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How To Write A Research Summary

Deeptanshu D

It’s a common perception that writing a research summary is a quick and easy task. After all, how hard can jotting down 300 words be? But when you consider the weight those 300 words carry, writing a research summary as a part of your dissertation, essay or compelling draft for your paper instantly becomes daunting task.

A research summary requires you to synthesize a complex research paper into an informative, self-explanatory snapshot. It needs to portray what your article contains. Thus, writing it often comes at the end of the task list.

Regardless of when you’re planning to write, it is no less of a challenge, particularly if you’re doing it for the first time. This blog will take you through everything you need to know about research summary so that you have an easier time with it.

How to write a research summary

What is a Research Summary?

A research summary is the part of your research paper that describes its findings to the audience in a brief yet concise manner. A well-curated research summary represents you and your knowledge about the information written in the research paper.

While writing a quality research summary, you need to discover and identify the significant points in the research and condense it in a more straightforward form. A research summary is like a doorway that provides access to the structure of a research paper's sections.

Since the purpose of a summary is to give an overview of the topic, methodology, and conclusions employed in a paper, it requires an objective approach. No analysis or criticism.

Research summary or Abstract. What’s the Difference?

They’re both brief, concise, and give an overview of an aspect of the research paper. So, it’s easy to understand why many new researchers get the two confused. However, a research summary and abstract are two very different things with individual purpose. To start with, a research summary is written at the end while the abstract comes at the beginning of a research paper.

A research summary captures the essence of the paper at the end of your document. It focuses on your topic, methods, and findings. More like a TL;DR, if you will. An abstract, on the other hand, is a description of what your research paper is about. It tells your reader what your topic or hypothesis is, and sets a context around why you have embarked on your research.

Getting Started with a Research Summary

Before you start writing, you need to get insights into your research’s content, style, and organization. There are three fundamental areas of a research summary that you should focus on.

  • While deciding the contents of your research summary, you must include a section on its importance as a whole, the techniques, and the tools that were used to formulate the conclusion. Additionally, there needs to be a short but thorough explanation of how the findings of the research paper have a significance.
  • To keep the summary well-organized, try to cover the various sections of the research paper in separate paragraphs. Besides, how the idea of particular factual research came up first must be explained in a separate paragraph.
  • As a general practice worldwide, research summaries are restricted to 300-400 words. However, if you have chosen a lengthy research paper, try not to exceed the word limit of 10% of the entire research paper.

How to Structure Your Research Summary

The research summary is nothing but a concise form of the entire research paper. Therefore, the structure of a summary stays the same as the paper. So, include all the section titles and write a little about them. The structural elements that a research summary must consist of are:

It represents the topic of the research. Try to phrase it so that it includes the key findings or conclusion of the task.

The abstract gives a context of the research paper. Unlike the abstract at the beginning of a paper, the abstract here, should be very short since you’ll be working with a limited word count.


This is the most crucial section of a research summary as it helps readers get familiarized with the topic. You should include the definition of your topic, the current state of the investigation, and practical relevance in this part. Additionally, you should present the problem statement, investigative measures, and any hypothesis in this section.


This section provides details about the methodology and the methods adopted to conduct the study. You should write a brief description of the surveys, sampling, type of experiments, statistical analysis, and the rationality behind choosing those particular methods.

Create a list of evidence obtained from the various experiments with a primary analysis, conclusions, and interpretations made upon that. In the paper research paper, you will find the results section as the most detailed and lengthy part. Therefore, you must pick up the key elements and wisely decide which elements are worth including and which are worth skipping.

This is where you present the interpretation of results in the context of their application. Discussion usually covers results, inferences, and theoretical models explaining the obtained values, key strengths, and limitations. All of these are vital elements that you must include in the summary.

Most research papers merge conclusion with discussions. However, depending upon the instructions, you may have to prepare this as a separate section in your research summary. Usually, conclusion revisits the hypothesis and provides the details about the validation or denial about the arguments made in the research paper, based upon how convincing the results were obtained.

The structure of a research summary closely resembles the anatomy of a scholarly article . Additionally, you should keep your research and references limited to authentic and  scholarly sources only.

Tips for Writing a Research Summary

The core concept behind undertaking a research summary is to present a simple and clear understanding of your research paper to the reader. The biggest hurdle while doing that is the number of words you have at your disposal. So, follow the steps below to write a research summary that sticks.

1. Read the parent paper thoroughly

You should go through the research paper thoroughly multiple times to ensure that you have a complete understanding of its contents. A 3-stage reading process helps.

a. Scan: In the first read, go through it to get an understanding of its basic concept and methodologies.

b. Read: For the second step, read the article attentively by going through each section, highlighting the key elements, and subsequently listing the topics that you will include in your research summary.

c. Skim: Flip through the article a few more times to study the interpretation of various experimental results, statistical analysis, and application in different contexts.

Sincerely go through different headings and subheadings as it will allow you to understand the underlying concept of each section. You can try reading the introduction and conclusion simultaneously to understand the motive of the task and how obtained results stay fit to the expected outcome.

2. Identify the key elements in different sections

While exploring different sections of an article, you can try finding answers to simple what, why, and how. Below are a few pointers to give you an idea:

  • What is the research question and how is it addressed?
  • Is there a hypothesis in the introductory part?
  • What type of methods are being adopted?
  • What is the sample size for data collection and how is it being analyzed?
  • What are the most vital findings?
  • Do the results support the hypothesis?


  • What is the final solution to the problem statement?
  • What is the explanation for the obtained results?
  • What is the drawn inference?
  • What are the various limitations of the study?

3. Prepare the first draft

Now that you’ve listed the key points that the paper tries to demonstrate, you can start writing the summary following the standard structure of a research summary. Just make sure you’re not writing statements from the parent research paper verbatim.

Instead, try writing down each section in your own words. This will not only help in avoiding plagiarism but will also show your complete understanding of the subject. Alternatively, you can use a summarizing tool (AI-based summary generators) to shorten the content or summarize the content without disrupting the actual meaning of the article.

SciSpace Copilot is one such helpful feature! You can easily upload your research paper and ask Copilot to summarize it. You will get an AI-generated, condensed research summary. SciSpace Copilot also enables you to highlight text, clip math and tables, and ask any question relevant to the research paper; it will give you instant answers with deeper context of the article..

4. Include visuals

One of the best ways to summarize and consolidate a research paper is to provide visuals like graphs, charts, pie diagrams, etc.. Visuals make getting across the facts, the past trends, and the probabilistic figures around a concept much more engaging.

5. Double check for plagiarism

It can be very tempting to copy-paste a few statements or the entire paragraphs depending upon the clarity of those sections. But it’s best to stay away from the practice. Even paraphrasing should be done with utmost care and attention.

Also: QuillBot vs SciSpace: Choose the best AI-paraphrasing tool

6. Religiously follow the word count limit

You need to have strict control while writing different sections of a research summary. In many cases, it has been observed that the research summary and the parent research paper become the same length. If that happens, it can lead to discrediting of your efforts and research summary itself. Whatever the standard word limit has been imposed, you must observe that carefully.

7. Proofread your research summary multiple times

The process of writing the research summary can be exhausting and tiring. However, you shouldn’t allow this to become a reason to skip checking your academic writing several times for mistakes like misspellings, grammar, wordiness, and formatting issues. Proofread and edit until you think your research summary can stand out from the others, provided it is drafted perfectly on both technicality and comprehension parameters. You can also seek assistance from editing and proofreading services , and other free tools that help you keep these annoying grammatical errors at bay.

8. Watch while you write

Keep a keen observation of your writing style. You should use the words very precisely, and in any situation, it should not represent your personal opinions on the topic. You should write the entire research summary in utmost impersonal, precise, factually correct, and evidence-based writing.

9. Ask a friend/colleague to help

Once you are done with the final copy of your research summary, you must ask a friend or colleague to read it. You must test whether your friend or colleague could grasp everything without referring to the parent paper. This will help you in ensuring the clarity of the article.

Once you become familiar with the research paper summary concept and understand how to apply the tips discussed above in your current task, summarizing a research summary won’t be that challenging. While traversing the different stages of your academic career, you will face different scenarios where you may have to create several research summaries.

In such cases, you just need to look for answers to simple questions like “Why this study is necessary,” “what were the methods,” “who were the participants,” “what conclusions were drawn from the research,” and “how it is relevant to the wider world.” Once you find out the answers to these questions, you can easily create a good research summary following the standard structure and a precise writing style.

writing a research paper synopsis

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writing a research paper synopsis

Learn how to prepare and write a synopsis assignment.

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A synopsis is a brief summary which gives readers an overview of the main points. In an academic context, this is usually a summary of a text (a journal article, book, report etc) but in some instances you might be writing a synopsis of a talk, film or other form of presentation. A synopsis is a neutral summary, objectively capturing the main points, rather than your own perspective or critique, and it focusses directly on the text you’re summarising rather than being a wider discussion of a topic, as an essay might be.

A synopsis aims to give the reader a full, if brief, account of the whole text so that they can follow its main points without having to read it themselves. It’s not a ‘trailer’ designed to tempt your audience to read the text itself, so you don’t have to worry about ‘hooking’ them in with hints and high points or ‘spoiling the ending’ - give the whole text equal coverage, including the conclusions. You could add some commentary which gives the reader a bit of context about the text, including the authors and circumstances it was written in (for example, if it is part of a debate, particular school of thought or its significance and what impact it’s had).

