- USC Libraries
- Research Guides
Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper
- Executive Summary
- Purpose of Guide
- Design Flaws to Avoid
- Independent and Dependent Variables
- Glossary of Research Terms
- Reading Research Effectively
- Narrowing a Topic Idea
- Broadening a Topic Idea
- Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
- Academic Writing Style
- Choosing a Title
- Making an Outline
- Paragraph Development
- Research Process Video Series
- The C.A.R.S. Model
- Background Information
- The Research Problem/Question
- Theoretical Framework
- Citation Tracking
- Content Alert Services
- Evaluating Sources
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Tiertiary Sources
- Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Using Non-Textual Elements
- Limitations of the Study
- Common Grammar Mistakes
- Writing Concisely
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Footnotes or Endnotes?
- Further Readings
- Generative AI and Writing
- USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
An executive summary is a thorough overview of a research report or other type of document that synthesizes key points for its readers, saving them time and preparing them to understand the study's overall content. It is a separate, stand-alone document of sufficient detail and clarity to ensure that the reader can completely understand the contents of the main research study. An executive summary can be anywhere from 1-10 pages long depending on the length of the report, or it can be the summary of more than one document [e.g., papers submitted for a group project].
Bailey, Edward, P. The Plain English Approach to Business Writing . (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 73-80.
Importance of a Good Executive Summary
Although an executive summary is similar to an abstract in that they both summarize the contents of a research study, there are several key differences. With research abstracts, the author's recommendations are rarely included, or if they are, they are implicit rather than explicit. Recommendations are generally not stated in academic abstracts because scholars operate in a discursive environment, where debates, discussions, and dialogs are meant to precede the implementation of any new research findings. The conceptual nature of much academic writing also means that recommendations arising from the findings are distributed widely and not easily or usefully encapsulated. Executive summaries are used mainly when a research study has been developed for an organizational partner, funding entity, or other external group that participated in the research . In such cases, the research report and executive summary are often written for policy makers outside of academe, while abstracts are written for the academic community. Professors, therefore, assign the writing of executive summaries so students can practice synthesizing and writing about the contents of comprehensive research studies for external stakeholder groups.
When preparing to write, keep in mind that:
- An executive summary is not an abstract.
- An executive summary is not an introduction.
- An executive summary is not a preface.
- An executive summary is not a random collection of highlights.
Christensen, Jay. Executive Summaries Complete The Report. California State University Northridge; Clayton, John. "Writing an Executive Summary that Means Business." Harvard Management Communication Letter (July 2003): 2-4; Keller, Chuck. "Stay Healthy with a Winning Executive Summary." Technical Communication 41 (1994): 511-517; Murphy, Herta A., Herbert W. Hildebrandt, and Jane P. Thomas. Effective Business Communications . New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997; Vassallo, Philip. "Executive Summaries: Where Less Really is More." ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 60 (Spring 2003): 83-90 .
Structure and Writing Style
Writing an Executive Summary
Read the Entire Document This may go without saying, but it is critically important that you read the entire research study thoroughly from start to finish before you begin to write the executive summary. Take notes as you go along, highlighting important statements of fact, key findings, and recommended courses of action. This will better prepare you for how to organize and summarize the study. Remember this is not a brief abstract of 300 words or less but, essentially, a mini-paper of your paper, with a focus on recommendations.
Isolate the Major Points Within the Original Document Choose which parts of the document are the most important to those who will read it. These points must be included within the executive summary in order to provide a thorough and complete explanation of what the document is trying to convey.
Separate the Main Sections Closely examine each section of the original document and discern the main differences in each. After you have a firm understanding about what each section offers in respect to the other sections, write a few sentences for each section describing the main ideas. Although the format may vary, the main sections of an executive summary likely will include the following:
- An opening statement, with brief background information,
- The purpose of research study,
- Method of data gathering and analysis,
- Overview of findings, and,
- A description of each recommendation, accompanied by a justification. Note that the recommendations are sometimes quoted verbatim from the research study.
Combine the Information Use the information gathered to combine them into an executive summary that is no longer than 10% of the original document. Be concise! The purpose is to provide a brief explanation of the entire document with a focus on the recommendations that have emerged from your research. How you word this will likely differ depending on your audience and what they care about most. If necessary, selectively incorporate bullet points for emphasis and brevity. Re-read your Executive Summary After you've completed your executive summary, let it sit for a while before coming back to re-read it. Check to make sure that the summary will make sense as a separate document from the full research study. By taking some time before re-reading it, you allow yourself to see the summary with fresh, unbiased eyes.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Length of the Executive Summary As a general rule, the correct length of an executive summary is that it meets the criteria of no more pages than 10% of the number of pages in the original document, with an upper limit of no more than ten pages [i.e., ten pages for a 100 page document]. This requirement keeps the document short enough to be read by your audience, but long enough to allow it to be a complete, stand-alone synopsis. Cutting and Pasting With the exception of specific recommendations made in the study, do not simply cut and paste whole sections of the original document into the executive summary. You should paraphrase information from the longer document. Avoid taking up space with excessive subtitles and lists, unless they are absolutely necessary for the reader to have a complete understanding of the original document. Consider the Audience Although unlikely to be required by your professor, there is the possibility that more than one executive summary will have to be written for a given document [e.g., one for policy-makers, one for private industry, one for philanthropists]. This may only necessitate the rewriting of the introduction and conclusion, but it could require rewriting the entire summary in order to fit the needs of the reader. If necessary, be sure to consider the types of audiences who may benefit from your study and make adjustments accordingly. Clarity in Writing One of the biggest mistakes you can make is related to the clarity of your executive summary. Always note that your audience [or audiences] are likely seeing your research study for the first time. The best way to avoid a disorganized or cluttered executive summary is to write it after the study is completed. Always follow the same strategies for proofreading that you would for any research paper. Use Strong and Positive Language Don’t weaken your executive summary with passive, imprecise language. The executive summary is a stand-alone document intended to convince the reader to make a decision concerning whether to implement the recommendations you make. Once convinced, it is assumed that the full document will provide the details needed to implement the recommendations. Although you should resist the temptation to pad your summary with pleas or biased statements, do pay particular attention to ensuring that a sense of urgency is created in the implications, recommendations, and conclusions presented in the executive summary. Be sure to target readers who are likely to implement the recommendations.
