Prefatory Parts of a Report
Prefatory parts are closely related to 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.
Title page: As the name indicates, title page contains the title of the report along with some other information as the identification of the report. In general, title page lists the following standardized information:
(i) The title of the report.
(ii) The name, position, and address of the person or group whom report will be submitted.
(iii) The name, position and address of the person or group no prepared the report.
(iv) The date of submission 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. 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 in preface.
Letter of transmittal: The letter of transmittal is a letter that transmits the report to the reader. It informs the readers about the report problem and summarizes the findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It also acknowledges anyone who helped during the study and thanks 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. 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. 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. The main purpose of executive summary is to give readers a quick preview of the contents. It highlights the contents discussed in the body of the report and includes a brief description of the problem, procedures, findings, conclusions and recommendations.