Prefatory Parts of a Report
Prefatory parts are closely related to the formality and length of the report. These parts provide key preliminary information so that readers can decide whether to and how to read the report. Many authors named the prefatory parts as preliminary parts. These parts are placed before the text of the report and are generally prepared after writing the report body. The prefatory section consists of the following parts:
- Cover page:
The very first part of a formal report is the cover page that simply writes the title of the report. The cover should stand the title of the report in the upper center, the name of the receiver in the middle center, and the name of the writer in the lower center.
- Title page:
As the name indicates, the title page contains the title of the report along with some other information as the identification of the report. Following this is the title page, which, in addition to the title, carries the names of the writer and the person who authorized the writer to submit the proposal, along with his designation, official address and contact details. In general, the title page lists the following standardized information:
(i) The title of the report.
(ii) The name, position, and address of the person or group whose report will be submitted.
(iii) The name, position, and address of the person or group no prepared the report.
(iv) The date of submission of the report.
- Letter of authorization:
The letter of authorization is a letter through which someone is requested or authorized to write a report. The main objective of this letter is to authorize the researcher to conduct the study and investigation. It is a covering letter because it transmits the report. This is followed by the transmittal or cover letter written by the person writing the proposal. This letter specifies the research problem, scope of the study, objectives, time allowed and money sanctioned, etc. Such a letter may be authorized orally or written. In the case of written authorization, a copy of the authorized letter should be included after the title page. If the report is authorized orally, the writer may mention it in the preface.
- Letter of transmittal:
The letter of transmittal is a letter that transmits the report to the reader. It informs the readers about the reported problem and summarizes the findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It also acknowledges anyone who helped during the study and thanks to the person who authorized the study. In a book, this section is called preface. The letter of transmittal usually appears right before the table of contents.
- Table of contents:
The table of contents is the list of various headings and subheadings of the report contents along with the corresponding page numbers. It provides an outline of the structure of the proposal. The table of contents is very important in a long report because it enables the readers to locate their desired topics quickly. The headings should be worded exactly as they are in the text of the report. It is vital to align these headings with adequate gaps and leaders to give a clear presentation of information. In many long reports, separate tables for graphs and diagrams are provided.
- Executive Summary/ Abstract:
Executive summary as a brief overview of the report. It reviews the entire report from beginning to end. This portion contains brief information about the contents that come into view in the proposal. The main purpose of an executive summary is to give readers a quick preview of the contents. The reason of this summary is to provide a bird’s eye view of the topic for fast inspection by busy executives. It highlights the contents discussed in the body of the report and includes a brief description of the problem, procedures, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.