Here are some references about Executive Summaries that provide:
What is an Executive Summary?
An Executive Summary is a key component of a Formal Report because it allow readers to decide quickly whether or not they need / want to read the entire document. Your reader (audience) uses an Executive Summary to determine:
(Abridged from “Abstracts and Executive Summaries,” (n.d.))
An Executive Summary is a stand-alone document. Consequently, an Executive Summary should be considered as being independent from the formal report. Consequently, the readers of your SUMMARY will OFTEN choose not to read your full report. In practice, this means that the Executive Summary is purely a SUMMARY. Furthermore, the Executive Summary MUST NEVER contain any information that is NOT in the formal report. Note that some impatient readers of your report may NOT read your Executive Summary! Therefore, your Executive Summary cannot be used in place of the formal Introduction and Background sections in your full report.
Accuracy is essential because decisions will be made based on your summary by people who have not read the original or full report.
The Executive Summary should contain the key elements of the formal report. For a typical technical report, the Executive Summary would include:
The audience for an executive summary is precisely what the name indicates: executives and managers.
An Executive Summary may optionally contain brief summaries of tables and figures presented in greater detail in the full report or appendices. See Manyika et al., (2013). An excellent explanation of the importance, and role of professional graphic design for an Executive Summary is presented in Parkinson, (2012), from which the following example is sourced:
Citations to referenced material should be included in an Executive Summary. The citations will ALSO be referenced in the full report and listed in the Bibliography. See the examples Gibson (2003), and Mellalieu (2008). Manyika et al., (2013) is an example that uses footnotes. However, if your tutor requires you to submit in the APA citation style, then you would provide a Bibliography in your main report.
The length of an Executive Summary is typically one to ten pages to cover adequately the elements indicated above. For large reports, the Executive Summary can be longer, around five to ten per cent of the length of the full formal report. For an example of a long Executive Summary of 25 pages length, see Manyika et al., (2013).
Include the full report title in your Executive Summary: It is possible your Executive Summary will be detached or “cut-and-pasted” from your full report, perhaps repurposed as an Internal Memorandum. Therefore, include the full title and author in your report and Executive Summary. Manyika et al., (2013) shows the title and publisher included in the document header. If the document is publicly-available provide a full bibliographic link to the full report at the end of the Executive Summary.
Internal document links. Consider adding pointers to the specific sections of your formal report or appendices in which each paragraph of your Executive Summary is elaborated. These pointers make it easy for your ready to quickly find the support for the arguments and evidence you provide in your Executive Summary. Pointers include: chapter section numbers, table numbers, or internal document hyperlinks.
Last, but not least: Professionalism
Parkinson (2012) reminds me that if there are faults or “annoyances” in the first three paragraphs of your Executive Summary then your work is likely to be “binned” … along with your reputation. He remarks:
Evaluators [of your Executive Summary] are just like you and me. They make quick judgments based on what they see and read. We say our company is the best-of-the-best. If so, our proposal better prove it. Poor graphics (made by untrained designers using clip art and clashing colours with inconsistent or common graphics) and bad writing (written by untrained writers with poor spelling and grammar, hard-to-follow descriptions using passive language) scream that our company is unprofessional, unreliable and may fail to deliver.
Assessment rubric for an Executive Summary
Here is a sample rubric that shows how an Executive Summary might be graded by a teacher.
Mellalieu, P. J. (2014, May 30). Assessment Rubric for an Executive Summary. Peter Mellalieu’s GoogleDrive. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lsRNNGIEhS0fL82IZUnIFSr49bGBNVOuU8vaCm0LV4U/pubhtml
Related: Memorandum or memo
Memos. (n.d.). Purdue OWL. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/590/1/
Here are two contrasting, but ‘trivial’ examples of an OK and poor Executive Summary, with explanations of their relative merits.
Good and poor examples of executive summaries. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://unilearning.uow.edu.au/report/4bi1.html
This sample shows the selection of data to present in a brief Executive Summary:
Executive Summary Report Example: Opening of the London Store. (2011, September 26). Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/executive-summary-report-example.html
The following is a comprehensive report. Highlights in the document explain special features of the writing and documentation style. Shows the use of citations in the Executive Summary.
