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Athabasca University

Summarizing and Analyzing

During the course of academic studies students are often asked to summarise or analyse information, arguments, or materials. Although summarizing and analyzing share similar features, they are quite different procedures. When students are asked to summarize information, arguments, or materials, they are being asked to identify and describe what the information or material is about, or what key arguments of an issue are being discussed. However, when students are asked to analyse something they are being asked two things. First, they are being asked to identify the important issues contained within an article or argument, and second, they are being asked to evaluate the merit of that information or those arguments. In this way, summarizing tends to be more descriptive, while analyzing tends to be more critical and evaluative.

Click on the following sites for help with summarizing and analyzing.


Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing (Purdue)


Critical Reading towards Critical Writing (U of T)

How to get the most out of Reading (U of T)

Updated February 12 2016 by Student & Academic Services

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