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Executive summaries usually devote a small paragraph to each major section of the report. Abstracts tend to be only one paragraph, devoting a sentence or two to each section of the report. The executive summary or abstract should be written after you have finished drafting the rest of the report.
The Rise and Rise of Reality Television: Peter Hamilton at TEDxTraverseCity 2013
An introduction in a report will typically make up to five moves.
- State the topic. Tell your readers what the report is about.
- State the purpose. In one or two sentences, explain what the report is going to do or achieve.
- State the main point or thesis of the report. State the overall conclusion of your report.
- Provide background information. Briefly, give readers enough historical information about your topic to help them understand it.
- Explain why the topic is important to readers. Tell readers why they should care about this topic.
These moves can be made in just about any order, and they are not all necessary. Minimally, your introduction should tell your readers the report's topic, purpose, and main point.
Discuss your results and what they mean. Show how your results answer your research question. Researchers often boil their results down to two to five "conclusions". In most reports, each conclusion will need a paragraph to discuss how it supports the hypothesis and its implications.
The conclusion of your analytical report should be brief. It should make all or some of the following moves:
- Restate your main point. One more time, state the analytical report's overall main point or discovery.
- Make two-five recommendations. Using the results of your research, offer some recommendations about what should be done about this problem, issue, or trend. Analytical reports often present these recommendations in a list.
- Reemphasize the importance of the topic. Explain briefly why your readers should care about this topic and take action.
- Look to the future. Analytical reports often end with a small paragraph that describes what will happen with this topic in the near and distant future.