Gibson, B. (2003). Sample report: Portable computer use at client sites. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/general/report/1.xml
Here are two examples of Executive Summaries written by a student. Note the examples are concise, but contain crucial, informative detail.
Sample Executive Summary: The Surfer Speaker. (n.d.). UCSB Writing Program. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/holms/50E_sample%20_exec_sum.htm
This example shows an Executive Summary so brief that I would describe it as an abstract. It is certainly succinct. The example also shows the corresponding full Technical Report.
Executive Summary - Just-In-Time (JIT) Inventory Management in a Restaurant (example paper). (n.d.). CustomWritten.com. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.customwritten.com/example-papers/jit-inventory-management-restaurant-paper
Here is an elegant and contemporary Executive Summary from one of the world’s great management consultancies, McKinsey. A rather long Executive Summary (25 pages). But rather than producing an Executive Summary of the Executive Summary (!), the document includes engaging infographics as an inducement to read the whole summary. Assuming the Executive Summary is about five per cent of the full report, the full report would be at least 500 pages long.
Manyika, J., Chui, M., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Bisson, P., & Marrs, A. (2013, May). Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy: Executive Summary. McKinsey Global Institute. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/dotcom/Insights%20and%20pubs/MGI/Research/Technology%20and%20Innovation/Disruptive%20technologies/MGI_Disruptive_technologies_Executive_summary_May2013.ashx
Here is a complete, professional technical report with a substantial Executive Summary section at the start. However, because it is written for a specific client according to their reporting ‘house style’, the Executive Summary is presented as ’Section 0: Recommendations’ rather than titled ‘Executive Summary’. The report also shows a brief ‘Abstract' at the very beginning of the document.
Mellalieu, P. J. (2008). Investing in education for eco-sustainability: A “fast follower” strategic posture for Unitec Institute of Technology. Auckland: New Zealand Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Unitec Institute of Technology. Retrieved fromhttp://unitec.academia.edu/PeterMellalieu/Papers/1518816/Investing_in_education_for_eco-sustainability_A_fast_follower_strategic_posture_for_Unitec_Institute_of_Technology
A Guide to Writing an Effective Executive Summary. (n.d.). Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. Retrieved from http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/Documents/environmental-programs/risk-communication/Appendix_E_AGuideToWritingAnEffectiveExecutiveSummary.pdf
Abstracts and Executive Summaries. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.engineering.utoronto.ca/Directory/students/ecp/handbook/components/abstracts.htm
Executive Summary, University Writing Center. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/2008/types-communication/business-professional-writing/executive-summary/
Formal reports and proposals. (n.d.) (Chapter 9). Pearson Canada. Retrieved from http://www.pearsoned.ca/highered/divisions/virtual_tours/northey/sample_chapter_9.pdf
Greenhall, M. (n.d.). Writing an executive summary, with examples. UoLearn. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://www.uolearn.com/reportwriting/writingexecutivesummaries.html
How to Write an Executive Summary: 18 Steps (with Pictures). (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.wikihow.com/Write-an-Executive-Summary
Newman, J. (2009, September 24). The Executive Summary. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.lupinworks.com/roche/pages/exSummary.php
Parkinson, M. (2012, November 29). Top 5 Executive Summary Secrets. Billion Dollar Graphics. Retrieved from http://billiondollargraphics.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/top-5-executive-summary-secrets.html
Turner, K., Ireland, L., Krenus, B., & Pointon, L. (2009). Doing case studies and writing reports. In Essential Academic Skills (Revised., pp. 125–148). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://openlibrary.org/b/OL10135765M/Essential-Academic-Skills
Writing the Executive Summary [Technical report]. (2013, Winter). MIME Capstone Design. Retrieved from http://classes.engr.oregonstate.edu/mime/fall2011/ie497/Handouts/executive_summary.pdf
