Formal report components
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FORMAL REPORT COMPONENTS. Basic Format. Total 10-15 pages, including appendices. No penalty for longer reports as long as appropriate writing style maintained. Single spaced, no indent, left justify only Page numbers in upper right corner 1 blank line between new paragraphs

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Basic format
Basic Format

  • Total 10-15 pages, including appendices. No penalty for longer reports as long as appropriate writing style maintained.

  • Single spaced, no indent, left justify only

  • Page numbers in upper right corner

  • 1 blank line between new paragraphs

  • Final report must be bound, with loose letter of transmittal clipped to cover.


  • Major section headings start a new page, 1 blank line after.

  • 1 blank line before and after sub-headings.

  • 3rd level subheadings must be easily distinguished from others

  • There should be at least one sub-heading on each page (a whole page of text with no sub-heading will be penalized)

  • No orphan headings.

Page 4



Note how easy it is to distinguish between the major, section heading and the sub-heading.


Note that consistent spacing is used, skipping one line both before and after a sub-heading.

Third-level headings. If used should be easy to distinguish from major, section headings and sub-headings.

Letter of transmittal
Letter of Transmittal

  • Announce the topic and explain who authorized it.

  • Briefly describe the project and preview the conclusions – if the reader is supportive.

  • Close expressing appreciation for assignment, suggesting follow-up actions, acknowledging the help of others, and offering to answer questions.

Title page
Title Page

  • Balance the following lines:

    • Name of the report in all caps (e.g. Final Report)

    • Receiver’s name, title, and organization

    • Team name and team members

    • Date submitted (month/year)

  • No page number on title page (page 1 is executive summary)


XYZ Corporation

Jane Smith, VP Marketing

Longhorn Consulting

Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill,Huey Lewis, Melissa Etheridge

April 2006

Table of contents
Table of Contents

  • Show the beginning page number where each report heading appears in the report (do not put page number range, just the first page number).

  • Connect headings to page numbers with dots.

  • Headings should be grammatically parallel

  • Include major section headings and sub-headings

  • No page number on TOC page


Executive Summary........................... 1

Introduction ....................................... 2 Background Purpose Scope Research Questions Report Organization

Research and Analysis...................... 4 Methodology Findings

Conclusions & Recommendations..... 6

Appendices........................................ 7 Appendix 1: Survey questions Appendix 2: Client proposal Appendix 3: PowerPoint slides

Executive summary
Executive Summary

  • Include

    • challenge statement (client focused)

    • a little background (type of organization, what they do, size, when established)

    • SMART goal (team focused)

    • a little research summary (techniques/sources used, research questions if have room)

    • conclusions and recommendations (all, but summarized)

Executive summary cont
Executive Summary (cont)

  • This is first page of report (page 1)

  • Typically 1-2 pages

  • OK to copy/repeat portions of report in E.S


  • Background: Provide a full description of the client and the challenge.

  • Purpose: Client’s perspective on the challenge/motivation for report (e.g. XYZ’s goal for this project is to....). Include significance of challenge (what difference will it make?).

  • Scope: Clarify the scope and limitations of report. (include your SMART goal)

Introduction cont
Introduction (cont)

  • Research questions: from proposal – your broad, upper level questions/areas of investigation (NOT detailed survey questions). Must include benchmark question.

  • Preview report’s organization. “The next section presents our research and analysis followed by our conclusions and recommendations.”

Research and analysis
Research and Analysis

  • Introductory paragraph for the section (this can also be used for executive summary)

  • Methodology

    • For all types of research provide:

      • Goal for each piece of research (what is your question/hypothesis?)

      • Data source

    • For surveys give # surveys distributed, how distributed, how population chosen

    • For observations give how, when, where observations occurred

    • Refer to more detailed information in appendix

Research and analysis1
Research and Analysis

  • Analysis/Research Findings

    • Goal = supply proof for conclusions

    • Discuss, analyze, and interpret (don’t just give results, also say what they mean – particularly with benchmarking)

    • Remember to report on all your research, including interviews with client and personal observations (discuss in methodology too)

    • Support your findings with evidence

    • (new) Provide summary paragraph of key findings and their significance at end of section

Research and analysis2
Research and Analysis

  • Explain all graphs in writing

  • Arrange the findings in logical segments that follow your outline. Findings should be presented in the same order as discussed in methodology.

  • Use clear, descriptive headings.

  • Present “just the facts”, no opinions, no feelings.

  • At end of section, introduce next section (conclusions and recommendations).

Conclusions recommendations

  • Conclusions: explain what the research findings mean in relation to the challenge.

  • Recommendations: Start with a verb and suggest actions to address challenge.

  • Enumerate conclusions and bullet related recommendations.

  • Conclusion answers the question, “why will your recommendation work?”

  • Conclusions are clearly drawn from the presented research (“based on....”)

  • (new) Introduce section with challenge statement and significance

  • Provide a final focus paragraph that relates recommendations back to SMART goal.


  • Based on our survey results and literature review, volunteer retention is increased when volunteers report feeling appreciated.

    • Initiate a volunteer reward program to recognize hours of service and leadership (see appendix for an example from abc organization).

  • Based on the experience similar organizations, volunteer retention is increased when volunteers report their skills are utilized and they feel part of the organization.

    • Introduce an initial interview system to identify the skills of volunteers.

    • Match new volunteers with a mentor to speed the volunteer assimilation.


  • Begin section with a cover sheet that includes a list of all items in appendix

  • Items should be numbered and titled (e.g. Appendix 1: Volunteer Survey). If difficult to put a number/title on the appendix item, use a cover sheet with the item’s number/title.

  • Include items of interest to some, but not all, readers (questionnaires, detailed budgets, etc).

  • Include a reference list showing all the works cited and consulted arranged alphabetically by author/source. For help with reference formatting, you can consult the website EasyBib at

  • Include signed copy of your client proposal.

  • Include your PowerPoint slides.

  • (new) Include your team agreement.

Format content considerations
Format/Content Considerations

  • Use present or past tense except for conclusions/ recommendations, which may be future tense.

  • Stay positive (no “problems”)! Any negative information should be “buried” in the findings section and reported briefly, factually.

  • No “we feel” or “we think” outside of the recommendations – just the facts.