Online Guide to Writing and Research

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity and Documentation

Avoiding Plagiarism

Managing Source Material

Summarizing Your Sources

In summarizing material, you present a much shorter version of a longer prose section from your source. A summary contains the significant points of the material, often drawn from the topic sentences of the paragraphs. Use summaries where you need only the essential information from your source. As with paraphrasing, summaries demonstrate that you have mastered the material enough to include it. Also, summaries, like paraphrases, are more readily integrated into your own style of writing. Here is an example of the original source and a summary. Remember that even a summary must be documented.

Original Source

"As we live in a world of rapid technological change and intense competition, the environment in which an organization operates rarely remains static. Figure 12.1 illustrates some environmental factors that impinge upon the strategic directions.

"Market segments, products or services and organization structure may need to change over time to ensure strategic directions continue to be observed. A business must respond rapidly under competitive, legislative or political pressure. To achieve this, many previously defined strategic decisions have to be made at a level lower in the organization than was done in the past. The strategic statements provide the overall direction, and the criteria for selection of appropriate markets and technology; that is, they provide a long-term focus. The tactical statements use this guidance to implement specific directions for the short term. They allow the organization to structure itself for rapid change in its environment, the economy, legislation, competition, technology, and in relation to buyers and suppliers. This tactical focus surrounds the strategic emphasis, as illustrated in Figure 12.1.

"The tactical statements are developed from the perspectives and directions established by the strategic statements. The steps involved are illustrated in Figure 12.2 and summarized in Box 12.1 at the end of the chapter" (Finkelstein, 1993, pp. 193–194).


Appropriate Citation of Summary of Original Source

The previous strategic decisions that changed over a long period were reflected in the specific markets, products, services, and organizational structure. However, in today’s environment, these decisions may change frequently. Therefore, the tactical decisions help an organization respond rapidly to the environmental changes (Finkelstein, 1993, pp. 193).