A summary should generally be one-quarter the length of the original text. So, if the original essay is four pages lengthy, your summary should not exceed one page. This will allow you to include all relevant information while still keeping everything concise and readable.
In addition, the summary should bring out the main ideas in the text. If necessary, it can be written at first glance.
Finally, the summary should be informative; that is, it should not repeat what has been said before. Instead, it should focus on highlighting the differences between the text you are summarizing and other works on the same topic.
For example, let's say that your topic is "My Favorite Author". Your summary could then go like this: "George Orwell's novel 1984 was an interesting look at future society through the eyes of Winston Smith. It showed that even if society believes something is good, it can still be used to control people. As another example, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain shows how children from different backgrounds can learn to respect each other despite their differences. It's about a boy who lives with his family on a farm in Mississippi but dreams of going west to make his own life."
Now, both novels are great works of fiction but they cover completely different subjects.
The original material is condensed (shortened) in an excellent summary. While it should be long enough to convey the most significant information, a summary should be one-fourth to one-third the length of the original text if it is 1-3 pages long. A longer summary may be useful if you have time and want to provide more detail or focus on certain aspects of the work.
In general, you want to give readers enough information to understand the topic well but not so much that they are overwhelmed. One advantage of a summary is that you get to include any interesting facts or details that wouldn't fit into the main body of the essay.
For example, let's say that you are writing an essay on Abraham Lincoln. You could summarize his life by saying that he was president of the United States during the Civil War. This summary would not exactly cover everything there is to know about him, but it would give readers a good sense of what they can expect from the essay and allow you to include some interesting details about him such as his fascination with signs language or his involvement with three different political parties. For example: "Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States and one of the greatest leaders in American history. He is known for his role in ending slavery in the country and has been called the father of modern democracy because of his commitment to freedom and liberty for all Americans.
1. An effective summary condenses (shortens) the original content. If the original piece is 20 pages long, then the summary should be written at most 7-10 pages long.
2. An effective summary highlights the key ideas in the original content. It should do this without oversimplifying or overstating the evidence, which can lead readers away from the main points being made. For example, while it may be appropriate to summarize a book review as "The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss is a good read for children," that same summary would be ineffective if it also included details about other books by the author that might interest readers more specifically.
3. An effective summary makes recommendations for action. It should include suggestions about what readers can do now with regard to the topic covered in the original content. For example, a summary of a magazine article on careers could include statements such as "If you want to work in sports marketing, consider taking courses at a local college" or "To find employment in this field, look into programs within your state university system that offer certificates in sports management."
4. Effective summaries communicate well-defined claims using clear language.