Mellalieu, P. J. (2014, May 22). Guidance for writing a formal technical report. Retrieved from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/86483674558/guidance-for-writing-a-formal-technical-report
Reports writing guide. (2009). James Abela. Retrieved from http://www.jamesabela.co.uk/bus/ReportsWritingGuide.pdf
Turnbull, M. L. (2005, August). An exemplar for writing a simple academic technical report. School of Information Technology, Central Queensland University. Retrieved from http://seismo.cqu.edu.au/CQSRG/staff/MikeT/publications/Creating_a_Simple_report_101.doc
Zeegers, P., Deller-Evans, K., Egege, S., & Klinger, C. (2007). Writing a report. In Essential Skills for Science and Technology (pp. 139–146). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oup.com.au/titles/higher_ed/media_studies/9780195558319
Lim, M., & Mellalieu, P. (2013, November 18). Developing professional writing using the six trait rubric [video]. Innovation & chaos … in search of optimality. Retrieved from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/67325245170/developing-professional-writing-using-the-six
Mellalieu, P. J. (2013, October 3). How can we incentivise our students to develop an appropriate professional writing style? My policy and practice. Innovation & chaos … in search of optimality. Retrieved from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/62944857816/how-can-we-incentivise-our-students-to-develop-an
Mellalieu, P. (2013, March 15). Creating The A Plus Assignment: A Project Management Approach (Audio). Innovation & chaos … in search of optimality. Retrieved from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/45403052813/this-audio-tutorial-helps-you-plan-out-the-time
I have now set up Google Scholar to track who is citing my work in their publications, herehttp://scholar.google.com/citations?user=oq_kacMAAAAJ.
It will be interesting to see if I get a lift in citations now that the publications are more easily accessible via my Academia.edu portal.
My most highly cited papers so far are:
Year of publication in (brackets).
For advice on setting up Google Citations, see:
What a bizarre mix of reading has passed through my mynd over the past month! Of course, I haven’t read ALL these items over the month. For instance, I’ve just begun to read Spada’s biography of Streisand.The list is slightly atypical of my usual reading due to my role of organising a concert programme of French art song on Sunday 26 Sept. And in case anyone is wondering, my reading has lead me to reject the notion that the Great Pyramids are evidence of God (or aliens).
Thanks to zotero.org for the citations management system.
allmusic ((( Marguerite Monnot > Biography ))). (n.d.). . Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:66bsa9lgi23s~T1
Ambroise Thomas: Biography - Classic Cat. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.classiccat.net/thomas_a/biography.php
Apple - Pro - Techniques - Maximize Your Inputs with Aggregate Audio, p. 1. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 15, 2010, from http://www.apple.com/pro/techniques/aggregateaudio/
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Bonjour, Suzon!, song for voice & piano (or orchestra): Information from Answers.com. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.answers.com/topic/bonjour-suzon-song-for-voice-piano-or-orchestra
Business plan Project and rubric. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 22, 2010, from www.schools.manatee.k12.fl.us/…plan/ent_business_plan_project.doc
BusinessGreen.com Group - UK green professionals Group News | LinkedIn. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 12, 2010, from http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=191444425&gid=1931321&type=news&item=191444425&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ebusinessgreen%2Ecom%2Fbusiness-green%2Fnews%2F2269449%2Ftransocean-hits-back-bp-self&urlhash=psYx&goback=%2Egde_1931321_news_191444425
Carr, N. (2010a, August 27). How the Internet is making us stupid. Telegraph. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/7967894/How-the-Internet-is-making-us-stupid.html
Carr, N. (2010b). The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember. Atlantic Books.
Ce que je suis sans toi (Peyre, set by C. Gounod) (The Lied and Art Song Texts Page: Texts and Translations to Lieder, mélodies, canzoni, and other classical vocal music). (n.d.). . Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=12738
Cornford, C., & Coltman, D. (2009). Unitec Sustainability Framework – Phase 1 - Memo to Leadership team. Unitec Institute of Technology.
