Are you ready to find out more helpful hints on composing a decent paper to submit in your Business Management class or to your project manager? We have already discussed the main features of report writing in Part 1, so now we are going to focus on the logical organization and structure of such texts.
Below we will consider each part of a good business report in detail. However, at first it should be mentioned that in real life, that is the one behind the walls of your university, you may come across two structurally different types of such document.
According to the explanation provided by the Business School of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the more contemporary direct approach to business writing implies that conclusions and recommendations should be provided near the beginning of the document, while its body part should present justifications for them.
The indirect approach is rather more classic. The report, written in accordance with its requirements, discusses the given issue in the beginning and presents the conclusions or recommendations in the end. However, the author of the explanation highlights that such approach may be used in case these conclusions appear controversial, ambiguous, or unpopular.
Still, in this article we would like to adhere to the more standard (indirect) approach, described and analyzed in and by many other paper and online English resources, including Oxford Dictionaries Blog, the Report Writing guide by the Business School of UNSW Sydney, Australia, etc.
Check out the classic structure and logic of the business report below and make sure you can write a perfect paper quickly and painlessly!
Obviously, it should have the title of your report, your name, and the date. In some universities students can be required to add the course name, tutor’s name, and tutorial time. Or you may be provided with a special standard title page on which you just need to write the title of your report and your name by hand.
Table of Contents
It is actually an outline of the whole document. Make sure that the headings are clear and exhaustive as well as that the information in at least one section of your report can be divided into logical parts marked with the second and third level headings.
Abstract or Executive Summary
Please pay attention that it is not an introduction. In this summary you should briefly present the whole core of your report: its purpose, your findings, and the conclusions. In essence, it is a synopsis of your work and should not take more than one page. And you’d better compose it after you finish the report itself. Actually, this summary is usually read by busy executives who simply have no time to look through the whole document.
Terms of Reference
It is not a compulsory part of the business report and can be included into the introduction, but we recommend you approaching your tutor to specify whether your report does need this part as a separate section. As the name implies, it should explain your reasons for writing.
In this part you should focus more on the purpose and scope of your work, provide the definitions of the terms you use if necessary, as well as the overview of the entire report.
Body Part: Methodology and Findings
Here you are expected to describe the methods you used to do the research, provide the theory as a background for your work, review the literature, and analyze the findings. In this very part subheadings and lists are very welcome, as they can help you organize the large amount of information neatly and hence make it more readable for your audience.
Based on your findings, you should provide rational assessment of the whole situation you researched, highlighting some details if you consider them worth particular attention. Also, you could muse over the possible limitations of the research or prospects for the further work.
Simply put, these are solutions for the issue your business report discusses. Ideally, they should follow from your interpretation of the methods, findings, and conclusions.
References and Appendix If Necessary
The literature you refer to as well as all illustrative material can be provided in these two sections, so they will not overload the text of the document.