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Research Summary: What Is It, How To Write It, Example, Tips, & More

25 Jun 2021

During your academic career, you are most likely going to have to write a research paper. However, the writing requirements may quickly overwhelm you, especially if it is the first time you have to write one. To prepare the students for what is coming, professors usually give them the assignment to write a summary of a research paper.

Research Summary Writing Tips

Due to constricting time limitations, many students realize that the pay for paper option pays off. Writing a summary is not as complex as you might have imagined. Below you will find actionable tips, including an example to help you do it without breaking a sweat.

What is a Research Summary?

A research paper summary, as the name implies, is a copy that summarizes the research. Research, in this case, refers to a study or an article from an established academic journal. As students climb up the academic ladders during college, they need to become proficient with academic writing. Furthermore, one of the most common tasks in colleges and universities includes writing a synopsis for a study or academic journal article.

Whether you are studying STEM or humanitarian studies, the chances are that you will have to write a summary for a study at some point during college. An abstract is critical because it provides a brief overview of the research the article is covering. Therefore, learning to write one is even more critical.

As you practice writing a research paper summary, you will learn how to use academic papers and interpret scientific literature correctly.

How to Write Research Summary

The process of creating this type of task is relatively straightforward. However, you have to complete the most important milestones to write a quality research paper one.

Understand the task requirements

Before you start doing anything related to research paper summary writing, you need to understand the task requirements. During this phase, many students decide to outsource the task to professionals, especially in medical studies, where due to complexity, students opt to use a medical paper writing service.

Go through the study or article

Before you can do a detailed reading of the study or article, you need to understand what it is about and what each of the sections addresses. Next, you should skim through the methodology and evidence. It will help you identify the most critical aspects of the study that should find their place in the summary.

Commit to understanding the topic of the study

To write a compelling summary, you need to understand the topic of the study. There are two things you must do. First, you need to understand the current paradigm in the field and the concepts and definitions used in the study. Secondly, you need to understand the hypothesis, analysis questions, and listed evidence.

Assess the strength of correlation between variables to see to what extent the findings support the author’s hypothesis. This is the most crucial step as it will allow you to summarize the study as if you’ve written it yourself.

Write down key ideas for every important study section

As you read the study, you should write down the key ideas and concepts. Look at it as a series of short summaries for every critical section. You can combine it with highlighting and underlining as it will make the article or study conveniently skimmable.

There is no need to summarize every paragraph, though. At this stage, you should be familiar with the study as you’ve already skimmed through it. So instead, only summarize the essential paragraphs as you read the entire article.

Come up with a research paper summary draft

Now that you have skimmed the study, understand the definitions and current knowledge in the field, and have notes of your own, you can start writing the draft of your synopsis. Once you find yourself at this stage, go down to the “Research summary structure” section below to make sure you don’t forget to include key pieces of information.

If you are required to provide your critical view on the study along with the summary, you need to support it with evidence. You can find evidence in the additional literature section. Make sure to find literature that supports your claims about the study limitations or any other evidence that supports the opposite hypothesis.

Give your summary another check

It is of utmost importance to check your text one more time before submitting it. There are several things you need to pay attention to:

  • Make sure the spelling and grammar are correct;
  • Ensure that you didn’t copy-paste the sentences from the article;
  • Reread the article to check if you accurately summarized findings;
  • Check the summary against the paper to ensure you didn’t forget to include important information.

Research Summary Structure

There is a specific research summary format that you can use every time you are asked to prepare this type of copy. You’ll find out that it follows the same structure the article has, making it relatively easy to find critical information and add it to the summary.

  • Title
    The title is the only thing that you can copy/paste from the original article. You can come up with your own. For instance, you can use the title to announce the key findings in the study or your critical view of the study.

  • Abstract
    ​Every academic article contains an abstract. Its length is usually between 100 and 500 words, and it describes the study or the paper. Check your research summary requirements as the abstract is often not required. In summary, however, the abstract is considerably shorter. Similar to best research paper topics, an abstract should concisely communicate the article’s main idea.

  • Introduction
    The introduction is a vital section of the summary. It has the role of providing a context to the reader. In order to do so, the introduction must contain information regarding the current knowledge on the topic, a definition, or a concept. If it is easy to understand the importance of the subject, you don’t need to include it in the introduction. At the end of the introduction section, you can add the hypothesis and investigation questions you’ve identified in the article.