Bailey, Edward, P. The Plain English Approach to Business Writing . (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 73-80; Christensen, Jay. Executive Summaries Complete The Report. California State University Northridge; Executive Summaries. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Clayton, John. "Writing an Executive Summary That Means Business." Harvard Management Communication Letter , 2003; Executive Summary. University Writing Center. Texas A&M University; Green, Duncan. Writing an Executive Summary. Oxfam’s Research Guidelines series ; Guidelines for Writing an Executive Summary. Astia.org; Markowitz, Eric. How to Write an Executive Summary. Inc. Magazine, September, 15, 2010; Kawaski, Guy. The Art of the Executive Summary. "How to Change the World" blog; Keller, Chuck. "Stay Healthy with a Winning Executive Summary." Technical Communication 41 (1994): 511-517; The Report Abstract and Executive Summary. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Executive Summaries. Effective Writing Center. University of Maryland; Kolin, Philip. Successful Writing at Work . 10th edition. (Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2013), p. 435-437; Moral, Mary. "Writing Recommendations and Executive Summaries." Keeping Good Companies 64 (June 2012): 274-278; Vassallo, Philip. "Executive Summaries: Todorovic, Zelimir William, PhD. and Frye, Marietta Wolczacka,B.A., B.B.A. "Writing Effective Executive Summaries: An Interdisciplinary Examination." United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2009; " Where Less Really is More." ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 60 (Spring 2003): 83-90 .
- << Previous: 3. The Abstract
- Next: 4. The Introduction >>
- Last Updated: Oct 10, 2023 1:30 PM
- URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide
How To Write A High-Impact Executive Summary
By Derek Jansen | January 2018
In this post, I’ll deconstruct the often-misunderstood executive summary and show you how to develop a high-impact executive summary for your assignment, research report or even your dissertation or thesis.
So, what is an executive summary?
An executive summary (sometimes called an abstract ) is quite simply a summary of summaries. In other words, an executive summary provides a concise summary of each of your assignment or report chapters/sections . More specifically, it should communicate the key points/insights/findings/suggestions from the following chapters:
- Implementation (if applicable)
- Reflection (if applicable)
I’ll discuss which key points from each section need to be addressed a bit later. On a separate note – if you’re writing an executive summary for a dissertation or thesis, all of the concepts described in this post will still apply to you, however, you’ll include an additional paragraph about your methodology, and you’ll likely spend more word count discussing your analysis findings.
The 4 Important Attributes Of An Exec Summary
Before I discuss what goes into the executive summary, let’s quickly look at 4 attributes that make for a strong executive summary:
#1 – It should be able to stand alone.
The executive summary should be able to stand independently as an informative document . In other words, the reader should be able to grasp your broad argument without having to read the full document. Further reading should be purely for attaining more detail. Simply put, the executive summary should be a “Mini-Me” of the assignment.
This independence means that anything you write in the executive summary will need to be re-stated in the body of your assignment. A common mistake that students make is to introduce key points in the executive summary and then not discuss them again in the document – accordingly, the marker must view the main document as missing these key points. Simply put – make sure you discuss key points in both the executive summary and the main body . It will feel repetitive at times – this is normal.
#2 – It should be written for the intelligent layman.
When crafting your executive summary, its useful to keep the intelligent layman front of mind. What I mean by this is that you should write your summary assuming that your reader (i.e. the marker) will be intelligent but won’t be familiar with your topic and/or industry. This means that you should explain any technical concepts, avoid jargon and explain acronyms before using them.
#3 – It should be concise.
Typically, your executive summary should be a one-pager (one and a half pages at worst). To summarise a 3000 – 5000-word document into one page is no easy task, so you’ll need to:
- Present only the most important information (key insights, recommendations, etc).
- Write concisely – i.e. with brevity and completeness.
To the first point, I’ll explain what the “most important” information is for each chapter shortly. To the second point (writing concisely), there are various ways to do this, including:
- Using simple, straightforward language.
- Using the active voice.
- Removing bloaty adverbs and adjectives.
- Reducing prepositional phrases.
- Avoiding noun strings.
Does this sound like gibberish to you? Don’t worry! The Writing Center at the University of Wisconson-Madison provides a practical guide to writing more concisely, which you can download here.
On a related note, you typically would not include headings, citations or bulleted/numbered lists in your executive summary. These visual components tend to use a lot of space, which comes at a premium, as you know.
#4 – It should be written last.
Given that your executive summary is a summary of summaries, it needs to be written last , only once you’ve identified all your key insights, recommendations and so on. This probably sounds obvious, but many students start writing the summary first (potentially because of its position in the document) and then end up re-writing it multiple times, or they don’t rewrite it and consequently end up with an executive summary which is misaligned with the main document.
Simply put, you should leave this section until everything else is completed. Once your core body content is completed, you should read through the entire document again and create a bullet-point list of all the key points . From this list, you should then craft your executive summary . The approach will also help you identify gaps, contradictions and misalignments in your main document.
So, what goes into an executive summary?
Right, let’s get into the meat of it and consider what exactly should go into your executive summary. As I’ve mentioned, you need to present only the absolutely key point points from each of your chapters, but what does this mean exactly?
Each chapter will typically take the form of 1 paragraph (with no headings) in your executive summary. So, 5 chapters means 5 paragraphs. Naturally, some will be longer than others (let this be informed by the mark allocation), but assuming one page contains 500 words, you’re aiming for roughly 100 words per paragraph (assuming a 5-paragraph structure). See why conciseness is key!
