Reading strategies: Differences betweensummarizing and synthesizing information
by Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD.
Summarizing and synthesizing are both strategies used in reading andresearch. They are important skills, as they help learners make sense ofwhat they reading.It is important to recognize that summarizing and synthesizing are differentactivities. Each has a different purpose, process and end result. This charthighlights some of the main differences between summarizing andsynthesizing information:
Basic reading technique.Advanced reading technique.Pulls together information in orderto highlight the important points.You pull together information notonly to highlight the importantpoints, but also to draw your ownconclusions.Re-iterates the information.Combines and contrastsinformation from different sources.Shows what the original authorswrote.Not only reﬂects your knowledgeabout what the original authorswrote, but also creates somethingnew out of two or more pieces ofwriting.Addresses one set of information(e.g. article, chapter, document) ata time. Each source remainsdistinct.Combines parts and elementsfrom a variety of sources into oneuniﬁed entity.Presents a cursory overview.Focuses on both main ideas anddetails.Demonstrates an understanding ofthe overall meaning.Achieves new insight.
Sarah Elaine Eaton 2010 Page 1 of 2