The executive summary is used by decision makers (managers) to determine what action needs to be taken as a result of a project.  The typical size of the executive summary is one page.  The executive summary is independent of the body of the report.  The body of the report consists the introduction, background, experimental procedures, theory and analysis, discussion, and synthesis.

1. Cover Sheet

  • Title of Project
  • Your Name
  • Course Number, Course Title, Type of Report
  • Date

2. Executive Summary

  • Forward (example)
    • Problem Statement
      • State the organizational problem: the conflicts at issue in the organization.
      • Describe the organizational context: names of persons and departments involved in the issue
      • State the technical problem: the technical investigation needed to resolve the organizational issue
    • Assignment Statement
      • State the assignment, specifically what the writer of the report was asked to do.
      • State the technical questions, task, and perhaps the hypothesis or solution.
    • Rhetorical Purpose
      • State what the instrumental purpose of the report is.
  • Summary (example)
    • Objective and Background
      • State the Objective of the Project or Hypothesis
      • Describe the methodology or experimental procedure
      • Summarize the results
    • Conclusions
      • Concisely state the conclusions reached as a result of the project
    • Recommendations
      • State your recommendations for organizational action
    • Implications for the organization
      • Describe subsequent actions that should be taken
      • Describe the costs and benefits

3. Table of Contents

4. Introduction

  • The Problem
    • Give an explanation of the organizational problem that gave rise to the investigation being presented in the report
  • The Objective
    • Write a statement of the assignment that forms the basis of this report.
  • The Method of the Report
    • Forecast the structure of this report.  Your letting the reader know what to expect.

5. Background

  • Previous Work
    • Explain what has already been done about the problem
      • Provide a literature review for material that is relevant to this problem
      • Describe previous efforts and other ongoing investigations
      • Describe how the approach being taken in the investigation under consideration fits into the existing literature and efforts of others
    • Specifications
      • Provide an explanation of detailed instructions or specifications that serve as the basis for your work

6. Experimental Procedures

  • Materials
    • Describe the materials and test specimens used in the investigation
    • Describe the experimental setup used in the investigation
  • Methods
    • Provide a step by step description of the procedures followed in the experimental investigation
    • Summarize the data analysis performed
    • Summarize the raw experimental results
  • Figures and tables should be used to supplement discussion, not in stead of discussion.  Large volumes of data should be summarized in an appendix.

7. Theory and Analysis

  • Present the relevant theory and analysis used in the investigation.
  • Acknowledge all references

8. Discussion of Results

  • An extended explanation of precisely what was learned
  • Compare the experimental results to the relevant theory
  • Discuss in detail the meaning of the experimental and theoretical work
  • Describe and justify your conclusions

9. Synthesis/Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Problem Restated 

  • - A restatement of the report's objective and of the problem that gave rise to the report
  • Summary 

  • - Review the main points.
  • Recommendations 

  • - Explaining subsequent action or posing specific questions for investigations

10. References

11. Appendices