What is research?
The summary has become one of the most useful instruments of modern times, due to the accelerated development of science and technology, the specialization and differentiation of sciences, linguistic barriers, as well as the exorbitant price of publications. Consult abstracts is a quick way to access information to make decisions, do research or simply update in different areas of knowledge, without feeling overwhelmed or lost in the sea of scientific information that increases and accumulates every day.
The action of summarizing implies the transformation of the original text into a new one. This is much more than just shortening the source version; It means understanding the content, selecting the relevant information and evidencing the structure of the original text, that is, the way in which the contents are organized.
Learn more about the summary by clicking on the following sections:
A new text (with its own communicative structure) that, based on another text, presents condensed, precise and objective information -the most important ideas of the original text-, without critical interpretation.
The summary is necessary because:
- The need for updated information in front of
- The multiplication of scientific knowledge
- The advances of science and technology
- “The differentiation and specialization of the sciences” (López Espinosa)
- Provides indicators to go or not to the original document
- Facilitates a first level of assimilation of the subject
- It is a useful instrument for studying, oral presentations, exams and the preparation of academic papers based on the most relevant of the original texts
- It helps to check if the content of the summarized texts was perfectly understood or not
It must “reflect the superstructure of the contents” that appear in the original text (Kuhlen cited by López Espinosa):
- The problem
- The main objectives
- The methods applied
- The results
- The conclusions
If an investigation is summarized, for example, the resulting text should mention the main objectives, the methods used, the results and conclusions that are part of the original version.
Brevity is one of the essential characteristics of this type of writing, so it is estimated that it must be equivalent to 25% of the original. Others consider, depending on the extension, between 80 and 100 words; If the text is long, no more than 200.
The objective of the summary:
- Emphasize the relevance of the document?
- Help with the selection of information? or
- Disseminate the information?
- Content: that sufficiently and explicitly reflects the content of the original document (Wersing and Neveling cited by López Espinosa)
- The recipient: who he is and what he expects
- The medium in which the abstract is prepared: work or academic
The following process is suggested:
- Analysis of the context, that is, of the characteristics of the original text and the recipient, purpose and type of summary
Understanding of the original:
- Previous reading of the material,
- Exact understanding of the author’s thought,
- Identification of the central theme of the original text in the topic sentence (the one that exposes the central theme).
Identification of the topic sentence of each paragraph
Selection, within the paragraph, of data, facts or characters that appear separately, to then link them and thus form topical sentences.
Selection of data:
- Eliminate unnecessary material and also important but repetitive material (elision process),
- Find general terms that include several objects, ideas or events that have similar characteristics (fusion processes, reorganization, condensation).
- Take into account the following requirements:
- Clarity and precision that stimulate reading the entire article,
- Relevant information of the original text,
- Impersonal way,
- Adequate and understandable terminology,
- Block writing (structured summary supports paragraphing),
- Only acronyms and abbreviations recognized internationally (WHO, PAHO, UNESCO, kg, cm, etc.),
- Without tables, figures or bibliographical references,
- Own style of who writes the summary.
Hands-on! Consider the following steps in the development of summaries, click on each step to see the information.