Like paraphrasing, summarising involves communicating information from sources in your own words. Unlike paraphrasing though, summarising allows you to condense longer arguments into much shorter statements – imparting only the core ideas, the essence, or the gist from the original source.

Imagine you’re telling a friend about a movie you’ve just watched. You’re not going to try and re-enact the whole thing! Instead you’ll give a brief overview – that’s summarising. Consider the example below presenting a summary of the first Harry Potter book:

Example : Rowling (1997) tells the story of an orphaned wizard boy, thrust into the dangerous world of magic, who must overcome a range of obstacles in his first year of school with the support of his best friends.

Remember, you must always include a reference to the original source of your summary to act with academic integrity and so that your reader can follow-up on the author’s complete argument. For more information on referencing in a specific referencing style, see the Curtin Library’s referencing guides.