Guide: How to write an excerpt?

An excerpt is a kind of methodological tool for classifying, processing and archiving appropriated literary knowledge. In addition, this special type of text helps to sort the thoughts for your own text, so that your own literature work easier. But how do you write an excerpt and when does it make sense? Are there any differences to the classic summary? This article provides the answer to these and other questions!

Important tips in advance

By definition, the excerpt is a text that reflects a read document in its own words. Most of the literature research is based on a specific question, so that in Exzerpt unnecessary text passages can be omitted for answering the question. The text type thus aims to work out the main statements of a primary text. However, it contains more sections. Namely, the citation and references to other material that has been used by the author (for example, tables or graphics). If text passages are copied one-to-one on the original source, these passages are to be marked in the excerpt, namely with references or footnote and page number. If the adopted passages are supplemented by own comments, these must be provided with square brackets.

The shape of the excerpt

An excerpt should be at least three quarters of a page long. In addition, the head of the document must have a consistent pattern:

Here are the name of the author, the study program as well as the semester and the title of the event.

These details are supplemented by the name of the lecturer.

Likewise, the date of the creation must be mentioned and the bibliographic details of the scientific text must not be missing.

The main statement of the read article should be in max. three sentences are summarized.

Excerpt = summarize?

Many people who write an excerpt for the first time ask themselves what the difference between excerpting and summarizing is.

The overriding question in a summary is: “What content of the source is important?”. So this text type takes the perspective of an author and tries to answer what this or the author wants to say.

In contrast to the excerpt, the question is: “Which points of the source are important for my dissertation or another scientific work?”. Consequently, this type of text is written from the point of view of the person writing a term paper, a master’s thesis or similar. must create. You could also ask, “What do I want to know from the author?”.

Note: An excerpt is not only a good tool for a piece of work, a bachelor thesis or another thesis. Also for a presentation or another lecture, it may be worthwhile to excerpt.

When does an excerpt make sense?

Regardless of what, for what: for which seminar o.Ä. If you excerpt a text, there are generally three situations in which the procedure makes sense:

The primary book or other format is not permanently available because it can only be borrowed from the university for a certain period of time.

Not the entire primary text, but only parts of it are relevant to one’s own work.

The student has to deal intensively with a text to learn its contents.

Two variants of excerpting

If an excerpt is to be written, there are basically two different options to choose from:

The text is excerpted under a general question (for example, under the scientific paper). This will attempt to capture the relevant textual content.

One puts a special question into the foreground (for example, which position an author takes on a matter). This procedure is recommended if there is already prior knowledge of the respective topic. This prior knowledge should be extended by excerpting by collecting further points of view, arguments, etc.

Attention: Those who use the excerpt as “exam preparation” should not hire a ghostwriter to make it. He does not know the previous knowledge and the approach of the student when learning, so that confusion and misunderstandings can occur during the excerpt.

In three steps to the excerpt

The following three steps are the focus of excerpts:

Orientation: The author should get an overview of the structure and structure of the original text. In which chapters and subchapters is the document divided and what is the general structure? Afterwards, the text is read and marks the places that seem important.

Exzerpieren: It follows the actual text work. For each marked paragraph one asks oneself the question, about what this informs and which statements are made on this topic. In the following, you will consider a meaningful title for each paragraph and summarize the text part under it (in your own words). In the case of verbal reproductions, the quotations should be marked in the original document by specifying the page number. Through the use of quotation marks. The exact citation depends on the faculty or the department.

Compression: So that the excerpt is not too long, the core statements can be compressed again. It is important that the meaning of the statements is not changed. Double formulations should be removed. In addition, your own comments, opinions and considerations can be added.

Checklist for your own excerpt

Were the main statements of the original text formulated in their own language, without depreciating text passages?

If citations have been taken, are they listed under the page in the original document?

Does the head of the excerpt have the common criteria (s.o.)?

Extract an original text – Summary

Many students avoid writing ex-works because of the high costs associated with them. However, while creating such a document, you will spend a lot of time looking at an original text so that you can better retain its contents. By summarizing the source text in their own words, one remembers the subject later on when reading the excerpt and can better retrieve the contents from memory. Accordingly, the type of text is an effective way to prepare for a thesis or other exam!

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