Wendy Kolmar, Drew University 2016.

Also use chapter 2 of They Say/I Say

See also “Working with First Drafts

  1. Sequence: Points in your summary should be in order of their important than the order in which they appear in the article.  Verbs like “starts,” “concludes,” “continues” are signals that you’re following the order of the article.
  2. Avoid Description. Don’t say what the article is “about,” describing it’s content.  Instead, summarize the article’s argument is.  “In this essay, Judith Lorber argues that . . . .”
  3. Pay attention to paragraph structure.  how are ideas connected? How do we get from one idea to the next?
  4. Author.  Attach ideas to their source and author.  The author’s name and the title of the text should appear in the summary. e sure we can tell throughout the paragraph that you are still talking about the author’s argument.  In your paper, you’ll want to signal when you switch back to your own ideas.
  5. Word Choice.  Use the language of the article or essay, especially for key words and terms.  “claiming an education” “social construction” “oppression.”  Be careful that in substituting a word of your own, you aren’t distorting the meaning of a term.
  6.  Specificity.  Give enough detail about the argument that we can tell them apart and can tell what are the salient components of each argument?
  7.  Your Opinion.  Your opinion should not be in the summary but it absolutely belongs in this paper. It may begin or end the paragraph which has your summary in it, because you will tell your reader how the text your summarizing contributed to your overall thinking about gender.


Title of article or any short work is in quotation marks: “There is no Hierarchy of Oppression”

Title of Full Length Work is italicized or underlined; e.g: The Color Purple

In general, we write about what’s happening in any text in the present tense (e.g: “argues”) except perhaps when something is in the past in a novel.