Analytical Report Organization (approx. 2000+ words)
1. Executive Summary — In a business environment, upper management of a company may not have time to read an entire report. This section is about one page long and summarizes the key points of the report, including conclusions and recommendations. Use short, clear paragraphs with headings to preface and summarize the entire report in the beginning.
a. Purpose — The introduction of an analytical report begins with a statement of purpose, which sets up and explains what will be covered in the report and why. It should begin with “To…”
b. Background — This section reviews the historical conditions or factors leading up to the report.
c. Sources and Methods — This section describes the sources and methods used to gather information and supporting evidence for the report.
d. Scope — The scope section describes how much of the chosen topic will be covered and what the analysis will focus on.
e. Limitations — This section (if relevant) states the areas related to the topic that will NOT be covered. Provide reasons for why these areas are not included (budget, time, resources, etc.), but also comment on why not including them still makes the results valid.
f. Report Organization — This section briefly prefaces how the following report is organized. This gives a quick overview so the reader will know what to expect.
3. Body — The main content of the report is presented in short, topical paragraphs. Relevant and informative headings are used to help the reader navigate from one topic to another. All data reported is analyzed within the body of the paper. Include at least one visual (chart, graph, image, etc.) where it would be more effective than simple text.
4. Conclusions — Based on the analysis provided in the report, clearly state conclusions that are justified. You need to interpret the findings of your research for the trends, patterns, and possibilities that they indicate. In this section, give the answer, solution, or concluding argument(s) to your statement of purpose.
5. Recommendations — Propose a recommended plan of action for your audience.
• List the steps (recommendations) required to achieve the benefit, using active verbs for emphasis.
• Summarize the benefit(s) that can be achieved if the recommendation is adopted along with any potential risks, costs, or necessary procedure changes.
• Summarize your recommendations and action desired of recipient(s).
6. References – Use APA style for references that are cited throughout the report (in text) and in the end section titled “References”. A minimum of 5 references total (from reliable sources) is required.