University of Rhode Island  
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


TMD 402 Spring 2010 "The Art of Fashion and Textiles"

Students who are registered for one credit must prepare a summary of each weekly speaker and of the student presentations at the end of the semester.   This is a guide to writing good summaries


Students who are registered for one credit must prepare a summary of each weekly speaker and of the student presentations at the end of the semester. The summary must be submitted in paper form. Paper summaries must be word-processed.  Hand-written summaries will not be accepted. Do not email summaries as my computer is four years old and I can't open some files. I much prefer that you submit paper copies at class time to avoid problems with misplacement.

Summaries each week should be no more than one page in length, single spaced. Take notes as the speaker is presenting, and keep tabs on anything you find confusing: ask a question if you have the chance. When you write the summary, have an introduction and a conclusion.  Break your summary into several paragraphs.  The style should be clear and concise: do not clutter the summary with phrases such as "the speaker said that...."  "there was a diagram that showed that......".  Avoid spelling and grammar errors.  Use spell check!  

The summaries provide you with a chance to develop skills in synthesizing information presented orally. It is a bad idea to write them word-for-word from your notes.  Speakers will not provide information at the right pace for you to be able to judge what is important and what is not. Writing them soon after the seminar is a good idea, since it is likely that you will remember more about what the speaker said than if you wait until the night before the next class. Poorly written summaries will receive a grade of S-. “Poorly written” means content is inaccurate and/or quality of writing is lacking. Numerous spelling and grammar errors will result in a grade of S-. Each student should write the weekly summary independently.

The course assistant can help you if you are having problems with writing. Her contact information and hours will be announced on the first day of class. URI’s Writing Center is another source of assistance.  It is located in Roosevelt Hall.  There, you will work with writing tutors on specific issues that will help you with your assignments such as paragraphing, sentence clarity, sharpening thesis statements, documenting sources, using appropriate evidence, or understanding and practicing specific grammatical concepts. URI Writing Center tutors will not edit or proofread for you; rather, they will teach you proofreading strategies you can use yourself.  Their goal is to help you become a better writer, and this requires both time and effort on your part.  Check out their web site (

GOAL: To become a concise writer.

This requires objectivity when writing. It also requires the writer to step back and proof-read as though someone else wrote what you are reading.

You need to ask: Do I understand what I just read? Does it make sense? Are any of the sentences too long or confusing?

No matter what you write, the first step toward exceptional writing is:

Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read!

Use spell-check and proof-read again!

Guidelines to remember:

Be consistent with verb tenses throughout a sentence.

Avoid run-on sentences. Break a long sentence into shorter concise statements.
Avoid a conversational tone when writing a summary

Be direct with information.

Separate items in a series by commas and use a comma before the conjunction e.g. red, blue, green, and yellow.

Avoid repetition of the same word in the same sentence or in sentences immediately following

Consult a thesaurus for synonyms to improve your word choices

Capital letters are only used mid-sentence for the proper names of persons, places or things.
Know the difference in the words “affect” and “effect” and use them correctly

Avoid the use of contractions when writing. Use cannot instead of can’t or it is instead of it’s

Hyphenate two-word adjectives, e.g. pre-war era

Avoid the use of symbols when writing. Spell out what you want to say, e.g. % = percentage, &= and, # = number.

Avoid writing a sentence without action, i.e. those that have no verb. These become sentence fragments and are incomplete thoughts.
Be careful using words such as: secondly, thirdly, fourthly or lastly. An adverb is a word that answers how, when, or where. Adverbs are rarely if ever used to begin a sentence.

Avoid using words such as: way more, like, kind of, most favorite, now a days. A better way to express these thoughts are: additionally, similar to, most desirable, today.

    Avoid using the following words to begin sentences:
    For example

    Of course
    As for
    It is
    There is
    And that
    But there are