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Humanities Libertexts

8.5: Summarizing Main Ideas and Details

  • Page ID
    5618
  • You’ll remember from the “Supporting Claims” section earlier in this module that one way to analyze a reading is to distinguish its main ideas, its major supporting details, and its minor supporting details.

    Review this video to remind yourself of the distinctions between these three things.

    (The video has instrumental guitar for audio, but no spoken words, so can be watched without sound if desired.)

    Looked at from the perspective of summarizing a source, the distinction between major and minor details becomes very important.

    • Summaries naturally want to emphasize the main ideas of a source.  All of the main ideas of a reading should be captured in a summary.
    • Include major supporting details only if there is enough space, and if they help your audience understand the overall text more clearly.
    • Leave out minor supporting details.
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