Overview of the report. This report explores the feasibility of creating an intranent for a university area. Specifically, it attempts to determine whether an intranet would be useful, acceptable, and worth the expense. Notice that this feasibility report does not use the executive approach. The executive approach puts conclusions and recommendations up front and shifts the detailed discussion into appendixes toward the back of the report.
Note: This version of the report illustrates the printed copy of the report. The horizontal lines indicate page breaks. Hypertext online versions will be made available at www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/models.html
Transmittal letter. The transmittal letter is typically attached to the front cover of the report. If the front cover has an inside pocket, the transmittal letter can be placed there. The letter can refer to some prior agreement, provide a descriptive overview of the contents of the report (almost identical to the descriptive abstract on the title page), and encourage the recipients to get in touch if necessary. For convenience's sake, technical-writing instructors request that the transmittal letter be made the first (but unofficial) page of the report. (For further details, see transmittal letters in online textbook.)
Title page. The title page is the first official page in the report—it's the first page you see when you open the report. However, sometimes the transmittal letter is placed inside the report, as the first page, to keep it from getting lost or damaged. (For further details, see title pages in online textbook.)
Notice that the title page contains the descriptive abstract, which is an almost word-for word copy of the summary of contents in the transmittal letter. Reports typically contain a lot of this sort of repetition to ensure that readers see the main points, however they read the report. (For further details, see descriptive abstracts in online textbook.)
Table of contents. After the title page, the next page in the report is the table of contents (TOC). Notice the contents of this TOC: it lists the first-, second-, and third-level headings that occur in the report, along with the abstract and the information sources. Notice the format: the first-level headings are in all caps; the second- and third-level headings use headline-style caps; notice also how they indented in relation to each other. And finally notice the leader dots that guide the eye out to the page number—the page on which the section starts. (For further details, see table of contents in online textbook.)
List of figures. After the TOC comes the list of figures. This can include tables and any other sort of nontextual material. The standard design is to center the words LIST OF FIGURES (in all caps) at the top of the page. The actual list uses two column headings—Figure and Page—initial cap and centered over their respective columns. In the figure list, you needn't include the entire figure title, just enough that is grammatically complete. (For further details, see figure lists in online textbook.)
Abstract (informative). The next page (or pages) in the report is the informative abstract, also called the "executive summary." Note very carefully the difference between the descriptive and informative abstracts. This informative abstract summarizes the key facts and conclusions contained in the report. The descriptive abstract, on the other hand, just gives you a teaser as to the report's purpose and topics covered. (For further details, see informative abstracts in online textbook.)
Introduction. The introduction is the first main body section of the report. Notice the format just about the "INTRODUCTION" heading. You see the full title of the report—just as it appears on the title page. Notice the contents of the introduction. It begins with some background as to the situation out of which this report arose. The second paragraph narrows in on the problem that is the focus of this report, while the rest of the paragraph indicates the purpose of the report and provides a quick overview of its contents.
Keep these essential elements of introductions in mind—subject matter, background, purpose, audience, and overview of contents. While the specific audience of this report is not stated, the background that readers need to understand is made clear. (For further details, see introductions in online textbook.)
Main text of the report. Notice how the discussion in the body of this report proceeds: first we have an extended definition of intranets; then we move on to the problem of information storage and retrieval and the need for a more effective and n efficient system; next we enter a discussion of the benefits of an intranet to information flow within an organization; and, finally, the report concludes the main text with a discussion of how an intranet might be implemented in an organization.
First-level headings. As the online textbook chapter on headings emphasizes, first-level headings are used only in longer, more complex documents such as this one. Notice the format of the first-level heading: it's bold, all-caps, and centered. Notice too that first-level headings always begin a new page—indicated here by horizontal line across the page). (For further details, see first-level headings in online textbook.)
Second-level headings. If you think of the first-level heading as the roman-numeral parts of an outline, the second-level headings are like the capital-letter items, one level lower in the outline. Notice that they use headline-style caps: that is, the initial letter of all main words (except for prepositions and words like a, an, and the. (For further details, see second-level headings in online textbook.)
Third-level headings. If you think of second-level headings as the capital-letter items in a traditional outline, third-level headings are like the arabic-numeral items in the outline, one level lower. Notice their format: they use sentence-style caps, that is, first letter of the first word is capitalized only. Notice that they are bold and are punctuated with a period. And finally notice that they "run in" to the paragraph—but are not a grammatical part of that paragraph. (For further details, see third-level headings in online textbook.)
Page numbering. (For further details, see page numbering in online textbook.)
Illustrations. (For further details, see illustrations in online textbook.)
Source citations. Notice the bracketed numbers occurring throughout the report. These indicate the source of borrowed information, at each point where it is borrowed. Go to the end of the report to see what the various sources are. Notice that citations that have a comma in them, such as [5,7], mean that the borrowed information came from a combination of those sources (in this example, source 5 and source 7). (For further details, see source documentation in online textbook.)
Information sources. At the end of the report, we have the list of information sources. This report uses the number system in which the sources are numbered, and these numbers are used along with page references in the body of the report to indicate the source of borrowed information. (For further details, see sources list in online textbook.)
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