7 Effective Steps for Summarizing an Academic Text

Summarizing is an important technique for both writers and readers. Reading a summarized text is helpful in memorizing and improving comprehension of the text. Naturally, writing a summary offers the same benefits as well.

Academic texts are often complicated because they discuss a lot of technical terms. Summarizing them makes them easier to read, and a person can understand the most important points of the text. So, it’s a good skill to practice and improve for students and academics.

Now, we are going to teach you how to create a summary of an academic text yourself. It’s quite a straightforward affair, and not difficult at all. So don’t worry and just follow the instructions.

How to Write a Summary of an Academic Text

1.      Read the Source Material

The first thing to do when writing a summary is to read the source material. Doesn’t matter if you are a student or a researcher, this step remains the same for everyone. And you cannot just skim over the material either. You need to read it thoroughly.

The purpose of this step is to gain an understanding of the text. Without understanding the various topics and sub-topics covered in an academic text, you cannot summarize it correctly. That’s why read the research paper, book chapter, or whichever academic text you are using at least two times.

2.      Identify the Main Objective of the Text

Now, that you have read the text, you are in a position to identify what is the main theme and objective of the write-up. Academic texts are written with a specific purpose. They always set out to do one of the following things:

  • Teach a concept
  • Prove/disprove a hypothesis
  • Review other works and summarize their results

If you have read the work properly, then you will be able to understand what the purpose is. Understanding the purpose helps you to identify your own stance on the matter. This means that you can approach the summary with a purpose of your own, which brings us to our next point.

3.      Understand Your Reason for Creating a Summary

Understanding your reasons for creating a summary will give you a definite direction to work. How can you identify your reason for writing a summary? Well, here are some questions you can answer, and that will help you to identify the purpose of your summary.

  • Are you a student? If yes, are you writing a summary as part of an assignment or a project?
  • Did the teacher provide any specific instructions, such as summarizing only a part of the academic text?
  • Are you a researcher? Why are you reading an academic text? Is it part of your research efforts?
  • Are you simply doing a comparison of multiple approaches to a topic?

Answering such questions will provide the reason for writing a summary.

4.      Take Notes of the Things Relevant to Your Summary

Now, that you have an understanding of the text, and have understood your reasons to summarize it, you can start on the actual writing. Of course, at this point, we are not going to be writing the real summary. We are actually just going to take notes.

Notes of what you may ask? The answer is notes of statements, facts, and figures in the academic text that are relevant to your summary. These notes will help you to compile all the information that you need to include in your summary and save you the hassle of rereading the entire text over and over again.

5.      Identify Irrelevant Examples and Details and Omit Them

From these notes that you created, check out what are some examples and details that are not necessary for providing the main message of your summary. All such details and examples should be omitted from your summary notes.

How can you identify that a detail or example is irrelevant? Here are some tips for that.

  • If multiple examples are given, then only include one of them.
  • If facts and figures are not necessary for imparting some information, then remove them.
  • If a paragraph is too long, then condense it by removing sentences or shortening them.

In this way, you will be able to keep the information that is strictly necessary.

6.      Write Your Summary

Now, that you have all the information that you need, you can start writing the summary of the academic text. But don’t start writing all willy-nilly, there are a couple of things that you need to care for before you can begin.

Rearrange your notes first so that the information in them is coherent and follows a logical flow. Information that needs to be provided first should be at the start of your summary and the information that directly builds upon it should follow. As long as you follow this rule, your summary should be very concise and accurate.

6.      Proofread the Summary

Once the summary has been written, you still need to proofread it. When proofreading you need to look out for the following things.

  • Grammar errors such as spelling mistakes, tense discrepancies, and incorrect punctuation.
  • Incorrect information that does not accurately reflect the views of the academic text.
  • The clarity of the summary, is it clear enough to be understood by your audience?
  • Does it satisfy your reason for writing the summary?

If some of these issues are present then you should reevaluate your summary and rectify these issues. Don’t be discouraged here as multiple rewrites are all but guaranteed in any writing.

Alternate Method of Summarizing an Academic Text

There is another method of summarizing an academic text which does not require you to work so hard. It involves using online AI-powered tools. AI-powered text summarizing tools can create functional summaries of academic text with ease.

Since they are AI-powered they are able to pick up on context, and nuances that standard tools miss.AI summarizers can clearly summarize the main points of the text and shave away all the excess parts. What that means is that the summary is actually accurate and looks like it has been written by a human as well.

Here’s how you can use an AI summarizing tool to summarize an academic text.

  • Conduct a search online for a summarizing tool.
  • Select a tool that satisfies you. Different tools have different features; some let you control the length of the summary, while others don’t.
  • Copy the academic text and paste it into the tool
  • Select a summary size. Most tools have either a slider or a few discrete sizes that you can choose from.
  • Confirm the summary creation by clicking on the button that says something like “Summarize Text”

And voila! You have your summary. Of course, it is important to read this summary and compare it with the original academic text and see if it has accurately grasped the gist of the matter. If the result is not satisfactory then you can edit it yourself to make it right.


Now you know how to write a summary of an academic text. We have taught you both the legitimate way of summarizing which has 7 steps and the easy way which requires an online text summarizer.

We will advise you to follow the legitimate way as that will help to improve your own skills. You can save the tool for a rainy day instead.

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