Now, let’s look at what the key points are for each chapter in the case of a typical MBA assignment or report. In the case of a dissertation or thesis, the paragraph structure would still mimic the chapter structure – you’d just have more chapters, and therefore, more paragraphs.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
This paragraph should cover the following points:
- A very brief explanation of the business (what does it do, for whom and where?).
- Clear identification and explanation of the problem or opportunity that will be the focus of the assignment/report.
- A clear statement of the purpose of the assignment (i.e. what research questions will you seek to answer?).
- Brief mention of what data sources were utilised (i.e. secondary research) and any fieldwork undertaken (i.e. primary research ).
In other words, your first paragraph should introduce the business, the problem/opportunity to be addressed, why it’s important, and how you approached your analysis. This paragraph should make it clear to the reader what the assignment is all about at a broad level. Here’s a practical example:
This assignment focuses on ABC Ltd, a XXX business based in XXX, which provides XXX to XXX customers. To date, the firm has relied almost exclusively on XXX marketing channel. Consequently, ABC Ltd has little understanding of consumer segments, wants, and needs. This marketing channel is now under regulatory threat due to XXX. The core challenge, therefore, is that whilst ABC Ltd seeks to grow its market share, it has little understanding of its market characteristics or competitive set, and its sole marketing channel under regulatory threat. Accordingly, the objective of this assignment is XXX. The assignment draws on survey, interview, and industry data.
Paragraph 2: Analysis and findings
In this paragraph, you should discuss the following:
- What exactly did you analyse? For example, you might have analysed the macro context (i.e. PESTLE analysis), followed by the meso (i.e. competitor or industry analysis) and then the micro (i.e. internal organisational analysis).
- What were your key findings in relation to the purpose of the assignment? For example, you may have identified 4 potential causes of a problem and would then state them.
In other words, your second paragraph should concisely explain what you analysed and what your main findings were . An example of this:
Segmentation analysis, consisting of macro, industry and firm-level analyses, revealed a strong segmentation variable in the form of XXX, with distinct needs in each segment. Macro analysis revealed XXX, while industry and firm-level analyses suggested XXX. Subsequently, three potential target segments were established, namely XXX, XXX and XXX. These were then evaluated using the Directional Policy Matrix, and the results indicated XXX.
From a presentation perspective, you might structure this section as:
- Analysis 1, findings from analysis 1.
- Analysis 2, findings from analysis 2.
- Analysis 3, findings from analysis 3.
Importantly, you should only discuss the findings that are directly linked to the research questions (i.e. the purpose of the assignment) – don’t digress into interesting but less relevant findings. Given that the analysis chapter typically counts for a large proportion of marks, you could viably write 2-3 paragraphs for this. Be guided by the mark allocation.
Lastly, you should ensure that the findings you present here align well with the recommendations you’ll make in the next paragraph. Think about what your recommendations are, and, if necessary, reverse engineer this paragraph to create a strong link and logical flow from analysis to recommendations.
Paragraph 3: Recommendations
With the key findings from your analysis presented in the preceding paragraph, you should now discuss the following:
- What are your key recommendations?
- How do these solve the problems you found in your analysis?
- Were there any further conclusions?
Simply put, this paragraph (or two) should present the main recommendations and justify their use (i.e. explain how they resolve the key issue). As mentioned before, it’s critically important that your recommendations tightly align with (and resolve) the key issues that you identified in the analysis. An example:
Based on the Directional Policy Matrix analysis, it is recommended that the firm target XXX segment, because of XXX. On this basis, a positioning of XXX is proposed, as this aligns with the segment’s key needs. Furthermore, a provisional high-level marketing mix is proposed. The key aspects of the marketing mix include XXX, XXX and XXX, as these align with the firm’s positioning of XXX. By adopting these recommendations, the key issue of XXX will be resolved.
Also, note that (typically) the tone changes from past to present tense when you get to the recommendations section.
Paragraph 4: Implementation
If your assignment brief requires an implementation/project plan-type section, this paragraph will typically include the following points:
- Time requirements (how long will it take?)
- People requirements (what skills are needed and where do you find them?)
- Money requirements (what budget is required?)
- How will the project or change be managed? (i.e. project management plan)
- What risks exist and how will these be managed?
Depending on what level of detail is required by your assignment brief, you may need to present more, less or other details in this section. As always, be guided by the assignment brief.
A practical example:
A high-level implementation plan is proposed, including a stakeholder analysis, project plan and business case. Resource requirements are presented, detailing XXX, XXX and XXX requirements. A risk analysis is presented, revealing key risks including XXX, XXX and XXX. Risk management solutions are proposed, including XXX and XXX.
Paragraph 5: Reflection
As with the implementation chapter, the need for a reflection chapter/section will vary between assignments and universities. If your assignment has this requirement, it’s typically good to cover the following points:
- What were your key learnings? What were your ah-ha moments?
- What has changed in the real world as a consequence of these learnings? I.e. how has your actual behaviour and approach to “X” changed, if any?
- What are the benefits and/or disadvantages of this change, if any?
This section is very personal, and so each person’s reflections will be different. Don’t take the above points as gospel.
Time to test it out.
Once you’ve written up your executive summary and feel confident that it’s in good shape, it’s time to test it out on an unsuspecting intelligent layman. This is a critically important step, since you, as the writer, are simply too close to the work to judge whether it all makes sense to a first-time reader. In fact, you are the least suitable person on the planet!
So, find someone who is not familiar with your assignment topic (and ideally, not familiar with your industry), and ask them to have a read through your executive summary. Friends and family will usually tell you its great, regardless of the quality, so you need to test them on their understanding. Do this by asking them to give the details back to you in their own words. Poke and prod – can they tell you what the key issues and recommendations were (in their own words!). You’ll quickly spot the gaps this way, and be able to flesh out any weak areas.
In this post, I’ve discussed how to write the all too often undercooked executive summary. I’ve discussed some important attributes of a strong executive summary, as well as the contents that typically go into it. To recap on the key points:
The key attributes of a high-impact executive summary:
- It should be able to stand alone.
