Summarize Professional Writing 2
A précis is a one-page, single-spaced summary which is useful in doing research. For example, if a student has a five-page reading list, it can be difficult to come back to item number 16 and remember what was in the book or article, but with a summary, students can easily see and remember what they have read and how they have reacted to it. It can be used as a giant note card, and, with the bibliographic information (in proper format) at the top of the paper, it can be shuffled in with other précis in alphabetical order, chronological order, or any other order, just the way a note card can.
Since some theses are never directly stated, the students must be ready to think, to categorize and synthesize, and to state the implied thesis in their own words.
Students should pay special attention to any divisions that the author has seen fit to use, usually indicated by captions. This categorization is important to summarizing the information and maintaining the appropriate relationships among ideas.
The level of generality and specificity is determined by the amount of information that can fit into the one-page format. For example, a 700-page book would be summarized at a greater level of generality than would a 17-page article.
If they choose to use a short quotation or two, they must be sure to quote exactly, use quotation marks, and give in-text documentation so that they will be able to distinguish between their own words and those of the author of the work being summarized when they return to their summary.