We explain what a summary is and the types that exist. Also, what are its main features and how to do one.

What is a summary?

A summary is  a writing that synthesizes the main ideas of a text or a subject of study, in a faithful way to the concepts raised in the original documents. In case a summary contains personal opinions or deductions from other ideas that were not originally raised, it would no longer be a summary, but would be a different article or opinion article.

The objective of a summary can be diverse, such as introducing the reader or the audience to the topic, being a support tool to facilitate the learning of a subject matter (that is, it synthesizes the same topic raised by several different authors) or transmitting only the main data of a news story so that the reader or viewer feels interested in accessing the full story .

See also:  Expository texts

Summary types

Summary types

There are different types of summaries:

  • Informative. Synthesizes and provides an overview, from the important data of a document. For example, a scientific article or a press summary.
  • Descriptive.  It synthesizes in a deep way the structure of the document or of a literary work. For example, you can mention the sources of information and the position of the author.
  • Of research . Collect information from various sources on the same topic. Unify the concepts taking only the main aspects and elaborate a synthesis of the matter in an objective way, citing the sources and avoiding self-criticism.
  • Synopsis.  It summarizes in a general way a particular literary or audiovisual work. The word synopsis comes from the Greek and means "vision as a whole." For example, the synopsis of a book explains what the work consists of, without revealing the end of the story.
  • Review. It summarizes the content of a work, but from the personal evaluation of the person who analyzes it. For example, the review of a movie, work, musical composition, sports match, among others. It is not a synthesis, but an opinion criticism that can be positive or negative.

Summary characteristics

Summary characteristics

A summary provides an overview of a topic.

Some characteristics of a summary are:

  • It is short and clear.
  • Provides an overview on a topic.
  • Maintain objectivity in the description and avoid self-criticism.
  • Synthesize the most relevant data of an article, speech or writing.
  • It facilitates the learning of a subject of study.
  • It unifies the knowledge of different authors who work on the same subject of study.

How to make a summary?

How to make a summary?

A summary can be made by following the following steps:

  • Read the entire document carefully.
  • Underline information or paragraphs that contain important information.
  • Make notes, if necessary, next to each important concept.
  • Highlight the most important words with color.
  • Clean up important concepts in a notebook as underlined, annotations and highlighted.
  • Rewrite that information passed in clean, this time more synthesized.
  • Review the synthesis and eliminate data that do not add to the general understanding of the topic or are not so important.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Veronica is a culture reporter at Collaborative Research Group, where she writes about food, fitness, weird stuff on the internet, and, well, just about anything else. She has also covered technology news and has a penchant for smartphone stories. .

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