Guide on How to Write a Summary of Research Paper

Summarizing a research paper can be challenging, especially when condensing complex information into a few sentences or paragraphs. However, a good summary is critical to providing readers with a clear understanding of the research and its findings.

In this article, we will provide a guide on how to summarize a research paper.

How to start a summary

Before diving into the actual summary, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the research paper’s primary purpose, methodology, and findings. Begin by reading the introduction and conclusion of the research paper to get a sense of the research question. Additionally, skim through the headings and subheadings to get an idea of the key points and arguments made in the paper.

Once you have a clear understanding of the research paper, you can start writing your summary. One effective method is to begin with a general statement that encapsulates the central argument or finding of the paper. This statement can then be followed by more specific details that support the overarching claim.

How to summarize a research paper

It is essential to focus on the most important findings and arguments in your research paper summary.

Here are some tips to help you write a compelling summary:

  • Identify the central argument or finding

As mentioned earlier, begin by understanding the general thesis of the paper, then write a statement that encapsulates the paper’s central argument or finding. This statement should be concise and to the point.

  • Provide key supporting details

Once you have identified the main argument or found it, provide supporting details that help illustrate or prove the point. This could include specific data points, examples, or quotes from the paper.

  • Use your own words

When summarizing a research paper, it is important to avoid using direct quotes from the article. Instead, try to rephrase the information in your own words while still maintaining the original meaning.

  • Be concise

Keep your research summary as brief as possible while still effectively conveying the main points of the research paper. Aim for a length of one to two paragraphs, depending on the paper.

Summary of a research paper example

Here is an example of a compelling summary of a research paper:

In this study, researchers sought to determine the effects of caffeine on athletic performance in college athletes. After conducting a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the researchers found that caffeine ingestion led to a significant improvement in performance on a variety of athletic tasks, including sprinting and jumping. The study’s results suggest that caffeine can be an effective performance-enhancing supplement for athletes.

In this example, the summary provides a clear overview of the research paper’s main argument and findings, including the methodology used in the study.

Summarizing research papers: final thoughts

One important consideration when summarizing a research paper is to focus on the main points and findings of the study. Some valuable strategies for identifying the main points of a research paper include reading the abstract and introduction carefully, skimming the headings and subheadings, and looking for key phrases and concepts that are repeated throughout the paper.

Another important consideration when writing the summary of research papers is to avoid introducing new information or ideas. While it can be tempting to offer your analysis or interpretation of the research, it is important to remember that the purpose of a summary is simply to convey the main points and findings of the research paper. If you want to provide your analysis or commentary on the research, it is best to do so in a separate section of your paper.

Finally, it is important to check your summary for accuracy and completeness. This means making sure that you have included all of the key points and findings of the research paper and that you have done so in a way that accurately reflects the authors’ intentions. Taking the time to carefully review and edit your summary can help ensure that it is as clear, accurate, and effective as possible.


When you follow these tips and guidelines, you can create a summary that is both informative and easy to read. It will help you effectively convey the key findings and implications of the research paper.

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