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Writing Summaries

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Jessica A

on 19 January 2016

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Transcript of Writing Summaries

ENG 1304:
Writing Summaries

Why summarize?
When you summarize:
Some practice (in groups!)
A summary:
Demonstrates that you understand what "they say" -- what scholars and authorities in a given field think
Provides context for your analysis and response
Demonstrates your critical reading and thinking skills
Helps you practice remaining objective while describing a view you don't necessarily agree with
What exactly IS a summary?
Identify the
author and title
of the work.
Emphasize the work's
and the
main ideas
used to support the thesis.
your own words
, but the source’s ideas.
author tags
(e.g. "According to Orenstein")

to attribute ideas to the original author.
. You are reporting, not responding.
Take notes on the speaker's main idea as you watch this video. In your Unit 1 groups, you will write a summary of the talk and present your summary to the class.
A concise condensation of a longer text
An objective presentation of a source
A statement of the MAIN points of a work
Written entirely in your own words
...but a summary is NOT:
A sentence outline presented in a paragraph form
An evaluation of or response to a source
A paraphrase of every point made by a text
The presentation of only one part or idea as if it represents the entire text
The stringing together of directly quoted or slightly paraphrased phrases and clauses from the original text
Want to know more?
(Answer: Yes, you should want to know more.)
See the pages listed below for detailed strategies for writing summaries.
Potential Pitfalls
A summary should be entirely in your own words -- which means you can't copy anything (phrases, sentences) from the original text word-for-word.
If your goal is to present what "they say," you need to do so accurately. Don't misrepresent the ideas of the author.
An Example
Excerpt from “Harry Potter: From Craze to Classic?” by Lana A. Whited

In the two years that have passed since the [Children’s Literature Association] conference, the interest of literature professionals in Harry Potter has only accelerated. Other professional organizations, including the Modern Language Association, have devoted whole sessions to the books at their annual meetings. Despite the fact that J. K. Rowling’s agent discourages books about the series, several readers’ guides have been published, along with a couple of unauthorized biographies of Rowling herself and collections of children’s writing in response to the series. Critical essays on the books are beginning to show up in scholarly journals. So the answer to the question of whether Harry will be taken seriously by those within the “Ivory Tower” appears to be a resounding yes.
Are the following examples of summary correct? Why or why not?

1. J. K. Rowling’s agent discouraged her from writing a sequel to the original Harry Potter books entitled Harry Potter and the Ivory Tower.

2. Literature scholars have begun to take the Harry Potter series more seriously. Critical essays on the books are beginning to show up in scholarly journals.

3. Sessions on Harry Potter at professional conferences, books about the series, and scholarly articles on Harry and his friends are all good signs that the series will continue to gain respect as a serious subject of study for professional scholars of literature.

4. Despite the fact that books about the Harry Potter series are discouraged by J. K. Rowling’s agent, several have been published, including a couple of unauthorized biographies of the author herself.
RRW pp. 13-14
TSIS (Blackboard reading) pp. 39-40
Kid President: "Pep Talk"
Full transcript