Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Write a Summary


How to Write a Summary in 8 Easy Steps
Writing a good summary demonstrates that you clearly understand a text...and that you can communicate that understanding to your readers. A summary can be tricky to write at first because it’s tempting to include too much or too little information. But by following our easy 8-step method, you will be able to summarize texts quickly and successfully for any class or subject.
1) Divide…and conquer. First off, skim the text you are going to summarize and divide it into sections. Focus on any headings and subheadings. Also look at any bold-faced terms and make sure you understand them before you read. 
2) Read. Now that you’ve prepared, go ahead and read the selection. Read straight through. At this point, you don’t need to stop to look up anything that gives you trouble—just get a feel for the author’s tone, style, and main idea.
3) Reread. Rereading should be active reading. Underline topic sentences and key facts. Label areas that you want to refer to as you write your summary. Also label areas that should be avoided because the details—though they may be interesting—are too specific. Identify areas that you do not understand and try to clarify those points. 
4) One sentence at a time. You should now have a firm grasp on the text you will be summarizing. In steps 1–3, you divided the piece into sections and located the author’s main ideas and points. Now write down the main idea of each section in one well-developed sentence. Make sure that what you include in your sentences are key points, not minor details. 
5) Write a thesis statement. This is the key to any well-written summary. Review the sentences you wrote in step 4. From them, you should be able to create a thesis statement that clearly communicates what the entire text was trying to achieve. If you find that you are not able to do this step, then you should go back and make sure your sentences actually addressed key points.
6) Ready to write. At this point, your first draft is virtually done. You can use the thesis statement as the introductory sentence of your summary, and your other sentences can make up the body. Make sure that they are in order. Add some transition words (thenhoweveralsomoreover) that help with the overall structure and flow of the summary. And once you are actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys!), remember these tips:
  • Write in the present tense.
  • Make sure to include the author and title of the work.
  • Be concise: a summary should not be equal in length to the original text.
  • If you must use the words of the author, cite them.
  • Don't put your own opinions, ideas, or interpretations into the summary. The purpose of writing a summary is to accurately represent what the author wanted to say, not to provide a critique.
7) Check for accuracy. Reread your summary and make certain that you have accurately represented the author’s ideas and key points. Make sure that you have correctly cited anything directly quoted from the text. Also check to make sure that your text does not contain your own commentary on the piece. 
8) Revise. Once you are certain that your summary is accurate, you should (as with any piece of writing) revise it for style, grammar, and punctuation. If you have time, give your summary to someone else to read. This person should be able to understand the main text based on your summary alone. If he or she does not, you may have focused too much on one area of the piece and not enough on the author’s main idea.

AIDA Principle (UFS 301)


AIDA is a simple acronym that was devised a long time ago as a reminder of four stages of the sales process (Strong, 1925). AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
It is, in modern terms, a fairly simplistic model. This does not mean that it is no longer of value--it simply means that it is not the whole story. The bottom line is that it is useful to use it as a checklist and guideline, but not as the only checklist or guideline.


First get their attention. Without attention, you can hardly persuade them of anything. You can get attention in many ways--a good way is to surprisethem.
When you are talking to them, the first few seconds are essential as they will listen most then and rapidly decide whether you are worth giving further attention. Don't waste these precious moments on niceties, grab the other person's attention immediately. 
It is generally better to open with something that pulls them towards you rather than something that scares them (as this may push them away).
Good openers address their problems and begin with such as:
  • Have you ever...?
  • Are you noticing...?
  • Can you see...?
Bad openers give them something to object to, demonstrate your disrespect, or just bore them to tears, and may begin with such as:
  • I've got just the thing you want...?
  • I just dropped by so that I might...?
  • I was only wondered whether you could...?


Once you have their attention, sustain that attention by getting the other person interested.
You can get interest by:
  • Listening to them talk about their problems.
  • Telling them things that affect their problems.
  • Demonstrating things, rather than just telling.
  • Getting them actively involved.
Watch out for the boredom factor. You may be able to get someone interested, but you cannot expect to keep their attention for ever. If you want to come back some day, you should leave them wanting more, at least of your company.


Once they are interested in you and what you have to say, then next step is to create a desire in them for what you want them to do. 
They can recognize that they have a need, but this is not desire. Desire is a motivation to act and leads towards the next stage. 
Desire is like a fire, and can be stoked by many methods, such as:
  • Showing them how the item to be desired will not be available for long (Scarcity principle).
  • Showing how other people approve of the item and have acquired it for themselves.
  • Showing them how what you have to offer will solve some of their problems.  


This is the magic stage when they take action on their desires and actually buy the product or agree to your proposals.
The scariest point is where you ask for the sale or ask them whether they actually do agree fully with you.
Listen to the signals they are sending. Are they asking you about when you can deliver or what after-sales support you give?
Summarize the problem you are solving for them and how what you are proposing solves that problem. 
Use the appropriate closing technique, such as alternatives ('Do you want the red or the blue?) or presupposition ('What time shall we meet next week?').