Writing a good synopsis is a skill, and there are a number of challenges: 

  • Separating the main points from the minor detail
  • Knowing what to leave out as well as what to include
  • Giving a sense of the overall narrative as well as listing the key points
  • Covering the whole text within a small word limit
  • Knowing how closely to stick to the original, especially in terms of the wording
  • Whether to give all key points equal treatment, or cover some more briefly, even combining them
  • Rephrasing things concisely without losing the meaning or misrepresenting it
  • Not leaving out anything crucial to understanding the whole overall message

A good synopsis will allow the reader to feel as if they’d skimread the whole text themselves, understanding the overall gist and highlighting what they need to know. A poor synopsis will get bogged down in detail, giving a confused account of the whole story by just listing points, miss out major points or give an inaccurate or one-sided account or stick so closely to the original that it becomes plagiarism without demonstrating a real understanding by the person summarising it.  

How to prepare a synopsis

Boiling down the key points and overall narrative of the original means good reading and note-taking skills which aim to identify and boil down key points to their essence. You could try some of the following approaches: 

  • Read the whole text, and afterwards, without re-reading, jot down your first initial summary in 50 words to capture its overall point. You can check it back for accuracy or anything you left out, but stick within ca 50 words
  • Read the introduction and first line of each paragraph to get a sense of the overall structure and key points within it
  • Highlight one sentence in each paragraph that you think is essential detail to understanding that section
  • Alternatively, with a marker pen, cross out anything that isn’t essential to an understanding of the whole section or text 
  • Jot down only key words as a summary of each point rather than whole sentences
  • Read each paragraph and summarise it without looking, in one sentence of your own 
  • Consider how many points you can make within your word count, and reduce or combine your list of summarised points down to this number

You could start small, identifying just keywords or sentences at first and then work them up into phrases, bullet points and sentences as a rough plan or draft, or you could start big with the original text and reduce each section, paragraph and sentence summary again and again until you have boiled it down to its essence.  

When you start to prepare your first plan or draft, try to use your notes or memory and step away from the original as much as you can. You can go back and check it afterwards, but you need to create some distance to be able to create your own account and have confidence in the points you have identified as essential.

Writing a synopsis

The main decisions facing you as you write up your summary are about how closely to stick to the original in terms of structure and style, and how much attention to give to each point. 

  • You could begin your synopsis with a brief context, explaining who the authors are, the context and significance of their work, as well as anything you think might help the reader to understand the following summary
  • The most common structure is to follow that of the original text, to give a sense of its narrative flow as well as the key points within it. You could choose to depart from it a little though, perhaps glossing over some points faster than others, combining two sections which go together or aren’t enough in their own right, possibly even changing the order a little where it helps to combine two similar points. Careful use of signposting language will help the reader clearly follow the structure (and note anywhere you’ve changed it from the original) so they can identify the bit you’re talking about in the original if they want to
  • The style will naturally be strongly influenced by the original wording, but you should phrase it in your own words wherever possible. It’s harder to nibble away words from a much longer original than it is to start again and use your own concise phrasing, and you want to demonstrate your own understanding to the reader. You could use the odd original phrase or quotation here or there, but the synopsis needs to be more than a collage of quotations; it’s a thing in its own right rather than a cut-down version of the original
  • You can also show your own response to the text in the way you use language to guide the reader to what you feel are the key points and (briefly) why. Your own voice doesn’t need to be very obvious in the synopsis, as it’s about the text rather than your reaction to it, but you have made analytical decisions about what is important, and might want to explain to the reader why these points are significant in understanding the whole
  • What is the main purpose of this text? What did it aim to discover, explain or prove?
  • Why was this research done? How significant is it?
  • How was the research conducted? What kind of research is it?
  • What were the three (or four, five) main things I should be aware of from this paper?
  • What is their line of argument?
  • What is their overall conclusion, recommendation, finding? Why is that important?

Managing word count

The trick to writing a concise synopsis which keeps within your word limit is not to start from the much bigger original text, but from your own boiled down notes. If you’re over the word count, you could start cutting out words that don’t seem essential, but if you go too far, you end up with a text which does not read well and doesn’t hang together. It might be better to remove whole sentences and perhaps whole points, than nibble away at words here and there.

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How to Write a Summary of a Research Paper

Last Updated: July 10, 2020 References

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Hannah Madden is a writer, editor, and artist currently living in Portland, Oregon. In 2018, she graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. Hannah enjoys writing articles about conservation, sustainability, and eco-friendly products. When she isn’t writing, you can find Hannah working on hand embroidery projects and listening to music. This article has been viewed 27,398 times. Learn more...

Writing a summary of an academic research paper is an important skill, and it shows that you understand all of the relevant information presented to you. However, writing a summary can be tough, since it requires you to be completely objective and keep any analysis or criticisms to yourself. By keeping your goal in mind as you read the paper and focusing on the key points, you can write a succinct, accurate summary of a research paper to prove that you understood the overall conclusion.

Reading the Research Paper

Step 1 Figure out the focus of your summary.

  • For instance, if you’re supporting an argument in your own research paper, focus on the elements that are similar to yours.
  • Or, if you’re comparing and contrasting methodology, focus on the methods and the significance of the results.

Step 2 Scan through the article to pick out important information.

  • You can also read the abstract of the paper as a good example of what the authors find to be important in their article.

Step 3 Read the article fully 1 to 2 times.

  • Depending on how long and dense the paper is, your initial reading could take you up to an hour or more.

Step 4 Underline or highlight important information.

  • The important information will usually be toward the end of the paper as the authors explain their findings and conclusions.

Step 5 Take notes summarizing sections in your own words.

  • Writing a summary without plagiarizing, or copying the paper, is really important. Writing notes in your own words will help you get into the mindset of relaying information in your own way.

Including Relevant Information

Step 1 Aim to report the findings, not evaluate them.

  • For example, “The methods used in this paper are not up to standards and require more testing to be conclusive.” is an analysis.
  • ”The methods used in this paper include an in-depth survey and interview session with each candidate.” is a summary.

Step 2 Keep your summary brief.

  • If you’re writing a summary for class, your professor may specify how long your summary should be.
  • Some summaries can even be as short as one sentence.

Step 3 State the research question and hypothesis.

  • ”Environmental conditions in North Carolina pose a threat to frogs and toads.”

Step 4 Describe the testing and analyzation methods.

  • For example: “According to the climate model, frog and toad populations have been decreasing at a rapid rate over the past 10 years, and are on track to decrease even further in the coming years.”

Step 5 Talk about the results and how significant they were.

  • For example: “Smith and Herman (2008) argue that by decreasing greenhouse gases, frog and toad populations could reach historical levels within 20 years, and the climate model projections support that statement.”
  • You can add in the authors and year of publication at any time during your summary.

Step 6 Edit your summary for accuracy and flow.

  • If you have time, try reading your summary to someone who hasn’t read the original paper and see if they understand the key points of the article.

Expert Q&A

  • Make sure you fully understand the paper before you start writing the summary. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

writing a research paper synopsis

  • Plagiarism can have serious consequences in the academic world, so make sure you’re writing your summary in your own words. [12] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Write a Synopsis for Research

  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/593/2014/06/How_to_Summarize_a_Research_Article1.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ufv.ca/media/assets/academic-success-centre/handouts/Summarizing-a-Scholarly-Journal-Article-rev2018.pdf
  • ↑ https://integrity.mit.edu/handbook/academic-writing/summarizing
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/summary-using-it-wisely/
  • ↑ https://davidson.libguides.com/c.php?g=349327&p=2361763

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Research Method

Home » Research Summary – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Summary – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Summary

Research Summary


A research summary is a brief and concise overview of a research project or study that highlights its key findings, main points, and conclusions. It typically includes a description of the research problem, the research methods used, the results obtained, and the implications or significance of the findings. It is often used as a tool to quickly communicate the main findings of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or decision-makers.

Structure of Research Summary

The Structure of a Research Summary typically include:

  • Introduction : This section provides a brief background of the research problem or question, explains the purpose of the study, and outlines the research objectives.
  • Methodology : This section explains the research design, methods, and procedures used to conduct the study. It describes the sample size, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Results : This section presents the main findings of the study, including statistical analysis if applicable. It may include tables, charts, or graphs to visually represent the data.
  • Discussion : This section interprets the results and explains their implications. It discusses the significance of the findings, compares them to previous research, and identifies any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Conclusion : This section summarizes the main points of the research and provides a conclusion based on the findings. It may also suggest implications for future research or practical applications of the results.
  • References : This section lists the sources cited in the research summary, following the appropriate citation style.

How to Write Research Summary

Here are the steps you can follow to write a research summary:

  • Read the research article or study thoroughly: To write a summary, you must understand the research article or study you are summarizing. Therefore, read the article or study carefully to understand its purpose, research design, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • Identify the main points : Once you have read the research article or study, identify the main points, key findings, and research question. You can highlight or take notes of the essential points and findings to use as a reference when writing your summary.
  • Write the introduction: Start your summary by introducing the research problem, research question, and purpose of the study. Briefly explain why the research is important and its significance.
  • Summarize the methodology : In this section, summarize the research design, methods, and procedures used to conduct the study. Explain the sample size, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Present the results: Summarize the main findings of the study. Use tables, charts, or graphs to visually represent the data if necessary.
  • Interpret the results: In this section, interpret the results and explain their implications. Discuss the significance of the findings, compare them to previous research, and identify any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Conclude the summary : Summarize the main points of the research and provide a conclusion based on the findings. Suggest implications for future research or practical applications of the results.
  • Revise and edit : Once you have written the summary, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free of errors. Make sure that your summary accurately represents the research article or study.
  • Add references: Include a list of references cited in the research summary, following the appropriate citation style.

