Making your own summaries is one of the most effective study techniques because it forces you to understand the text, its analysis and interpretation in order to translate the fundamental content of the text with your own words.
Knowing how to explain a text in your own words will consolidate the information in your brain so that when it is necessary to recover the data it is produced in a more agile and better adapted to the situation that requires that data. The brain is like a machine that processes information, but what makes it exceptional is its ability to interpret information as a function of the situation.
>> Related article: Improving reading comprehension: the SQ3R method
Steps to follow to summarize a text.
The purpose of the summary is to reflect the information in another text briefly.
- Consider your audience to know the purpose of the summary. Who will read it? It may be a summary of a school or college job; A summary of a scientific article; A summary of a product for a customer; Or a summary for personal use as a method of study. You must adapt to who is going to read it to know if it will understand or if it will include enough information.
- Analyze the theme and sub-themes of the text. For that you can simply take a quick look at the text. Reading the titles and subtitles will guide you in the later reading.
- Read the article, obviously. Read it without making notes, simply perform a comprehensive reading. As you read, identify the structure of the text.
Record the main ideas. To do this you can underline the text or make small notes in the margin or a separate sheet.
- Make a small outline of the general content with the annotated ideas, highlighting which are the primary and secondary so that you are able to relate them to each other.
- Write the summary. Think of who is addressed and writes based on it. Do it with your own words. If the abstract is a paper to present and you have to refer to complete sentences of the text, please quote them in the abstract (following the APA standards).
More tips to summarize effectively.
- Generalization of concepts. Create categories for terms that are common, such as lists of things. For example, instead of saying “Galicia divides in Lugo, A Coruña, Pontevedra and Ourense”, to say “the provinces gallegas”.
- Globalization of information. If for example the text tells how a person made a trip, packing the suitcase, buying the tickets, taking the taxi, waiting for the train, going to the hotel … etc., You can globalize the information simply by saying “Miguel went on a trip “.
- Integration. It involves linking several sentences so that they are related to each other. For example, “Miguel during his journey met a paradisal place south of Patagonia.” And another different sentence says: “Throughout those days he met a beautiful woman and ended up falling in love with her.” You can write saying: “Miguel traveled to Patagonia where he fell in love with a beautiful woman”.
- Read the summary. Take a moment to read the summary for yourself and see if you answer these questions:
- Which is the topic?
- Where it develops?
- What are the secondary issues?
- Are ideas related?
If you are able to answer these questions once you have completed the abstract, you have done your job well. In addition, always remember to adapt the extension of the summary to the required needs.
Summarizing your own notes will help you in your studies to consolidate the information. We know it involves time and dedication and many people prefer to study for third-party summaries to avoid wasting time. However, sometimes time is an investment.
Summarize a text automatically?
It is common that this lack of time or the large extent of the text to be summarized takes us back to the time to make our own summary, but for big problems, great solutions. We can rely on an online tool to automatically summarize texts: LinguaKit, which will help you to find the main ideas of the text as well as many other options for language analysis of useful texts.