Analytic overviews or summaries provide a condensed presentation of a source’s key ideas for someone who has not read the source. They present a formal, objective overview of the source’s main focus(es) and key insights, beginning with a short introduction, followed by several well-organized, well-developed paragraphs (topic sentences, transitions, cohesion, paragraph development, sufficient detail and example, etc.). Analytic summaries do not merely summarize, hence, the “analytic” part: you must select, distill, organize, and re-present the most important or notable aspects of a source that is many, many times longer than your overview. To review, analytic summaries entail the following: Step-by-step guide: The following simple steps can help in writing a summary. 1. First, read the text completely and try to formulate its key idea. 2. Re-read the text, highlighting the key sentence in each paragraph/chapter. Then, re-read all the highlighted sentences. 3. Start writing, putting the main idea, as you’ve understood it, in the first sentence. This sentence should include the author’s name and a short title of the work (with the year of publication in brackets). 4. Being guided by the highlighted sentences, restate the author’s reasons that support the main idea. Restate in your own words – don’t copy or translate. If you want to add a citation, don’t forget to put it in quotation marks. Add a mark if the reason is additional and is not related to the main idea. The resulting text should reflect the structure of the paper. Obviously, the principle of charity doesn’t mean that you should agree with the author on everything, turn a blind eye to their mistakes or errors in argumentation. For that reason: 5. The last part of an analytical summary is criticism. In it, you are supposed to describe how well the author’s reasons support their thesis statement. If some of the reasons seem unconvincing, point those out. But don’t forget that criticism doesn’t equal fault-finding. Reasonable support may also include criticism. All your statements should be reasoned, even if they seem obvious to you. Of course, in order to accomplish all of the above successfully, you need to read and re-read your source carefully—you must understand it well in order to write about it effectively. Requirements: 2 pages Condensation of the original source Selection of the most important ideas of the source Organization of those ideas into effective paragraphs Adequate paraphrase of original wording, with sufficient citation Accurate representation of source’s ideas and intent Selective, judicious, apposite use of quotation
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