The key to a well-written summary is the thesis statement. The thesis should clearly communicate the theme of the summary. Your ability to develop a concise thesis statement and summary will depend on your ability to read critically. Even if your summary does not ask or address a specific question, your thesis needs to answer a question about the issue you will be exploring in the summary. A quality thesis statement could either express one main idea or assert your conclusions about the subject. Following certain steps will help you develop a concise thesis statement that will help you write a quality summary.

To generate a thesis statement, thoroughly investigate your topic. A good thesis statement will take on a subject that reasonable people would likely disagree about. Your thesis statement should be concise, so present your ideas and your conclusions clearly. For example: "World hunger has many causes and effects" is a weak thesis, but "hunger persists in third world countries because jobs are scarce and farming is rarely profitable because of infertile soil" is a strong thesis.

Test the strength of your thesis. Keep in mind a strong thesis statement takes a stand on an issue. The thesis should illustrate your conclusions in the summary. A strong thesis in a summary should indicate the point of the discussion and express one main idea. Those reading your summary need to be able to see that there is one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one main idea, your readers may become confused. Keep in mind the thesis statement should act as a road map for the paper and tell the reader what he can expect from the rest of the summary.

Express a precise opinion. A thesis statement is a specific claim that is supported by your summary. A quality thesis statement is not just an observation or question. It includes a precise opinion and logical reasoning. Having a precise opinion will help you develop the answer to your question. Your opinion is vital to the reader's comprehension of the goal of the summary.

If your thesis statement is not clear, you may not have focused enough on the author's main idea.
If your thesis statement is not clear, you may not have focused enough on the author's main idea.

Lay out the blueprint of your summary. For example, if your thesis statement introduces two theories, the reader will expect reasons to follow that support or refute the theories. The blueprint will help you not only think critically about your thesis statement, but will also act as a guide and introduce each section that will be outlined to support your thesis.

Check for accuracy. Reread your summary and thesis statement to be sure you have adequately represented the author's key points and ideas. Make sure that you have cited anything that was quoted directly from the text.

Revise your thesis statement if necessary. Once you have read through your summary for accuracy, you may need to revise for style, punctuation and grammar. If time allows, give your summary to someone else to read. See if she can pick out your thesis statement. If she cannot identify your thesis statement within the summary, it may be too weak, and you should revise.