How to Write an Objective Summary

Objective summaries are essential for academic writing, research papers, and even business communication. But capturing the essence of a source material without injecting your own opinion can be tricky. Fear not! This guide will break down the process of writing objective summaries into manageable steps, equipping you with the tools to craft summaries that grab your reader's attention and effectively convey the key points.

Written by
Andre Smith
Updated On
April 23, 2024


Information overload is real! Whether you're tackling academic journals, research papers, or even business reports, summarizing key points can feel like an overwhelming task. But fear not! Objective summaries are your secret weapon for efficient information processing, valuable in academic writing, research projects, and clear communication across all fields. This guide will equip you with a step-by-step approach to crafting concise and informative summaries, ensuring you capture the essence of the source material without your own opinions getting in the way.

Core Content: Objective Summaries (Step-by-Step)

Here's where we turn those mountains of information into manageable molehills! Follow these steps to craft objective summaries that showcase your comprehension and impress your readers.

Step 1: Befriend the Source Material:

Think of this step as getting to know a new person. Read the entire text carefully, taking notes or highlighting important points. Imagine you're explaining it to someone who hasn't read it – what are the main ideas they absolutely need to know? Don't worry about summarizing just yet, focus on truly understanding the content.

Step 2: Unveiling the Central Idea:

Every good story has a main character, and every good source material has a central idea, often called the thesis statement. This is the core message the author wants to convey. Look for phrases like "the purpose of this study is..." or "in conclusion, it can be said that...".  Think of it as the answer to the question, "What is this text all about?"

Step 3: Spotlighting the Supporting Squad:

Now that you know the main character (central idea), it's time to identify their supporting crew – the key details that back it up. These are the facts, statistics, arguments, or examples that strengthen the author's main point. Ask yourself, "What evidence does the author use to support their central idea?"

Step 4: Weaving Your Summary (The Grand Finale):

Time to take center stage! Here's where you put your understanding into action.  Craft your summary in your own words, maintaining a neutral tone (no opinions allowed!).  Use transition words like "furthermore" or "however" to connect the key supporting details smoothly. Remember, brevity is key: aim for 1-3 paragraphs, depending on the length of the source material.

Bonus Tip: Imagine you're a news reporter – your job is to deliver the facts in a clear and concise way, without adding your own commentary!

Examples in Action:

Let's see this process in action with different types of source material:

  • Scientific Report: A study published in Nature investigated the effects of green tea consumption on cognitive function in older adults. The central idea might be: "This study found that regular green tea consumption is associated with improved cognitive performance in elderly individuals." The key supporting details could include findings on memory tests, reaction times, and brain activity.
  • News Article: A news article reports on a new policy to combat climate change. The central idea could be: "The government introduced a new policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% within the next decade." Supporting details might mention specific regulations, targeted industries, and potential economic impacts.
  • Literary Work: A short story explores themes of friendship and betrayal. The central idea could be: "The story follows two friends whose bond is tested when a dark secret comes to light." Key supporting details would involve the characters' interactions, the revealed secret, and the ultimate outcome of their friendship.

By following these steps and using these examples as a guide, you'll be well on your way to crafting clear, concise, and objective summaries that effectively capture the essence of any source material.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid:

Even the most skilled summarizers can fall into traps! Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Infiltrating Your Opinions: Objective summaries are all about facts, not your personal beliefs. Steer clear of phrases like "I think" or "In my opinion, the author is right."
  • Getting Lost in the Labyrinth: Don't get sidetracked by irrelevant details. Stay focused on the central point and key supporting arguments presented in the source material.
  • Plagiarism in Disguise: Don't copy whole chunks of text verbatim. Rephrase the information in your own words, while staying true to the original meaning.
  • Accuracy Under Attack: Double-check your summary to ensure it accurately reflects the content of the source material. There's no room for factual errors or misinterpretations.
  • Conciseness Catastrophe: Strive for a summary that is both informative and to the point. Ideally, it should capture the essence of the source material in 1-3 paragraphs, depending on its length.

Pro Tips: Enhance Your Objective Summary Writing Skills

Developing strong objective summary writing skills takes practice, but these following tips can significantly improve your summaries.

  • Identify Key Terms: Focus on recurring keywords and phrases within the source material. These terms often point to the central idea and significant supporting details. Pay close attention to them as you read.
  • Create an Organizational Outline: Before commencing your summary, take a moment to structure your thoughts with a brief outline. Include the main point of the source material and a few key supporting arguments. This roadmap will ensure your summary remains focused and well-organized.
  • Utilize Varied Sentence Openings: Repetitive sentence starters like "This report states" or "The article mentions" can weaken the flow of your summary. Instead, incorporate transition words and phrases such as "furthermore," "however," or "additionally" to create a smooth and engaging style.
  • Meticulous Proofreading: After completing your summary, take a step back and thoroughly proofread it. Verify factual accuracy, ensure clear sentence structure, and check for proper grammar. Eliminate any lingering personal opinions or unnecessary phrasing that may have found their way into the text.

By integrating these pro tips into your summary writing process, you will be well on your way to crafting clear, concise, and informative summaries that effectively convey the essence of the source material and leave a positive impression on your readers.


This guide has provided a comprehensive approach to writing strong objective summaries for various source materials. By following the steps outlined, you can efficiently navigate information overload and synthesize complex texts into clear and concise summaries.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Deep Comprehension: Thoroughly engage with the source material to grasp its central message. Techniques like close reading and highlighting can aid in understanding.
  • Identifying the Central Idea: Locate the main point the author is trying to convey. This is often found in thesis statements or concluding remarks.
  • Pinpointing Supporting Details: Recognize the key details that strengthen the central idea. These details may include facts, statistics, arguments, or examples presented by the author.
  • Conciseness and Objectivity: Craft your summary using your own words and maintain a neutral tone. Avoid personal opinions or subjective language.

Call to Action:

Now that you possess these skills, the next step is to solidify your learning through practice. Apply your newfound knowledge by writing objective summaries of different types of texts, such as news articles, research papers, or even literary works. Feel free to share your summaries or ask questions in the comments section below. Let's foster a community where clear and informative summaries become a valuable skill for everyone.

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