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Is the CPU on the iMac G5 upgradable? How do you upgrade the RAM in the iMac G5 models? How do you upgrade the hard drive? @ EveryMac.com. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 16, 2010, from http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/faq_g5/imac-g5-processor-upgrade-ram-and-hard-drive-upgrade-pci-slots.html
JSTOR: The Musical Times, Vol. 61, No. 927 (May 1, 1920), pp. 302-305. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://www.jstor.org/pss/909930
La mort d’Ophélie, H 92 (Berlioz, Hector) - IMSLP. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://imslp.org/wiki/La_mort_d%27Oph%C3%A9lie,_H_92_(Berlioz,_Hector)
Les Inrocks : Charles Trenet - “Trenet, ni mort ni juif”. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://www.lesinrocks.com/musique/musique-article/article/charles-trenet-trenet-ni-mort-ni-juif/
Mantle, J. (1989). Fanfare: The unauthorised biography of Andrew Lloyd Webber. London, UK: Michael Joseph.
Mellalieu, P. (2010, September 6). A history of environmental sustainable development (ESD) at Unitec Institute of Technology. Unitec Institute of Technology.
Mellalieu, P. J. (2010a, August 22). Matangi Dairy Factory, New Zealand Dairy Group. Innovation & chaos … in search of l’excellence. Retrieved September 8, 2010, from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/990000387/matangi
Mellalieu, P. J. (2010b, September 2). My first-year university experience: a white-booted techie. Innovation & chaos … in search of l’excellence. Retrieved September 8, 2010, from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/1051138866/my-first-year-university-experience-a-white-booted
Mellalieu, P. J. (2010c, September 18). French Art Songs - Les Melodies Françaises. Mynstrel: A song maker in Aotearoa. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from http://mynstrel.blogspot.com/2010/09/french-art-songs-les-chansons-francaise.html
Mellalieu, P. J. (2010d, September 22). Feedback on a written case study assignment in first year (freshman) tertiary students. Innovation & chaos … in search of l’excellence. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/1165321952/feedback-on-a-written-case-study-assignment-in-first
Mellalieu, P. J. (2010e, September 26). Les Mélodies Françaises (French Art Songs) - Programme Notes. Mynstrel: A song maker in Aotearoa. Retrieved September 27, 2010, from http://mynstrel.blogspot.com/2010/09/les-melodies-francaises-french-art.html
Mellalieu, P. J. (2010f). Smoothing seasonal resource supply in land-based industries: Economic and technical impacts of ‘smoothing the flush’ in New Zealand dairy milk production and processing. In Unitec Teaching, Learning and Research Symposium. Auckland, NZ: Unitec Institute of Technology.
Mélodie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9lodie
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Mohr, T., & Stillman, J. (2010, September 23). 3 Ways to Break Out of a Career Rut. BNET. Retrieved September 24, 2010, from http://www.bnet.com/blog/entry-level/3-ways-to-break-out-of-a-career-rut/3187?promo=713&tag=nl.e713
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On-Stage CM01 Fully adjustable adaptor enables you to mount almost any camera/video camera to a mic stand. Microphone Stands and Accessories Microphone Stand Accessories 49089 OSS CM01 CAMERA MOUNT ADAPTER UPC 659814490899 - On-Stage AHN2B to IC15. (n.d.). . Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.aiconsol.com/cm01-on-stage.html
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Schumpeter. (2010, September 2). Declining by degree: Will America’s universities go the way of its car companies? The Economist. Retrieved September 12, 2010, from http://www.economist.com/node/16941775?story_id=16941775&fsrc=nlw|mgt|09-08-2010|management_thinking
Sobaskie, J. W. (2003). Salons, Singers and Songs: A Background to Romantic French Song, 1830-1870 (review). Notes, 59(4), 909-910. doi:10.1353/not.2003.0079
Sony kicks off Open Planet Initiative -
Designers invited to submit ideas detailing how technologies could be repurposed to tackle environmental problems. (2010, September 10). BusinessGreen.com. Retrieved September 12, 2010, from http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=192897673&gid=1931321&type=news&item=192897673&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ebusinessgreen%2Ecom%2Fbusiness-green%2Fnews%2F2269586%2Fsony-kicks-open-planet&urlhash=ia3u&goback=%2Egde_1931321_news_192897673
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