Summary Writing Research Papers

You may have an exuberance of research, carried out using diverse topics and methods but the usual research summery has the same structure for almost all research papers writing projects. The idea research paper includes a title, abstract, introduction, methodology, results section, sometimes discussions and references. While preparing to commence your summary of research experience section try to find a good research paper summary template to use it as a skeleton while writing a summary of your own. First, you need to pin down a purpose of your summary. The summary usually draws conclusions of your written paper and accentuates specific points highlighted in it.

The structure of a research paper:

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Methodology
  5. Results section
  6. Discussion
  7. References

The essence of the summary and some tips on how to complete it.

  1. Make sure you know what your paper is about. You need to have a complete picture of the main points you described in the main part. If you are puzzled by the way your task is done, then it will be hard t make an informative summary which shows the adequacy and appropriateness of the research. With this in mind, reread your work or at least skim it quickly to remind yourself of the structure and essential parts. 
  2. Each paragraph should have enough attention because you need to have a clear picture and even a table in your head. So, you have to know the thesis statement, research question and hypothesis for the research summary. Then, you probably tested your hypothesis which means you did some manipulations and used diverse techniques to either prove it or discard it. Methodology also plays a great role. Skim through main figures, statistics and tables which give credibility to your work. After that, find some interpretations of those statistics and table as well as of the whole experiments. Most part of the interpretations should be your.  
  3. Make an in-depth reading. Proofreading is the best way to check whether your paper has any mistakes as well as make sure that your study make some contribution to the scientific community and helps resolve some issues connected to the subject matter you elaborated and studies. 
  4. Make a skeleton of the conclusion by writing down all the main point you will include there. The draft will help you stick to the point without any evasive thoughts. Remember to: state the research question, hypothesis; enumerate your methodological approaches; use some examples/interpretations from literature sources but not too much; outline the results if the study and your personal contribution.  Make an overall conclusion. 
  5. Edit for style, completeness, mistakes in grammar, spelling, structure. Check the correlation of research summary and ethical considerations.You may also give it to your friend to look through your work and assess it. Sometimes when you are too engaged in the process you may not see the obvious mistakes and small flaws. You need a fresh look at your summary.
  6. Read some examples of other academic papers like comparative essay, research articles, research summary on resettled refugee integration in Canada (specific topics), research summary act, etc. Find some peculiarities about each of them. This way you will practice more. 

Some typical mistakes

Some students do not take their assignment too seriously and that is why cause dozens of small mistakes that hamper them from getting a high grade. Among them we may name: spelling, grammatical and stylistic, mistakes; too much wordiness that encompasses “really”, “exactly”, “I would say...” etc; using direct quotes (try to paraphrase all the stuff you find in the literary sources. The instructor needs to see that you understand the topic and not just copy the words by other people).

May your writing be easy and informative and do not forget to use this list of helpful tips on how to write a research paper summary!

I.  Writing an Executive Summary

Read the Entire Document
This may go without saying, but it is critically important that you read your entire research study thoroughly from start to finish before beginning to write the executive summary. Take notes as you go along, highlighting important statements of fact, key findings, and recommended courses of action. This will better prepare you for how to organize and summarize your study. Remember this is not a brief abstract of 300 words or less but, essentially, a mini-paper of your paper, with a focus on recommendations.

Isolate the Major Points Within the Original Document
Choose which parts of the document are the most important to those who will read it. These points must be included within the executive summary in order to provide a thorough and complete explanation of what the document is trying to convey.

Separate the Main Sections
Closely examine each section of the original document and discern the main differences in each. After you have a firm understanding about what each section offers in respect to the other sections, write a few sentences for each section describing the main ideas.Although the format may vary, the main sections of an executive summary likely will include the following:

  • The opening statement, brief background information,
  • The purpose of research study,
  • Method of data gathering and analysis,
  • Overview of findings, and,
  • A description of each recommendation, accompanied by a justification. Note that the recommendations are sometimes quoted verbatim from the research study.

