Since this class is centered on the practice of working with the ideas of others and synthesizing those ideas into our own writing, it stands to reason that we should spend some time practicing the art of summary. This summary exercise will help you to improve your academic writing in several ways: First, this excercise will help you to find meaning within a given text and provide you with a better way of interpreting what the author is trying to say; secondly, this exercise will give you further practice in summarizing, paraphrasing, using quotations, and condensing ideas—skills that are essential to academic writing.
Remember that the purpose of this summary is not to relate your reaction to the reading; your role in this process is to simply convey the information in the reading in condensed form. Do not include personal opinion, personal judgments of the material, or personal narrative. Be brief, be as accurate as you can, and try to capture the complete sense of the reading in your summary.
Read and Summarize
Go to the resources tab and use the Ebscohost link to search for the following articles:
- Friedman, T. L., & Mandelbaum, M. (2011). America really was that great (but that doesn't mean we are now). Foreign Policy, (189), 76-78.
Your summary should meet the following guidelines:
- is between 150 and 250 words(no longer);
- includes direct quotations and paraphrased passages from the text;
- uses attributive tags that not only work to convey the mood of the writer, but establish him or her as an authority in the field of study;
- avoids personal opinion;
- is written clearly, concisely, and accurately;
- is written solely in third-person;
- includes a References page;
- has been closely edited so that it contains few or no mechanical errors.
As you work on your summary, it is a good idea to keep the following questions in mind:
- How does this summary meet the assignment criteria?
- How close do you feel your summary came to capturing the information in the original article?
- Does this summary use effective transitions as it progresses from paragraph to paragraph?
- Does this summary avoid personal opinion, casual language, or first or second person language?
- Is there anything in this summary that could have been left out without losing its effect?
- Is there anything else that could have been added to this summary to make it feel more complete?