Summarising an empirical research article

The goal of your summary is to report in a brief and accurate manner the main gists of the article. The main objective is not to offer an evaluation or opinion of the original article, but to report the writer’s main ideas and findings. This means that you will need to indicate to your reader the writer’s main point or points or purpose for writing. You will also need to point out how the writer develops or supports his or her main point.

The summary should be between eight and ten pages (one-inch margins, double-spaced, 12- point Times font) and should include the following:

Introduction – Give a brief introduction to give the necessary background to the study and state its purpose in your own words. Why was the study conducted? What was it about? Clearly state the research question, in your own words, posed in the article. Do not copy the research question if it appears in the article. You should paraphrase the author’s research question (that is, write in your own words).

[Suggested length: 2 pages.]

Background literature – A summary of earlier work on this topic. Note, this does not mean going through each article cited by the author and explaining what each did. You should summarize this information, while citing relevant work. Discuss the economic theory or theories used in the paper. Briefly summarise the main argument of the theory (or theories).Clearly mention the hypotheses tested in the paper.

[Suggested length: 2-3 pages. ]

Data and model estimation – A brief description of the data (and sources) used in the study. In your own words, describe the empirical/econometric model(s) used to test the hypotheses.

[Suggested length: 2-3 pages. ]

Findings – In your own words discuss the major findings and results. Discuss the implications of the results for policy makers and/or the general public.

[Suggested length: 2 pages. ]

Conclusion – A statement of the results the author finds from empirical work. Briefly discuss

the limitations (if any) and direction for future research.
[Suggested length: less than 1 page. ]

References – A list of references cited in your paper. This list does not count toward your page limit. This includes the research paper you are summarising, and the work you cite in your summary of earlier findings. Refer to the APA Style Guide for how to appropriately cite work in your paper and compile a list of references.

 
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