LONG FORMAL REPORTS
A typical structure of a long formal report might look like this, but bear in mind that you may modify and adapt the following components to virtually any type or length of report.
1 Title page
2 Letters of authorisation, transmittal and approval (terms of reference)
3 Table of contents
4 List of tables and figures (if appropriate)
7 Synopsis (or abstract)
(B) Main report
2 Findings and discussion
1 References and Bibliography
3 Index (Key words with page references to where they occur in ...view middle of the document...
Afew moments' study of the contents page by the reader helps rapid understanding, provided the lay-out really does show the structure clearly, and if the titles and subtitles are concise and explanatory and identical with those used in the text. Table of contents should also include page numbers and should therefore be typed last of all, when the final page numbers are known.
List of tables and figures.
This list not only aids the reader, but also helps to provide a valuable check against inaccurate collating (assembly) before stapling and binding.
Foreword or preface.
This may be found in a large general report, perhaps issued for a whole profession or for the general public, rather than a particular body. It briefly explains why the writer or his/her employers wanted to carry out the investigation or to write a report about it, or to explain why the report was produced in the way it was.
It is customary to thank by name those who have helped in the investigation and compiling of the report, both within your own organisation and in other organisations. This does not mean listing every single person who had anything to do with it, only those of particular significance: "The Managing Director, Mr. ..., and his staff," "my colleagues and in particular Mr. ... and Ms. ...."
Where money has been provided from outside funds, this must be mentioned but without any indications of the actual sums involved. Help by secretarial staff and technicians should equally be mentioned.
Synopsis or abstract.
The synopsis or abstract is a highly compressed paragraph summarising the purpose of the report and the general character of its conclusions or recommendations. Its function is to give the busy reader quickly a good idea of what he may expect to find in the report even before he/she has read the probably much longer introduction. Where a synopsis is not included, its function is often fulfilled by means of placing the conclusions and recommendations sections early on in the report instead of in their more usual position at the end.
References and bibliography.
If you have used other people's work or writing to compile your report, you should acknowledge this in the text and then list the references at the end of the...