Example of Research Summary

Here is an example of a research summary:

Title: The Effects of Yoga on Mental Health: A Meta-Analysis

Introduction: This meta-analysis examines the effects of yoga on mental health. The study aimed to investigate whether yoga practice can improve mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression, stress, and quality of life.

Methodology : The study analyzed data from 14 randomized controlled trials that investigated the effects of yoga on mental health outcomes. The sample included a total of 862 participants. The yoga interventions varied in length and frequency, ranging from four to twelve weeks, with sessions lasting from 45 to 90 minutes.

Results : The meta-analysis found that yoga practice significantly improved mental health outcomes. Participants who practiced yoga showed a significant reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as stress levels. Quality of life also improved in those who practiced yoga.

Discussion : The findings of this study suggest that yoga can be an effective intervention for improving mental health outcomes. The study supports the growing body of evidence that suggests that yoga can have a positive impact on mental health. Limitations of the study include the variability of the yoga interventions, which may affect the generalizability of the findings.

Conclusion : Overall, the findings of this meta-analysis support the use of yoga as an effective intervention for improving mental health outcomes. Further research is needed to determine the optimal length and frequency of yoga interventions for different populations.

References :

  • Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., Dobos, G., & Berger, B. (2013). Yoga for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and anxiety, 30(11), 1068-1083.
  • Khalsa, S. B. (2004). Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: a bibliometric analysis of published research studies. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 48(3), 269-285.
  • Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(1), 3-12.

Purpose of Research Summary

The purpose of a research summary is to provide a brief overview of a research project or study, including its main points, findings, and conclusions. The summary allows readers to quickly understand the essential aspects of the research without having to read the entire article or study.

Research summaries serve several purposes, including:

  • Facilitating comprehension: A research summary allows readers to quickly understand the main points and findings of a research project or study without having to read the entire article or study. This makes it easier for readers to comprehend the research and its significance.
  • Communicating research findings: Research summaries are often used to communicate research findings to a wider audience, such as policymakers, practitioners, or the general public. The summary presents the essential aspects of the research in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for non-experts to understand.
  • Supporting decision-making: Research summaries can be used to support decision-making processes by providing a summary of the research evidence on a particular topic. This information can be used by policymakers or practitioners to make informed decisions about interventions, programs, or policies.
  • Saving time: Research summaries save time for researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders who need to review multiple research studies. Rather than having to read the entire article or study, they can quickly review the summary to determine whether the research is relevant to their needs.

Characteristics of Research Summary

The following are some of the key characteristics of a research summary:

  • Concise : A research summary should be brief and to the point, providing a clear and concise overview of the main points of the research.
  • Objective : A research summary should be written in an objective tone, presenting the research findings without bias or personal opinion.
  • Comprehensive : A research summary should cover all the essential aspects of the research, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • Accurate : A research summary should accurately reflect the key findings and conclusions of the research.
  • Clear and well-organized: A research summary should be easy to read and understand, with a clear structure and logical flow.
  • Relevant : A research summary should focus on the most important and relevant aspects of the research, highlighting the key findings and their implications.
  • Audience-specific: A research summary should be tailored to the intended audience, using language and terminology that is appropriate and accessible to the reader.
  • Citations : A research summary should include citations to the original research articles or studies, allowing readers to access the full text of the research if desired.

When to write Research Summary

Here are some situations when it may be appropriate to write a research summary:

  • Proposal stage: A research summary can be included in a research proposal to provide a brief overview of the research aims, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes.
  • Conference presentation: A research summary can be prepared for a conference presentation to summarize the main findings of a study or research project.
  • Journal submission: Many academic journals require authors to submit a research summary along with their research article or study. The summary provides a brief overview of the study’s main points, findings, and conclusions and helps readers quickly understand the research.
  • Funding application: A research summary can be included in a funding application to provide a brief summary of the research aims, objectives, and expected outcomes.
  • Policy brief: A research summary can be prepared as a policy brief to communicate research findings to policymakers or stakeholders in a concise and accessible manner.

Advantages of Research Summary

Research summaries offer several advantages, including:

  • Time-saving: A research summary saves time for readers who need to understand the key findings and conclusions of a research project quickly. Rather than reading the entire research article or study, readers can quickly review the summary to determine whether the research is relevant to their needs.
  • Clarity and accessibility: A research summary provides a clear and accessible overview of the research project’s main points, making it easier for readers to understand the research without having to be experts in the field.
  • Improved comprehension: A research summary helps readers comprehend the research by providing a brief and focused overview of the key findings and conclusions, making it easier to understand the research and its significance.
  • Enhanced communication: Research summaries can be used to communicate research findings to a wider audience, such as policymakers, practitioners, or the general public, in a concise and accessible manner.
  • Facilitated decision-making: Research summaries can support decision-making processes by providing a summary of the research evidence on a particular topic. Policymakers or practitioners can use this information to make informed decisions about interventions, programs, or policies.
  • Increased dissemination: Research summaries can be easily shared and disseminated, allowing research findings to reach a wider audience.

Limitations of Research Summary

Limitations of the Research Summary are as follows:

  • Limited scope: Research summaries provide a brief overview of the research project’s main points, findings, and conclusions, which can be limiting. They may not include all the details, nuances, and complexities of the research that readers may need to fully understand the study’s implications.
  • Risk of oversimplification: Research summaries can be oversimplified, reducing the complexity of the research and potentially distorting the findings or conclusions.
  • Lack of context: Research summaries may not provide sufficient context to fully understand the research findings, such as the research background, methodology, or limitations. This may lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the research.
  • Possible bias: Research summaries may be biased if they selectively emphasize certain findings or conclusions over others, potentially distorting the overall picture of the research.
  • Format limitations: Research summaries may be constrained by the format or length requirements, making it challenging to fully convey the research’s main points, findings, and conclusions.
  • Accessibility: Research summaries may not be accessible to all readers, particularly those with limited literacy skills, visual impairments, or language barriers.

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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.

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Table of contents

Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.

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There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.

You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.

Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.

The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.

You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.

Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible. You can speed up the proofreading process by using the AI proofreader .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

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Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

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How to Write Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques

Writing an article summary.

  • Writing an article REVIEW
  • Writing an article CRITIQUE
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Links on this guide may go to external web sites not connected with Randolph Community College. Their inclusion is not an endorsement by Randolph Community College and the College is not responsible for the accuracy of their content or the security of their site.

When writing a summary, the goal is to compose a concise and objective overview of the original article. The summary should focus only on the article's main ideas and important details that support those ideas.

Guidelines for summarizing an article:

  • State the main ideas.
  • Identify the most important details that support the main ideas.
  • Summarize in your own words.
  • Do not copy phrases or sentences unless they are being used as direct quotations.
  • Express the underlying meaning of the article, but do not critique or analyze.
  • The summary should be about one third the length of the original article. 

Your summary should include:

  • Give an overview of the article, including the title and the name of the author.
  • Provide a thesis statement that states the main idea of the article.
  • Use the body paragraphs to explain the supporting ideas of your thesis statement.
  • One-paragraph summary - one sentence per supporting detail, providing 1-2 examples for each.
  • Multi-paragraph summary - one paragraph per supporting detail, providing 2-3 examples for each.
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas.
  • Summarize your thesis statement and the underlying meaning of the article.

 Adapted from "Guidelines for Using In-Text Citations in a Summary (or Research Paper)" by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, 2020

Additional Resources

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How to Write a Summary - Guide & Examples  (from Scribbr.com)

Writing a Summary  (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)

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  • Last Updated: Aug 16, 2023 11:47 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.randolph.edu/summaries

How to Write a Great Synopsis for Thesis

A synopsis is a structured outline of a research thesis and the steps followed to answer the research question. The goal of writing a synopsis is to clearly and thoroughly explain the need to investigate a certain problem using particular practical methods to conduct the study. One of the main components of this written work is an extensive literature review containing strong evidence that the proposed research is feasible.

Establishing the Background

A supervisor may ask you to write a synopsis for one or more reasons:

  • to help you improve your critical thinking and writing skills
  • to help you understand how to design a comprehensive synopsis
  • to encourage you to write a comprehensive literature review to make sure that the research problem has not been answered yet
  • to make you conduct a logical analysis of the steps that should be followed to meet the objectives of the research

A synopsis should be coherent in terms of research design. Thus, you should ensure that the research problem, aims, and research methods are logically linked and well-considered. Note that all synopses should contain answers for several crucial questions:

  • Why should research on the proposed problem be undertaken?
  • What is expected to be achieved?
  • What has been done by other researchers on the proposed topic?
  • How will the objectives of the study be achieved?

The Writing Process

Before proceeding, consider answering the following questions:

  • Why am I going to study this topic?
  • Why do I consider it to be important?
  • Have I conducted an extensive literature review on the topic?
  • What problem will the research help to solve?
  • How do I incorporate previous studies on the topic?

The structure of a synopsis should correspond to the structure of qualifying research work, and the word count should be 2,500–3,000 words (Balu 38). The basic elements of a synopsis include a title page, contents page, an introduction, background, literature review, objectives, methods, experiments and results, conclusions, and references.


