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- How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples
How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples
Published on 25 September 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 12 May 2023.
Summarising , or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.
There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:
- Read the text
- Break it down into sections
- Identify the key points in each section
- Write the summary
- Check the summary against the article
Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or analysing the source. You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).
Table of contents
When to write a summary, step 1: read the text, step 2: break the text down into sections, step 3: identify the key points in each section, step 4: write the summary, step 5: check the summary against the article, frequently asked questions.
There are many situations in which you might have to summarise an article or other source:
- As a stand-alone assignment to show you’ve understood the material
- To keep notes that will help you remember what you’ve read
- To give an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
When you’re writing an academic text like an essay , research paper , or dissertation , you’ll integrate sources in a variety of ways. You might use a brief quote to support your point, or paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.
But it’s often appropriate to summarize a whole article or chapter if it is especially relevant to your own research, or to provide an overview of a source before you analyse or critique it.
In any case, the goal of summarising is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source. Follow the five steps outlined below to write a good summary.
You should read the article more than once to make sure you’ve thoroughly understood it. It’s often effective to read in three stages:
- Scan the article quickly to get a sense of its topic and overall shape.
- Read the article carefully, highlighting important points and taking notes as you read.
- Skim the article again to confirm you’ve understood the key points, and reread any particularly important or difficult passages.
There are some tricks you can use to identify the key points as you read:
- Start by reading the abstract . This already contains the author’s own summary of their work, and it tells you what to expect from the article.
- Pay attention to headings and subheadings . These should give you a good sense of what each part is about.
- Read the introduction and the conclusion together and compare them: What did the author set out to do, and what was the outcome?
To make the text more manageable and understand its sub-points, break it down into smaller sections.
If the text is a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organised into clearly marked sections, usually including an introduction, methods, results, and discussion.
Other types of articles may not be explicitly divided into sections. But most articles and essays will be structured around a series of sub-points or themes.
Now it’s time go through each section and pick out its most important points. What does your reader need to know to understand the overall argument or conclusion of the article?
Keep in mind that a summary does not involve paraphrasing every single paragraph of the article. Your goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything that can be considered background information or supplementary detail.
In a scientific article, there are some easy questions you can ask to identify the key points in each part.
If the article takes a different form, you might have to think more carefully about what points are most important for the reader to understand its argument.
In that case, pay particular attention to the thesis statement —the central claim that the author wants us to accept, which usually appears in the introduction—and the topic sentences that signal the main idea of each paragraph.
Now that you know the key points that the article aims to communicate, you need to put them in your own words.
To avoid plagiarism and show you’ve understood the article, it’s essential to properly paraphrase the author’s ideas. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, not even just a sentence or two.
The best way to do this is to put the article aside and write out your own understanding of the author’s key points.
Examples of article summaries
Let’s take a look at an example. Below, we summarise this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.
An article summary like the above would be appropriate for a stand-alone summary assignment. However, you’ll often want to give an even more concise summary of an article.
For example, in a literature review or research paper, you may want to briefly summarize this study as part of a wider discussion of various sources. In this case, we can boil our summary down even further to include only the most relevant information.
Citing the source you’re summarizing
When including a summary as part of a larger text, it’s essential to properly cite the source you’re summarizing. The exact format depends on your citation style , but it usually includes an in-text citation and a full reference at the end of your paper.
You can easily create your citations and references in APA or MLA using our free citation generators.
APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator
Finally, read through the article once more to ensure that:
- You’ve accurately represented the author’s work
- You haven’t missed any essential information
- The phrasing is not too similar to any sentences in the original.
If you’re summarising many articles as part of your own work, it may be a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to double-check that your text is completely original and properly cited. Just be sure to use one that’s safe and reliable.
A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words.
Save yourself some time with the free summariser.
A summary is always much shorter than the original text. The length of a summary can range from just a few sentences to several paragraphs; it depends on the length of the article you’re summarising, and on the purpose of the summary.
With the summariser tool you can easily adjust the length of your summary.
You might have to write a summary of a source:
- As a stand-alone assignment to prove you understand the material
- For your own use, to keep notes on your reading
- To provide an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
- In a paper , to summarise or introduce a relevant study
To avoid plagiarism when summarising an article or other source, follow these two rules:
- Write the summary entirely in your own words by paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
- Reference the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.
An abstract concisely explains all the key points of an academic text such as a thesis , dissertation or journal article. It should summarise the whole text, not just introduce it.
