Analytical Summary

Assignments 1 & Webliography Entry

For this class you will write two analytical summaries (assignments 1 and for the Webliography). An analytical summary runs about one page for every four pages of the article under review. For the purposes of this class -- about 1.5 pages long, double-spaced (no longer that two pages! And don't fudge the type or margins!) Please use a 12 point type and standard, readable font (Times Roman). Half of the grade relates to how well you present the material in written form. An "A" paper must be free from grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Refer to a writing handbook if you have any doubts.

An analytical summary is a condensed account of an essay, article, chapter, story, or other work, written largely, but not necessarily exclusively, in your own words and limited to the essential IDEAS in the original work.

A summary includes certain Essential information:

A summary should be Brief, Clear, Accurate and Critical.

The worksheet on the other side of this page may be helpful.

Analytical Summary Worksheet

Analytical summaries are "other-oriented," and this, combined with ideas and/or information with which one is not familiar, writing them requires full attention and time. These summaries require that we put aside what WE think, want, feel, etc. (so write in third person). The writing task is more complicated and requires one's full attention.

Step 1: After you have read the article in its entirety once and before doing anything else, go back and read the opening paragraph(s), the concluding paragraph(s) and the first sentences of each paragraph. In other words, skim the article once more, trying to look for key ideas.

Step 2: Answer the three most important questions one can ask…




Then ask yourself: What is the author's point of view towards the subject?

At this point, you have hopefully established the main argument of the article; however, it is now necessary to show the support for the argument, and so you need to outline the secondary ideas which justify what the author is stating. Therefore:

Step 3: Outline the ideas which the author uses as support.

Remember 1: Analytical summaries are someone else's ideas; however, you should not quote the author, but rather paraphrase the author's ideas. What would be the point of constant quotations, as one would then only read the original text, and not bother with reading your regurgitation of it.

Remember 2: Active reading is required (which, I might add, means you should have your own copy of the article/book - don't do this to a library copy!):

Most analytical summaries are 1/4 the length of the paper.


Using Paragraphs and Transitional Phrases to Develop Ideas

There are a variety of tasks that paragraphs can accomplish for us. These tasks are not mutually exclusive, in fact, they often overlap or combine. However, in thinking about these tasks, we consider and build on our topic. The following chart is constructed from information found in the Heath Handbook.

To develop an idea
or paragraph by:

Answer this question:

Transitional Phrases to Show Relationships between Ideas

Specific Details

With what specific details can I describe X?

Also, besides, furthermore, in addition, moreover, next, too

Narration (chronological order)

In what order did the events surrounding X occur?

Then, first, second, in addition, following which,


What examples of X do I have?

For example, for instance, specifically


How can I define X?

When, whenever…then


How can I classify types of X?

Smallest, largest, primary, secondary, significantly (use words appropriate to the idea)

Comparison or contrast

What components or examples of X can I compare?

Comparison: in the same way, likewise, similarly

Contrast: but, however, in contrast, nonetheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, still, yet


What is X analogous to?

Such as

Cause and Effect

What are the causes and consequences of X?

As a result, because, consequently, hence, since, so, therefore, thus, if…then