- It should be written for the intelligent layman.
- It should be concise.
- It should be written last.
The key contents of a high-impact executive summary:
Each paragraph should cover a chapter from the document. For example, In the case of a typical assignment, it would be something like:
- Summary of the introduction chapter.
- Summary of the analysis chapter.
- Summary of the recommendations and/or conclusions chapter.
- Depending – summary of the implementation and reflection.
Lastly, don’t forget to test out your executive summary on an unsuspecting layman or two. This is probably the most important step of them all!
If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch here or leave a comment below.
You Might Also Like:
Thanks so much for your methodical process and explanation of Executive Summary. It is exactly what I was researching for.
It’s a pleasure!
This was really helpful with how to structure my assignment.
Thank you so much for the step by step process. It’s so helpful for beginners like me.
Great! This post is very informative and gives clear guidance on to write an executive summary. Thanks very much for sharing this information, it’s very helpful.
Thanks for the feedback, Anna. Best of luck with your writing 🙂
Thank you for the great article, really helped explain what was needed.
Great insight and tips . Thanks
Thank you so much for sharing this. It was exactly what I was looking for.
Thank you for your help
Submit a Comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
- Print Friendly
Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
The Report Abstract and Executive Summary
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
This resource is an updated version of Muriel Harris’s handbook Report Formats: a Self-instruction Module on Writing Skills for Engineers , written in 1981. The primary resources for the editing process were Paul Anderson’s Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach (6th ed.) and the existing OWL PowerPoint presentation, HATS: A Design Procedure for Routine Business Documents.
The abstract is a crucial part of your report as it may be the only section read by people at the executive or managerial level who must make decisions based on what they read in your abstract. When you include specific content, it is important to remember these readers are looking for the information they need to make decisions.
The abstract is an overview that provides the reader with the main points and results, though it is not merely a listing of what the report contains. It is a summary of the essence of a report. For this reason, it should be crafted to present the most complete and compelling information possible. It is not a detective story building suspense as the reader hunts for clues, and should not be vague or obtuse in its content.
The abstract should include
- Why the work was done (the basic problem), the specific purpose or objective, and the scope of the work if that is relevant. (College lab reports may not require this part of the abstract.)
- How the work was done, the test methods or means of investigation
- What was found—the results, conclusions, and recommendations
The abstract should
- Not make references to material in the text
- Not lose the message by burying the methods, results, conclusions, and recommendations in a sea of words
- Not be written before the rest of the report
Therefore, a good abstract is
Because the abstract is of major importance in a report, a summary of effective qualities of abstracts is offered here.
A well-written abstract
- Considers the readers it will encounter
- States what was done and what results were found
- Avoids vagueness by stating specific results
- Uses past tense to report what was done
- Is informative
- Is self-sufficient and does not refer to the body of the report
- Makes concrete, useful recommendations
Below are two abstracts. The first one, (A), was written by a student for a lab report, and the other one (B) was a revision written by someone with more experience in writing abstracts. Read both versions and try to figure out why the changes were made in B.
We studied the flow characteristics of meters, valves, and pipes that constitute a flow network. The meter coefficients for orifice and venture meters were determined. The orifice and venture coefficients were, on the average, 0.493 and 0.598, respectively. Fanning friction factors for pipes of different sizes and for gate and globe valves were also determined.
The accuracy with which the meter coefficients and friction factors were determined was affected by leaks in the piping network. In addition, air bubbles trapped in the pipes and manometers affected the accuracy with which pressure drops were measured. Hence, it is recommended that the piping system be checked to ensure the absence of any leaks. Furthermore, the fluid should be allowed to flow in the network for some time before taking any measurements, in order to get rid of the air trapped in the pipes and manometer.
In an orifice and a venturimeter in a flow network, we measured the meter coefficients to be 0.5 0.1 and 0.6 0.15. We measured the Fanning friction factors at steady state for several pipes and for gate and globe valves. The most important source of error was a leak in the piping network which has to be repaired in order to obtain more precise results.
The Executive Summary
The government and some companies have begun to request executive summaries at the beginning of a long report. An executive summary is a one-page statement of the problem, the purpose of the communication, and a summary of the results, conclusions, and recommendations. The same considerations of readers and situation should guide your executive summaries.
Business General Guide (UNH Manchester): Writing Executive Summaries
- Company Info
- Job & Career Resources
- Library Search Box
- 01 Search Strategies
- 02 Databases to Search
- 03 How to Get an Article
- Evaluating Websites
- Writing Executive Summaries
- Get Research Help
" T he executive summary is usually no longer than 10% of the original document. It can be anywhere from 1-10 pages long, depending on the report's length. Executive summaries are written literally for an executive who most likely DOES NOT have the time to read the original.
- Executive summaries make a recommendation
- Accuracy is essential because decisions will be made based on your summary by people who have not read the original
- Executive summaries frequently summarize more than one document"
--Colorado State University: Writing @ CSU
Executive Summary Tips
- Writing an Executive Summary (University of Arizona Global Campus)
- Executive Summaries (Texas A & M)
- How to Write an Executive Summary (Inc.)
- Writing Guide: Executive Summaries (Colorado State University)
- << Previous: Evaluating Websites
- Next: APA Style >>
- Last Updated: Nov 6, 2023 1:43 PM
- URL: https://libraryguides.unh.edu/businessgeneral
Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- Working with sources
- How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples
How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples
Published on November 23, 2020 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 31, 2023.
Summarizing , or writing a summary, means giving a concise overview of a text’s main points in your own words. A summary is always much shorter than the original text.
There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:
- Read the text
- Break it down into sections
- Identify the key points in each section
- Write the summary
- Check the summary against the article
Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or evaluating the source . You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).
Table of contents
When to write a summary, step 1: read the text, step 2: break the text down into sections, step 3: identify the key points in each section, step 4: write the summary, step 5: check the summary against the article, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about summarizing.
