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Humanities Libertexts

1.5: Strong vs. Weak Summaries

  • Page ID
    19645
  • A summary should be a condensed (shorter) version of a larger reading. You often see examples of everyday use of summaries when you want to know more about a television show or movie, or when you look over the back cover of a book to see if you want to read it. However, you will also see them used in academic circles – for example when you want to know if you might find a particular journal article useful for a research paper, you will take a look at the abstract.

    Writing a summary can be a very useful learning tool. At first, a summary will take you awhile to write, but with practice you can get pretty efficient with them. Summarizing has been found to help students clarify what is important in a reading, become familiar with a variety of structures used to effectively communicate in writing, review essential terminology, and generally make sense of the text. (MARZANO)

     

    Exercises

    In-Class Exercise 1.5: Summaries

    Read the summaries written by previous students. One is labeled “Strong Summary” and two are labeled “Weak Summary.” Answer the following questions in complete sentences and paragraphs (when appropriate).

    1. Make two lists: One listing the qualities or traits of Strong Summaries, and the other listing the qualities or traits of Weak Summaries.
    2. What is the purpose of writing summaries? How can they be useful to us as learners?
    3. Keeping in mind the purpose of a summary, identify and define the traits a summary should have. Explain how these traits make it strong and useful to a learner?
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