In English 109, Professor Mary Hays assigned us an essay with the following prompt.
Review the web page on writing summaries. Summarize the secondary source you found in the library database. Using the guidelines in the handout, write a detailed summary of the source. Your summary should be shorter than the original (one half the length, or even less), but still give your reader a good idea of what the source says. In general, you will keep your opinion out of a summary. However, if you wish, you may add a short paragraph of your own analysis of the source after your summary. If you choose to do this, make it clear to your reader where your own evaluation begins.
- A concise and descriptive title.
- A good summary. I should know what the article is about without reading the article.
- Clear source boundaries. Most of your summary should be paraphrase. You may include a few (no more than two) judiciously chosen quotes, but don’t depend too heavily on them. Be sure to acknowledge any quotations you use. (Note that you don’t have to use quotes, but if you do, choose them carefully. I don’t want to read quotations you could have easily paraphrased.)
- None of your own opinion in the summary. I should not even be able to tell what you think about the article.
- Clear, concise, error-free writing.