An abstract is a type of summary , but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing . For example, you might summarise a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.
Cite this Scribbr article
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McCombes, S. (2023, May 12). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 28 November 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/how-to-write-a-summary/
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How to Write an Executive Summary (Example & Template Included)
Here’s the good news: an executive summary is short. It’s part of a larger document like a business plan, business case or project proposal and, as the name implies, summarizes the longer report.
Here’s the bad news: it’s a critical document that can be challenging to write because an executive summary serves several important purposes. On one hand, executive summaries are used to outline each section of your business plan, an investment proposal or project proposal. On the other hand, they’re used to introduce your business or project to investors and other stakeholders, so they must be persuasive to spark their interest.
Writing an Executive Summary
The pressure of writing an executive summary comes from the fact that everyone will pay attention to it, as it sits at the top of that heap of documents. It explains all that follows and can make or break your business plan or project plan . The executive summary must know the needs of the potential clients or investors and zero in on them like a laser. Fortunately, we’ll show you how to write and format your executive summary to do just that.
Getting everything organized for your executive summary can be challenging. ProjectManager can help you get your thoughts in order and collaborate with your team. Our powerful task management tools make it easy to get everything prioritized and done on time. Try it free today.
What Is an Executive Summary?
An executive summary is a short section of a larger document like a business plan , investment proposal or project proposal. It’s mostly used to give investors and stakeholders a quick overview of important information about a business plan like the company description, market analysis and financial information.
It contains a short statement that addresses the problem or proposal detailed in the attached documents and features background information, a concise analysis and a conclusion. An executive summary is designed to help executives and investors decide whether to go forth with the proposal, making it critically important. Pitch decks are often used along with executive summaries to talk about the benefits and main selling points of a business plan or project.
Unlike an abstract, which is a short overview, an executive summary format is a condensed form of the documents contained in the proposal. Abstracts are more commonly used in academic and research-oriented writing and act as a teaser for the reader to see if they want to read on.
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Executive Summary Template
Use this free Executive Summary Template for Word to manage your projects better.
How to Write an Executive Summary
Executive summaries vary depending on the document they’re attached to. You can write an executive summary for a business plan, project proposal, research document, or business case, among other documents and reports.
However, when writing an executive summary, there are guidelines to ensure you hit all the bases.
Executive Summary Length
According to the many books that have been written about executive summaries, as well as training courses, seminars and professional speakers, the agreed-upon length for an executive summary format should be about five to 10 percent of the length of the whole report.
The language used should be appropriate for the target audience. One of the most important things to know before you write professionally is to understand who you’re addressing. If you’re writing for a group of engineers, the language you’ll use will differ greatly from how you would write to a group of financiers.
That includes more than just the words, but the content and depth of explanation. Remember, it’s a summary, and people will be reading it to quickly and easily pull out the main points.
You also want to capture a reader’s attention immediately in the opening paragraph. Just like a speech often opens with a joke to break the tension and put people at ease, a strong introductory paragraph can pull a reader in and make them want to read on. That doesn’t mean you start with a joke. Stick to your strengths, but remember, most readers only give you a few sentences to win them over before they move on.
Don’t forget to explain who you are as an organization and why you have the skills, personnel and experience to solve the problem raised in the proposal. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy biography, often just your name, address and contact information will do, though you’ll also want to highlight your strengths as they pertain to the business plan or project proposal .
The executive summary shouldn’t stray from the material that follows it. It’s a summary, not a place to bring up new ideas. To do so would be confusing and would jeopardize your whole proposal.
Establish the need or the problem, and convince the target audience that it must be solved. Once that’s set up, it’s important to recommend the solution and show what the value is. Be clear and firm in your recommendation.
Justify your cause. Be sure to note the key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. This is the point where you differentiate yourself from competitors, be that due to methodology, testimonials from satisfied clients or whatever else you offer that’s unique. But don’t make this too much about you. Be sure to keep the name of the potential client at the forefront.
Don’t neglect a strong conclusion, where you can wrap things up and once more highlight the main points.
Related: 10 Essential Excel Report Templates
What to Include in an Executive Summary
The content of your executive summary must reflect what’s in the larger document which it is part of. You’ll find many executive summary examples on the web, but to keep things simple, we’ll focus on business plans and project proposals.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan
As we’ve learned above, your executive summary must extract the main points of all the sections of your business plan. A business plan is a document that describes all the aspects of a business, such as its business model, products or services, objectives and marketing plan , among other things. They’re commonly used by startups to pitch their ideas to investors.