Combine the Information
Use the information gathered to combine them into an executive summary that is no longer than 10% of the original document. Be concise! The purpose is to provide a brief explanation of the entire document with a focus on the recommendations that have emerged from your research. How you word this will likely differ depending on your audience and what they care most about. If necessary, selectively incorporate bullet points for emphasis and brevity.

Re-read the Executive Summary
After you've completed your executive summary, let it sit for a while before coming back to re-read it. Check to make sure that the summary will make sense as a separate document from the full research study. By taking some time before re-reading it, you allow yourself to see the summary with unbiased eyes.


II.  Common Mistakes to Avoid

Length of the Executive Summary
As a general rule, the correct length of an executive summary is that it meets the criteria of no more pages than 10% of the number of pages in the original document, with an upper limit of no more than ten pages. This requirement keeps the document short enough to be read by your audience, but long enough to allow it to be a complete, stand-alone synopsis.

Cutting and Pasting
With the exception of specific recommendations made in the study, do not simply cut and paste whole sections of the original document into the executive summary. You should paraphrase information from the longer document. Avoid taking up space with excessive subtitles and lists, unless they are absolutely necessary for the reader to have a complete understanding of the original document.

Consider the Audience
Although unlikely to be required by your professor, there is the possibility that more than one executive summary will have to be written for a given document [e.g., one for policy-makers, one for private industry, one for philanthropists]. This may only necessitate the rewriting of the conclusion, but it could require rewriting the entire summary in order to fit the needs of the reader. If necessary, be sure to consider the types of audiences who may benefit from your study and make adjustments accordingly.

Clarity in Writing
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is related to the clarity of your executive summary. Always note that your audience [or audiences] are likely seeing your research study for the first time. The best way to avoid a disorganized or cluttered executive summary is to write it after the study is completed. Always follow the same strategies for proofreading that you would for any research paper.

Use Strong and Positive Language
Don’t weaken your executive summary with passive, imprecise language. The executive summary is a stand-alone document intended to convince the reader to make a decision concerning whether to implement the recommendations you make. Once convinced, it is assumed that the full document will provide the details needed to implement the recommendations. Although you should resist the tempation to pad your summary with pleas or biased statements, do pay particular attention to ensuring that a sense of urgency is created in the implications, recommendations, and conclusions presented in the executive summary. Be sure to target readers who are likely to implement the recommendations.


Bailey, Edward, P. The Plain English Approach to Business Writing. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 73-80; Christensen, Jay. Executive Summaries Complete The Report. California State University Northridge; Executive Summaries. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Clayton, John. "Writing an Executive Summary That Means Business." Harvard Management Communication Letter, 2003; Executive Summary. University Writing Center. Texas A&M University; Green, Duncan. Writing an Executive Summary. Oxfam’s Research Guidelines series; Guidelines for Writing an Executive Summary. Astia.org; Markowitz, Eric. How to Write an Executive Summary. Inc. Magazine, September, 15, 2010; Kawaski, Guy. The Art of the Executive Summary. "How to Change the World" blog; Keller, Chuck. "Stay Healthy with a Winning Executive Summary." Technical Communication 41 (1994): 511-517; The Report Abstract and Executive Summary. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Executive Summaries. Effective Writing Center. University of Maryland; Kolin, Philip. Successful Writing at Work. 10th edition. (Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2013), p. 435-437; Moral, Mary. "Writing Recommendations and Executive Summaries." Keeping Good Companies 64 (June 2012): 274-278; Vassallo, Philip. "Executive Summaries: Todorovic, Zelimir William, PhD. and Frye, Marietta Wolczacka,B.A., B.B.A. "Writing Effective Executive Summaries: An Interdisciplinary Examination." United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2009; "Where Less Really is More." ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 60 (Spring 2003): 83-90.

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