Writing an Effective Summary/Response
For every reading you do, located on course reserve, in this class you will be asked to write a Summary/Response. This should be at least two pages long where you delve into the text summarizing and analyzing it. See below for explanation of a summary and a response.
A summary is a concise paraphrase of the main ideas in a text. It not only cites the author and the title (usually in the first sentence); it also tells the text’s thesis and supporting ideas. Furthermore, with a summary you may not have enough room to cover all of the points the author makes and thus you should focus on key points made throughout the text. You will need to synthesize the text and make sense of it before you take us into the text. It is always good to signal your reader and thus phrases such as “Smith says/notes/states,” “According to Smith,” and “for Smith, the solution appears to be,” etc. should be used. The summary should take up no more than a third of the work being summarized.
A response is a critique or evaluation of the author opinions in relation to the article you summarized. Here you examine thoughts and ideas with which you agree or disagree with and identify the text good response is persuasive, therefore, it should cite facts, examples, and personal antidotes that either go against or support the text you are writing about (this will depend on what stance you take).
Two Typical Organizational Formats for Summary/Response Essays:
1. Introduce the essay with a short paragraph that includes your thesis. Present the summary in a block of paragraphs, followed by the response in a block:
Summary (two to three paragraphs).
Agreement (or disagreement).
Disagreement (or agreement).
Note: Some essays will incorporate both agreement and disagreement in a response, but this is
2. Introduce the essay with a short paragraph that includes your thesis. Then, each body paragraph summarizes one point and responds to it, and a conclusion wraps the essay up.
Summary point one; agree/disagree.
Summary point two; agree/disagree.
Summary point three; agree/disagree.