As this comprises the first part of the main text, the introduction should convince readers that the study addresses a relevant topic and that the expected outcomes will provide important insights. Also, this section should include a brief description of the methods that will be used to answer the research question. Usually, the introduction is written in 1–3 paragraphs and answers the following questions:

  • What is the topic of the research?
  • What is the research problem that needs to be meaningfully understood or investigated?
  • Why is the problem important?
  • How will the problem be studied?

In this section, you should set the scene and better introduce the research topic by proving its scientific legitimacy and relevance. It is important to establish a clear focus and avoid broad generalizations and vague statements. If necessary, you may explain key concepts or terms. Consider covering the following points in this section:

  • Discuss how the research will contribute to the existing scientific knowledge.
  • Provide a detailed description of the research problem and purpose of the research.
  • Provide a rationale for the study.
  • Explain how the research question will be answered.
  • Be sure to discuss the methods chosen and anticipated implications of the research.

Literature Review

A review of existing literature is an important part of a synopsis, as it:

  • gives a more detailed look at scientific information related to the topic
  • familiarizes readers with research conducted by others on a similar subject
  • gives insight into the difficulties faced by other researchers
  • helps identify variables for the research based on similar studies
  • helps double-check the feasibility of the research problem.

When writing the literature review, do not simply present a list of methods researchers have used and conclusions they have drawn. It is important to compare and contrast different opinions and be unafraid to criticize some of them. Pay attention to controversial issues and divergent approaches used to address similar problems. You may discuss which arguments are more persuasive and which methods and techniques seem to be more valid and reliable. In this section, you are expected not to summarize but analyze the previous research while remembering to link it to your own purpose.

Identify the objectives of the research based on the literature review. Provide an overall objective related to the scientific contribution of the study to the subject area. Also include a specific objective that can be measured at the end of the research.

When writing this section, consider that the aim of the research is to produce new knowledge regarding the topic chosen. Therefore, the research methodology forms the core of your project, and your goal is to convince readers that the research design and methods chosen will rationally answer the research questions and provide effective tools to interpret the results correctly. It may be appropriate to incorporate some examples from your literature review into the description of the overall research design.

When describing the research methodology, ensure that you specify the approaches and techniques that will be used to answer the research question. In addition, be specific about applying the chosen methods and what you expect to achieve. Keep in mind that the methods section allows readers to evaluate the validity and feasibility of the study. Therefore, be sure to explain your decision to adopt specific methods and procedures. It is also important to discuss the anticipated barriers and limitations of the study and how they will be addressed. Specify what kind of contribution to the existing knowledge on the topic is expected, and discuss any ethical considerations that are relevant to the research.

Experiments and Results

Logically present and analyze the results of the study using tables or figures.

In this section, you should again state the significance of the research and summarize the study. Be sure to mention the study objectives and methods used to answer the research questions. Also, discuss how the results of the study contribute to the current knowledge on the problem.

A synopsis should contain a list of all references used. Make sure the references are formatted according to the chosen citation style and each source presented in this section is mentioned within the body of the synopsis.

The purpose of writing a synopsis is to show a supervisor a clear picture of a proposed project and allow him or her to find any gaps that have not been considered previously. A concisely written synopsis will help you gain approval to proceed with the actual research. While no rigid rules for writing this type of paper have been established, a synopsis should be constructed in a manner to help a supervisor understand the proposed research at first glance.

Balu, R. “Writing a Good Ph.D Research Synopsis.” International Journal of Research in Science and Technology, vol. 5, no. 4, 2015, pp. 38–48.

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Diana Ribeiro

How to write a summary of a research paper (with template)

by Diana Ribeiro Last updated Jul 20, 2020 | Published on Jun 27, 2020 Writing Skills 0 comments

In our daily work as medical writers, we have to read many scholarly articles and extract the main information from them. Having a process to retrieve that information and create a short summary that you can easily access will save you precious time. That’s why I decided to guide you through my process of summarising a research article and created a handy template.

Having short summaries of academic papers is useful to create news articles, press releases, social media posts, blog articles, or curated news reports, like the one I write weekly for my newsletter subscribers .

writing a research paper synopsis

What’s the importance of summarising research articles?

If you don’t have a system to extract the main information from a scholarly paper, you may have to re-read it repeatedly, looking for that piece of information you know it’s there. Sure, you can use a highlighter pen to mark the main points, but sometimes what happens is that you end up with yellow walls of text. Or green. Or even a rainbow. Which may be pretty, but it’s quite useless as a retrieval system.

What also happens when you highlight text is that you end up with a diverse array of writing styles, none of them being your own. This way, when you try to write a text with information from multiple sources, you have to search for the information and write it in a consistent style.

In this article, I’ll show you how to retrieve the most relevant information from a scientific paper, how to write it in a compelling way, and how to present it in a news-worthy style that’s easily adaptable to your audience. Ready?

writing a research paper synopsis

Three steps to summarise a research paper

1. scan and extract the main points.

First things first, so you have to read the paper. But that doesn’t mean you have to read it from start to finish. Start by scanning the article for its main points.

Here’s the essential information to extract from the research paper you have in front of you:

  • Authors, year, doi
  • Study question: look in the introduction for a phrase like “the aim of this study was”
  • Hypothesis tested
  • Study methods: design, participants, materials, procedure, what was manipulated (independent variables), what was measured (dependent variables), how data were analysed.
  • Findings: from the results section; fill this before you look at the discussion section, if possible. Write bullet points.
  • Interpretation: how did the authors interpreted their findings? Use short sentences, in your own words.

After extracting the key information , revisit the article and read it more attentively, to see if you missed something. Add some notes to your summary, but take care to avoid plagiarism. Write notes in your own words. If you can’t do that at this moment, use quotation marks to indicate that your note came straight from the study. You can rewrite it later, when you have a better grasp of the study.

2. Use a journalistic approach for the first draft

Some sources advise you to keep the same structure as the scientific article, but I like to use the journalistic approach of news articles and flush out the more relevant information first, followed by the details. This is more enticing for readers, making them want to continue reading. Yes, I know that your reader may be just you, but I know I have lost myself in some of the things I’ve written, so…keep it interesting, even for a future self 😊.

This is the main information you have to put together:

Title of the article: I like to keep the original article title for the summary, because it’s easier to refer back to the original article if I need to. Sometimes I add a second title, just for me, if the article title is too obscure or long.

  • 1 st paragraph: Answer the 5 W’s in 3-4 sentences.

Who? (the authors)

What? (main finding)

When and where? (journal, date of publication)

Why? (relevance)

This should be a standalone paragraph, meaning that the reader should be able to take out the main information even if they just read this paragraph.

  • Subsequent paragraphs: In 2-3 paragraphs or less, provide context and more information about the research done. If you’re not sure if a detail is important or not, you can include it here and edit it out in the next step.

3. Polish the rough edges

In this stage, you’re going to make a quick edit, checking for completeness and accuracy. Make sure you’ve included all the main points without repeating yourself. Double-check all the numbers. Stay focused on the research questions to avoid tangents. Avoid using jargon and the passive voice whenever possible.

Final summary

Using this approach, you’ll end up with a short summary of your article that you can use to craft other types of writing, such as press releases, news articles, social media blurbs, and many others.

The advantages of summarising research articles are that you can better understand what the article is about, and you’ll have a text written by you, so it’s easier to adapt and you avoid unintentional plagiarism.

That’s it! My guide to write a research paper summary 😊

I’ve created a handout with all the information in this blog post plus a fill-in-the-blanks template that you can use to summarise research articles, you can download it using the form below. You’ll be signed up to my mailing list, and receive a weekly roundup of news in the biomedical industry as a bonus!

If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comment box below.

writing a research paper synopsis

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And subscribe to the biopharma newsletter 🙂

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About Diana Ribeiro

Diana Ribeiro  is a pharmacist and  freelance medical writer based in Cascais, Portugal.  Before starting her career in medical writing, Diana worked 10+ years in hospital and community pharmacies, where she helped patients and healthcare professionals with drug management and information. Nowadays, she helps pharma, biotech, and meddev companies communicate with their audiences in a clear, accurate, and compelling way. Diana is an active member of the European Medical Writers Association, where she volunteers for the webinar team. You can find more about her on  LinkedIn .

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  • Writing Research Papers

Writing Research Papers 

Information and resources.

One of the most important skills that you can learn in this department is how to write a research paper.  For many of you, this will be in fulfillment of the Psychology B.S. Degree Research Paper requirement and/or the Psychology Honors Program Thesis requirement.  You may also be writing an American Psychological Association (APA) formatted research paper for a Psychology course (such as a term paper or a summary of an empirical research paper).  In some cases, such as for certain job, graduate school, and fellowship applications, you may be asked to provide a writing sample; a well-written research paper can be ideal for that purpose.  The ability to write research papers is crucial for those who wish to pursue graduate school and research careers.  To assist with these potential goals, we’ve gathered important information and helpful tips for you.

Should I Use a Specific Format and Style?

In the psychological sciences, it is common for research papers to adhere to the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (papers in other fields often use APA format as well).  APA guidelines not only specify the types of sections that a research paper should have, but also the order of those sections, the manner in which scholarly sources should be cited in the text and in a separate references section, appropriate methods of reporting experimental and statistical results, the proper use of language, and other details.  A well-written psychology research paper typically follows those guidelines .

How to Write a Successful Research Paper in APA Style

For more information on writing research papers in APA style, please checking out the following pages.  Here you’ll find details on multiple aspects of the research paper writing process, ranging from how the paper should be structured to how to write more effectively.

  • Structure and Format – the critical components of each section of an APA-formatted research paper (Introduction, Methods, and on), as well as how those sections should be formatted according to APA guidelines.

