Formal Summary

Being able to summarize something is a key academic skill because it requires you to carefully read and intimately understand a text. A good summary reveals the key points of an article or book and also gives clues and cues about its structure, all without inserting the summarizer's own opinions or misrepresenting the text.


Step 1: Write Your Summary

For this assignment you will write a formal, 250-word summary of Emily Bazelon's article "Hitting Bottom."

In class we discussed how a good summary prioritizes information in order to get down to the skull (the claim or thesis) and the bones (the supporting reasons) and then, space permitting, may add additional things like evidence. When I say a "formal" summary, I mean that it is a bit longer and more detailed than what you might otherwise do, and it exemplifies the following qualities:

These qualities are further explained, along with a real-world example, in this PowerPoint presentation called "Elements of an Effective Formal Summary."

Step 2: Post to Slack

Your typed formal summary is due to be posted to Slack by Monday, May 6. You have been added to a private channel of students; the channel is named after a Nintendo character (e.g., #Team-Mario). That is where you should post your summary, either by copy-and-pasting in the entire thing into the textbox or by uploading a .docx file (click the plus sign to the left of the textbox and choose "Add a file from...Your computer").

Because this assignment is time-sensitive and other people are relying on you, late work will not be accepted.