Writing a summary or abstract teaches you how to condense information and how to read an article more effectively and with better understanding. Research articles usually contain these parts: Title/Author Information, Abstract, Introduction, Methodology, Result or Findings, Discussion or Conclusion, and References. To gain a better understanding of an article, try reading the abstract and the discussion or conclusion first and then read the entire article.
Finding an Article
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) renowned resource for abstracts of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations, the largest resource devoted to peer-reviewed literature in behavioral science and mental health.
Sample PsycINFO Search
Journal Article Request
If you are not able to access the full text of an article you would like to use for research, please complete and submit this form. An LRC staff member will then place an interlibrary loan request on your behalf.
Summarizing an Article
The following websites offer advice and instruction on summarizing articles:
Andrews University: Guidelines for Writing an Article Summary
UConn: How to Summarize a Research Article
Resources for APA Style
Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) APA Formatting and Style Guide
Books in the LRC
The APA Pocket Handbook: BF76.7 .P833 2007
Concise Rules of APA Style: BF76.7 .C66 2010
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: BF76.7 .P83 2010
Sample APA Citations
If the author’s name is included within the text, follow the name with (year)
Example: Jones (2009) found that diabetes symptoms improve with exercise.
If the author’s name is not included within the text, follow the sentence with (Last Name, year).
Example: Increased exercise resulted in diminished diabetes symptoms (Jones, 2009).
Author’s last name, A. A., & Author’s last name, B.B. (year).Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue), page number – page number. doi: xxxxxxx
Iscoe, K. E., & Riddell, M. C. (2011). Continuous moderate-intensity exercise with or without intermittent high-intensity work: Effects on acute and late glycaemia in athletes with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Diabetic Medicine, 28(7), 824-832. doi:10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03274.x
Tips on SummarizingIn academic writing, there are a few things to keep in mind when summarizing outside sources:
- Use your own words
- Include the key relevant elements of the original and keep it brief - you're just going for the original's essence
- Do not include your interpretation/analysis within the summary - make a clear distinction between your thoughts and someone else's
- Vary how you introduce or attribute your sources, like "according to..." or "so-and-so concludes that..." so your readers don't get bored
- Always include a citation
Despite decades of research into the sociocultural model of eating disorders, we still do not understand how such sociocultural influences produce disordered eating in any given individual (or why a similar person in the same cultural milieu does not become disordered). Clearly, though, one source of vulnerability lies in a woman's body image. To the extent that a woman's self-image is challenged or threatened by an unattainable ideal of an impossibly thin female physique, she may well become susceptible to disruption of her self-regard, and may be more likely to develop an eating disorder. In short, the sociocultural model argues that exposure to idealized media images (a) makes women feel bad about themselves and (b) impels women to undertake the sort of "remedial" eating patterns that easily and often deteriorate into eating disorders.
Summary in Paper (APA)
Polivy and Herman (2004) noted that we still do not know how or why sociocultural influences like the media contribute to some individuals developing eating disorders while others do not. In some cases, the ubiquitous message of thinness and ideal beauty broadcast by the media can challenge a woman's self-image, disrupting her sense of self-esteem. However, not all women are influenced by the same media messages in the same way. The sociocultural model explores the ways women internalize the media's ideal of unattainable thinness and beauty, and how that internalization in turn can result in disordered eating and a distorted sense of body image (pp. 1-2).
This complete citation appears in Mizuki's reference list:
Polivy, J., & Herman, C. P. (2004). Sociocultural idealization of thin female body shapes: An introduction to the special issue on body image and eating disorders. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 23, 1-6. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.460