Write a précis that paraphrases the author’s thesis, identifies the main points, considers the evidence, and evaluates the argument.


The purpose of a précis is to ensure that you are actively engaged with the material you are reading. A précis is a clear, concise, and logical summary of a written work that preserves its essential ideas and does not offer any evaluation of the material. A précis is not an essay or re-writing of the original work but, rather, it is a summary and explanation of the main points to provide readers with the information about a written work’s significance and worth.

For the purpose of this course, there will be one slight change compared to a standard précis. The précis for this course WILL require you to provide your evaluation of the material, along with a standard critical summary. Do not confuse evaluation (objectivity) with an opinion (subjectivity). For example, if the author states they will examine gender equality from a female perspective yet provides no interviews with females, then you can objectively evaluate the lack of appropriate evidence to support the author’s argument.

A précis will demonstrate your writing skills, as well as your ability to express your thoughts intelligibly. Make sure your paper highlights the following qualities:

Clarity. A reader should understand what an author intended to convey. Achieve this by using simple language and structure.
Correctness. Observe the spelling, grammar, and punctuation you use, as well as the facts, figures, and dates you address.
Objectivity. Provide a candid explanation of the information. Do not give your opinion.
Coherence. The logical interconnection of the ideas from the original. Your audience should not lose interest while reading.
Conciseness. Avoid unnecessary details in your précis. Do not omit essential facts but avoid wordy expressions, repetitions, wateriness, etc.

Choose one article from Article Précis 01 and one article from Article Précis 02 to read. Write a précis that paraphrases the author’s thesis, identifies the main points, considers the evidence, and evaluates the argument. Check your précis for clarity, correctness, and coherence. Do not copy sentences from the original. Do not mention any additional information outside of the article. Do not write in the first person (i.e., ‘I’ or ‘we’). Do not provide a bibliography. Do not complicate the process.

Note: Article Précis are available to you two weeks before they are due. This is to give you enough time to read the article and write your précis. Make sure to pay attention to due dates to know when a précis is due.


The précis will be written in a formal tone and at a college level. I expect you to present information in a clear and concise manner with minimal grammatical errors. Your paper must follow the format below or it will not receive full credit. If your paper does not meet the minimum page requirement (2-pages), you will not receive a passing grade on the assignment. Please reference the rubric for a grading breakdown.

Length: 2 – 3 pages
Font: 12-point Times New Roman
Margins: 1-inch
Spacing: double-spaced
Page number: bottom right corner with ONLY the number

A précis is not an argumentative or expository essay, though its structure looks the same. It will contain three parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.

Introduction: This will include the name of the author(s), the title of the original work, publishing date (in parentheses), main points stated briefly, power verbs to determine the author’s thesis (“explains,” “argues,” “proves,” etc.), and the paraphrased thesis.
Body: This will explain the original work; provide the author’s evidence, purpose, and ideas; and offer your critical evaluation. Remember, you cannot give your opinion on the author’s arguments, but you can evaluate the author’s stance on an issue. Your précis should be in your own words, however, if you feel a quote is necessary, you may use up to two direct quotes, they can be no longer than one sentence in length, and they must be cited correctly (e.g., MLA, APA, etc.). Use the citation format of your major. If you have no major, then use MLA.
Conclusion: This should restate the main idea. Summarize everything and remember to avoid any personal statements about the original piece.

You do not need a cover page.
You do not need to put your name anywhere.
You do not need a bibliography page.
Start writing at the top of the first page.
Submit your assignment in an appropriate format (e.g. Word doc, etc.). If you submit your assignment as a Google doc make sure to give me permission to view it. If you submit your assignment without giving me permission, you will receive a zero.
Please reference Article Précis Examples to get a general idea of what your papers should look like.