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Part I. Basics/Process

  A. Chapters 1-6: Start

  B. Ch. 7-13: Organize

  C. Ch. 14-20: Revise/Edit

Part II. College Writing

   D. Ch. 21-23: What Is It?

   E. Ch. 24-30: Write on Rdgs.

   F. Ch.31-35: Arguments

  G. Ch. 36-42: Research

  H. Ch. 43-48: Literature

   I.  Ch. 49-58: Majors & Work

Part III. Grammar

 Study Questions



Chapter 26. SUMMARY


Introduction   Basics   Advanced   Samples   Activities


Student Samples of Summarizing




The samples below are papers by students, unless specifically noted.  They are examples of "A" level undergraduate writing or entry-level professional work.  To get a better idea of how this type of paper is written, you will want to look at all the samples.  Then compare the samples to each other and to what the "Basics" part of this chapter says.   

 The authors of all sample student papers in this Web site have given their permission in writing to have their work included in WritingforCollege.orgAll samples remain copyrighted by their original authors.  Other than showing it on this website, none should be used without the explicit permission of the author.

Unless otherwise noted, sample papers do not necessarily meet all requirements an individual instructor or professional supervisor may have: ask your instructor or supervisor.  In addition, the samples single spaced to save room; however, a proper manuscript given to an instructor or supervisor normally should be double spaced with margins set at or close to 1" unless another format has been requested.


Sample One: Short, Basic Summary

SPECIAL NOTES: This summary is very short because it was the first draft done by the student.  (Note: It is in three paragraphs at present.  However, it could be combined into one paragraph to provide a brief, one-paragraph Summary section at the beginning of a much longer formal academic paper, right after the introduction and before the body sections of the paper.)

University of Minnesota
Eng 3027-5, Advanced Composition
Rough-Draft Summary
Min Seok Kim

Science Shows Us How the World Is
by Min Seok Kim

            "Is Science Dangerous?" by Lewis Wolpert appeared in the March 25, 1999 issue of Nature.  In this article, Wolpert insists that scientific knowledge has no moral or ethical value, and that all it does is make a just society.

            Wolpert tells us that we do not know the exact difference between science and technology.  In actuality, science makes ideas about how the world works; scientists do not cause unethical behaviors.  However, technology—such as the genetic engineering feats of human cloning, gene therapy, and genetically modified foods—can do so.  Wolpert suggests some guidelines to reduce ethical problems: all scientific ideas should be criticized by others; knowledge should be used to do good, not evil; and government and the media should act correctly in carrying out the applications of science

            In the article "Is Science Dangerous?" Lewis Wolpert explains that science itself is not dangerous, and the real danger depends on how safely science is applied—and on how we respond to it.


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Sample Two: Long, Finished Summary

SPECIAL NOTES: The subtitles in this sample add clarity, but most instructors either do not require them and some may prefer that subtitles not be used in a short summary.

University of Minnesota
EngC 3027-5, Advanced Composition
Formal Summary
Roger S. Thomas

A Summary of "National Security Justifies Censorship"  
by Roger S. Thomas


        The article "National Security Justifies Censorship" by Elmo R. Zumwalt and James G. Zumwalt, appears in Censorship, a book in the Opposing Viewpoints Series.  The article asserts that information that is secret and vital to the security of the nation should not be released to the press.  The arguments made by Zumwalt Senior and Junior are summarized below.


        Although many journalists contend that the First Amendment guarantees unrestricted printing freedom, the authors believe the press has gained more power than the framers of the Constitution foresaw and therefore neglected to install safe guards that would protect national security.   According to the authors, the power of the media has gone far past what the constitutional framers expected; consequently, several acts since the writing of the Constitution have been implemented to deal with the lack of protection regarding national security.  The authors continue to affirm that even though significant risk exists when confidential information is released to the press, this danger has remained unresolved by the courts. 

          The authors cite an example to prove this point. The CIA during the Reagan administration recognized Muhamar Quadaffi as a known terrorist and a potential threat to national security in a classified document.  The Washington Post somehow had the document disclosed to them, and they soon published the information.  Several months after the operation had been abandoned, the CIA found Quadaffi responsible for the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque. Military action had to be taken because of the earlier release of the classified document.  The operation incurred military casualties.

        The authors then offer a two-part solution: (1) make the publication of classified information a punishable offense, and (2) incorporate a "code of ethics" into media guidelines that safeguards national security.  The paper ends by discussing how ethics are the responsibility of good journalism.


            Elmo R. Zumwalt and James G. Zumwalt assert that the media are overpowered and the national security is underprotected.  They believe that the government and the media must take steps to assure a disaster does not occur.


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Section E.
Responding to Reading


Chapter 26. Summary:







Related Chapters/Sections:

Basic Layouts to Summarize

Research Writing


 Related Links in

   3. Thinking & Reading

12. Types of Papers

14. Online Readings

16. Research Writing


Updated 1 Aug. 2013

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Previous editions: Writing for School & Work, 1984-1998;, 1998-2012
6th Edition: 8-1-12, rev. 8-1-13.  Text, design, and photos copyright 2002-12 by R. Jewell or as noted
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