Here are the most commonly used business plan sections:
- Company description: Provide a brief background of your company, such as when it was established, its mission, vision and core values.
- Products & services: Describe the products or services your company will provide to its customers.
- Organization and management: Explain the legal structure of your business and the members of the top management team.
- SWOT analysis: A SWOT analysis explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. They describe the internal and external factors that impact your business competitiveness.
- Industry & market analysis: This section should provide an overview of the industry and market in which your business will compete.
- Operations: Explain the main aspects of your business operations and what sets it apart from competitors.
- Marketing plan: Your marketing plan describes the various strategies that your business will use to reach its customers and sell products or services.
- Financial planning: Here, you should provide an overview of the financial state of your business. Include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.
- Funding request: If you’re creating your business plan to request funding, make sure to explain what type of funding you need, the timeframe for your funding request and an explanation of how the funds will be used.
We’ve created an executive summary example to help you better understand how this document works when using it, to sum up a business plan.
To put all of that information together, here’s the basic format of an executive summary. You can find this same information in our free executive summary template :
- Introduction, be sure to know your audience
- Table of contents in the form of a bulleted list
- Explain the company’s role and identify strengths
- Explain the need, or the problem, and its importance
- Recommend a solution and explain its value
- Justify said solution by explaining how it fits the organization
- A strong conclusion that once more wraps up the importance of the project
You can use it as an executive summary example and add or remove some of its elements to adjust it to your needs. Our sample executive summary has the main elements that you’ll need project executive summary.
Executive Summary Example
For this executive summary example, we’ll imagine a company named ABC Clothing, a small business that manufactures eco-friendly clothing products and it’s preparing a business plan to secure funding from new investors.
Company Description We are ABC Clothing, an environmentally-friendly manufacturer of apparel. We’ve developed a unique method of production and sourcing of materials that allows us to create eco-friendly products at a low cost . We have intellectual property for our production processes and materials, which gives us an advantage in the market.
- Mission: Our mission is to use recycled materials and sustainable methods of production to create clothing products that are great for our customers and our planet.
- Vision: Becoming a leader in the apparel industry while generating a positive impact on the environment.
Products & Services We offer high-quality clothing products for men, women and all genders. (Here you should include pictures of your product portfolio to spark the interest of your readers)
Industry & Market Analysis Even though the fashion industry’s year-over-year growth has been affected by pandemics in recent years, the global apparel market is expected to continue growing at a steady pace. In addition, the market share of sustainable apparel has grown year-over-year at a higher pace than the overall fashion industry.
Marketing Plan Our marketing plan relies on the use of digital marketing strategies and online sales, which gives us a competitive advantage over traditional retailers that focus their marketing efforts on brick-and-mortar stores.
Operations Our production plant is able to recycle different types of plastic and cotton waste to turn it into materials that we use to manufacture our products . We’ve partnered with a transportation company that sorts and distributes our products inside the United States efficiently and cost-effectively.
Financial Planning Our business is profitable, as documented in our balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. The company doesn’t have any significant debt that might compromise its continuity. These and other financial factors make it a healthy investment.
Funding Request We’re requesting funding for the expansion of our production capacity, which will allow us to increase our production output in order to meet our increasing customer demand, enter new markets, reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.
If you’d like to see more executive summary examples for your business plan, you can visit the U.S. small business administration website. They have business plans with executive summary examples you can download and use.
Executive summaries are also a great way to outline the elements of a project plan for a project proposal. Let’s learn what those elements are.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal
An executive summary for your project proposal will capture the most important information from your project management plan. Here’s the structure of our executive summary template:
- Introduction: What’s the purpose of your project?
- Company description: Show why you’re the right team to take on the project.
- Need/problem: What is the problem that it’s solving?
- Unique solution: What is your value proposition and what are the main selling points of your project?
- Proof: Evidence, research and feasibility studies that support how your company can solve the issue.
- Resources: Outline the resources needed for the project
- Return on investment/funding request: Explain the profitability of your project and what’s in for the investors.
- Competition/market analysis: What’s your target market? Who are your competitors? How does your company differentiate from them?
- Marketing plan: Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales and partnership plans.
- Budget/financial planning: What’s the budget that you need for your project plan?
- Timeline: What’s the estimated timeline to complete the project?
