The features of a good summary

time to complete: 10 minutes

Task: What are the features of a good summary? Look at the list below and choose as many as you think are important for a good summary.

Adapted from McCormack & Slaght (2012)

Answer key

❌ This is not necessary, unless of course you are describing a process or events in chronological order.

❌ You need to summarise only what is relevant to readers’ purpose.

❌ You need to use your own words where possible, but specialist vocabulary (discipline-specific terminology) is essential.

✔️ This should occur naturally if you are using your notes.

✔️ The purpose of summarising is to emphasise important points.

❌ Any comment or opinion should be separate from the summary itself, but may be relevant in another part of your writing i.e. the sentences that follow your summary, or in a different paragraph/section; it really depends on the task.