Brief executive summaries that concisely present the key points of a research study are found in a broad range of studies conducted within various scientific fields. A well-structured and comprehensive executive summary provides a thorough representation of the original article author’s ideas with an emphasis on study results and recommendations. A variety of professionals look to scholarly summaries to enhance their understanding of an article’s contribution to the scientific field and its relevance for further implementation. However, because the readers of the executive summary are receiving second-hand information, it is vital to render the data objectively, concisely, and precisely to avoid any misinterpretations or biases. An author attempting to deliver a high-quality executive summary should adhere to simple and logical steps that facilitate the construction of a coherent, fact-based, clearly structured text written in a language easily understandable by the target audience.
Recommendations of How to Write a Good Executive Summary
Following the easy steps recommended in these guidelines will make the process of writing an executive summary simple and clear. It is important to remember that a summary is an independent paper; rather than repeating all the issues addressed in the original article, it provides a brief, conclusive overview of the most important ideas and suggestions. At the same time, it is essential to avoid introducing any new or subjective ideas to the summary. The six steps listed below form the core of a well-structured and thoughtful executive summary.
- Read and Highlight
Thoroughly read the original article, highlighting the main points that the author emphasizes. Be attentive by concentrating on the major ideas throughout the entire article. First, such an approach will significantly contribute to the understanding of the article. Second, it will enhance your overall ability to interpret the author’s most important thoughts and arguments. Depending on the matter discussed and the coherence of the original study, a second reading might be needed. Ensure your complete understanding of the subject, aim, methodology, and results of the study.
- Identify and Mark Major Ideas
At this point, it is necessary to reread the highlighted sections and eliminate all invalid data, separating only the clear ideas that constitute the core of the research. Upon completing this step, you must be able to summarize what the study is about in a few sentences (Green 2). It is useful to write down the identified points, enumerating them in a logical order. Such an unambiguous retrieval of the facts and bare ideas will help prevent unnecessary wordiness and will allow you to concentrate on the most important implications.
- Choose a Target Audience
The next step requires consideration of intended audience for the summary of the article. This focus contributes to the choice of words and narration style and helps adjust the language and the method of presenting information to the level of the anticipated reader’s competence. While the possible targeted audience may vary, the writing needs to be clear and easily understandable, using adequate terms and grammatical constructions.
- Outline the Summary
Before writing the summary, it is essential to outline the planned presentations of the collected information with respect to the audience. A basic executive summary should start with an introductory statement that provides an overview of the background information, followed by a description of the research goal and its methodology. After these sections, you will list results and outcomes and provide a conclusion that summarizes the main recommendations and possible application of the study’s findings.
- Present Collected Ideas
Having outlined the paper, you are ready to complete the fifth stage. This step deals with the direct writing of the executive summary on the basis of the outlined sections. Following each section’s requirements and using the notes from reading, you should apply your knowledge about the targeted audience to implement the chosen style of language to interpret the original study adequately. Personal thoughts and outside information should not be included in the final writing.
Finally, a critical stage in any writing is proofreading. At this point, it is important to attentively reread the summary and compare it to the outline along with the highlighted and individual ideas. Make sure that nothing is omitted and no extraneous information has been included. By putting yourself in the reader’s place, it is possible to improve the flow of thought as well as the comprehensiveness of the writing. It is essential to ensure adherence to grammar and spelling rules at this stage.
In conclusion, an executive summary is aimed at a brief representation of the main ideas an author has introduced into scientific research. This piece of writing must be clear, logical, and well-structured. These guidelines provide six steps to help students write an effective executive summary: a precise reading of the original paper, identifying its significant implications and ideas, choosing the target audience, outlining, and writing the summary, followed by proofreading. The result of this process should comprise a short, bias-free overview of a study that readers can easily understand.