- Team: Who are the project team members and why are they qualified?
- Conclusions: What are the project takeaways?
Now that we’ve learned that executive summaries can vary depending on the type of document you’re working on, you’re ready for the next step.
What to Do After Writing an Executive Summary
As with anything you write, you should always start with a draft. The first draft should hit all the marks addressed above but don’t bog yourself down in making the prose perfect. Think of the first draft as an exploratory mission. You’re gathering all the pertinent information.
Next, you want to thoroughly review the document to ensure that nothing important has been left out or missed. Make sure the focus is sharp and clear, and that it speaks directly to your potential client’s needs.
Proofread for Style & Grammar
But don’t neglect the writing. Be sure that you’re not repeating words, falling into cliché or other hallmarks of bad writing. You don’t want to bore the reader to the point that they miss the reason why you’re the organization that can help them succeed.
You’ve checked the content and the prose, but don’t forget the style. You want to write in a way that’s natural and not overly formal, but one that speaks in the manner of your target audience . If they’re a conservative firm, well then, maybe formality is called for. But more and more modern companies have a casual corporate culture, and formal writing could mistakenly cause them to think of you as old and outdated.
The last run should be proofing the copy. That means double-checking to ensure that spelling is correct, and there are no typos or grammatical mistakes. Whoever wrote the executive summary isn’t the best person to edit it, however. They can easily gloss over errors because of their familiarity with the work. Find someone who excels at copy-editing. If you deliver sloppy content, it shows a lack of professionalism that’ll surely color how a reader thinks of your company.
Criticism of Executive Summaries
While we’re advocating for the proper use of an executive summary, it’d be neglectful to avoid mentioning some critiques. The most common is that an executive summary by design is too simple to capture the complexity of a large and complicated project.
It’s true that many executives might only read the summary, and in so doing, miss the nuance of the proposal. That’s a risk. But if the executive summary follows the guidelines stated above, it should give a full picture of the proposal and create interest for the reader to delve deeper into the documents to get the details.
Remember, executive summaries can be written poorly or well. They can fail to focus on results or the solution to the proposal’s problem or do so in a vague, general way that has no impact on the reader. You can do a hundred things wrong, but if you follow the rules, then the onus falls on the reader.
ProjectManager Turns an Executive Summary Into a Project
Your executive summary got the project approved. Now the real work begins. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you organize tasks, projects and teams. We have everything you need to manage each phase of your project, so you can complete your work on time and under budget.
Work How You Want
Because project managers and teams work differently, our software is flexible. We have multiple project views, such as the kanban board, which visualizes workflow. Managers like the transparency it provides in the production cycle, while teams get to focus only on those tasks they have the capacity to complete. Are you more comfortable with tasks lists or Gantt charts? We have those, too.
Live Tracking for Better Management
To ensure your project meets time and cost expectations, we have features that monitor and track progress so you can control any deviations that might occur. Our software is cloud-based, so the data you see on our dashboard is always up to date, helping you make better decisions. Make that executive summary a reality with ProjectManager.
You’ve now researched and written a persuasive executive summary to lead your proposal. You’ve put in the work and the potential client sees that and contracts you for the project. However, if you don’t have a reliable set of project management tools like Gantt charts , kanban boards and project calendars at hand to plan, monitor and report on the work, then all that preparation will be for nothing.
ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you real-time data and a collaborative platform to work efficiently and productively. But don’t take our word for it, take a free 30-day trial.
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How To Write A Summary
A Complete Guide on How to Write a Summary for Students
10 min read
Published on: Jul 31, 2022
Last updated on: Nov 24, 2023
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In academics and in the professional world, the ability to write a summary is a valuable skill that often comes in handy.
Summarizing isn't just about shortening text; it's about distilling the essence, extracting the key points, and presenting information in a clear and condensed form. Moreover, there can be multiple reasons and purposes
So how do you write an effective summary?
Whether you're summarizing a novel, an article, or a meeting, there are some easy steps you can follow. Read on to find these helpful steps, tips, and examples to learn more about summary writing.
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What is a Summary
A summary is a condensed version of a larger piece of text, such as a book, article, speech, or any piece of information. It aims to present the main ideas, key points, and crucial details of that text.
Summaries aim to convey the main ideas concisely without losing the essence or important details. They provide a quick understanding of the original text without having to go through the entire material.
Key Elements of a Good Summary
- Conciseness: Clarity in brevity is key. A good summary is concise and to the point, avoiding unnecessary details.