There are many situations in which you might have to summarize an article or other source:
- As a stand-alone assignment to show you’ve understood the material
- To keep notes that will help you remember what you’ve read
- To give an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
When you’re writing an academic text like an essay , research paper , or dissertation , you’ll integrate sources in a variety of ways. You might use a brief quote to support your point, or paraphrase a few sentences or paragraphs.
But it’s often appropriate to summarize a whole article or chapter if it is especially relevant to your own research, or to provide an overview of a source before you analyze or critique it.
In any case, the goal of summarizing is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source. Follow the five steps outlined below to write a good summary.
Scribbr Citation Checker New
The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:
- Missing commas and periods
- Incorrect usage of “et al.”
- Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
- Missing reference entries
You should read the article more than once to make sure you’ve thoroughly understood it. It’s often effective to read in three stages:
- Scan the article quickly to get a sense of its topic and overall shape.
- Read the article carefully, highlighting important points and taking notes as you read.
- Skim the article again to confirm you’ve understood the key points, and reread any particularly important or difficult passages.
There are some tricks you can use to identify the key points as you read:
- Start by reading the abstract . This already contains the author’s own summary of their work, and it tells you what to expect from the article.
- Pay attention to headings and subheadings . These should give you a good sense of what each part is about.
- Read the introduction and the conclusion together and compare them: What did the author set out to do, and what was the outcome?
To make the text more manageable and understand its sub-points, break it down into smaller sections.
If the text is a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organized into clearly marked sections, usually including an introduction , methods , results , and discussion .
Other types of articles may not be explicitly divided into sections. But most articles and essays will be structured around a series of sub-points or themes.
Now it’s time go through each section and pick out its most important points. What does your reader need to know to understand the overall argument or conclusion of the article?
Keep in mind that a summary does not involve paraphrasing every single paragraph of the article. Your goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything that can be considered background information or supplementary detail.
In a scientific article, there are some easy questions you can ask to identify the key points in each part.
If the article takes a different form, you might have to think more carefully about what points are most important for the reader to understand its argument.
In that case, pay particular attention to the thesis statement —the central claim that the author wants us to accept, which usually appears in the introduction—and the topic sentences that signal the main idea of each paragraph.
Now that you know the key points that the article aims to communicate, you need to put them in your own words.
To avoid plagiarism and show you’ve understood the article, it’s essential to properly paraphrase the author’s ideas. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, not even just a sentence or two.
The best way to do this is to put the article aside and write out your own understanding of the author’s key points.
Examples of article summaries
Let’s take a look at an example. Below, we summarize this article , which scientifically investigates the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Davis et al. (2015) set out to empirically test the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are often used to represent a healthy lifestyle, and research has shown their nutritional properties could be beneficial for various aspects of health. The authors’ unique approach is to take the saying literally and ask: do people who eat apples use healthcare services less frequently? If there is indeed such a relationship, they suggest, promoting apple consumption could help reduce healthcare costs.
The study used publicly available cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants were categorized as either apple eaters or non-apple eaters based on their self-reported apple consumption in an average 24-hour period. They were also categorized as either avoiding or not avoiding the use of healthcare services in the past year. The data was statistically analyzed to test whether there was an association between apple consumption and several dependent variables: physician visits, hospital stays, use of mental health services, and use of prescription medication.
Although apple eaters were slightly more likely to have avoided physician visits, this relationship was not statistically significant after adjusting for various relevant factors. No association was found between apple consumption and hospital stays or mental health service use. However, apple eaters were found to be slightly more likely to have avoided using prescription medication. Based on these results, the authors conclude that an apple a day does not keep the doctor away, but it may keep the pharmacist away. They suggest that this finding could have implications for reducing healthcare costs, considering the high annual costs of prescription medication and the inexpensiveness of apples.
However, the authors also note several limitations of the study: most importantly, that apple eaters are likely to differ from non-apple eaters in ways that may have confounded the results (for example, apple eaters may be more likely to be health-conscious). To establish any causal relationship between apple consumption and avoidance of medication, they recommend experimental research.
An article summary like the above would be appropriate for a stand-alone summary assignment. However, you’ll often want to give an even more concise summary of an article.
For example, in a literature review or meta analysis you may want to briefly summarize this study as part of a wider discussion of various sources. In this case, we can boil our summary down even further to include only the most relevant information.
Using national survey data, Davis et al. (2015) tested the assertion that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and did not find statistically significant evidence to support this hypothesis. While people who consumed apples were slightly less likely to use prescription medications, the study was unable to demonstrate a causal relationship between these variables.
Citing the source you’re summarizing
When including a summary as part of a larger text, it’s essential to properly cite the source you’re summarizing. The exact format depends on your citation style , but it usually includes an in-text citation and a full reference at the end of your paper.
You can easily create your citations and references in APA or MLA using our free citation generators.
APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator
Finally, read through the article once more to ensure that:
- You’ve accurately represented the author’s work
- You haven’t missed any essential information
- The phrasing is not too similar to any sentences in the original.
If you’re summarizing many articles as part of your own work, it may be a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to double-check that your text is completely original and properly cited. Just be sure to use one that’s safe and reliable.
If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
- ChatGPT vs human editor
- ChatGPT citations
- Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
- Using ChatGPT for your studies
- What is ChatGPT?
- Chicago style
- Types of plagiarism
- Avoiding plagiarism
- Academic integrity
- Consequences of plagiarism
- Common knowledge
A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words. Want to make your life super easy? Try our free text summarizer today!
A summary is always much shorter than the original text. The length of a summary can range from just a few sentences to several paragraphs; it depends on the length of the article you’re summarizing, and on the purpose of the summary.
You might have to write a summary of a source:
- As a stand-alone assignment to prove you understand the material
- For your own use, to keep notes on your reading
- To provide an overview of other researchers’ work in a literature review
- In a paper , to summarize or introduce a relevant study
To avoid plagiarism when summarizing an article or other source, follow these two rules:
- Write the summary entirely in your own words by paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
- Cite the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.
