Skip to content

How To Summarize A Research Article

How to Summarize a Research Article Tips

RevBlogMarket ResearchHow To Summarize A Research Article

You’ve got content gold on your hands— primary and secondary research materials from some of the top market research companies. Now, it’s time to decide how it relates to your products, project, or consumers. What’s more, you need to distill each article’s essential parts into easy-to-read, accurate, informative, and, most importantly, concise summaries. Overwhelming? Maybe. Impossible? Heck no; you just need a good strategy. So, where to start?

You’ve landed on the right page! These tips and techniques provide a template to help guide you through the process. 

Know Your Focus

The streaming TV hit, Cobra Kai, brings to mind Mr. Miyagi’s age-old wisdom– ‘Focus, Daniel-San.’ Focus is vital, as some sections of a research article are more relevant to your strategy than others. 

For example, a summary crafted for a school project or a university may focus on the experiment itself. In contrast, the article’s results and discussion sections may be more relevant to consumer marketing or for a business model.

Once you establish your focus, you’re less likely to waste time.

Read The Research Article

But before you do, let’s look at the makeup of these articles. Market research, focus group data, and surveys usually consist of five or more sections.

  • An abstract or hypothesis
  • Explanation of the methods used
  • Tests or experiments performed
  • Summation and or discussion of the results
  • A list of references or source materials

Read The Abstract

Since some of the research articles you find will not work for your purpose, you should always start with the abstract. It’s an overview of the data and explains the purpose of the study as well as the expected results. So you’ll know whether to include the article or move on to the next piece of research.

Take Good Notes

The next step– read the article from abstract to references. But be prepared! Your mind may wander when faced with numbers, statistics, and long-winded wording. So grab your highlighter and pen and start taking notes.

Depending on the space available, you can write your notes in the margin. If you’re in a time crunch, check out Rev. We’ve designed a convenient application perfect for taking notes! Download our Voice Recorder App for free and read your notes out loud. You’ll get a 99% accurate transcription of your summary notes sent to your email or account with a simple tap. 

Research Hack: As an overview, a research article may not include every insight from the participants, interviews, or market data. Take a look at the references. You may find some hidden gems that will help your strategy stand out.    

Outline Your Thoughts

You’ve made notes, sifted through the numbers and statistics; but, there’s still a ton of information. An outline will make your writing process much more efficient. Although each research article is relatively straight-forward, you want your summary to stay on strategy.

Write A Summary

Okay, you’re ready to condense someone else’s work. Rather than stress over grammar and length, take the pressure off by writing a rough draft. Use key points from your notes, REV transcriptions, your outline, and the research article’s sections as your guide. 

Identify The Goal And The Methods Used

Like the author’s abstract, the beginning of your summary should address the research article’s fundamental objectiveThis section may also include critical details about demographics, customer behavior, or trends. When summarizing, consider three key questions. 

  • What is the goal of the research?
  • What methods did the author(s) use?
  • Are potential obstacles to success listed?

Methods vary in market research. You may have focus groupsin-depth interviews, or online discussions. Depending on the reason for your summary, the raw audio or video clips used in the study may hold nuggets. If full transcripts aren’t available, save time by uploading the clips to Rev. Our human transcription service costs $1.25 per minute, and we offer a 99% accuracy guarantee. We also offer a more cost-effective A.I. speech-to-text solution for only $0.25 per minute.

Describe The Observations

The experiment is the “meat” of the research. In your own words, briefly explain what the author(s) observed as the testing played out in real-time. You can talk about the time it took participants to complete tasks or directives. Were they excited about the client’s brand or disinterested? Basically, you’re recapping the participant’s reactions. 

Discuss The Outcome

As with any study, the results make or break the goal of the research. Was the test successful? Was anyone surprised by the outcome, or were there any unexpected developments? Pay careful attention to detail as you layout all conclusions reached by the author(s).

Article Summary Quick Tips: Do This, Not That

Is your head spinning yet? You can simplify the editing process by following these technical takeaways.

  • Be Careful Not To Draw Your Own Conclusions: You are summarizing the results of the research. The last thing you want to do is editorialize your summary. To avoid this, use the third-person point of view and present tense.  
  • Keep Your Copy Clean And Free Of Errors: Reread your text. Eliminate words like “that,” “in fact,” “however,” and adverbs. Make sure your summary is accurate. Then, use free websites like Hemingway App or paid services such as Grammarly to check for grammar or spelling issues. 
  • Watch For Plagiarism: Unless you’re using a word coined by the researcher, paraphrase your text. If you notice similar wording in your summary, reread the article so you can explain the data in your own words.
  • Cite Your Sources:Steer clear of directly quoting the research. It’s best to paraphrase the data and reference the source using: the name of the university, the name of the journal and year of publication, or the name of the researcher, team, or society and year of study.  

Finalize Your Article Summary

Remember, you want your summary to be clear, straight-forward, and compelling. The market research article or study you’ve chosen may prove vital to you or your client’s business strategy and brand analysis. Take your time. Read and reread your summary. Make sure it’s representative of the research. And always triple-check your text for technical and factual accuracy.