If you're like most people, summarizing an article can take a while. You have to read the whole thing, understand what you’ve read, and then condense it into a legible paragraph or two.
The secret is in accurately capturing the key points of the article. That takes a bit of practice to get down. Thankfully, there’s more than one way to go about creating a summary, regardless of what it’s for.
Let’s dive into it!
How to summarize an article: A step-by-step guide
A summary is a condensed overview of a longer piece of text written in your own words. It mentions the most important points. Here’s how to write one.
Read the whole piece
The first step to summarizing anything is to read the piece from beginning to end. Whether you’re summarizing a book, a blog post, or an essay, it’s important to read it thoroughly so you don’t miss any of the important points and so you can start putting them in your own words.
As you read, pay attention to any annotations, subheadings, and references so that they can inform your summary. Here are a few additional pointers to consider:
- Take notes as you read so they can inform your summary later.
- Bookmark parts of the article you don’t understand so you can revisit them (underline them if possible).
- Skim for headings and subheadings to get a general idea of what the text is about.
Pick out the most important points
Now that you’ve taken the time to understand the text, pick out the most important points. Sometimes these points can be informed by headings and subheadings. In other instances, some of the key points are bolded for emphasis.
While key points aren’t always readily obvious, spending enough time with the text will help you sift through the points that matter. Read through each section separately and find the main point for each of them. This can help make the process less overwhelming. Often, key points are summarized at the end of sections. So watch out for those.
Identify the thesis statement
The author’s thesis, otherwise known as the main idea of the article, is a key part of the summary of an article. Just like the original article includes important details like its main points, the author’s ideas, direct quotations, and the title of the article, your summary should include the most important details.
Once you identify the thesis statement, you can use it as your first sentence and then follow it with your body paragraphs (if your summary is that long). This begs the question: how do you identify the thesis statement?
The thesis statement is almost always in the introductory paragraph. If it isn’t clear in the intro, consider reading both the introduction and conclusion to help you draw a thesis statement that makes sense after you’ve read the whole text.
Write the summary
Gather all your notes and start drafting your article summary in your own words. At this point, you should have everything you need to start drafting a solid summary. This means you’ve already:
- Read the entire text
- Picked out important points
- Understood and researched the parts of the text that weren’t as clear
You also want to be careful to avoid plagiarism. The last thing you want to do is take the author’s exact words and condense them into a paragraph.
Part of the summarization process includes putting what you read in your own words. If you include text citations, make sure you’re citing them accurately and in the right format.
Review for clarity and length
A good summary always needs a review process. Skipping this part of the writing process puts you in danger of accidental plagiarism, grammar mistakes, or unclear sentence structure.
Much like you would read through an essay or a blog post to edit it, you want to do the same with any summary you write. The good thing is that a summary takes a lot less time to review because it’s meant to be much shorter than the original text. This means reviewing your summary doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process.
How long should a good summary be?
The ideal length of a summary will differ depending on the text you’re summarizing. While there isn’t a magic number you should aim for every time you summarize any text, a summary is a lot shorter than the text itself.
A short summary can be one to three paragraphs long. It may be longer if the text you’re summarizing is longer.
When to summarize an article
You’ve probably heard the phrase "time is money." This is why summaries are so valuable—they allow you to get the key points of a piece of writing without having to invest time into reading the whole piece. But summarizing an article can be difficult, especially if you don't have a lot of time on your hands.
This can be helpful when you're writing an essay or research paper, and need to include a lot of information in a limited amount of space. Fortunately, there are now AI-powered tools that can help you summarize articles quickly and easily.
How to summarize an article in 2 minutes using Jasper AI
Imagine if you had a way to summarize an article in just 2 minutes, without even reading it. That’s the power of AI. Here’s how to do it with Jasper:
- Open a Jasper account here
- Once in your dashboard, navigate to Templates
- Click on Text Summarizer
- Paste in your text, choose your preferred language, and set the number of outputs you’d like
- Then Click Generate AI Content
- You’ll get a summary of the text you pasted
Note that if you don’t like the summary you get, simply click on the Generate AI Content again until you generate a summary you’re happy with. It’s also wise to spend time polishing your summary and adding a sentence or two of your own to round out your summary if necessary.
Let’s try a real-life example.
Once we’ve navigated to Jasper’s Text Summarizer template, we’ll copy and paste the beginning of one of our recent posts about creating Instagram captions.
We get a list of the best summaries worth expanding on:
Summarize anything faster with AI
AI is quickly becoming a fundamental part of our everyday lives. And for good reason. It can help us do some pretty amazing things, like create and summarize information faster than we ever could before.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content creation, or if you just don’t have the time to summarize your content, try using an AI summarization tool like Jasper. You can start writing summaries faster and with less effort, all while still maintaining accuracy and originality.