Explore BrainMass

How to summarize a scientific article

I have been asked to write a summary of about 400 words on a scientific paper. I am not to include the papers method section. This is what is difficult. What points do I include? Any help would be appreciated.

The article is; TLR4 polymorphisms, infectious diseases, and evolutionary pressure during migration of modern humans.

Author=B. Ferwerda et al

I tried to send it as attachment, but no luck. It is available via Google.

Solution Preview


When I write a summary I use the following steps:

1) Read the entire article and underline or otherwise take note of the big ideas in each section of the article (i.e. introduction, methods, results, etc.). I try not to get bogged down By the specifics of the methods, as in most cases your summary should focus on what the researchers did and why, not how.

2) I re-read the abstract; the abstract is the authors' summary and therefore will highlight what the researchers find most important about their researcher and will be a good guide.

3) Using the abstract as a guide I write 1-3 sentences of my own which summarize each section of the paper (use the sentences you took note of when you read the article as stepping off points).

4) Then you can put all your sentences together and you will have your summary. It should read something like this: INTRODUCTION, INTRODUCTION, INTRODUCTION, ...

Solution Summary

In this solution I describe the steps to follow to properly summarize and/or critique a scientific paper. I use the article cited by the student to provide examples.