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I am looking for a subsection headline that describes that the subsection will summarise all the information given in the subsections before (within the larger section).

For instance,

  1. Section title
    1.1. Subsection title A
    1.2. Subsection title B
    1.3. Subsection title C
    1.4. Headline needed <- summarises all information from 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3.

For chapters I would probably go for Chapter summary. However, I am not dealing with a chapter at the moment and the equivalent Section summary sounds rather strange to me.

In German we have the word Zwischenfazit which can be used for summaries on the level of chapters, sections or even subsections. I looked it up and the most often given suggestions on http://dict.leo.org/ is interim conclusion. However, this also sounds somehow strange to me.

I also found Recapitulation and conclusion as a possible headline.

So my question therefore is: What do you think about the suggestions given above? And if none of them sound right to you, do you know a term that I could use for my purpose?

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  • Furthermore, it seems that such kind of section summaries are not often done in English publications. Is this right? What I sometimes see is that the summary is just attached to the last subsection without creating a new concluding subsection. However, that always seems strange to me. Maybe that's all a cultural thing?
    – phx
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:22
  • I think this unnamed summary subsection idea is used, but only when the summary is very short (a single sentence up to a short paragraph), in order to avoid very short sentences. I think I've seen unnumbered (sub-)sections just entitled "summary" at the end of a parent section/chapter in some textbooks, though I can't think of an example off the top of my head.
    – Chris H
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:29

2 Answers 2

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You could use "conclusion" if it's actually a conclusion. A last subsection may well not really be a conclusion.

There's nothing wrong with "section summary" if that's what you mean, but if you do this in every section (or most sections) you could just use "summary". Rather than the "interim conclusion" suggested by your direct translation, "interim summary" would be a more appropriate phrase based on your definition. I wouldn't tend to use this in the case of numbered sections, but you could.

"Recapitulation" is valid but maybe be overly formal or old-fashioned while the more common shortened form "recap" is probably too informal for serious writing.

One option that might work is "summary of section title", e.g.:

  1. Methods to reach the end

    1.1. Walk straight there

    1.2. Wander about a bit

    1.3. Fly

    1.4. Summary of end-reaching methods

This has the advantages of reminding the reader what you're summarising, and not filling your contents with a lot of identically-named subsections, whihc doesn't look nice and hinders navigation.

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  • I would upvote you if I could. I have to think about your last option. Which sounds best to me at the moment. I am still confused about "section summary". Is it always clear what "section" refers to?
    – phx
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:18
  • 1
    "Section" is sometimes used to mean both a level 1 "section" and a level 1.1 "subsection". This won't necessarily lead to confusion as a subsection which is a summary must be summarising something larger than itself. The most likely target is then the parent section.
    – Chris H
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:20
  • Alright, thanks. I added another comment to my original question which might also give some insight into this issue.
    – phx
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:24
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Waypoint might be what you are after. An interim point in the longer journey.

But I like the Zwischenfazit suggestion!

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  • 1
    Zwischenfazit was not a suggestion, but the word that needs translating. Waypoint does not convey the idea of a summary.
    – Joachim
    Jun 30, 2022 at 19:14
  • Sometimes the solution is to take the untranslatable word as-is, because there is no good translation. Like schadenfreude.
    – NeilH
    Jul 1, 2022 at 21:40
  • A waypoint is an opportunity to stop, look back at where you have come from and look forwards to the next stage. That looking back is summarizing.
    – NeilH
    Jul 1, 2022 at 21:44

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