Elements of the Analytical Report
Elements of the Analytical Report
Parts of the report, in order, are
1. Letter or Memo of Transmittal (not actually part of the report but included with the report)
2. Title Page
o Title of the report
o Name of the person, department, or company commissioning the report
o Date submitted
o Authors and their corporate or departmental affiliation
The title of the report should
o Be long enough to describe the report’s contents (two-line titles are acceptable) and
o Incorporate the key words from the report to allow indexing and retrieval.
3. Executive Summary
The executive summary will be read by the executive who commissioned the report and in many cases, this is the only part of the report that he or she will read. Staff members will analyze and read the rest of the report.
The executive summary is always one paragraph long and contains the following :
o an identification of the problem addressed in the report
o a brief description of the significance of the problem to the company
o a very brief description of the solution
o a very brief description of the time and funds required to implement the solution
Executive summaries do not contain explanations or justifications because there is no space for them; a partial explanation is worse than none at all. Note that the executive summary is not a complete summary. Many key parts of the report are not mentioned. It is also not an “abstract.” Abstracts are written by experts for other experts who use them for research purposes. Abstracts place primary emphasis on the scope of the study and the methodology used.
4. Table of Contents
Tables of contents are necessary only when the report is more than ten pages long or has many separate parts.
The table of contents generally is not included in a five-page report because the readers can skim the report to find content as easily as they can use the table of contents. But the table of contents generally is included in a ten-page report because the readers can generally locate information in a table of contents more quickly than they can skim ten pages.
5. Table of Figures (optional)
Tables of figures are necessary only when the report has a number of charts, graphs, or line drawings and the readers will be accessing them non-sequentially.
6. Glossary of Terms (optional)
Glossaries are necessary only in those rare cases when the report will use a number of terms that are not familiar to the reader.
7. Body—This is where the “meat” of your report is developed.
Conclusions are a natural extension of the report and complete its logic. The “Conclusions” section can be of any length and is always written in paragraphed prose. The conclusions are a separate part of the report, always labeled “Conclusions.” The conclusion section need not begin a new page of the report.
The recommendations are a separate part of the report, always labeled “Recommendations.” They always form a separate page.
10. Appendices (optional)
Appendices are put at the end of the report and are labeled “A” through “Z.” They are referenced in the report itself, generally with a sentence in parentheses, ie., “(See appendix C.)”
Appendices are used to hold independent data or documents needed to explain or support points made in the report. For example, if the report recommends purchasing a safety device to improve a machine’s operation, an appendix would contain a manufacturer’s specification sheet describing the device. If the report recommended a department reorganization and change of change of titles and salaries, an appendix would contain.
The bibliography lists the published documents that are referenced in the report itself. It is always placed on a separate page and is labeled “Bibliography.”
List only physical documents rather than Web pages in bibliographies. Report readers must be able to order the cited published document at any later time, but Web pages disappear or change over time. When you need to reference Web-based data, download and print the information and include it as an appendix.