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alsulami
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« on: November 02, 2010, 03:46:04 PM »

Hi there,



what is the best process to summarise a long topic  ???
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Martin Barge
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2010, 11:22:15 PM »

Hi!

Well, this is a very good question. It seems to me that summarising can have at least two main (but related) functions or purposes:

1. The first type of summary is where we draw together the main ideas, facts or arguments around a given topic (from primary and secondary sources, from research etc). This is the type of summarising in which we may be asked to "summarise" the main evidence and arguments for and against something (e.g "euthanasia" or "free trade"). And in this sense, you could say that a short essay is almost a type of summary in itself.

2. The second type of summary is more similar to the idea of a "conclusion", in which we draw together and briefly reiterate (recap) the main arguments/ideas raised in our own writing. This type of summary comes towards the end of our essay - or even at the end of each section of a very long piece of writing (such as a dissertation). This type of summary reminds the reader of the main points that you have made, and it may "echo" your introduction.

So, to answer your question, one way to summarise a long topic is to write down (or highlight) all of the key points from your sources (whether the sources are other essays and books, or whether it's your own writing). You then organise these ideas into a logical and clear sequence, and rewrite them as concisely as you can.

Really, I suppose, a summary is like a very highly concentrated distillation of your whole essay!! Not an easy task, but something that can be achieved with practice!  ;)

 
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