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The Ultimate Guide for Writing Journal Article Summaries

Journal articles are very educational. You learn about the topic, plus effective research methods. You can use this knowledge when writing your own research paper. But using many journal articles can cause problems. Looking for the specific information that you need can take a long time. Thus, we recommend you summarize journal articles.

Of course, you want to do it properly. Therefore, you must study how to write a good summary of a journal article. This article teaches you how to do that. Furthermore, you'll learn how to write one hassle-free.

summarize journal article

What Is a Journal Article and a Journal Article Summary?

A journal article is a piece of academic writing that is published in a scholarly journal or academic publication. These articles typically present research findings or original research on a specific topic. Experts or researchers in that specific field write these articles. So, you can rest assured they contain credible information.

Meanwhile, a journal article summary is, as the name suggests, a brief overview of a journal article's main points or findings. It provides you with a condensed version of the article. You can use the article summary to quickly understand the key information and takeaways without having to read the full article.

Professionals, researchers, and students use journal articles to stay updated on the latest research and trends in a specific field of study. Summaries let them understand them quickly.

how to summarize a journal article

Differences Between Journal Article Summaries and Abstracts

Journal article summaries and abstracts are both concise summaries of an academic research article. However, there are some key differences between a summary and an abstract. Here they are:


The purpose of an abstract is to provide a brief overview of the entire article. On the other hand, the purpose of a summary is to highlight the article's main points. Typically, abstracts don't provide information about the findings and conclusions. And they are usually in front of the journal article. Meanwhile, journal article summaries contain these pieces of information. Plus, they are separate from the article itself.


Abstracts are typically much shorter than article summaries. That is because they are usually limited to a specific length. On the contrary, summaries can vary in length depending on the publication or its purpose. However, please take note that the summary should be brief too. It has to be a lot shorter than the original journal article. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose.


Abstracts usually include a brief introduction, the research question or problem, the methodology, the results, and the conclusion. Summaries may include some or all of these elements. But they may also include additional information that you deem important. As explained above, summaries are more detailed than abstracts.


Abstracts follow a specific format. You have the intro, presentation of the problem, and such. You use specific headings to organize the content.

Summaries give you more creative freedom. They are more flexible. That said, you can choose the stylization and format you see as the best one to use.


The authors of the journal articles themselves write the abstracts. The abstract is meant to be included at the beginning of the article itself.

Summaries, on the other hand, are written by anybody. The only requirement is that you must have read the article and you must have some expertise in the field.

How To Write a Summary of a Journal Article

Now that it's all cleared, we can write the journal article summary. Here's a guide you can use so you can write a good one.

Step 1 Carefully Read the Article

Expectedly, reading the article is the first step in summary writing. What others don't know is that you don't have to read the whole article. You just have to look for specific parts.

Read the Abstract

Remember that abstracts are similar to summaries in many ways? That means you can use it as a reference when writing your summary. It provides you with important highlights of the research study in 100 - 200 words.

Read the Conclusion

After reading the abstract, skip to the conclusion. There, you will learn about the researchers' findings. It will help you understand where the arguments in the middle of the article are heading.

Identify the Main Idea and Key Points

Backtrack and read more parts of the article. Identify the main idea and the key points. You will focus on these when you are writing the journal article summary.

Here's a tip. Pay close attention to the article's beginning paragraphs. The authors typically lay out the main idea there. Find the keywords relating to that topic.

Scan the Document and Take Notes

To make things easier for yourself, we recommend jotting down notes while reading the article. If the journal article is in PDF form, and many are in this form, you can use PDF editors like PDFelement. This program has annotation and commenting features that you can use to highlight important pieces of information.

After you are done reading the article, scan it again to see if you missed some key information.

Step 2 Make a Draft

So you have collected key information from the journal article. What's next? That would be writing a draft for the summary. Free write your summary based on the things you have collected.

Identify the main idea of the article. Your summary should revolve around this.

Next, identify keywords to use in the article. Also, please remember to include all the words the author has coined. Don't forget to explain these terms.

Step 3 Write the Summary

Finally, it is time to write the journal article summary. Here are the things to keep in mind.

Key Things to Remember

We can't emphasize enough how important it is to aim to keep the summary brief. It should be able to inform you or the reader what the article is about in a few paragraphs.

  • Do not use personal pronouns.
  • Remember that you are not critiquing the article. Instead, you are only writing a summary. So keep the tone as objective as possible.
  • Don't draw your own conclusion.
  • Use the present tense.
  • Use your own words - don't use direct quotes and text from the article.

Introduce the Research Study’s Focus and the Targeted Objectives

Discuss the focus of the article towards the beginning of your summary. Besides that, discuss the targeted objectives for conducting the research. Please remember to use your own words. Else, you may face problems regarding plagiarism.


Next, discuss how the researchers approached the problem and what they did to arrive at their conclusion. Note that you don't have to be very detailed here. For example, you can omit pre-processed data and only include the processed data. Likewise, you can leave out the specifics of the testing procedures.


This is one of the things you should never exclude from your journal article summary. You should discuss in the summary what the authors have accomplished. What did they find out? Did they find answers to all of their questions? Details like these are critical, and you should never leave them out.


Refrain from being content with your first summary. Good writing includes reviewing what you have written and revising as needed.

Use PDFelement to Generate Journal Article Summaries

Many journal articles are in PDF format. That's a blessing. Do you know why? Because there is a PDF viewer that can generate a summary for you. This makes things easier and saves you a lot of time. The PDF viewer in question is Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor, a robust PDF viewer/editor.

journal article summarizer

PDFelement's toolbox received an upgrade. A new tool called Lumi PDF AI robot has been added to it. What does it do? Powered by ChatGPT, Lumi can write journal article summaries for you. And that is only one of its capabilities.

Here's how to generate a summary using this journal article summarizer.

Step 1 Open the journal article with Wondershare PDFelement.

Step 2 Click the Lumi PDF AI robot button. You can find it on the bottom right or in the floating toolbar.

Step 3 A menu will pop up. Select Summarize.

journal article summarizer

Step 4 Import the current file or click Content.

Step 5 Click Analysis. Lumi will start analyzing the journal article and will generate a journal article summary.

how to write a summary of a journal article

Step 6Review the output from the response box.

Step 7 Click Copy Response > paste it into another document. Edit it as needed.


How to summarize a journal article? There are key steps and things to include. An important thing to remember is summaries should be shorter than the original text, but they can be longer than an abstract. The summary contains the article's main idea, key points, methodology, and conclusion.

Writing a summary can be mentally taxing and time-consuming. Thankfully, you can use Wondershare PDFelement, so you don't have to do it yourself. PDFelelement's PDF AI robot can write a summary for you. With that, you can turn hours of work into seconds.

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