  • Methodology
    In the methodology section, you need to outline all the article authors’ experimental and data analysis methods. Some authors use a number of techniques ranging from surveys to statistical analysis. It is your job to identify the most important ones and include them in the methodology section.

  • Results
    The results section lists out the most critical and relevant evidence the study authors have discovered. It is the most significant section of the summary when it comes to word count. Feel free to add every vital piece of evidence that came up during statistical analysis, observation, and interpretation.

  • Discussion
    In the discussion section, you need to discuss the study results within the context of current knowledge and investigations. Discussion is where you want to put study limitations if there are some or highlight the importance of the study. You can also add your ideas for future exploration or use the ones the study authors pointed out themselves.

  • Conclusion
    The conclusion is the brief ending of the summary. This is where you need to revisit the evidence and say if it validates or denies the study hypotheses.

  • Refer​ences
    The references section should at least provide citations for the original study/article in the required format. If you used additional literature to back up your critical views and bring to attention contrary evidence and study limitations, you need to provide citations for those sources as well.

Research summary writing tips

The following tips will help you excel at writing research summaries:

  • Make sure to understand a study completely - before you start writing the summary, make sure you caught up with every critical piece of information in the study - goals, hypotheses, evidence, and conclusion;
  • While reading the study, make a list of items that should go into a summary - it will help you select the essential information and have everything ready for your first draft;
  • Be mindful of the word count limit - make sure to write the methodology and results first. These are concise sections of a research paper summary. Once you are done, you know what to include in the conclusion and how to engage a reader with the introduction for a research paper;
  • Add visuals to quickly communicate information - present data via graphs and charts when possible. It helps convey data and saves up space;
  • Be mindful of writing style - research summary requires impersonal and concise style.

Common mistakes to avoid in a research summary paper

Students often make common mistakes when writing a research summary. Being mindful of the following mistakes will help you not repeat them:

  • Using the same sentences from the article - it can appear convenient to borrow a sentence or two from the study authors. However, plagiarizing is strictly prohibited in academic circles. It can seem hard at the start, but give your best to write in your own words. You can paraphrase the sentences, but copy/pasting is not allowed;
  • Submitting the research summary before proofreading it - your writing has to be impeccable in spelling, grammar, wording, and format. Make sure to proofread it several times if necessary. You can also ask a colleague to check it for you and catch some errors that might have slipped your eye;
  • Not reading the summary requirements before starting - reading the requirements is of utmost importance. You can fail even if you write a strong summary because you didn’t comply with the requirements.
  • Using passive and imprecise language - make sure to use active and precise language to help the audience easily understand your research summary.

Research paper summary example

Here is a research summary example that features all the elements of a proper format:

Title - “Job performance in first-level managers (as rated by their supervisors) and their affective commitment, continuance commitment, and job satisfaction”

Introduction - “Affective commitment is defined as an emotional attachment to the organization (Meyer, Paunonen, Gellatly, Goffin, & Jackson, 1989). Alternatively, continuance commitment is based on the costs that employees associate with leaving the organization.”

Hypothesis - “Affective commitment of first-level managers is positively related to overall job performance and promotability.”

Methodology - “Job performance was assessed according to 3 dimensions ((1) composite performance, according to an average on 6 specific activities, (2) overall performance, based on a subjective rating given by the immediate supervisor, and (3) promotability). The participants were 23 district managers and 65 unit managers from a large food service organization.”

Results - “The researchers found that affective commitment was positively related to overall performance and promotability. The correlations between continuance commitment and all 3 performance dimensions were negative and significant.”

Discussion and conclusion - “Given that improving job performance interests companies from various industries it’s important to note that supervisor ratings of performance and promotability increase as the employees’ affective commitment increases; on the other hand, supervisor ratings of performance and promotability decrease as continuance commitment increases.”

References: “Meyer, J. P., Paunonen, S. V., Gellatly, I. R., Goffin, R. D., & Jackson, D. N. (1989). Organizational commitment and job performance: It’s the nature of the commitment that counts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 152-156.”


Once you become familiar with these tips and instructions, writing a summary of research paper won’t be challenging for you. In either case, you have other options. During your studies, you can be under so much pressure that it’s impossible to complete the tasks before the deadline. If this happens, you can always look for research papers for sale online and cross that obligation off your list pain-free.

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