An abstract concisely explains all the key points of an academic text such as a thesis , dissertation or journal article. It should summarize the whole text, not just introduce it.
An abstract is a type of summary , but summaries are also written elsewhere in academic writing . For example, you might summarize a source in a paper , in a literature review , or as a standalone assignment.
All can be done within seconds with our free text summarizer .
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
McCombes, S. (2023, May 31). How to Write a Summary | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-summarize/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to paraphrase | step-by-step guide & examples, how to quote | citing quotes in apa, mla & chicago, the basics of in-text citation | apa & mla examples.
Executive Summaries are much like any other summary in that their main goal is to provide a condensed version of the content of a longer report.
The executive summary is usually no longer than 10% of the original document. It can be anywhere from 1-10 pages long, depending on the report's length. Executive summaries are written literally for an executive who most likely DOES NOT have the time to read the original.
- Executive summaries make a recommendation
- Accuracy is essential because decisions will be made based on your summary by people who have not read the original
- Executive summaries frequently summarize more than one document
The Mountain Resort charges below average rental rates. ( concise statement of findings ) The attached report recommends a 20% increase in price for the following equipment: 1. downhill skis, 2. telemark skis, 3. boots/shoes for downhill, telemark, and cross-country skis.( specific recommendation for action )
Based on average rental business for 1992-1995, these increases would generate an annual rental profit for Mountainview of $750,000. This figure represents an overall gain of $150,000 over current rental profits. ( justification for proposed action )
Types of Summaries
Summaries written in order to recommend a specific course of action are executive summaries.
Summaries that highlight the major points of a long piece are called abstracts. The purpose of an abstract is to allow readers to decide whether or not they want to read the longer text.
Standard summary only refers to a summary of someone else's published work and is written for a variety of purposes.
Processes for Writing an Executive Summary
Executive summaries are typically written for longer reports. They should not be written until after your report is finished. Before writing your summary, try:
- Summarizing the major sections of your report. You might even copy text from your report into the summary and then edit it down.
- Talking aloud or even tape recording yourself summarizing sections of your report.
Questions to Ask Yourself as You Write
- What is your report about?
- Why is it important?
- What is included in the report?
- What is included in each section?
As a cover sheet to your document, an executive summary need not go into ANY mention of how you conducted your analysis and/or what you're basing your conclusion on. Instead, begin with a concise statement of the conclusion you reached after conducting your analysis and/or research is the paper that will be attached. For example, after a comparison of what other schools like CSU do about personal calls for faculty, you conclude that the CSU is charging for calls most other institutions do not.
How you word the conclusion will differ depending on your audience and what they care most about. The following examples illustrate how the wording must change given an audience's needs.
Colorado State should discontinue the practice of charging faculty for personal calls.
This is a good example if the people you work for are only interested in this issue. It begins with a summary of conclusions regarding only the CSU population.
Because I have found that over 75% of comparable institutions do not charge for personal calls, I have concluded that our faculty is justified in objecting to this practice which should be seen as a "perk" for our faculty.
This sentence provides unnecessary information about other institutions and/or why the faculty think they deserve to have these calls paid for. Your readers can get that information from the report. Further, the use of "I" is unnecessary since your readers already know who wrote the report.
After beginning with a summary statement of your findings, the executive summary should go on to provide a specific recommendation for action geared toward your audience. For example, the report on charging for personal calls was requested by the president's office, not the individual departments and colleges who actually determine policy. As a result, the recommendation for action is geared toward what the president's office should do, not the other departments involved. To learn more about writing recommendations:
After summarizing the entire article and/or research report(s), an executive summary ends with a one or two line recommendation for action.
Executive summaries frequently make use of transitional phrases to encapsulate the preceding information in the same sentence as the recommendation. The format can almost be envisioned as a formula:
[transitional word] + [concise statement of information provided in summary], I recommend that [corporation, office, person in question] do [recommendations].
More Complex Recommendations
In other cases, the recommendation might be complicated enough to justify a summary of causes for the recommendation. In this case, the recommendation paragraph usually begins with a summary of how the writer reached the recommendation.
Susie's Cookies began as a small business in Cleveland, Ohio which has expanded to include 45 stores throughout the Midwest. Plans have already been instituted to expand sales nationwide, using the same "mall-concept" marketing strategy which has proven successful in the Midwest. Despite these plans, Susie's Cookies may be in danger of bankruptcy.
Susie's quadrupled its sales in the last two quarters, realizing a profit of $750,000 in the current year, an increase of $250,000 over the previous year, due to its increase in advertising. To realize equivalent sale figures nationwide, however, it is projected that advertising costs will increase by 200% for the first two years of the national expansions. Further, construction costs for the new stores are estimated to be 20 million dollars.
The result of increased advertising and construction costs will put a substantial debt burden on Susie's cookies, an estimated $750,00 to 1 million a year. Given that sales did not reach current levels in the Midwest until the 45 stores had been operating for five years, projected sales nationally will not cover expansion costs. As a result, Susie's Cookies is likely to show a loss of almost $2 million for at least the next five years.
Due to the high advertisement and development costs of national expansion. Susie's Cookies may not be able to continue doing business in the future. Therefore, I recommend that Mrs. Field's does not participate in the hostile takeover under consideration because the threat of competition will not be realized.
Finally, an executive summary provides an analysis and/or justification for the proposed action in terms the audience will consider important. In many cases, this might involve a monetary analysis as in the example to the right, but actions can be justified many ways, depending on the concerns of the audience and the topic of the report (e.g. for CSU these might include increase in student learning, better relationship with the community, etc.).
- Example : Based on the current number and length of long-distance personal calls by faculty, such a proposal would cost the university $150,000 annually. In comparison to the overall budget, this is a small amount, but one which might "pay for itself" in terms of faculty satisfaction and possible recruitment benefits.
justification for the recommendation by referring to information summarized. A recommendations justification is usually based on a reference to material already provided in the summary.