- Accuracy: It must accurately represent the main ideas and arguments presented in the original material.
- Clarity: The summary should be clear and understandable to someone who hasn’t read the original content.
- Objective Tone: It presents information objectively without personal opinions or interpretations.
When to Write a Summary
You can write a summary for a variety of purposes. Here are some of the most common reasons for writing a summary.
- Academic assignments: Summary writing is a common assignment for students of all levels. Students are required to summarize the course material to demonstrate their understanding.
- Professional settings: Summaries are used in a variety of professional contexts. For instance, summarizing official discussions, legal proceedings, and news reports.
- Personal Notes: Making a summary is the best way to understand, remember, and retain the key points of a text you’ve read. Whether it’s a novel, a non-fiction book, a speech, or a movie, you can summarize it to test your comprehension.
4 Simple Steps for Writing a Summary
Now that we have a clear understanding of what a summary is, let's delve into the practical steps of crafting one. These general steps can be used for writing a summary of all kinds of source material.
Step 1- Read the Source Carefully
Begin by thoroughly reading the original text. Whether it's an article, a chapter, or a report, understanding the content is the first step to creating an effective summary. Plus, here are some things to do while reading:
- Note Key Points
Identify the important points, key arguments, and supporting details. Jot down notes or underline significant passages.
- Understand the Context
Grasp the context of the material. Consider the author's purpose, the target audience, and the central message. Understanding the context enhances your ability to distill the essence effectively.
- Ask Questions
Interact with the material by asking questions. What is the author trying to communicate? Why is this information important? Formulating questions helps clarify your understanding and guides the summarization process.
Step 2- List out the Main Points
Now that you’ve read the source material and made some notes, it’s time to revisit them. Think of this step as sculpting the raw material into a refined structure. Your list of main points serves as the framework for the summary.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Discern Main Points & Supporting Details
Discern the main ideas based on their significance to the overall message. Alongside main points, recognize supporting details that bolster the primary ideas. Focus on the most impactful supporting elements to ensure conciseness.
- Logically Organize the Points
Arrange the main points in a logical sequence. This structure will form the basis of your summary, ensuring that it flows coherently and mirrors the original content's organization.
Step 3- Write Your First Draft
Now that you’ve all the points to include in your summary, you are ready to start writing. Follow these tips for a neat first draft:
- Begin by Introducing the Source
The summary should start by mentioning the author, the name and type of text, and the main point. Here’s an example:
In the article "The Power of Mindful Leadership," Sarah Johnson, a seasoned expert in organizational psychology, presents an exploration of the transformative effects of mindfulness in leadership.
- Craft Clear and Concise Sentences
Translate each main point into a clear and concise sentence. Aim for simplicity without sacrificing accuracy. Your sentences should capture the essence of the original ideas.
- Maintain Logical Flow
Ensure a smooth transition between sentences and paragraphs. The logical order established in your list of main points should guide the flow of your draft, making it easy for readers to follow the narrative.
- Stay True to the Source
While crafting your draft, stay true to the intent of the original material. Avoid adding personal opinions or interpretations. Your goal is to faithfully represent the source in a condensed form.
Consider this draft as a canvas waiting for refinement. It doesn't have to be perfect on the first try. The goal is to get the main ideas down in a coherent manner.
Step 4- Edit and Revise
Ready to fine-tune your summary into a polished and impactful piece? Let's proceed to this next step involving revision and editing. Editing is where your summary transforms from good to great.
- Prioritize Clarity
During the editing process, focus on clarity. Each sentence should be easily understandable.. Remove jargon or overly complex language.
- Check for Consistency
Review your summary for consistency in tone and style. A uniform voice throughout the summary creates a more professional and engaging reading experience.
- Trim Unnecessary Words
Challenge every word. If a word doesn't add significant value or if a sentence can convey the same idea with fewer words, make the necessary cuts. The goal is brevity without sacrificing meaning.
- Evaluate Sentence Structure
Vary your sentence structure to maintain reader interest. Mix short and long sentences to create a rhythm, but always prioritize clarity over complexity.
- Maintain Objectivity
Review your summary to ensure objectivity. Avoid injecting personal opinions or biases. Your role is to present the information neutrally, allowing readers to form their own interpretations.
Reading your summary aloud can help you identify awkward phrasing or areas where the flow could be improved. It's a simple yet effective way to catch errors and enhance readability.
