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As the writer, you may find that you will be paraphrasing at the sentence level or the paragraph level of the source you are using. However, there may be times when the whole resource provides important information, but it does not require direct wording or detailed restatements to support your claim. If this is the case, you should summarize the main points of the source material, such as the paragraph, section, or whole article.

Therefore, a summary must:

  • Refer to the source’s author.
  • Be shorter than the sourced material.
  • Contain only the main ideas from the material.
  • Change the keywords from the source.
  • Modify the sentence structure from the source.
  • Exclude your opinion.
  • Be well-written.


Original Source Material:

Read, J, M., & Powell, M. B. (2011). Improving the legal aspects of police interviewing suspects. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 18(4), 599-611.

Article Summary:

Read and Powell (2011) sought to bring awareness to the legal aspects of suspect interviews that require improvements, specifically noting  the Australian system. For the study, participants who were adapt in the Victorian legal system underwent an interview to discuss with the researchers the issues present in police interviews that surround the use of legal terminology and representation. Their article highlighted four main areas of issue, including improper questioning and misrepresentation of offences. With these issues noted by legal professionals, Read and Powell (2010) expressed how police interviews that are conducted without proper care and precision may result in negative outcomes, such as the inadmissibility of the entire suspect interview. As a result, they suggest that more legal advice is necessary when trying to enhance the quality of suspect interviews conducted by police.

For more supports on how to summarize, consider checking out the University of Toronto’s Writing Advice.