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Sustainability: Major Sections of the Report

Page history last edited by julie.staggers@unlv.edu 13 years, 11 months ago

The body of your report will consist of the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Recommendations
  • Methods and Findings
  • Conclusion



Like any opening, include a descriptive summary reviewing the gist of the report, focusing on the statement of the problem, pertinent background/history of the project/problem, and results/recommendations/proposal. Also include a summary of the report sections.



Describe the context and purpose of the report in sufficient detail to justify the report. Include:

  • Client (target audience/reader) description
  • Statement of need or problem
  • Statement of project objectives


You need to convince readers that there are possible problems by describing causes. Provide statistics, interviews, quotes,  and any other evidence you can find to back up your points. Speculate about the problem/need: That is, if nothing is done, what will the future hold? Create a sense of urgency to convince readers that they need to take ation and implement the information that you have gathered. Remember that the primary audience is the client (person or entity that implement your solution!), so pay attention to the principals of maintaining goodwill and expressing negative information in positive ways; you need them on your side, so don't bash them!



This report should use the managerial organization pattern. That means your recommendations or proposal should come immediately after the report introduction and background sections. The recommendation section should:


Give an answer to your guiding research question (primary question) based on what your client (individual or entity with the power to enact your solution) will find feasible.

Describe how the information you have gathered/your proposal can best be implemented for the benefit of the organization

Convince your audience that your information is valid and important for the organization


You'll find it most helpful to make your arguments by following the general criteria for evaluating options listed in the table below. Make sure you support your claims with evidence.


Methods and Findings

The methods and findings section, sometimes called the methodology section, follows the recommendation section. It should include the following subsections:

  • Findings sections that discusses the results of your research. List and provide details about what you found out, including what your surveys, personal interviews, any other primary research and any secondary source material revealed.
  • Methods section that describes and justifies your research techniques.

The data that you collect is critical to any primary research report including this one. You should present your data in various tables, charts, graphs and other visual aids. Call attention to relevant results and don't leave it up to the reader to decipher your data or interpret what your visuals mean.



Include a persuasive closing, convincing your audience to accept your study and recommendations. Suggests benefits of accepting reports' claims/following through on the proposed actions.


  • Will your recommended plan be effective?
  • Will it work?
  • Will the recommendations solve the problem?
Resource feasibility
  • Can the client implement the recommendations?
  • Do the recommendations require technology or resources (e.g. personel) that are not available?
  • What will have to be acquired to make the option work?
  • Will the recommendation require suspension of services or production?
  • Will there be any training involved? Hiring new personnel?
  • Will the organization want to implement the proposed changes?
  • Will anyone have personal objections to the option? Do the recommendations harm or threaten anyone (staff, clients, customers)?
  • Is the option legal? Ethical?
  • Does the option have  desirable effects? Undesirable effects? What are they?
  • What does the option cost to implement? To maintain?
  • Is the cost reasonable?
  • Is the cost justifiable given the level of need or severity of the problem?
  • Is the option better than other options? Why?
  • Develop and explain the criteria you use to make comparisons (e.g. choosing a computer system based on criteria such as cost, processing speed, software package, ease-of-use, technical support)
  Source: Leslie Olsen and Thomas Huckin. Technical Writing and Professional Communication. 2nd ed. Mcgraw-Hill, 1991.





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