Tips for Writing Different Types of Summaries
The above 4 steps are generic. They apply to all kinds of summaries regardless of the type of source material. However, different kinds of texts may require a few unique considerations while summarizing.
Let’s discuss some useful tips for summarizing specific kinds of sources.
How to Write a Summary of an Article
Along with the four main steps discussed above, you should follow these tips when summarizing an academic article.
- Identify the Thesis Statement
Most probably, you can find an article's main argument in its thesis statement . This is the central point the author is trying to convey. Your summary should prominently feature this key element.
- Condense Each Section
Divide the article into sections (introduction, body, conclusion) and summarize each separately. This ensures you cover the entire article systematically.
- Pay Attention to the Conclusion
The article's conclusion often restates all the main points. Summarize this section carefully as it provides a concise recap of the author's key arguments.
- Be Mindful of the Tone
Reflect the tone of the article in your summary. Whether it's persuasive, informative, or analytical, mirroring the tone helps maintain the author's intended impact.
How to Write a Summary of a Story
Summarizing a story involves distilling the narrative elements into a brief but comprehensive overview. Here are specific tips to craft an engaging summary of a story.
- Identify the Central Plot
Pinpoint the main plotline of the story. Focus on the central conflict, characters, and their interactions. This forms the core of your summary.
- Highlight Key Characters
Introduce the main characters and their roles in the story. Emphasize their motivations and how they contribute to the narrative.
- Capture the Setting
Provide a brief description of the story's setting. Whether it's a vividly depicted cityscape or a quaint countryside, the setting contributes to the overall atmosphere.
- Outline the Major Events
Summarize the key events in the story, emphasizing those that drive the plot forward. Include pivotal moments that shape the characters or lead to significant developments.
- Consider the Theme
Reflect on the overarching theme of the story. Whether it's love, resilience, or the triumph of good over evil, convey the thematic elements that give the story its depth and meaning.
- Avoid Spoilers
Be mindful of spoilers, especially if your summary is intended for readers who haven't experienced the story. Provide enough information to pique interest without giving away crucial surprises.
How to Write a Summary of a Book
Summarizing a book can be very helpful for understanding its contents. Here’s how to make a summary of a book:
- Grasp the Book's Genre and Purpose
Understand the genre and purpose of the book. Whether it's a novel, a self-help guide, or a historical account, recognizing the book's intent informs the tone and focus of your summary.
- Outline the Main Themes
Identify the primary themes or messages conveyed in the book. This overarching perspective helps set the tone for your summary and provides readers with a sense of the book's core ideas.
- Provide Context
Offer a brief context for the book. Consider the historical or cultural background if relevant. Understanding the context enhances the reader's appreciation for the material.
- Focus on the Author's Style
Consider the author's writing style. Whether it's lyrical and descriptive or straightforward and factual, mirroring the author's style in your summary helps convey the book's atmosphere.
How to Write Summary of a Paragraph
Paragraphs are chunks of text that focus on a single idea within a larger text, such as an essay or article. Here’s what you need to do for crafting an effective paragraph summary:
- Identify the Topic Sentence
Pinpoint the topic sentence , which often introduces the main idea of the paragraph. This sentence encapsulates the central theme and sets the stage for your summary.
- Focus on the Purpose
Consider the purpose of the paragraph. Is it informative, persuasive, or explanatory? Tailor your summary to convey the paragraph's purpose effectively.
- Use Your Own Words
Express the main idea and supporting details using your own words. This ensures that your summary is an interpretation rather than a verbatim repetition of the paragraph.
Summary Writing Examples
Now that you know the basic steps and tips for writing a summary, let's explore some examples to see these tips applied in practice.
Summary of a Story Example
Summary of an Article Example
Sample Summary of a Paragraph
How to write summary of a poem Example
Example Summary of a Book
Summary of a Research Paper Example
Key Points to Remember About Writing a Summary
With the steps, tips, and examples provided above, you have all the resources you need to get started.
However, before you begin, here are some of the important things to remember. These points below answer some of the most common queries about summary writing.
- The length of your summary depends on the length of the source material. For instance, summarizing a book will take more words than summarizing an essay.
- A summary conveys the ideas presented in the original text. So you should not include your own analysis or opinions in the summary. Stay objective throughout the summary-writing process.
- Use language and terminology that aligns with the expectations of your target audience while staying true to the source. This ensures your summary is accessible and engaging.