► Structure of Research Papers in APA Style

► Formatting Research Papers in APA Style

  • Finding, Evaluating, and Citing References – how to search databases, how to obtain references, how to take notes when reading references, what types of references to use, how to include in-text citations, and how to create an APA-formatted reference list.

► Using Databases and Finding References

► What Types of References Are Appropriate for Research Papers?

► Evaluating References and Taking Notes

► Citing References in APA Style

  • Writing a Literature Review, the Writing Process, and Improving Writing – how to write a literature review (an overview or summary of prior research, which is a common technique of introducing a research topic in the early sections of a paper), as well as recommendations for the writing process, improving clarity and conciseness, examples of adequate and better paragraphs, and links to resources on improving writing.

► Writing Literature Reviews

► Writing Process and Revising

► Improving Scientific Writing

  • Avoiding Plagiarism – how to make sure that your research paper represents your writing and ideas and does not erroneously or unethically appropriate the works of others.

► Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism

  • How-To Videos – for video guides to the different major sections of research papers, plus literature reviews and references, please see the following:

► Writing Research Papers Videos

In addition, you may be interested in downloading “ How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style ”, a comprehensive guide developed by Prof. Emma Geller, “ Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers ” (a short summary of multiple aspects of the paper-writing process), and an Example B.S. Degree Research Paper written in APA Style .

Workshops and Downloadable Resources

  • For in-person discussion of the process of writing research papers, please consider attending this department’s “Writing Research Papers” workshop (for dates and times, please check the undergraduate workshops calendar).
  • How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
  • Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
  • Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – empirical research) [ PDF ]
  • Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – literature review) [ PDF ]

Further Resources

  • OASIS Language and Writing Program
  • UCSD Writing Programs and Resources
  • UCSD Muir College Writing Hub
  • UCSD Writing Hub

External Resources

  • APA Style Guide from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
  • APA Tutorial on the Basics of APA Style
  • EasyBib Guide to Writing and Citing in APA Format
  • Formatting APA Style Papers in Microsoft Word
  • How to Write an APA Style Research Paper from Hamilton University
  • Online Learning: Plagiarism and Paraphrasing
  • Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
  • Sample APA Formatted Paper
  • Tips for Writing a Paper in APA Style
  • WikiHow Guide to Writing APA Research Papers

Back to top

  • Research Paper Structure
  • Formatting Research Papers
  • Using Databases and Finding References
  • What Types of References Are Appropriate?
  • Evaluating References and Taking Notes
  • Citing References
  • Writing a Literature Review
  • Writing Process and Revising
  • Improving Scientific Writing
  • Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Writing Research Papers Videos
  • Effective Studying

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When you underline and annotate a text, when you ask yourself questions about its contents, when you work out an outline of its structure, you are establishing your understanding of what you are reading. When you write a summary, you are demonstrating your understanding of the text and communicating it to your reader.

To summarize is to condense a text to its main points and to do so in your own words. To include every detail is neither necessary nor desirable. Instead, you should extract only those elements that you think are most important—the main idea (or thesis) and its essential supporting points, which in the original passage may have been interwoven with less important material.

Many students make the mistake of confusing summary with analysis. They are not the same thing. An analysis is a discussion of ideas, techniques, and/or meaning in a text. A summary, on the other hand, does not require you to critique or respond to the ideas in a text. When you analyze a piece of writing, you generally summarize the contents briefly in order to establish for the reader the ideas that your essay will then go on to analyze, but a summary is not a substitute for the analysis itself.

If you are writing a literature paper, for example, your teacher probably does not want you to simply write a plot summary. You may include some very brief summary within a literature paper, but only as much as necessary to make your own interpretation, your thesis, clear.

It is important to remember that a summary is not an outline or synopsis of the points that the author makes in the order that the author gives them. Instead, a summary is a distillation of the ideas or argument of the text. It is a reconstruction of the major point or points of development of a text, beginning with the thesis or main idea, followed by the points or details that support or elaborate on that idea.

If a text is organized in a linear fashion, you may be able to write a summary simply by paraphrasing the major points from the beginning of the text to the end. However, you should not assume that this will always be the case. Not all writers use such a straightforward structure. They may not state the thesis or main idea immediately at the beginning, but rather build up to it slowly, and they may introduce a point of development in one place and then return to it later in the text.

However, for the sake of clarity, a summary should present the author’s points in a straightforward structure. In order to write a good summary, you may have to gather minor points or components of an argument from different places in the text in order to summarize the text in an organized way. A point made in the beginning of an essay and then one made toward the end may need to be grouped together in your summary to concisely convey the argument that the author is making. In the end, you will have read, digested, and reconstructed the text in a shorter, more concise form.


There are many instances in which you will have to write a summary. You may be assigned to write a one or two page summary of an article or reading, or you may be asked to include a brief summary of a text as part of a response paper or critique. Also, you may write summaries of articles as part of the note-taking and planning process for a research paper, and you may want to include these summaries, or at least parts of them, in your paper. The writer of a research paper is especially dependent upon summary as a means of referring to source materials. Through the use of summary in a research paper, you can condense a broad range of information, and you can present and explain the relevance of a number of sources all dealing with the same subject.

You may also summarize your own paper in an introduction in order to present a brief overview of the ideas you will discuss throughout the rest of the paper.

Depending on the length and complexity of the original text as well as your purpose in using summary, a summary can be relatively brief—a short paragraph or even a single sentence—or quite lengthy—several paragraphs or even an entire paper.


A good summary should be comprehensive, concise, coherent, and independent . These qualities are explained below:

  • A summary must be comprehensive: You should isolate all the important points in the original passage and note them down in a list. Review all the ideas on your list, and include in your summary all the ones that are indispensable to the author's development of her/his thesis or main idea.
  • A summary must be concise: Eliminate repetitions in your list, even if the author restates the same points. Your summary should be considerably shorter than the source. You are hoping to create an overview; therefore, you need not include every repetition of a point or every supporting detail.
  • A summary must be coherent: It should make sense as a piece of writing in its own right; it should not merely be taken directly from your list of notes or sound like a disjointed collection of points.
  • A summary must be independent: You are not being asked to imitate the author of the text you are writing about. On the contrary, you are expected to maintain your own voice throughout the summary. Don't simply quote the author; instead use your own words to express your understanding of what you have read. After all, your summary is based on your interpretation of the writer's points or ideas. However, you should be careful not to create any misrepresentation or distortion by introducing comments or criticisms of your own.


Summarizing shorter texts (ten pages or fewer).

  • Write a one-sentence summary of each paragraph.
  • Formulate a single sentence that summarizes the whole text.
  • Write a paragraph (or more): begin with the overall summary sentence and follow it with the paragraph summary sentences.
  • Rearrange and rewrite the paragraph to make it clear and concise, to eliminate repetition and relatively minor points, and to provide transitions. The final version should be a complete, unified, and coherent.

Summarizing Longer Texts (more than ten pages)

  • Outline the text. Break it down into its major sections—groups of paragraphs focused on a common topic—and list the main supporting points for each section.
  • Write a one or two sentence summary of each section.
  • Formulate a single sentence to summarize the whole text, looking at the author's thesis or topic sentences as a guide.
  • Write a paragraph (or more): begin with the overall summary sentence and follow it with the section summary sentences.
  • Rewrite and rearrange your paragraph(s) as needed to make your writing clear and concise, to eliminate relatively minor or repetitious points, and to provide transitions. Make sure your summary includes all the major supporting points of each idea. The final version should be a complete, unified, and coherent.

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  • A Research Guide
  • Research Paper Guide

How to Write a Summary for a Research Paper

  • Why do you need a summary
  • How to start a summary
  • Step by step guide
  • Summary checklist

How to Write a Summary for a Research Paper

Why do you need to write a summary of a research paper?

When do you need to write a research paper summary.

  • Writing a research paper summary is crucial because it allows you to present a concise overview of your research to readers who need time or expertise to read the entire paper.
  • A research paper summary can help you organize your thoughts and refine your research question, leading to a comprehensive answer.
  • When you write a research paper summary, you make an essential step in the research process that can help you to be more effective and communicate your research findings.

How to start a summary if you have no ideas?

  • When summarizing a research paper, it’s crucial to begin by identifying the primary points of the study.
  • Start reading through the abstract and introduction and quickly scanning the results and conclusion sections.
  • After pinpointing the key takeaways, you need to include in a summary information that accurately reflects the main findings of the research.
  • Next, choose all the most basic and write down the abstracts logically.
  • After, see what thought you could start your summary with.

How to write a good summary: step by step guide

Step 1. read the text of your work., step 2. structure your notes., step 3. write the main part of the summary., step 4. add a research objective., step 5. add keywords., step 6. briefly describe the findings., step 7. remove all unnecessary information., step 8. edit the summary., summary writing checklist.

