Scientific or technical summary writing

You will write 500-word summary of a technical or scientific article that you find either in an academic journal or an established, fact-checked magazine publication (for example: Smithsonian, New Scientist, BBC Science Focus, MIT Technology Review, Wired, Discover, Popular Mechanics). You will need to summarize the main points of the article, and convey it to an educated, but not expert reader. We will discuss what this means in class.


Your article must do the following:

1. identify key processes and concepts in a professional science or technology article.

2. describe complex processes and concepts clearly and concisely.

3. demonstrate awareness of your audience.

4. emphasize the main points of the source article, maintaining objectivity


The summary must be typed in Microsoft Word, double-spaced with 1-inch margins, and cite the article and any quotes following APA format. (See Purdue Owl for APA Guidelines)




25 points for correctly identifying and presenting key points from the source article

25 points for demonstrating awareness of the educated, but not expert audience

20 points for applying correct APA quotation and citation format

15 points for clear sentence and paragraph structure within the word count limits

15 points for maintaining objectivity and correct source attribution


Tips to remember:


Keep in mind that the challenge of a summary is to identify the main points of a longer article and restate them in fewer words than the original.


You are paraphrasing, rather than quoting. Within a 500-word article, you do not have room for quotations. If you absolutely must use a quotation, keep it to no more than 10 words.


You are not analyzing the author’s words – you are restating what they said in fewer words. You are not giving your opinion or referring to what you think about the article at all. That’s what it means to maintain objectivity.

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