What Is an Objective Summary? (Benefits and Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An objective summary is useful in educational and professional settings for summarizing the essence of a text. With this summary, you can help direct your reader to the most important information. Understanding the steps to follow when creating an objective summary can help you improve your writing skills. In this article, we answer "What is an objective summary?, explore the applications of an objective summary, discuss its importance, and outline the steps to follow when writing an objective summary.

What is an objective summary?

You may wonder, "What is an objective summary?". It's a brief summarization of a video, document, or media piece. Usually, this summary doesn't contain any judgements, opinions, or personal stances on the information in a text. Instead, it serves as a guide to readers, helping them identify the content of a text and decide if they want to keep reading. An objective summary usually combines verbs with central ideas to communicate the essence of a text. These verbs can include tells, shows, describes, lists, illustrates, teaches, compares, shares, and addresses.

Related: How to Write an Analysis (With Importance and Tips)

Applications of an objective summary

Here's a list of some scenarios or types of texts where you can apply an objective summary to help you learn more about the topic:

Presentations

Objective summaries can be helpful when making and preparing presentations. You can use it as an introduction to the content of your presentation. This summary can also help you detail the core idea in your presentation to listeners and readers through topic sentences. You can also use these summaries to improve your understanding of your presentation by highlighting your topic sentences, transitions, and objectives.

Related: How to Share a PowerPoint Presentations on Different Devices

Record-keeping

It can be difficult to keep track of information when dealing with several research papers and assignments. Making objective summaries can help you keep track of the intents of a paper or assignment. You can also use the summaries as quick talking points where remarks on the focus of a paper are necessary. Objective summaries are also effective record-keeping tools, and you can adapt them when categorizing research materials.

Assignments and papers

Certain assignments can require an objective summary of certain content. You can apply your understanding of objective summaries to improve your chances of success with an assignment. The requirements can also include an objective summary of all the relevant works. Your summaries of the research articles or literature can help you fulfil a course requirement. This can also improve the quality of your work, as you have an in-depth understanding of the relevant research materials you consulted.

References

Objective summaries can help you improve the quality of your references. Many projects and research papers adopt different referencing styles. Where your reference style allows it, you can use the objective summary to provide more elaborate references. Such references can help you show the content of a reference and the context it contributes to your work. This is also a more elaborate and comprehensive reference than a bibliography.

Related: Personal vs. Professional References: What's the Difference?

Importance of objective summaries

One of the vital benefits of an objective summary is how it presents a work without bias, opinions, or judgements. This objective portrayal of a text's contents allows the reader to determine their interest in reading. It can also be an effective tool for communicating the intent of a paper without affecting the reader's opinion before reading. Objective summaries are useful in educational and professional settings. For instance, if you enrol in a graduate program, it may be a part of your requirements to attach an object summary to your paper.

How to write an objective summary

Here are some steps you can follow when writing your objective summary:

1. Read the original work thoroughly

When preparing an objective summary, it's important to read the original text. Reviewing the text several times can help you develop an accurate summary of the content. As the objective summary aims to represent the content of a text, examine the text thoroughly to highlight key points. To make for more effective reading, you can take a break between readings to improve concentration. You can also remove distractions or set timers to help ensure that you read the text exhaustively.

2. Make notes when reading

When reading your text, it's helpful to note important points to form your objective summary. Making notes is particularly helpful for longer texts as it helps ensure you remember important details. You can structure your notes as bullet points and add to them when you encounter more important details or objectives.

You can then examine your list of vital elements against the original text and remove elements that you consider less important. Doing this can help you make a stronger objective summary. Remember that an objective summary is usually a paragraph, so only include essential information. You can determine relevance by asking if the information provides a general insight into the text. This allows you to omit information containing more in-depth information, or information based on opinion.

3. Use your own expressions

It's important to use original expressions when writing objective statements. This makes it important to avoid direct quotes from the text. As an objective statement is a brief description, you can easily achieve this by combining aspects of your streamlined list into a few sentences.

4. Remain factual

Objective summaries aren't a full review of a text or material, allowing you to focus on summarizing rather than an editorial report. As a result, it's essential to remain as objective as possible and avoid personal biases and opinions. Rather than describe the text based on your creative perception, present the text as the author wrote it. Only use words that promote objectivity and a neutral perspective to the text. At this stage, it's also useful to prioritize the accuracy of your summary to ensure that your description is relevant. This way, readers can understand the purpose of the text, what it aims to achieve, and whether to read it.

5. Begin your summary with a lead statement

After deciding on the important elements and tone for your objective summary, it's necessary to create a leading statement. You can think of the leading statement as a topic sentence for the entire text. This statement expresses a paper's core interests or thesis in a single sentence. You derive this lead statement by considering who's making a statement, what they're saying, and the verb involved. The leading statement is a standalone summary and doesn't include additional information or supporting evidence.

6. Develop additional points

The typical paragraph length of an objective summary restricts you to about three additional points after your leading statement. You can refer to your shortlist of bullet points at this stage in your writing, as it serves as a useful resource in identifying essential information for your summary. It's useful to cover the whole text when making additional points.

You can do this by choosing points from the beginning, middle, and end of the text. Ensure that each point provides new insight and information to avoid repetition. This can help your summary gain an overview quality and provide a balanced summary of its thesis.

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7. Reread your summary and edit

Rereading your summary helps you determine the flow between your opening statement and additional points. You can watch for repetitive points and replace them with relevant information to help ensure conciseness. Rereading the original text to ensure your summary is accurate is also helpful. This helps you avoid making the article so brief that it doesn't represent the text's thesis. It's also important at this stage to proofread your summary and remove errors in punctuation and spelling.

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