  • Understand the main idea: Before starting to write an executive summary for a research paper, ensure you understand the main idea of the text you are summarizing. It will help you to focus on the most critical points.
  • Identify the key points: Once you have understood the main idea, identify the key points that support it. These are the essential pieces of information that should be included in a summary.
  • Use your own words: When writing a summary, it is essential to use your own words to convey the information. Avoid simply copying and pasting sentences from the original text.
  • Be concise: Summaries should be brief and to the point. Avoid including unnecessary details or information irrelevant to the main idea.
  • Check for accuracy: Before submitting your summary, ensure it accurately reflects the original text’s main idea and key points. Also, check for any errors or omissions

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  • Writing a Research Paper
  • Research Paper Title
  • Research Paper Sources
  • Research Paper Problem Statement
  • Research Paper Thesis Statement
  • Hypothesis for a Research Paper
  • Research Question
  • Research Paper Outline
  • Research Paper Summary
  • Research Paper Prospectus
  • Research Paper Proposal
  • Research Paper Format
  • Research Paper Styles
  • AMA Style Research Paper
  • MLA Style Research Paper
  • Chicago Style Research Paper
  • APA Style Research Paper
  • Research Paper Structure
  • Research Paper Cover Page
  • Research Paper Abstract
  • Research Paper Introduction
  • Research Paper Body Paragraph
  • Research Paper Literature Review
  • Research Paper Background
  • Research Paper Methods Section
  • Research Paper Results Section
  • Research Paper Discussion Section
  • Research Paper Conclusion
  • Research Paper Appendix
  • Research Paper Bibliography
  • APA Reference Page
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography vs Works Cited vs References Page
  • Research Paper Types
  • What is Qualitative Research


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Mastering how to write a research summary paper: easy guide, bob cardens.

  • November 30, 2023
  • How to Guides

Welcome to StudyingHq.com, your go-to resource for academic inspiration! In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the process of writing a research summary paper step by step. Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or just starting out, mastering the art of writing research papers is essential for academic success.

Writing a research summary paper involves several key components, including understanding the research paper format , crafting a captivating introduction , developing a strong thesis statement , presenting arguments and evidence in the body, and creating a compelling conclusion. By following the guidelines and tips provided in this guide, you will be able to excel in your writing endeavors and produce high-quality research papers.

What You'll Learn

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the research summary format and structure.
  • Create an engaging introduction that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • Develop a clear thesis statement to guide your research.
  • Present compelling arguments and evidence in the body of the paper.
  • Craft a well-rounded conclusion that summarizes the main findings and provides insights or recommendations.

General Points for Writing Research Papers

When it comes to writing research papers, there are several important factors to consider to ensure your work is clear, cohesive, and impactful. In this section, I will discuss some general tips and strategies that can help you improve your writing and make your research paper stand out.

Tense in Research Papers

One crucial aspect of writing research papers is choosing the appropriate verb tense. Generally, the past tense is used to describe completed actions, while the present tense is used for ongoing actions or facts. It is essential to maintain consistency in your verb tense throughout the paper to avoid confusion and ensure a smooth flow of information.

Writing and Editing Tips

When writing your research paper, it is important to pay attention to your writing style and structure. Avoid long, complex paragraphs and sentences, as they can make it difficult for readers to follow your ideas. Instead, use headings, bullets, italics, and boldface to break up the text and draw attention to key points.

Additionally, consider creating easy-to-understand graphics or tables to present your data or findings visually. This can help readers grasp complex information more easily and enhance the overall clarity of your paper. Furthermore, ensure there is a logical flow of information from one section to another, making it easier for readers to navigate through your paper and understand your arguments.

Consistency in Writing

Consistency is key when it comes to writing research papers. Pay attention to your writing style, formatting, and citation style throughout the paper. Consistent formatting and citation practices not only improve the overall professionalism of your work but also make it easier for readers to locate and refer to your sources.

Before submitting your manuscript, take the time to read it multiple times and seek feedback from peers or colleagues. They can provide valuable insights and perspectives, helping you identify areas for improvement and making your research paper even stronger.

Understanding the Research Paper Format

Before starting the research paper, it is crucial to understand the structure and format. The typical research paper consists of a title , abstract , introduction , methods and materials, results, discussion, and conclusion.

In order to create an effective research paper, it is important to pay attention to each section and understand its purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the key elements of a research paper format :

The title of your research paper should be concise and informative. It should accurately reflect the content of your study and grab the reader’s attention. A well-crafted title sets the tone for your research paper and gives readers an idea of what to expect.

The abstract provides a summary of the research paper and should be concise, honest, and stand-alone. It should give readers a clear understanding of the purpose, methods, results, and implications of your study. A well-written abstract captures the essence of your research and entices readers to continue reading.


The introduction is where you present the research topic, questions or hypotheses, and its significance. It sets the stage for your research paper and provides context for your study. A strong introduction grabs the reader’s attention, outlines the scope of your research, and establishes the importance of your work.

Understanding the structure and format of a research paper is essential for creating a well-organized and cohesive piece of academic writing. By following the guidelines for each section, you can ensure that your research paper is clear, concise, and impactful.

Writing the Introduction

When it comes to writing a research paper, the introduction plays a crucial role. It is your chance to captivate the reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your paper. A well-crafted introduction can make a strong impression and make your research paper stand out.

An engaging introduction should start with an attention-grabbing opening sentence or anecdote that relates to your research topic. This will immediately draw the reader in and make them curious to learn more. Additionally, provide some context by introducing the research topic and explaining why it is important or significant.

One key element of the introduction is the thesis statement . This statement should clearly state the purpose of your research and the main argument or hypothesis you will be exploring. It acts as a roadmap for your paper and helps guide the reader through your research.

Remember to use appropriate verb tenses in the introduction. Present tense can be used to state known facts and general truths, while past tense is suitable for describing methods or actions used in previous studies. By crafting a compelling and informative introduction, you will successfully set the stage for the rest of your research paper.

Example Opening Sentence:

“Did you know that the average person spends approximately five years of their life scrolling through social media?”

Key Elements of an Engaging Introduction:

  • An attention-grabbing opening sentence or anecdote
  • Contextual information about the research topic
  • A clear and concise thesis statement

Crafting the Body and Conclusion

After a captivating introduction, the body of your research paper is where you delve into the arguments and evidence that support your thesis statement. It’s crucial to present your ideas in a logical and organized manner to ensure clarity and coherence.

Organize your paper into paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on a specific point or aspect of your research. Provide relevant data, examples, and citations to support your claims and strengthen your arguments. Remember to use proper citation styles, such as APA or MLA, to give credit to the original authors and avoid plagiarism.

Within the body of your research paper, make use of headings and subheadings to break down the content and guide the reader. This helps them navigate through your paper more easily and locate specific information. Clear headings also contribute to the overall visual appeal of your research paper and make it more reader-friendly.

“The key to a successful research paper lies in the effective presentation of arguments and evidence. Each paragraph should build upon the previous one, leading the reader towards a comprehensive understanding of your research topic.”

As you approach the conclusion of your research paper, it’s essential to summarize the main findings and restate your thesis statement. The conclusion should provide closure to your research paper and offer additional insights or recommendations for further study.

Ensure that your research paper is properly formatted and presented, with clear headings, logical flow, and a consistent citation style throughout. Double-check for any grammatical or spelling errors, and seek feedback from peers or mentors to ensure the highest quality of your work.

Writing a research paper is a skill that can be honed through practice and refinement. By following the guidelines and tips provided in this guide, you can become proficient in research paper writing and enhance your overall writing skills.

It is important to choose a clear and engaging topic that aligns with your interests and expertise. Conduct thorough research to gather relevant information and develop a solid thesis statement that will guide your paper. Create an outline to organize your thoughts and ensure a logical flow of ideas within your paper.

When writing your research paper, pay attention to the structure and format, including the introduction, body, and conclusion. Craft a captivating introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and provides context for your research. In the body of your paper, present well-structured arguments supported by evidence and properly cite your sources. Finally, summarize your main findings in the conclusion and provide insights or recommendations.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Continually practice writing research papers to refine your skills and become a more effective communicator and analytical thinker. StudyingHq.com provides a vast selection of free essay examples, samples, guides, topics, and research papers that can serve as inspiration for your assignments. Additionally, if you need assistance, expert writers are available to provide writing help within a short timeframe.

How many parts are there in a research paper?

There are 5 parts in a research paper: introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, and conclusion.

What verb tense should I use when writing a research paper?

It is important to choose the correct verb tense. Use past tense for completed actions and present tense for ongoing actions.

How can I make my research paper easier to read?

To make your research paper easier to read, avoid very long paragraphs and sentences. Use headings, bullets, italics, and boldface when necessary. Make easy-to-understand graphics and ensure there is a logical flow of information.

What should I do before submitting my research paper?

Before submitting your research paper, read it multiple times and seek feedback from others to ensure it is well-written and error-free.

What is the structure and format of a research paper?

The typical research paper consists of a title, abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, and conclusion.

How should I write the introduction of my research paper?

To write an engaging introduction for your research paper, start with an attention-grabbing opening sentence or anecdote. Provide context by introducing the research topic and its relevance. State the research question or hypothesis clearly and outline the structure of the paper.

What should I include in the body of my research paper?

In the body of your research paper, present the arguments and evidence supporting your thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point, supported by relevant data or examples. Properly cite your sources using a recognized citation style.

How should I conclude my research paper?

In the conclusion of your research paper, summarize the main findings, restate the thesis, and provide insights or recommendations based on the research conducted.

How can I improve my writing skills for research papers?

To improve your writing skills for research papers, practice writing regularly, choose clear and engaging topics, conduct thorough research, develop a solid thesis statement, create an outline, and edit and proofread your paper for clarity and cohesiveness.

Source Links

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Do You Overlook These Key Elements When Writing a Research Manuscript?

How to write a research manuscript by avoiding errors

As with any other skill, academic writing can be improved through practice and experience. Writing publishable research manuscripts does not come naturally to most scientific researchers, even those with a great deal of experience. However, because publication is so important to the success of research studies, and thus researchers, writing is often a skill that needs to be strengthened. The good news is information on how to write a manuscript for publication is widely available for those who want to improve their writing skills. We’ll go a step further and shortlist some key elements that often get overlooked when writing research manuscripts.

