How to summerize a research article?

You've got content gold on hand - primary and secondary research material from some of the top market research firms. Now it's time to decide how it relates to your product, program or consumer. More importantly, you need to distill the essential parts of each article into a summary that is easy to read, accurate, informative and, most importantly, concise. Sprawling? Maybe. Impossible? Of course not; you just need a good strategy. So, where to start?

You've landed on the right page! These tips and tricks provide a template to help guide you through the process.

Know your focus

The streaming TV hit, Cobra Kai, brings to mind Mr. Miyagi’s age-old wisdom– ‘Focus, Daniel-San.’ Focus is vital, as some sections of a research article are more relevant to your strategy than others.

For example, a summary crafted for a school project or a university may focus on the experiment itself. In contrast, the article’s results and discussion sections may be more relevant to consumer marketing or for a business model.

Once you establish your focus, you’re less likely to waste time.

#Read The Research Article

But before we do that, let's look at the composition of these articles. Market research, focus group data and surveys usually consist of five or more parts.

  • An abstract or hypothesis
  • Explanation of the methods used
  • Tests or experiments performed
  • Summation and or discussion of the results
  • A list of references or source materials

Read the abstract

Since some of the research articles you find do not work for your purpose, you should always start with the abstract. It is an overview of the data that explains the purpose of the study and the expected results. This way, you will know whether to include this article or to move on to the next research article.

Take Good Notes

Next step - read the article from the abstract to the references. But be prepared! Your mind may wander when faced with numbers, statistics and lengthy wording. So, grab your highlighter and pen and start taking notes.

Depending on the space available, you can write your notes in the margins. If you're short on time, check out Rev. We've designed a handy app that's perfect for taking notes Download our Voice Recorder app for free and read your notes out loud. You'll get a 99% accurate transcription of your summary notes sent to your email or account with just one tap.

Outline Your Thoughts

You’ve made notes, sifted through the numbers and statistics; but, there’s still a ton of information. An outline will make your writing process much more efficient. Although each research article is relatively straight-forward, you want your summary to stay on strategy.

#Write A Summary

Okay, so you're ready to condense someone else's work. Instead of stressing over grammar and length, write a rough draft to reduce the stress. Use your notes, REV transcripts, your outline, and key points from each chapter of your research paper as a guide.

Identify The Goal And The Methods Used

As with the author's abstract, the beginning of the abstract should address the basic objectives of the research article. This section can also include key details about demographics, customer behavior, or trends. When summarizing, there are three key issues to consider.

  • What is the goal of the research?
  • What methods did the author(s) use?
  • Are potential obstacles to success listed?

Describe The Observations

The experiment is the “meat” of the research. In your own words, briefly explain what the author(s) observed as the testing played out in real-time. You can talk about the time it took participants to complete tasks or directives. Were they excited about the client’s brand or disinterested? Basically, you’re recapping the participant’s reactions.

Discuss The Outcome

As with any study, the results make or break the goal of the research. Was the test successful? Was anyone surprised by the outcome, or were there any unexpected developments? Pay careful attention to detail as you layout all conclusions reached by the author(s).

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