Formal Reports

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  • Takethem to word and show them insert, document elements, etc. to create a table of contents. Have simple headings ready so it’ll work. Go to word doc and walk through simple steps of headers and creating a table of contents
  • Differs from appendices a bit. Figures and tables are more visuals. You will often see photos, maps, etc. whereas with an appendix, located at the end of the body, will contain more text, numbers, data, etc. If you questions which it is more than likely it is an appendix.
  • Preface slightly less formal if you also have an introduction.
  • Remember, certain members of a company may read only certain parts of your report, so each section needs to make sense. If you introduce a term in one section using symbols, you may have to thoroughly explain in the following section. You have to do it in a way that doesn’t lead the reader to get bored or think you think they are slow… Balance and consistency.
  • Usually about 10% of the entire length. Like a conclusion, should be written last even though it proceeds the rest of the body. Must reflect the report’s final contents. Can highlight certain areas if you want. Kinda like a cover letter to a resume. Needs to reflect the meat, but up to you what you want to really point out and highlights. It must not refer to figures or contain weird symbols used in report. See checklist on page 400 of text!!
  • For instance, if the intro states that the report’s objective is to assess the market for new product, then the conclusion should focus on the requirements of the new market examined and on how appropriate the new product is for that market.
  • Not going into detail about this
  • Not sure if yours will be extensive enough to have an index
  • Hesitant to put an actual page # on it, but I think that the body of your paper probably should not be less than eight pages. Add abstract, toc, references, bibliography and we have 12ish pages. If you include appendixes and glossary, which I highly recommend, you will be at 15ish.


  • 1. Writing Formal Reports
  • 2. Written for many reasons• Research into new development• Explorations of the feasibility of a new product or service• End-of-year review
  • 3. More than one audience• Formal reports are organized to address the needs of more than one audience• Different positions reading different sections• Executive summary and abstract exist independently
  • 4. Voices in the WorkplaceAs a writing staff team leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Judy Prono notes that herreaders range from technical experts and elected officials to public interest groups and the generalpublic. To reach such a diverse readership, her staff will “begin by explaining the „what‟ and „so what‟of the research to non-expert readers and add technical details as the report progresses…We may alsotell two stories, one in the text and one in the accompanying graphics, captions, and sidebars. The twobecome complementary explanations…that tell the full story together but capture its highlights ifreaders have time only for the „pictures.‟”
  • 5. Abstract• Condensed version (200-250 words) of a longer work that summarizes and highlights its major points.• Contains: subject, scope, purpose, methods used, results obtained (optional), recommendations made (optional)• Does not contain: detailed discussion or explanation or the methods used, administrative details about how research was done, who funded it, who worked on it, illustrations, tables, charts, maps, any information that does not appear in the original document.
  • 6. Table of ContentsTable of ContentsAbstract…………………………………………….iiiPreface……………………………………………...viiExecutive Summary………………………………..1Introduction………………………………………...2 a b cAnalysis of Reported Cases a b cConclusions and Recommendations…………….8Appendices a. Population…………………………10 b. Survey Example………………......11References………………………………………...12
  • 7. List of Figures or List of TablesWhen a report contains more than five figures/tables,list them after the table of contents.
  • 8. Foreword• Optional• Introductory statement written by someone other than the author(s).• Provides background information about the significance and places it in the context of other works in the field.• Author is usually an authority in the field and/or an executive of the company.
  • 9. Preface• Optional• Written by the author to announce the purpose, background, or scope of the report.• May contain acknowledgements of help received during the course of the project• May cite permission(s) obtained• This info can also be put in the introduction (depends HOW much info you need and how extensive the report is)
  • 10. List of Abbreviations and Symbols• Use when the abbreviations and symbols used in a report are numerous and when there is a chance that the audience will not be able to interpret them.
  • 11. Body• Executive summary• Introduction• Text (headings, tables, illustrations, and references)• Conclusions and recommendations
  • 12. Executive Summary• More complete overview of the report than the abstract• States purpose and major findings• Provides background• States the scope• Provides conclusions• Gives recommendations• Optional, but strongly recommended with wider range of audience
  • 13. Text/Body• Longest part of the report• Presents details of how the topic was investigated, how the problem was solved, how the best choice from alternatives was selected• Tables and illustrations to support the text• Lots of ways to organize this
  • 14. Text/Body• Graphic and Tabular Matter • Figure 1, Figure 2; Figure 1.1, 1.2)• Refer to the graphic or tabular matter by figure number not location or page number
  • 15. Text/Body—Conclusions• The conclusions section of the report pulls it all together—what the whole point of the report/research was in the first place.• Must remain consistent with findings and purpose
  • 16. Text/Body— Recommendations• Generally combined with the conclusions, suggest a course of action that should be taken based on the results of the study/research. • What consulting group should the firm hire for a special project? • With which Web-page designer should the firm target? • Which make of delivery can should the company purchase to replace the existing fleet?• Recommendations advise the audience on the best course of action based on the findings. • Should
  • 17. Text/Body—References
  • 18. Back Matter• Contains supplementary material, such as where to find additional information about the topic (bibliography)• Expands on certain information (appendixes)• Define terms used (glossary)
  • 19. Back Matter— Bibliography• An alphabetical listing of all the sources you consulted to prepare the report• May contain additional texts that your References do not include• Starts on a new page labeled by its name
  • 20. Back Matter—Appendices• Clarifies or supplements the body with information that is too detailed or lengthy for the primary audience but that is relevant• Might provide long charts, graphs, questionnaires, etc.• Place each appendix on a new page
  • 21. Back Matter—Glossary• Alphabetical list of definitions of terms used in a formal report• Appears on a new page after the appendix(es))• Whether you use include a glossary is up to you, but you still have to define new terms when first mentioned in the text
  • 22. Back Matter—Index• Alphabetical list of all the major topics and subtopics found in the report• Cites the pages where each topic can be found
  • 23. What I want• Abstract• Table of Contents• Body • Executive summary • Introduction • Text (headings, tables, illustrations, and references) • Conclusions and recommendations• References• Bibliography• Glossary (encouraged)• Appendixes (encouraged)
  • 24. Assume that the audience is, for example, the board of directors of CGFAircraft Corporation. Consider the following questions:a. What is the purpose of the report?b. What is the scope of the report? What is the scope of your currentresearch?c. Are costs an important concern of this report?d. Are the conclusions effective?e. How long would you expect the report to be?