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Summarising Skills


Task 1: Click on the Wordle below and in pairs try to pick out and think of the main ideas of summarising as a study skill.   Write a short definition of what is meant by summarising.



Wordle: Summarise Skills  


Summarising Skills

A summary can be defined as an overview of a longer piece of text. The key aim of a summary is to condense a piece of text without losing its most fundamental information or ideas . “A summary should present a concise representation of main points, ideas, concepts, facts or text in your own words”.

The process of summarising requires important reading, thinking and writing skills which are fundamental to success at any course level. This skill allows you to exhibit and present your understanding and interpretation of major concepts and ideas in your topic or subject rather than commit plagiarism by copying passages from books, artilce, web sites or journals.

‘Summarising is an important skill which is often used when researching, gathering or presenting information. Many assignments you produce at university will draw upon important ideas, writings and research of experts in your field. No doubt, you will include the work of various writers in your own assignments to support claims or provide evidence of your own writing however, incorporation of such works must be done carefully in order to avoid plagiarism’.

 ‘A summary should present a concise representation of main points, ideas, concepts, facts or text in your own words’.

‘ A summary – or précis – is a shorter version of a longer piece of writing. The summary captures all the most important parts of the original, but expresses them in a [much] shorter space’.

 ‘Summarizing exercises are usually set to test your understanding of the original, and your ability to re-state its main purpose’.

 ‘Summarizing is also a useful skill when gathering information or doing research’.

 ‘The summary should be expressed – as far as possible – in your own words. It’s not enough to merely copy out parts of the original’.

How to summarise  your text:

  1. Read through the original text to understand its overall meaning.
  2. Capture the main points of the text by highlighting them and ignoring any unnecessary facts, descriptions, opinions or examples which do not affect the core message.
  3. Note down important details.
  4. Without the original text, re-write your notes in your own words by linking together the key points using full sentences or paragraphs as appropriate.
  5. If the original text is very long it may be useful to use headings or sub-headings.
  6. It is important to re-read your summary to make sure that you have not lost the overall point of the original information.
  7. Summarised information needs to be referenced and must be attributed to the original source.


Task 2: (Peer conference) work in pairs summarise the following text and read each other summary to make another consice summary.






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