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Report Writing
Structure of the reportWriting Business Reports

Executive summary

The executive summary provides the reader with an overview of the reportís essential information. It is designed to be read by people who will not have time to read the whole report or are deciding if this is necessary; therefore, in your executive summary you need to say as much as possible in the fewest words (Weaver & Weaver, 1977). The executive summary should briefly outline the subject matter, the background problem, the scope of the investigation, the method(s) of analysis, the important findings arguments and important issues raised in the discussion, the conclusion and recommendations. The executive summary should not just be an outline of the points to be covered in the report with no detail of the analysis that has taken place or conclusions that have been reached.

The executive summary stands as an overview at the front of the report but it is also designed to be read alone without the accompanying report (this would often occur in the workplace); therefore, you need to make sure it is self sufficient and can be understood in isolation. It is usually written last (so that it accurately reflects the content of the report) and is usually about two hundred to three hundred words long (i.e. not more than a page).


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