Editor’s Toolkit: Ending the Chapter

Educational research tells us that students benefit from having some kind of end piece to a chapter, such as a summary, conclusion, or list of key takeaways. This piece helps cement the main ideas in the reader’s mind and demonstrates how to facilitate retaining information by taking a large selection of text and distilling it down to key points.

Any educator using a textbook with one of these end-of-chapter features can help readers enhance their study skills by advising them to look at the feature and expand on what is noted, calling to mind related terms or pieces of supporting information.

The information and examples in this toolkit clarify the difference between a summary or list of key takeaways, and a conclusion, so that you can determine which is most appropriate for your Cognella textbook.

What Is a Summary?

A summary is a concise review of the main points discussed in the chapter. Usually just a couple of paragraphs are needed for a typical chapter summary. Summaries are a great choice if the goal is to clarify and solidify key ideas in the mind of the reader.

Below is an example of a summary from a psychiatry and behavioral health sciences textbook chapter on human development.

Developmental theorists have contributed to the understanding of normal and pathological development and suggested ways to resolve developmental issues, which often contribute to psychopathology. Table 5 provides a comparison chart between the developmental theories discussed in this chapter. In addition to those discussed in this chapter, several other theorists have made significant contributions to the understanding of human development and behavior, including Carl Jung, Heinz Kohut, Otto Rank, Alfred Adler, Melanie Klein, Harry Stack Sullivan, Donald Winnicott, to name a few. These theories are often useful clinically when dealing with simple and complex human behavior in fields of psychiatry, forensics, sociology and anthropology, race and diversity, and other sociocultural events and experiences.