- Paraphrase the original text in your own words and provide accurate citation of the source to avoid plagiarism in your summary.
We've navigated through essential steps, insightful tips, and practical examples to equip you with summarizing skills. Whether summarizing articles, books, or chapters, the steps provided above will help you ensure clarity and coherence in your summaries.
So go ahead, utilize this knowledge and write a good summary for any text you want!
Still not sure about your summarization skills or don’t have the time? Don’t worry, get assistance from experts online!
MyPerfectWords.com is a professional online platform for writing help. Our experienced and qualified writers are well-versed in writing all kinds of summaries. They will craft an original summary for you, according to your requirements and needs.
So contact our writing services now!
Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)
Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.
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- Project planning |
- How to write an executive summary, with ...
How to write an executive summary, with examples
The best way to do that is with an executive summary. If you’ve never written an executive summary, this article has all you need to know to plan, write, and share them with your team.
What is an executive summary?
An executive summary is an overview of a document. The length and scope of your executive summary will differ depending on the document it’s summarizing, but in general an executive summary can be anywhere from one to two pages long. In the document, you’ll want to share all of the information your readers and important stakeholders need to know.
Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed? If so, your summary has done its job.
You’ll often find executive summaries of:
In general, there are four parts to any executive summary:
Start with the problem or need the document is solving.
Outline the recommended solution.
Explain the solution’s value.
Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.
What is an executive summary in project management?
In project management, an executive summary is a way to bring clarity to cross-functional collaborators, team leadership, and project stakeholders . Think of it like a project’s “ elevator pitch ” for team members who don’t have the time or the need to dive into all of the project’s details.
The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you’ve written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental study, you would compile a report on the results and findings once your study was over. But for an executive summary in project management, you want to cover what the project is aiming to achieve and why those goals matter.
The same four parts apply to an executive summary in project management:
Start with the problem or need the project is solving. Why is this project happening? What insight, customer feedback, product plan, or other need caused it to come to life?
Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives. How is the project going to solve the problem you established in the first part? What are the project goals and objectives?
Explain the solution’s value. Once you’ve finished your project, what will happen? How will this improve and solve the problem you established in the first part?
Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work. This is another opportunity to reiterate why the problem is important, and why the project matters. It can also be helpful to reference your audience and how your solution will solve their problem. Finally, include any relevant next steps.
If you’ve never written an executive summary before, you might be curious about where it fits into other project management elements. Here’s how executive summaries stack up:
Executive summary vs. project plan
A project plan is a blueprint of the key elements your project will accomplish in order to hit your project goals and objectives. Project plans will include your goals, success metrics, stakeholders and roles, budget, milestones and deliverables, timeline and schedule, and communication plan .
An executive summary is a summary of the most important information in your project plan. Think of the absolutely crucial things your management team needs to know when they land in your project, before they even have a chance to look at the project plan—that’s your executive summary.
Executive summary vs. project overview
Project overviews and executive summaries often have similar elements—they both contain a summary of important project information. However, your project overview should be directly attached to your project. There should be a direct line of sight between your project and your project overview.
While you can include your executive summary in your project depending on what type of project management tool you use, it may also be a stand-alone document.
Executive summary vs. project objectives
Your executive summary should contain and expand upon your project objectives in the second part ( Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives ). In addition to including your project objectives, your executive summary should also include why achieving your project objectives will add value, as well as provide details about how you’re going to get there.
The benefits of an executive summary
You may be asking: why should I write an executive summary for my project? Isn’t the project plan enough?
Well, like we mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or need to dive into your project and see, from a glance, what the goals are and why they matter. Work management tools like Asana help you capture a lot of crucial information about a project, so you and your team have clarity on who’s doing what by when. Your executive summary is designed less for team members who are actively working on the project and more for stakeholders outside of the project who want quick insight and answers about why your project matters.
An effective executive summary gives stakeholders a big-picture view of the entire project and its important points—without requiring them to dive into all the details. Then, if they want more information, they can access the project plan or navigate through tasks in your work management tool.
How to write a great executive summary, with examples
Every executive summary has four parts. In order to write a great executive summary, follow this template. Then once you’ve written your executive summary, read it again to make sure it includes all of the key information your stakeholders need to know.
1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving
At the beginning of your executive summary, start by explaining why this document (and the project it represents) matter. Take some time to outline what the problem is, including any research or customer feedback you’ve gotten . Clarify how this problem is important and relevant to your customers, and why solving it matters.