Introduction issues

As implied by the section name, the Introduction provides the reader with information basic to understanding the study. The problem being addressed is described, a research gap in the existing literature is identified, and the aims of the study are stated. When writing a manuscript for publication, you should leave this section until last. Oftentimes the study you intended to write is not exactly the study you end up with, and it is important that this section is clearly aligned with your actual results.

Another common issue with the Introduction that may negatively affect a research manuscript’s publication is the lack of a clear statement of purpose 1 . The reader, or journal editor, does not want to search for the meaning of the study. Therefore, make sure that your aim is explicitly stated near the end of the Introduction.

Your Introduction may also be judged by what should not be in it. Do not include data or conclusions in your Introduction. In addition, opinions or value judgements do not belong in the Introduction, or in any part of your research manuscript. Consider asking a colleague or friend to read it, as it is sometimes difficult to see this in your own writing.

Effective use of tables and figures

Visual elements such as tables and figures can add a lot of value to a research study manuscript, but their usefulness is often overlooked. Tables and figures, if used effectively, clarify points you make in the text and increase its clarity and overall reader engagement.

What does the effective use of tables and figures mean? It means the visuals are simple and understandable on their own. The title, along with any footnotes, captions, and comments, are enough of an explanation for the reader 1 . Try taking the table or figure out of the manuscript and looking at it alone. Better yet, show it to a few colleagues. Can they understand what the figure or table shows without any explanation from you? If not, simplify and clarify. Ideally, tables and figures should complement your text and break it up to increase readability. You can make your manuscript more publishable by putting some thought and effort into the visuals that you use.

writing a research paper synopsis

Discussion errors

The Discussion section is also fraught with improvement opportunities for research writers. For research manuscript writers, a weak discussion section is a common cause of publication failure 2 . What makes a weak discussion? Sometimes it comes from not understanding the difference between speculation and evidence-based conclusions 2 . Everything you present must be based on evidence. If you’re going to speculate or assume, make that clear in your writing. Furthermore, your conclusions should be situated in the context of the existing literature and your results analyzed based on the results of previous studies. Do not overstate the meaning of your results 1 .

In addition, authors often miss a few elements in their Discussion section that should be included, such as study limitations and a global context or meaning for the results. How do the results of your study and what you learned affect the discipline? How can they be useful to practitioners or other researchers? In addition, to tie the study together, the aim that was stated in the Introduction needs to be explicitly addressed. Don’t hide anything from the reader.

Overall writing quality

Finally, the best thing you can do to improve your research manuscript is to make it easy for your reader to understand. Consider clarity to be your main goal when writing. If you can clearly convey to your readers what you did and what the research results were, you show that you understand the topic and this helps build trust. If someone can’t follow your thinking because the manuscript is poorly written or too wordy, your study will ultimately lack impact. Always keep the reader in mind and make your study simple to understand.

One good way to check the writing quality is to read the paper aloud to yourself and listen to the words. When you read the same sentences repeatedly, you may tend to read what you intended to write, not what you actually wrote. Another good suggestion is to get a colleague or friend to read the paper and provide feedback.

  • Liumbruno GM, Velati C, Pasqualetti P, Franchini M. How to write a scientific manuscript for publication. Blood Transfus . 2013, 11:217-26. doi: 10.2450/2012.0247-12
  • Gewin V. How to write a first class paper. Nature . 2018, 555:129-30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-02404-4

Related Reads:

  • Duplicate Publications: How to Avoid Overlapping Publications in Research
  • Confusing Elements of a Research Paper That Trip Up Most Academics
  • 3 Easy Ways for Researchers to Improve Their Academic Vocabulary
  • What is an Expository Essay and How to Write It

5 Steps to Reduce the Length of the Research Paper Without Losing Content

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How to Write a Synopsis for Research

writing a research paper synopsis

  • Table of Contents

What is synopsis?

The Synopsis is mainly the gist of your already planned research project submitted for approval from higher authorities. It shows a clear transparent view of your research work. On the other hand, it is the crux of a general survey that gives an idea about what a composition is all about. In other words, it is a brief view of the thorny work. It is a short outline of your thesis work. 

It shows what your research work is all about. Moreover, it gives you and your supervisor a clear view of the research topic and provides clarity behind the research aim. In this, you tell your supervisor why did you conduct this research ? You also describe your time frame.

This paper views the supervisor a brief precise overview of the whole dissertation as well. Most of the supervisors specifically read this in the research work. Thus, a synopsis is only a promo that shows whether the research work is excellent or dull. The structure of the Synopsis should be authentic and precise as well. 

Format Of writing synopsis

As we know, synopsis is imperative for all the researcher’s work. The supervisors’ primary focus in conducting the research papers is on this. Also, the format is a brief discussion of your project plan. There are various formats of Synopsis, varying from institution to institution. In addition, an institution offers many disciplines; sometimes, each field has its structure to conduct the research in real-time.  

This focus on the general format that almost entire educational institutions are following. This is the most popular format. Moreover, this has some heading to represent your topic truly. The format must be facile so that readers can easily understand it.

In this, you divide your whole plan or idea into components so you can not miss any information regarding the research paper. You can say that the format gives you an in-depth picture of the research in the various components. So, you must follow these guidelines while conducting the study:

The first page of your dissertation consists of the title. It should be precise, not too long or short. Therefore, this reflects your study objective and should be decided and written after completing the Synopsis. This should be a clear representation of your topic and give you an overview of your research as well, in addition. Always think about the concise and clear topic so that it can raise interest in the reader. 

 So, it covers the title on which you conduct your title. This should adequately describe the entire research content. The synopsis topic elaborates on this category as well. Also, your name (student name), registration number, supervisor’s name, and supervisor details like his job title (professor or assistant professor). Moreover, your university name and department name are also in it. 

The title is the central part of the synopsis that reads the most, and it should also be eye-catching. Because many readers first look at the title page. On the other hand, the catchy, unique topic creates a good image in the supervisor’s mind about the paper. 

Table Of Content s

Table of a content list the chapters and the central dissertation section alongside the page numbers. So, it is easy to see what carrier holds what chapter. You can save your time by adding this table to your paper. It also demonstrates to your supervisor the covered chapters or headings. 

Read More: How to Create Table of Contents for Research Paper?

You can generate an automatic table after formatting the whole paper or make a manual one. The synopsis should be reader friendly. The central synopsis part is this table, which also gives you a picture of the different research categories. 

This category gives a good impression and presents the paper with a professional look. Moreover, it is complicated to search for any heading without it. It arranges all the information in the best way so that a supervisor or a reader can quickly assess it. So, it is a road map in complex cases. For example, chapter one (Introduction) covers the research gap , problems, and many more. 

Chapter 1: Introduction

You add all the relevant detail to show that your topic is worth reading. This is named the first chapter in the synopsis writing. On the other hand, this is the central portion of the research study. So, the reader is more attentive during the reading of this portion. It would be the great if you state and follow such few headings in this first research chapter. 

Background Of The Study

You will have to write your study background in this section. In addition, it describes your research study area as well. This section gives a reader in depth study of the research topic and it give you an overview of the study. Moreover, never focus on the ambiguous side in this heading. This area should not be too long or short. This category length depends on the overall size of the research paper synopsis. It should cover approximately one page of research synopsis.

  • Research Gap

A research gap shows a problem not being reviewed or solved in the existing research studies or publications. Moreover, it can be a new idea and a thought process that you can prove in real-time. It should cover approximately two pages. But it depends on the number of variables, and the limit can exceed if you use more variables in your study. 

  • Research Problem

This is an area of the problem the researcher wants to address in the Synopsis. This is managed as a question mark in the Synopsis and should be a real-time problem . In addition, the problem should be measurable in real time as well. If we talk about the section length, it should cover a half page or one full page.

  • Research Questions

It helps to identify your research path. You first determine the total variables on which you want to conduct the study. Some are dependent, and some are independent variables. Also, some are mediators, and some are moderators. Therefore, you state the questions according to your variables. You will have to write down all your authentic research questions . The hypothesis is stated in this section.

Research Objectives

You will have to state the study’s objective. So, this is the end result researcher want to achieve. It will clearly state the study’s purpose and focus on real-time, and should be measurable. Moreover, it is the guideline of the research performance.

Significance Of The Study

It consists of Theoretical Contribution and Applied Contribution. It shows why this study is needed in the research field. Moreover, this section also elaborates on the research topic’s importance and impact on others. It justifies your research study, and if you talk about the length, this covers approximately half of the page. 

Chapter 2: Literature review

This is chapter two. It is the review of the existing research publication relevant to your topic. You also describe the variables and their relationship between them. So, you also add some researchers’ points of view with the citation to defend your statement regarding the topic. You will have to cover all the sections in it.

Independent Variables

First, you will have to define all the independent variables. You can manipulate and control these variables, and, in the study, these are not influenced by any other variables. This is the single variable, and you see their effect on the dependent variables in the study.

You will have to define the mediators’ variables. In addition, the mediators’ variables describe that how the two variables show relationship to each other. These are the intervening variables, which also show the relationship between the two variables.

Dependent variable

In this, you will have to state the definition of the dependent variable. This variable change with the independent variables’ manipulation. In addition, this is the variable being tested and measured in the research paper. So, this is the measurable variable in the study.

