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Difference between summary and synthesis

He summary is a short version of a text where the same words can be used to present in a concrete way the most important points of the topic. The synthesis is the short presentation of a longer text that the author has analyzed and interpreted.

The main ideas are expressed directly and concretely in the summary. In the synthesis, the author is allowed a deeper analysis and interpretation of the topic to produce a more personal composition on the concepts of the authors on which it is based.

For this reason, the synthesis requires a deeper intellectual process where the information has to be reworked, while the summary may be limited to highlighting the main ideas.

Summary Synthesis
Definition Brief presentation on the main ideas of the topic. Brief interpretation where the most important ideas of the topic are related.
Author It is usually a person outside the author of the topic on which it is based. He is usually the same person who wrote the topic from which it arises.
Style The style in which the subject is presented must be maintained. The author of the synthesis may reflect his own style in the presentation and organization of ideas as long as he does not alter the essence of the subject.
How it occurs Delete all non-essential concepts. Study, analyze and interpret the topic addressed.
Length It can be about 25% of the size of the original text or less, as long as all the main ideas are presented. The author is free to choose the length, keeping in mind that it should always be shorter than the text on which it is based.
  • Abbreviate the information presented in the original text.
  • Clearly present the main ideas of the topic.
  • Facilitate the learning process.
  • Interpret the information presented in the original text.
  • Extend the main ideas with deductions and own ideas.
  • Motivate the learning process.

What is a summary?

It’s a short version which includes the most basic information on a topic that is usually longer and more complex. It can be presented orally or in writing.

In the summary the main ideas of the original text, even the words can be the same, in order not to lose the essence and meaning that the author has wanted to convey.

Many times what is done in the summary is to delete some terms that are not essential to understand the main ideas.

The author is not allowed to add personal opinions, deductions or conclusions that have been reached that are not expressly formulated in the topic that has been summarized.

The length of the content should be approximately 25% or less in relation to the original text.

It is often presented as an introduction or presentation to convey the essence of the topic to the recipient.

Summary features

  • Precise: must be precise in the presentation of the ideas, presenting in a clear and concrete way what the subject in question is about.
  • Complete: should cover all the most basic ideas of the topic.
  • Logically: all parties must be organized, demonstrating the relationship between each idea.

What is a synthesis?

Synthesis is a composition where present and relate the main ideas which are scattered in a text or in something previously heard. Here, the author may include personal opinions about the original composition.

In order to write a summary, you must have completed one analysis and interpretation of the elements of the topic and present it in their own words, always without modifying the main idea that the authors want to convey.

The author of the synthesis has one more freedom compared to the author of the summary when writing and developing their own ideas. In the synthesis, the concepts can be extended and organized according to the criteria and style of the person who writes it.

The synthesis can serve as an introduction to a deeper analysis, as a degree project, or it can be at the end as a compendium of everything that has been read. You can also see literary syntheses at the beginning of a work where the author sets out his views on the text or summarizes the content.

The synthesis is usually written and published by the same author of the text from which it arises, as it seeks to present the general ideas of his work. Although it can also be written by outsiders.

Characteristics of the synthesis

  • Originality: The author must use his own words and style when writing.
  • Freedom: The author can choose the order in which to present the ideas, the length of the text, and how you want to approach the topic.
  • Research: to be able to write a complete synthesis it is necessary to do an investigation on the concepts that are approached to be able to reach conclusions and to introduce new ideas.

See also Characteristics of the expository texts.

Degree in social communication, especially journalism, from the Universidad Católica Santa Rosa (2014), specializing in communication and negotiation strategies from the Instituto de Iberoamérica of the University of Salamanca (2013).

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