For example, let’s imagine you work for a watch manufacturing company. Your project is to devise a simpler, cheaper watch that still appeals to luxury buyers while also targeting a new bracket of customers.
Example executive summary:
In recent customer feedback sessions, 52% of customers have expressed a need for a simpler and cheaper version of our product. In surveys of customers who have chosen competitor watches, price is mentioned 87% of the time. To best serve our existing customers, and to branch into new markets, we need to develop a series of watches that we can sell at an appropriate price point for this market.
2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives
Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what your solution is. Unlike an abstract or outline, you should be prescriptive in your solution—that is to say, you should work to convince your readers that your solution is the right one. This is less of a brainstorming section and more of a place to support your recommended solution.
Because you’re creating your executive summary at the beginning of your project, it’s ok if you don’t have all of your deliverables and milestones mapped out. But this is your chance to describe, in broad strokes, what will happen during the project. If you need help formulating a high-level overview of your project’s main deliverables and timeline, consider creating a project roadmap before diving into your executive summary.
Continuing our example executive summary:
Our new watch series will begin at 20% cheaper than our current cheapest option, with the potential for 40%+ cheaper options depending on material and movement. In order to offer these prices, we will do the following:
Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood
Use high-quality quartz movement instead of in-house automatic movement
Introduce customizable band options, with a focus on choice and flexibility over traditional luxury
Note that every watch will still be rigorously quality controlled in order to maintain the same world-class speed and precision of our current offerings.
3. Explain the solution’s value
At this point, you begin to get into more details about how your solution will impact and improve upon the problem you outlined in the beginning. What, if any, results do you expect? This is the section to include any relevant financial information, project risks, or potential benefits. You should also relate this project back to your company goals or OKRs . How does this work map to your company objectives?
With new offerings that are between 20% and 40% cheaper than our current cheapest option, we expect to be able to break into the casual watch market, while still supporting our luxury brand. That will help us hit FY22’s Objective 3: Expanding the brand. These new offerings have the potential to bring in upwards of three million dollars in profits annually, which will help us hit FY22’s Objective 1: 7 million dollars in annual profit.
Early customer feedback sessions indicate that cheaper options will not impact the value or prestige of the luxury brand, though this is a risk that should be factored in during design. In order to mitigate that risk, the product marketing team will begin working on their go-to-market strategy six months before the launch.
4. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work
Now that you’ve shared all of this important information with executive stakeholders, this final section is your chance to guide their understanding of the impact and importance of this work on the organization. What, if anything, should they take away from your executive summary?
To round out our example executive summary:
Cheaper and varied offerings not only allow us to break into a new market—it will also expand our brand in a positive way. With the attention from these new offerings, plus the anticipated demand for cheaper watches, we expect to increase market share by 2% annually. For more information, read our go-to-market strategy and customer feedback documentation .
Example of an executive summary
When you put it all together, this is what your executive summary might look like:
Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries
You’re not going to become an executive summary-writing pro overnight, and that’s ok. As you get started, use the four-part template provided in this article as a guide. Then, as you continue to hone your executive summary writing skills, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:
Avoid using jargon
Your executive summary is a document that anyone, from project contributors to executive stakeholders, should be able to read and understand. Remember that you’re much closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders will be, so read your executive summary once over to make sure there’s no unnecessary jargon. Where you can, explain the jargon, or skip it all together.
Remember: this isn’t a full report
Your executive summary is just that—a summary. If you find yourself getting into the details of specific tasks, due dates, and attachments, try taking a step back and asking yourself if that information really belongs in your executive summary. Some details are important—you want your summary to be actionable and engaging. But keep in mind that the wealth of information in your project will be captured in your work management tool , not your executive summary.
Make sure the summary can stand alone
You know this project inside and out, but your stakeholders won’t. Once you’ve written your executive summary, take a second look to make sure the summary can stand on its own. Is there any context your stakeholders need in order to understand the summary? If so, weave it into your executive summary, or consider linking out to it as additional information.
Your executive summary is a living document, and if you miss a typo you can always go back in and fix it. But it never hurts to proofread or send to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes.
In summary: an executive summary is a must-have
Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone up to date and on the same page about your project. If you have a lot of project stakeholders who need quick insight into what the project is solving and why it matters, an executive summary is the perfect way to give them the information they need.
For more tips about how to connect high-level strategy and plans to daily execution, read our article about strategic planning .