The executive summary and letter of transmittal are parts of the research report assignment due at the end of the semester. (Go to http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/engl402/resrepassign.htm for the research report assignment.) They are often read first and read more carefully than any other part of the report than the conclusions and recommendations section.
An executive summary is basically the report in miniature, including its conclusions and recommendations. It typically is no longer than 10% of the total page length of the report. The executive summary has the same formal tone and factual information of the rest of the report. See p. 241 or p. 313 for examples, or look at the examples at these links:
Letter of Transmittal
A letter or memo of transmittal conveys the report to the person requesting it, or the primary audience for the report. It provides a context for reading the report.
Unlike the report proper, a letter of transmittal may use “I” and be less formal in tone than the rest of the report. Also, it provides a space for pointing out any unusual features of the report, such as unexpected findings, and for discussing the circumstances surrounding the preparation of the report, such as any difficulties or unexpected events in its preparation. A letter of transmittal will typically conclude with thanks to the person requesting the report. See pp. 380-381 for more information or p. 312 or p. 383 for an example.
|Executive Summary or Abstract||Letter or Memo of Transmittal|
1. To provide a summary of the material in the report.
2. To allow the reader to anticipate the conclusions and recommendations made in the last part of the report.
1. To introduce the report and provide a context for understanding its issues:
2. To provide a record of the report's production and transmission.
3. To alert the reader(s) to the following:
1. Typically is not more than 10% of the length of the report.
2. Uses the formal report conventions (does not use "I").
3. Addresses issues in the report but does not go beyond the report in its explanations.
1. Not usually a lengthy document (1 page or so).
2. May have a slightly less formal tone (uses "I") than the report proper.
3. Addresses issues surrounding the completion of the report: any unexpected difficulties or successes, for example, or possibly the need for further study.
4. Acknowledges the assistance of those who have helped (interviewees, etc.).
5. Concluding paragraph typically contains one or more of the following:
1. Group work option. Even if you are working collaboratively on the final project for the class, you will still need to turn in an individual executive summary and letter of transmittal. You should include the qualifications of those working with you in the Methods section.