Writing an Objective Summary
Writing an objective summary involves recording the main ideas of a text while showing your understanding of the topic. Objective means: No opinions No reactions No personal connections Just the facts!
What is an objective summary?
A good objective summary: Focuses on the main idea and only the details that support it Brief Accurate Objective
What to Avoid in an Objective Summary
Do not copy any part of the original source. Is not long and detailed Does not include any opinions or reactions
What should a complete paragraph include?
At least five sentences: Main Idea sentence Most important idea of original source Three supporting detail sentences Three details that relate to and support the main idea Concluding sentence A summarizing sentence
Summary Writing Reminders
Determine what is most important (not necessarily what is most interesting). Decide how to convey the information in a clear and concise format. Focus on the central ideas of the text and omit minor details. USE YOUR OWN WORDS. Topic sentence identifies the title and the author of the article. Use strong, academic verbs (describes, explains, discusses, lists, explores, illustrates, teaches, compares, states)- not “talks about” or “says”.
Example Article “The Ethics of Quarantine” Ross Upshur
Objective Summary In his article, “The Ethics of Quarantine”, Ross Upshur discusses whether or not the use of quarantine for individuals with infectious diseases is ethical. The author believes quarantine is certainly a harsh measure, but one that must be taken in certain instances to protect public safety. For example, during the SARS outbreak in Canada, the causes, effects, and way it was spread were still unknown, therefore quarantine was the only viable option to stop the spread of the disease and protect the public. The author states that although quarantine is justifiable in certain circumstances, physicians must work to ensure they identify these factors while patients are quarantined, so as not to hold people for an unnecessary amount of time. He also believes that public health officials and physicians have an obligation to protect the general public, and through open communication about quarantine procedures, they can do so effectively.
Identifying the Argument and Evidence
The author’s main claim in this article is that quarantine raises many ethical questions and can be a harsh method, but in certain instances it is the best way to respond to an infectious disease and is justifiable. In the article, Upshur identifies four criteria that must be met to justify the use of quarantine to build his argument. First, he states that the harm principle must be met, and that “there should be clear and measurable harm to others should a disease or exposure go unchecked.” (Upshur) If the disease is not spread from person to person, like Anthrax, then he states that quarantine is not justified. (Upshur) Secondly, he states that the least restrictive means should be observed, meaning that “public health authorities should use the least restrictive measures proportional to the goal of achieving disease control.” (Upshur) He goes on to say that the use of surveillance and home camera systems used in the past during times of quarantine were completely unwarranted. Thirdly, he states that their must be reciprocity between society and those individuals being quarantined, meaning that there must be some give and take. He states, “that means providing individuals with adequate food and shelter and psychological support, accommodating them in their workplaces, and not discriminating against them. They should suffer no penalty on account of discharging their obligations to society.” (Upshur) Lastly, he states that the transparency principle must be upheld, and “this holds that public health authorities have an obligation to communicate clearly the justification for their actions and allow for a process of appeal.” (Upshur) The author states that quarantine measures can cause harm to individuals, but if all of these conditions are met and upheld, then the quarantine is the best way to respond to an infectious disease and is justifiable.
Connection to The Hot Zone
The issue Upshur raises in his article relating to whether or not the use of quarantine for individuals with infectious diseases is ethical and justifiable relates with many examples and experiences in The Hot Zone. For example, Upshur states that quarantine measures have the capability of causing harm to the individual, and in The Hot Zone, Preston states, “The doors of the Slammer are kept locked, the air is kept under negative pressure, and your telephone calls are monitored-because people have emotional breakdowns in the Slammer and try to escape. They start flaking out by the second week. They become clinically depressed. Noncommunicative. They stare at the walls, speechless, passive, won't even watch television. Some of them become agitated and fearful…They deny that anything could go wrong with them, and ordinarily nothing does go wrong with them, physically, in the Slammer, and they come out healthy. Their minds are another story.” (Preston ) In this scenario in The Hot Zone, quarantine was necessary because they did not yet know how Ebola was being spread and needed to take measures to protect the public, but the harm to individuals is evident in their mental and emotional state. Quarantine was necessary in The Hot Zone, but the lack of communication between patients and physicians was not, according to Upshur, ethical.
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