General Question

asmonet's avatar

How should I write my chapter summary?

Asked by asmonet (21216 points ) January 18th, 2009

My sociology professor asked us to summarize the first chapter of our textbook, which I am currently doing. I just finished speaking to a friend in the same class and she is writing the summary in point form while I am writing it like a small essay. I feel like the essay format looks better, but she thinks hers is more efficient and gets the same information across. Which do you think is more acceptable, or preferable? Does it matter?

Another student did ask if he cared what font, or how spaced or whatever we did. He said no, as long as it’s summarized. But I don’t know. I always thought point form seemed lazy.

It’s due in the morning so calling the teacher isn’t exactly an option.
I’m a bit paranoid about schoolwork as I just went back after three years away and feel rusty. Please just set me at ease, Fluther. :)

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27 Answers

fireside's avatar

Well, it’s a sociology class.
He’s probably more interested in seeing the different ways it was done.

If you’re comfortable with essay form, go for it.

Maybe your friend is more analytical, but with no rules given either should be acceptable.

I’d do essay form myself

Allie's avatar

I always write papers in essay form. It just seems more professional and clean. Essay form also seems easier to explain yourself and what you learned – you can blend from sentence to sentence. Bullets seem so harsh and rigid. Just make sure you provide what he asks for and writing yours essay form should be just fine.

asmonet's avatar

Yay! I feel validated. :)
Thanks. Anyone else, feel free to leave your opinion I’m still interested in what everyone may add, but I’m off to finish my long ass summary. :)

seekingwolf's avatar

I like writing papers in essay form too.

It may be easiest for you to read through the chapter thoroughly and take notes in point form. Put down the stuff that’s most important.

Use those notes to write your summary in essay form, paraphrasing the words.

That’s my suggestion. I read all my textbook chapters and make point form notes on everything. It’s a great way to soak up information. Also nice because when they are good notes, I can just refer to them and not lug the book around :)

jlm11f's avatar

I agree with Allie. Essay form is way more professional and “college standard” than bullet format. Personally, I love point form because it’s so clean and NO BS and straight to the point. But most professors would frown upon it in my experience and so that’s another reason I stick to the essay.

Edit – Woot for you going back to college! Don’t stress, work hard, you are a smart jelly and will do just fine :)

suku_happy's avatar

I feel you would be able to explain better in an essay format. I say this because your English is pretty descriptive….......So choose a method in which you are comfortable…....But be simple, clear and concise in your summary…...All the best

nikipedia's avatar

I’m with the girls. I would never turn in any college assignment in bullet points.

One compromise that your professor might appreciate is to do both. Write out your bullet points AND a longer summary that weaves them together. I tend to do this on exams when I feel a diagram would be clearer than an essay, but think it would look lazy/sloppy on its own. Just as bullets are easier to write, they’re easier for your prof to read as well. This depends on the professor, though; the ones who really appreciate parsimony will be most grateful for it.

Good luck, and if you remember, post back and let us know how you did!

asmonet's avatar

Thanks, niki. :)

For clarification, how did you combine bullet points and essays? Did you outline everything in bullet form in the beginning and then write the essay, tack them on to the end, or include them in sections? My first instinct would be to put them in the beginning or the end. Just curious. :)

asmonet's avatar

Oh, and I’ll definitely update you all. :)

nikipedia's avatar

Well, I haven’t used it with bullet points specifically, but depending on the wording of the question I’ve drawn a chart or diagram either before or after the longer explanation. I think bullets would be a nice summary of your summary right at the very end. :)

asmonet's avatar

Thanks, I think I might do that, as much for my study purposes as for the paper itself. :)
I feel kind of silly asking for help on something as simple as a chapter summary but you all have helped me think critically about what I’ve already done and really get into ‘school brain’ mode, and I’ve already rewritten half. Thanks all. :)

asmonet's avatar

Oh my fucking Christ I hate homework. Who makes people summarize 45 pages?! Honestly!

cyndyh's avatar

You might be writing too much in your summary, then. Maybe? Just a thought.

asmonet's avatar

Well I managed to condense 45 pages down to two. He said he had no length limitations, so overall, I think it’s fine. But what were you thinking would be an appropriate length?

cyndyh's avatar

No, I was just thinking that when you said “Who makes people summarize 45 pages?!” that you were complaining about the length of the assignment as if you were maybe writing a bit too much and paraphrasing instead of summarizing. One to two pages should be fine.

asmonet's avatar

Ah, thank god. I’m too damn tired to change it now anyway, and like all fantastic products of college education, it’s due in three hours. :)

Thanks for clarifying. :)

cyndyh's avatar

90% of the work in life gets done in the last 10% of the time allotted. :^>

suku_happy's avatar

So i think its time to wake up your professor!

answerjill's avatar

As a sociology grad student and teaching assistant, I have found that if a prof wants a list or bullet point, s/he asks for an “outline.” Otherwise, s/he expects something in sentence and paragraph form.

BoyWonder's avatar

It’s just a summary. Calm down.

asmonet's avatar

The paper was already turned in, the issue had been dealt with and as far as calming down, I was never worked up. Move on, dude.

Response moderated
fireside's avatar

Again with the random dude who just likes to pop in and harass people, yet he thinks they are the ones who need to get a life.

Hope you got a good grade, asmonet.

asmonet's avatar

@fireside: Seriously. :-/ Thanks, I find out Monday. :)

cyndyh's avatar

Wow, imagine the nerve of us all. Talking about something that’s as important to your life as school.

asmonet's avatar

God forbid! :)

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