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Whatever the size of your report it needs to start with an executive summary that conveys its essential messages as quickly as possible. The shorter the executive summary, the more likely it is to be read. And the better the impression you make in the executive summary, the more likely the reader is to take in the rest of the report.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the executive summary is the best place to put the report’s conclusions. Don’t worry about spoiling the suspense for the reader: you want people to know what you’ve decided, and the interested ones will read on to find out why. People have so much to read that you can’t rely on their sitting down and making their way through the whole thing.
Having put the conclusion in the executive summary, there is no need to repeat yourself by putting one at the end. Instead, end with a something like a call to action, a “next steps” section that tells the reader what to do next, or a brief section on what the future holds. The idea is to move on from the document to real life and get the reader to focus on what they should do as a result of what they have read.
Apart from the executive summary, there is no need for standard sections. Instead decide on section titles according to the way you want to structure your report and the arguments and information you want to convey. Standard sections tend to force people into repetition and thus alienate readers – by, for example, forcing them to make the impossible distinction between aims and objectives.
A glossary will very often be useful, allowing your readers to quickly look up any abbreviations and technical terms that they’ve forgotten. Even if you include a glossary, you should still spell out and explain these things when you first mention them.