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Creating A Research Paper Executive Summary: An Outline

Before turning in a research paper, students should always read through the professor's requirements. In some classes, students will be expected to create an executive summary of their research paper. This type of writing is basically a summary of the findings and implications of the student's research. It is basically an abstract, shortened version of the entire essay.

Think of the Audience

With an executive summary, students are generally informing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic. The student may be writing about a highly technical subject or just an unusual topic. The executive summary should be written so that a completely uninformed reader can understand what the research paper is about.

What Is the Main Idea?

As a summary, this type of writing should focus in on the main idea of the paper. Although it may include some of the argument, students really have to limit what they write about. In general, the student should include the research methods, the topic and the results that were achieved. These results should just be listed concisely because the actual details will be covered more thoroughly in the bulk of the research paper.

Read Examples

If writing an executive summary seems daunting, students should start out by reading examples. There are many different examples available online, and these samples can be used as a guide for the student. While reading, students should jot down the type of voice used by the author and the information that was included.

What Are the Goals?

One section of the executive summary should discuss the goals of the essay. They should cover how the goals were accomplished and if the hypothesis was correct. As a type of scientific writing, it does not matter if the hypothesis was proved incorrect. The only goal of scientific writing is to test out the hypothesis. As long as the student successful tested the hypothesis, it does not matter if they were correct or not.

Find a Friend

The executive summary is supposed to be understandable for a non-technical reader. To see if the student has managed to simply their writing, they should give their research paper to a friend who does not study the same field. By giving it to a non-technical reader, students can make sure that they have actually written their executive summary well. If the student's friend cannot understand what the essay is about, the student should go back and rewrite their summary.