A summary focuses on the main ideas within a resource. It requires critical reading and attention to detail but does not include any opinion. Writing a summary requires a "just the facts" approach. Summaries may be important components of other types of essays, such as critiques, where a reader must have an understanding of what is discussed in an unfamiliar work or concept before following along with an evaluation of that work or concept.
For quick reference, you can use the following chart in order to determine if your paper is a summary or a critique.
|Gives an overview of key concepts discussed in the work||
|Includes introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs||Yes||Sometimes|
|Names the author and title of the work to be discussed||Yes||Yes|
|Provides your opinion of the work||Yes||No|
|Identifies gaps in the resource and/or research that the author missed||Yes||No|
|Requires close reading of a text||Yes||No|
|Requires you to analyze the text||Yes||No|
|May use supporting evidence from the text, such as quotes, to support your interpretation||Yes||No|