Read More: Chi-Square Test (Χ²) || Examples, Types, and Assumptions

Moderator 1

In the study there are at least two moderators should present. After the dependent and independent variables, you should also state the definition of the first moderator. Moreover, the moderator shows the strength and the direction of the journal. 

Moderator 2

Moderators modify the relationship between the independent and the dependent variables. Therefore, you will also have to define this variable in your study. It influences the relationship among the variables also. 

You will have to explain what theory supports your study and state the theory definition as well. Also, explain the proposed model based on your approach as well. The theoretical framework helps the investigation identify the real problem and show the impact of variables on each other.

  • Research Hypothesis

Afterward, you will have to propose the research hypothesis of your study in the Synopsis. Therefore, Hypothesis 1, Hypothesis 2, Hypothesis 3, and Hypothesis 4 should mention here by looking at the impact of the variables. Well, H1 shows the positive or negative relationship between the independent and dependent variables. And H2 shows the connection between the independent, mediator, and dependent variables. 

Read More: Directional vs. Non-Directional Hypothesis in Research

H3 shows the positive or negative relationship among the independent, moderator, and dependent variables. H4 shows the relationship between the mediator, moderator two, and the dependent variable. Other than that, it shows the independent variable impact positively or negatively on the other variable, and you will prove this through statistics. Moreover, this hypothesis should cover almost one page.

Research Mode l

Here you will show the clear diagram, which is the theoretical image of your research study. 

Chapter: 3 Research Methodology

It is chapter three. This section includes detail on how this study was carried out. It provides research design, sample size, and many others. This ensures the supervisor the reliability and the validity of the study.

Research Design

This covers the techniques chosen by the researcher. For example, the researcher will decide the tome horizon whether this research study will be cross-sectional or longitudinal . 

This is an extensive collection of individuals. Also, you will elaborate on what sector you focus on, like banking, education, textile, etc. 

Sample Size and Technique

There are many types of sampling techniques. Therefore, the researcher uses any of this according to the study’s nature and continence. You will state what sampling technique you use for your research study. 

Read more: T-test | Example, Formula | When to Use a T-test

Data Collection Procedure

In this section, you will decide how you will collect the information and how you will process all the data. Moreover, in this section, you will support your hypothesis based on the facts and the figures. 

It consists of the measurements of all your variables on which scale you are measuring your variables. You will also state which study you will be adopted to describe such variables. First, you will have to measure your independent variable, which was estimated by 14 item scale developed in the past study. So, this variable is measured by 7-point Likert Scale. 

 Mediators should measure by adopting 20 items scale developed in the past study. So, this variable will measure by 7-point Likert Scale (from 1 Strongly Disagree to 7 Strongly Agree). The dependent variable should measure by adopting 20 items scale developed in the past study. So, this variable will measure by 7-point Likert Scale (from 1 Strongly Disagree to 7 Strongly Agree).

 Moderator 1 should measure by adopting three items scale developed in the past study. So, this variable will measure by 7-point Likert Scale (from 1 Strongly Disagree to 7 Strongly Agree). So, Moderator 2 should measure by adopting 28 items scale developed in the past study. So, this variable will measure by 7-point Likert Scale (from 1 Strongly Disagree to 7 Strongly Agree)

You add other previous research contributions to your study, and it is important to mention them or give them credit by adding their journal links here in this category. You will have to add all the journal references from where you got all the data. Sites are in APA style, and the article link should also be authentic. 

  • How to Format APA Reference Page? APA Citations | Examples
  • What Are MLA Citations? Guidelines & Examples
  • Chicago Style Format: Examples | Tips To Avoid Mistakes 
  • Top AI Tools for Citation Management

It consists of the Questionnaire, starting with the questions of independent variables, then you will have to add mediators’ questions. Afterward, add questions of the dependent variable, then add moderato 1 and 2 questions. 

Other articles

Please read through some of our other articles with examples and explanations if you’d like to learn more about research methodology.

  • PLS-SEM model
  • Principal Components Analysis
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Friedman Test
  • Chi-Square Test (Χ²)
  • Effect Size


  • Research Methods
  • Quantitative Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Case Study Research
  • Survey Research
  • Conclusive Research
  • Descriptive Research
  • Cross-Sectional Research
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Triangulation
  • Grounded Theory
  • Quasi-Experimental Design
  • Mixed Method
  • Correlational Research
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Stratified Sampling
  • Ethnography
  • Ghost Authorship
  • Secondary Data Collection
  • Primary Data Collection
  • Ex-Post-Facto
  •   Dissertation Topic
  • Thesis Statement
  • Research Proposal
  • Types of Research Gaps
  • Operationalization of Variables
  • Literature Review
  • Questionnaire
  • Reliability
  • Measurement of Scale
  • Sampling Techniques
  • Acknowledgements

writing a research paper synopsis

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Critical Writing Program: Decision Making - Spring 2024: Researching the White Paper

  • Getting started
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Research the White Paper

Researching the White Paper:

The process of researching and composing a white paper shares some similarities with the kind of research and writing one does for a high school or college research paper. What’s important for writers of white papers to grasp, however, is how much this genre differs from a research paper.  First, the author of a white paper already recognizes that there is a problem to be solved, a decision to be made, and the job of the author is to provide readers with substantive information to help them make some kind of decision--which may include a decision to do more research because major gaps remain. 

Thus, a white paper author would not “brainstorm” a topic. Instead, the white paper author would get busy figuring out how the problem is defined by those who are experiencing it as a problem. Typically that research begins in popular culture--social media, surveys, interviews, newspapers. Once the author has a handle on how the problem is being defined and experienced, its history and its impact, what people in the trenches believe might be the best or worst ways of addressing it, the author then will turn to academic scholarship as well as “grey” literature (more about that later).  Unlike a school research paper, the author does not set out to argue for or against a particular position, and then devote the majority of effort to finding sources to support the selected position.  Instead, the author sets out in good faith to do as much fact-finding as possible, and thus research is likely to present multiple, conflicting, and overlapping perspectives. When people research out of a genuine desire to understand and solve a problem, they listen to every source that may offer helpful information. They will thus have to do much more analysis, synthesis, and sorting of that information, which will often not fall neatly into a “pro” or “con” camp:  Solution A may, for example, solve one part of the problem but exacerbate another part of the problem. Solution C may sound like what everyone wants, but what if it’s built on a set of data that have been criticized by another reliable source?  And so it goes. 

For example, if you are trying to write a white paper on the opioid crisis, you may focus on the value of  providing free, sterilized needles--which do indeed reduce disease, and also provide an opportunity for the health care provider distributing them to offer addiction treatment to the user. However, the free needles are sometimes discarded on the ground, posing a danger to others; or they may be shared; or they may encourage more drug usage. All of those things can be true at once; a reader will want to know about all of these considerations in order to make an informed decision. That is the challenging job of the white paper author.     
 The research you do for your white paper will require that you identify a specific problem, seek popular culture sources to help define the problem, its history, its significance and impact for people affected by it.  You will then delve into academic and grey literature to learn about the way scholars and others with professional expertise answer these same questions. In this way, you will create creating a layered, complex portrait that provides readers with a substantive exploration useful for deliberating and decision-making. You will also likely need to find or create images, including tables, figures, illustrations or photographs, and you will document all of your sources. 

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  1. Research Summary

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  6. Summary

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  1. Final paper synopsis Katrine Dorozhinska

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  5. Writing A Research Paper: Discussion

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  1. How to Write a Synopsis for Research: A Step-By-Step Guide

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  2. How To Write A Research Summary

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  3. Writing a Synopsis

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  6. (PDF) Research synopsis guidelines

    Research synopsis guidelines DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3478.3840 Authors: Helle Overgard Larsen University of Copenhagen Abstract Guidelines I have written for students following my course on...

  7. PDF Research synopsis writing

    The research synopsis is the plan for your research project. It provides the rationale for the research, the research objectives, the proposed methods for data collection and recording formats and/or questionnaires and interview guides. The synopsis is based on the information provided by the supervisor(s) and by secondary sources of information.

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    Write bullet points. Interpretation: how did the authors interpreted their findings? Use short sentences, in your own words. After extracting the key information , revisit the article and read it more attentively, to see if you missed something. Add some notes to your summary, but take care to avoid plagiarism. Write notes in your own words.

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  19. Guidelines for Writing a Summary

    Also, you may write summaries of articles as part of the note-taking and planning process for a research paper, and you may want to include these summaries, or at least parts of them, in your paper. The writer of a research paper is especially dependent upon summary as a means of referring to source materials. Through the use of summary in a ...

  20. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

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  21. How to Write a Summary for a Research Paper

    After you have written the summary's main text, add the study's purpose to the paper. Briefly describe each paper's thesis and why you did the research. Step 5. Add keywords. Review the summary text again and add keywords from your research. Use the most common ones that best reflect the essence of the task. Step 6.

  22. How To Write A Research Summary Paper: Easy Guide

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  23. How to Write a Research Paper Summary [Infographic]

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  24. PDF A Brief Guide to Writing the Psychology Paper

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  27. How to Write a Synopsis for Research

    Chapter 1: Introduction. You add all the relevant detail to show that your topic is worth reading. This is named the first chapter in the synopsis writing. On the other hand, this is the central portion of the research study. So, the reader is more attentive during the reading of this portion.

  28. Researching the White Paper

    Unlike a school research paper, the author does not set out to argue for or against a particular position, and then devote the majority of effort to finding sources to support the selected position. Instead, the author sets out in good faith to do as much fact-finding as possible, and thus research is likely to present multiple, conflicting ...