What is summary report?
Summary report is a concise comprehensive variant of more extended document. It is created in order to give a gist of the original version and to save processing time and efforts. Summary report is approximately 1 page long and should contain enough information for the readers to catch the main points of the full version of the report. Summary report is characterized by brevity, clarity and conciseness. It may contain statement of problem, some background information, descriptions of alternatives and main findings. Composing a summary report is an ideal approach to uncover vital and key components of the report in short yet justifiable arrangement so top administration or higher authorities can settle on vital business choices and plans successfully having brief overview of the data.
Summary report common structure. Summary report may be divided into several parts:
- Key facts (this section introduces major sections of the report, people involved in conducting the analysis, major statements, client’s details)
- Study aim (this section describes the purpose of the analysis)
- Methodology ( this section describes the analysis techniques)
- Findings (this section gives the overview of results and conclusions that were made)
Summary report vs. abstract
First of all abstract is only 6-8 lines long. The aim of the abstract is to notify the audience of the points that are discussed in the report but not to tell their content. Generally speaking summary report is a very condensed version of the most essential information of the full report. Summary report is an independent document rather that an indivisible element of the full version of the report.
Summary should be professionally written and well-polished as frequently this is the most distributed document and only few people interested in details may be provided with the full version of the report.
Writing summary report you should ask yourself whether the people who will read short and full version of the report are the same groups of people or different ones. Here you should decide on the amount of technical details and terms to be included in the summary as the readers who are given the short version may not have the necessary background knowledge. That’s why if one group will have access only to the summary, it would be wise to exclude from the summary difficult terminology and ecessive technical details.
Important tips to remember:
Summary should not describe, it should sell. Summary report is the face of your project. It creates so important first impression that may be crucial when final decision is made.
Summary should be clear, concise and coherent:
- say exactly what you intend;
- use specific definite language;
- use active voice;
- shape your ideas in the same form;
- link words and constructions logically;
- avoid using meaningless words and phrases (the absence of which doesn’t distort the meaning);
- make sure that the information you include is coherent (new information logically links with the already known facts).