A variant on AIDA add a 'C' for Conviction. The ideas is that before you get to a final purchase action, a cognitive state of understanding the value is needed that matches the emotional state of desire. This sometimes appears before Desire (AICDA) and sometimes after (AIDCA), perhaps showing two different approaches: one which starts with getting a logical agreement and then moving to emotional desire, as opposed to creating desire first and then reaching the state when the purchase also makes logical sense.
The letter 'S' for satisfaction also gets added, indicating the fact that happy customers will buy more (whilst unhappy customers will tell their friends!).
This is often true, but is not necessary in all cases, depending on the sales methods (which can be highly emotion-based) the person (who may prefer emotional assessment, and the context (for example selling clothes can be very emotionally based).

Writing a Summary (UFS 211)

In a paragraph of not more than 100 words, say what are the various ways in which this machine can be used, and what are the objections to its use.

Lie detector

A new form of lie detector that works by voice analysis and which can be used without a subject’s knowledge has been introduced in Britain. The unit is already widely employed by the police and private industry in the US, and some of its applications there raise serious worries about its potential here. The Dektor psychological stress analyser (PSE) is used by private industry for pre-employment screening, investigating thefts, and even periodic staff checks. Although at least 600 of the devices are used in the US, there are apparently only three in Britain. Burns International Security Services showed its PSE at the International Fire and Security Exhibition in London last week. Philip Hicks, assistant manager of Burns’ Electron Division and the Burns official trained to use the PSE, said that one of the other two units was being employed by a private firm for pre-employment checks.

In addition to the normally understood voice generation mechanisms - vibrations of the vocal chords and resonance of cavities inside the head - there is a third component caused by vibration of the muscles inside the mouth and throat. Normally, but not under stress, these voluntary muscles vibrate at 8-12 Hz, and this adds a clearly noticeable frequency-modulated component to the voice. The PSE works by analysing this infrasonic FM component. Dektor claims that the muscle tightening occurs very quickly, and can change from one word to the next, so that it is possible to pick out a word or phrase that caused stress.
Dektor emphasises that the device shows only stress, not dishonesty. Three steps are suggested to overcome this difficulty. First, the subject is supposed to see a full list of the questions in advance. Second, there are ‘neutral’ questions and one to which the subject is specifically asked to lie. Third, if an individual shows stress on a vital question (such as Have you stolen more than £100 in the last six months?), then additional questions must be asked to ensure that this does not reflect an earlier theft or the subject’s knowledge of someone else responsible.

The standard report recommended by Dektor is simply the statement ‘After careful analysis, it is the opinion of this Examiner that the Subject’s chart did contain specific reaction, indicative of deception, to the relevant questions listed below.’ And Hicks admitted that if a person showed stress and Hicks was unable to ascertain just what caused the stress, he would assume that the stress was ‘indicative of deception’.

In the US, the device is used for pre-employment interviews, with questions such as ‘Have you used marihuana?’ and for monthly checks with branch managers, asking questions like ‘Do you suspect any present employees of cheating the company?’- which at least prevents a manager from setting his own pace to investigate possibly suspicious behaviour. Finally, US insurance investigators are now using the PSE. They need not carry it with them - only tape record the interview, usually with the permission of the unsuspecting claimant. Not only does an assessor go through the claim form to look for false claims (a questionable practice, because a person is just as likely to stress over being reminded of a lost or damaged object as to lying), but he also offers less money than requested. The claimant’s response can, apparently, be analysed to show if he is, in fact, likely to eventually accept.

The potential application of the PSE in Britain is extremely disquieting, especially as there seems no law to prevent its use. The most serious problem is that its primary application will be in situations where people may not object - such as pre-employment interviews. But it can also be used to probe a whole range of personal issues totally unrelated to job - union and political affiliations, for example. And, of course, the PSE can be used without the subject even knowing; its inventors analysed the televised Watergate hearings and told the press who they thought was lying. Finally, the device is not foolproof but depends on the skill of the investigator, who receives only a one-week course from Dektor.

In the US, where lie detectors of all sorts are much more widely used, Senator Sam J. Ervin has introduced a bill to virtually prohibit their use by private companies. There may be a privacy bill from the UK government this summer, and hopefully it will include the use of lie detectors. In the interim, trade unions and consumer groups should prevent their use before they become widespread.

(Article by Joseph Hanlon in New Scientist)

Writing a Memo (UFS 301)

You are the telephone receptionist at Floral Displays Ltd. The Mayor's Chief Secretary, Ms Littelton, has just telephoned you. The town hall has not yet been decorated although they need the decoration by 6 pm. As it is already 4 pm they need flowers and floral designers immediately. Another decoration team must be sent as soon as possible.
Write a memo to the Sales Assistant, Marc William, so that he can make the arrangements. You may invent any details that you feel are necessary.