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1/2-1 PAGE INTRODUCTION
Guidelines: In this section of your business report, your goal is to explain the nature of your project and explain the problem you are hoping to solve. This introduction differs from the Executive Summary which summarizes the entire report into a few paragraphs. In the introduction,you need to explain why you chose option A, B, or C, give background information (company info, product/service idea, or your personal financial situation), explain what the possible causes of the problem are, and then explain how your group plans to arrive at a solution or alternative. Ideally, your introduction should be between 1/2-2 pages. You don’t need to go much further into depth, because you will be covering the process of your research and your findings in the body portions of the paper. More simply put, the introduction is the section which you explain why you are interested in a certain business problem, why you think the problem exists, and what you hope to learn about it.
2-3 PAGE BODY: APPROACHES/STRATEGIES
Guidelines: In this section of your business report, your goal is to explain and discuss how you will go about gathering additional and necessary information relating to your “problem” and offer a more detailed explanation of how to address/resolve your business “problem”. In other words: now that you’ve identified what’s wrong, how can you go about fixing it? Obviously you don’t have all the answers yet, but where do you THINK you should be looking for information and what do you THINK will help fix the business problem? Since you’ve already introduced background information, this section should provide DEPTH of your issue as opposed to breadth (a broad overview)- no need to summarize what you’ve already covered: this section is about APPROACHES/METHODS/STRATEGIES for PROBLEM SOLVING! This section will take AT LEAST 2-3 pages, but you may find yourself writing a bit more.
4-5 PAGE BODY: FINDINGS
Guidelines: In this section of your business report, your goal is to explain, discuss, and evaluate the sources, facts, figures, and information you have gathered through your research and investigation of your business “problem” and determine if your initial approaches/methods were an appropriate way to address/resolve your business “problem”. If your approaches/methods were correct, or at the very least heading in the right direction, explain why! If they weren’t correct, or they seem inconclusive, EXPLAIN WHY! In order to complete this section effectively, you will need to provide numerical figures, statistics, and other pertinent data and include AT LEAST THREE charts, graphs, figures/images that show you’ve analyzed the information you’ve found. Although you still may not have have all the answers to your business problem yet, you must analyze what answers you DO have so far in your ivestigation. This section will take AT LEAST 4-5 pages, but you may find yourself writing more. Remember: this section is NOT a conclusion (you’ll be writing that later), it is a discussion of the data/information. The conclusion is what needs to be done next to tackle the business “problem” and your overall thoughts/analysis of the entire investigation.
1-2 PAGE WORKS CONSULTED
Using the instructions on iLearn and the example, write annotations for AT LEAST SIX sources you consulted (but not necessarily used) for your report, and have AT LEAST TEN SOURCES YOU HAVE CONSULTED (read or cited). Annotations must be between 100-150 words (NO MORE, NO LESS!). Be sure to write in complete sentences and proofread your work! Be sure to list all of your sources alphabetically.
1-2 PAGE CONCLUSION
In this section of your business report, your goal is to wrap up the overall discussion of your business “problem” and offer some insightful concluding remarks about what you’ve learned from your investigation, from beginning to end. Think of this section as your lingering thoughts/analysis of the entire investigation- what went well, what didn’t, what you’ve learned about your business “problem” and how you’ll continue to work towards solving it in the future. Odds are you haven’t completely solved your business “problem”, and perhaps you never will, but your goal is to offer your reader what you think should happen next. Maybe it’s more research; maybe it’s simply carrying through with your initial approaches/methods; maybe it’s taking a completely different approach. The answer will greatly depend on what you’ve learned from the entire experience.
REMEMBER: this is NOT the Executive Summary! You will write it LAST!
1/2-1 PAGE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY HERE
In this section of your report, your goal is to provide a concise, broad overview of your entire investigation by condensing and distilling the content into a 1/2-1 page summary. Much like an abstract for an academic paper, your goals are to: state the topic/subject of the report, state your business ‘problem’ and your purpose for pursuing a possible solution, discuss the methods/approaches you used to gather information, describe/evaluate the data you encountered, and offer a concluding statement that wraps up your entire report. Unlike your introduction, you aren’t telling the reader a lot of background information- you’re simply stating the ‘problem’ and ‘purpose’ as briefly as possible. Unlike the findings section, you aren’t going into depth by analyzing and making sense of the data- you’re merely stating what you found. And unlike your conclusion, the executive summary isn’t a discussion about what you’ve learned- it just states what the outcome was and what needs to be done in the future.