan a Draft Document
Step 1. Write a brief description of the investigation
Describe the academic journal of the article, write a list of the steps you took from the starting point to the results at the end of the article, quickly describe the methodology and the form of study that was carried out. There is no need to be very specific as this is what the summary will be for.
It's helpful to turn off the redaction filter and quickly write down what you remember from the article when you're just starting to summarize. This will help to discover the main and necessary points to make the summary
Step 2. Decide which aspects of the article are the most important
You can refer to these as the main and supporting ideas or sections of the article. While these are clearly marked with subtitles, they may require more work. Any main point used to support the author's main argument must be presented in the abstract.
- Depending on the research, you can describe the theoretical background of the research or the researchers' assumptions. In scientific writing, it is important to clearly summarize the hypotheses that the researchers outlined before conducting the research, as well as the procedures that were used throughout the project. Briefly summarize the statistical results and include a simple interpretation of the article data.
- In humanities articles, it is recommended to summarize the fundamental assumptions and the type of thinking that the author has, as well as the examples and ideas presented in the article.
Step 3. Identify the fundamental vocabulary that you will use in the summary
Make sure all the main keywords that were used in the article appear in the abstract. It is also necessary to include and discuss all the words or terms that the author coined.
Step 4. Try to keep the summary short
Abstracts do not need to be the same length as the article. It is intended to provide a condensed but separate description of the investigation, either for use by the primary collector of the investigation or to help you re-assimilate the information later in the investigation process.
As a general rule of thumb, you could write one paragraph for each main point and end with no more than five hundred or one thousand words for the more academic articles. For most professional journal abstracts, you will need to write several short paragraphs that summarize each portion of the scientific article, but without having to edit them; they do not have to be very long
Part 3 of 3: Write the summary
Step 1. Don't use personal pronouns (I, you, he, we, you, they)
Step 2. Keep the tone as objective as possible
Keep in mind that you are not criticizing the article, but rather giving an overview of it.
Step 3. Begin by defining the research question
At the beginning of the article, perhaps in the introduction, the authors can discuss the focus of the research study and the objectives to be achieved with it. Your summary should start in this part. Describe in your own words the main argument that the authors hope to prove with their research.
In scientific articles, there is usually an introduction that establishes the background of the experiment or study and will not give you anything else that you can summarize. You will then follow the development of the research question and testing procedures, which are critical in dictating the content of the rest of the article
Step 4. Discuss the methodology the authors used
This part discusses the research tools and methods that were used during the study. In other words, you have to summarize how the authors or researchers reached the conclusions they reached with first-hand research or data collection.
Generally, it is not necessary to include all the specifics of the testing procedures, but should be reduced to a simple idea about how the research question was handled. The results of the study are usually processed data and are sometimes accompanied by pre-processed or raw data. You just have to add the processed data in the summary
Step 5. Describe the results
One of the most important parts of the abstract is the description of what the authors achieved as a result of their work. Did the authors get what they wanted and did they meet their goals when conducting the research? What conclusions did the authors of this research draw? What are the implications of this research as described in the article?
Make sure your summary covers the research question, the conclusions, the results, and how those results were achieved. These are crucial parts of the article and you cannot put them aside
Step 6. Join the main ideas presented in the article
For some abstracts, it is important to demonstrate how the relationships between the ideas that the authors presented develop in the course of the article. The primary purpose of the abstract is to present a brief overview of the authors' essential points to the reader, which makes it important that you break down their arguments and explain them in your own words. Fill in the blanks and any assumptions the reader may have, help clarify the research, and summarize it briefly.
This is sometimes more important for abstracts dealing with articles on humanities topics. For example, it may be helpful to break down thick arguments about the poet George Herbert's relationship to the divine using more common summaries. You can write "The author seeks to humanize Herbert by discussing his daily routines, rather than his philosophies."
Step 7. Don't draw your own conclusions
An abstract of an article should not be edited nor should it offer a proper interpretation of the data, unless this is explicitly stated as part of the duty. In general, the goal of an abstract is to summarize the authors' points rather than offer their own additions or edits to the information.
This can be difficult for some of the inexperienced investigative writers until they learn the trick, but remember not to write in the first person
Step 8. Avoid using direct text citations from the scientific article
Citations are most often used when writing a written assignment or essay for college and are less important in an abstract for a scientific article. Focus more on paraphrasing ideas when writing a summary of a scientific paper without losing focus on its meaning and intended content.
Step 9. Use the present tense
Always use the present tense when you are discussing the content of an academic article. This will help you maintain a parallel grammatical structure throughout.
Step 10. Review the draft document.
Good writing is given in review. Go back to the scientific article and compare the focus and content of what you have written to see that it matches and supports the context of the article. A properly summarized scientific article provides potential readers with a brief overview, which is important when searching for and researching specific information on a particular topic.