In other cases, the justification for the recommendation might be complicated enough to justify a summary of causes for the justification. In this case, the recommendation paragraph usually begins with a summary of how the writer reached the conclusion that leads to the justification.
Donna LeCourt. (1994-2023). Executive Summaries. The WAC Clearinghouse. Colorado State University. Available at https://wac.colostate.edu/repository/resources/writing/guides/.
Copyright © 1994-2023 Colorado State University and/or this site's authors, developers, and contributors . Some material displayed on this site is used with permission.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Report: Step By Step Guide with Examples
Table of contents
So you have finally written a great comprehensive business report that took you weeks to create. You have included all the data from the different departments, compared it, done the analysis, made forecasts, and provided solutions to specific problems.
There is just one problem – the key stakeholders in the company don’t have enough time to go through the whole report.
Since the data and the KPIs that you included in the report are necessary for quality decision-making, you can see why this can become a huge issue.
Luckily, there is a way to present all of your key findings and not take too much of their time. This is done through executive summaries.
An executive summary is exactly what the name suggests – a summary. It is essentially a quick overview of all the most important metrics in the report. The purpose of this summary is to bring the attention of the highest-ranking members in the company to the most important KPIs that they will consider when making decisions.
While an executive summary is a rather short section, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to write. You will have to pay extra attention to every single sentence in order to avoid unnecessary information.
Do you want to learn how to create an informative executive summary? This guide will show you all you need to know.
What Is an Executive Report?
What is an executive summary in a report, how long should an executive summary be, who is the audience of an executive summary, what should be included in an executive summary report, how to write an executive summary report, common mistakes to avoid when writing executive summaries, executive report examples, executive summary templates, create executive reports in databox.
Executive reports are used for keeping senior managers updated on the latest and most significant activities in the company. These reports have to be concise and accurate since they will have a huge impact on the most important business-related decisions.
Working for any sort of company requires writing different types of reports such as financial reports , marketing reports , sales reports , internal reports, and more.
What all of these reports have in common is that they are very comprehensive and typically require a lot of time to go through them –way too much time, if you ask busy managers.
They include a wealthy amount of data and a bunch of different metrics which are more useful for a particular team in the company. However, the highest-ranking members tend to be more focused on only the most essential KPIs that they need for making future decisions and strategies.
This is why executive reports come in handy. They are usually only a few pages long and they include only the most relevant details and data that incurred in a specific period.
An executive summary is the brief overview section included in a long report or document. This part of the report primarily focuses on the key topics and most important data within it. It can include an overall business goal of the company or short-term strategic objectives.
This summary is primarily useful for C-level managers who don’t have time to read the whole report but want to have an insight into the main KPIs and latest business performances.
Bank officials also may use executive summaries since it’s the quickest way for them to estimate whether your company represents a good investment opportunity.
Depending on your company’s practice, executive summaries can either be placed at the beginning of the report or as a formal section in the table of contents.
The length of the summary depends on the type of report, but it is typically one or two pages long.
To know whether you have written a good executive summary, you can ask yourself, “Are the stakeholders going to have all the information they need to make decisions?”
If the answer is yes, you have done a good job.
There is no strict rule about how long executive summaries should be. Each company is unique which means the length will always vary. In most cases, it will depend on the size of the report/business plan.
However, a universal consensus is that it should be anywhere from one to four pages long or five to ten percent of the length of the report.
This is typically more than enough space to summarize the story behind the data and provide your stakeholders with the most important KPIs for future decision-making.
The people most interested in reading the executive summary are typically the ones who don’t have time to read the whole report and want a quick overview of the most important data and information.
- Project stakeholders – The individuals or organizations that are actively involved in a project with your company.
- Management personnel (decision-makers) – The highest-ranking employees in your company (manager, partner, general partner, etc.)
- Investors – As we said, this could be bank officials who want a quick recap of your company’s performance so they can make an easier investment decision.
- Venture capitalists – Investors who provide capital in exchange for equity stakes.
- C-level executives – The chief executives in your business.
Related : Reporting Strategy for Multiple Audiences: 6 Tips for Getting Started
The components of your executive summary depend on what is included in the overall larger document. Executive summary elements may also vary depending on the type of document (business plan, project, report, etc.), but there are several components that are considered universal.
These are the main elements you should include:
Methods of analyzing the problem
Solutions to the problem, the ‘why now’ segment, well-defined conclusion.
The purpose of the summary should typically be included in the introduction as an opening statement. Explain what you aim to achieve with the document and communicate the value of your desired objective.
This part is supposed to grab your reader’s attention, so make sure they pay extra attention when writing it.
Problems are an unavoidable element in modern-day businesses, even in the most successful companies.
The second thing your executive summary needs to outline is what specific problem you are dealing with. It could be anything from product plans and customer feedback to sales revenue and marketing strategies.
Define the problems clearly so all the members know which areas need fixing.
Problem analysis methods are key for identifying the causes of the issue.
While figuring out the problems and the methods to solve them is immensely important, you shouldn’t overlook the things that caused them. This will help you from avoiding similar issues in the future.
Now that you’ve introduced the stakeholders to the problems, it’s time to move on to your solutions. Think of a few different ways that could solve the issue and include as many details as you can.
This is one of the most important parts of your executive summary.
The ‘Why Now’ segment showcases why the problem needs to be solved in a timely manner. You don’t want the readers to get the impression that there is plenty of time to fix the issue.
By displaying urgency in your summary, your report will have a much bigger impact.
One of the ways to display urgency visually is by adding performance benchmarks to your report. In case your business is not performing well as other companies within your industry, only one image showcasing which metrics are below the median could make a compelling case for the reader.
For example, if you have discovered that your churn rate is much higher than for an average SaaS company, this may be a good indication that you have issues with poor customer service, poor marketing, pricing issues, potentially outdated product features, etc.
Benchmark Your Performance Against Hundreds of Companies Just Like Yours
Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing.
Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks.
Lastly, you should end your executive summary with a well-defined conclusion.
Make sure to include a recap of the problems, solutions, and the overall most important KPIs from the document.
Okay, so you understand the basics of executive summaries and why they are so important. However, you still aren’t sure how to write one.
Here are some of the best practices you can use to create amazing executive summaries that will impress your key stakeholders and high-ranking members.
Write it Last
Grab their attention, use appropriate language, talk strategy, include forecasts, highlight funding needs, make it short.
The most natural way to write your executive summary is by writing it at the end of your report/business plan.
This is because you will already have gone through all the most important information and data that should later be included.
A good suggestion is to take notes of all the significant KPIs that you think should be incorporated in the summary, it will make it easier for you to later categorize the data and you will have a clearer overview of the key parts of the report.
You may think that you already know which data you are going to include, but once you wrap up your report, you will probably run into certain things that you forgot to implement. It’s much easier to create an executive summary with all the data segmented in one place, than to rewrite it later.
While your primary goal when creating the executive summary is to make it informative, you also have to grab the attention of your readers so that you can motivate them to read the rest of the document.
Once they finish reading the last few sentences of the summary, the audience should be looking forward to checking out the remanding parts to get the full story.
If you are having trouble with finding ways to capture the reader’s attention, you can ask some of your colleagues from the sales department to lend a hand. After all, that’s their specialty.
One more important element is the type of language you use in the summary. Keep in mind who will be reading the summary, your language should be adjusted to a group of executives.
Make the summary understandable and avoid using complicated terms that may cause confusion, your goal is to feed the stakeholders with important information that will affect their decision-making.
This doesn’t only refer to the words that you use, the way in which you provide explanation should also be taken into consideration. People reading the report should be able to easily and quickly understand the main pain points that you highlighted.
You should have a specific part in your executive summary where you will focus on future strategies. This part should include information regarding your project, target market, program, and the problems that you think should be solved as soon as possible.
Also, you should provide some useful insights into the overall industry or field that your business operates in. Showcase some of the competitive advantages of your company and specific marketing insights that you think the readers would find interesting.
Related : What Is Strategic Reporting? 4 Report Examples to Get Inspiration From
Make one of the sections revolve around financial and sales forecasts for the next 1-3 years. Provide details of your breakeven points, such as where the expenses/revenues are equal and when you expect certain profits from your strategies.
This practice is mainly useful for business plans, but the same principle can be applied to reports. You can include predictions on how your overall objectives and goals will bring profit to the company.
Related : How Lone Fir Creative Uses Databox to Forecast, Set, & Achieve Agency & Client Goals
Don’t forget to talk about the funding needs for your projects since there is a high chance that investors will find their way to the executive summary as well.
You can even use a quotation from an influential figure that supports your upcoming projects. Include the costs that will incur but also provide profitability predictions that will persuade the investors to fund your projects.
While your report should include all of the most important metrics and data, aim for maximum conciseness.
Don’t include any information that may be abundant and try to keep the executive summary as short as possible. Creating a summary that takes up dozens of pages will lose its original purpose.
With a concise summary and clear communication of your messages, your readers will have an easy time understanding your thoughts and then take them into consideration.
Also, one last tip is to use a positive tone throughout the summary. You want your report to exude confidence and reassure the readers.
PRO TIP: How Well Are Your Marketing KPIs Performing?
Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how well your efforts are translating into results each month. How much traffic and new contact conversions do you get? How many new contacts do you get from organic sessions? How are your email campaigns performing? How well are your landing pages converting? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.
Our Marketing Overview Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics 4 and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:
- Sessions . The number of sessions can tell you how many times people are returning to your website. Obviously, the higher the better.
- New Contacts from Sessions . How well is your campaign driving new contacts and customers?
- Marketing Performance KPIs . Tracking the number of MQLs, SQLs, New Contacts and similar will help you identify how your marketing efforts contribute to sales.
- Email Performance . Measure the success of your email campaigns from HubSpot. Keep an eye on your most important email marketing metrics such as number of sent emails, number of opened emails, open rate, email click-through rate, and more.
- Blog Posts and Landing Pages . How many people have viewed your blog recently? How well are your landing pages performing?
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring your leads. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics 4 accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
No one expects you to become an expert executive summary writer overnight. Learning how to create great and meaningful summaries will inevitably take some time.
With the above-mentioned best practices in mind, you should also pay attention to avoiding certain mistakes that could reduce the value of your summaries.
Here are some examples.
Don’t use jargon
Avoid going into details, the summary should be able to stand alone, don’t forget to proofread.
From project stakeholders to C-level executives, everyone should be able to easily understand and read the information you gather in your summary.
Keep in mind, you are probably much more familiar with some of the technical terms that your departments use since you are closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders.
Read your summary once again after you finish it to make sure there are no jargons you forgot to elaborate on.
Remember, your summary should be as short as possible, but still include all the key metrics and KPIs. There is no reason to go into details of specific projects, due dates, department performances, etc.
When creating the summary, ask yourself twice whether the information you included truly needs to be there.
Of course, there are certain details that bring value to the summary, but learn how to categorize the useful ones from the unnecessary ones.
While you will know your way around the project, that doesn’t apply to the readers.
After wrapping up the summary, go over it once again to see whether it can stand on its own. This means checking out if there is any sort of context that the readers will need in order to understand the summary.
If the answer is yes, you will have to redo the parts that can’t be understood by first-time readers.
Your executive summary is prone to changes, so making a typo isn’t the end of the world, you can always go back and fix it.
However, it’s not a bad idea to ask one of your colleagues to proofread it as well, just so you have an additional set of eyes.
Using reporting tools such as dashboards for executive reports can provide you with a birds-eye view of your company’s most important KPIs and data.
These dashboards work as visualization tools that will make all the important metrics much more understandable to your internal stakeholders.
Since executive reports on their own don’t include any visual elements such as graphs or charts, these dashboards basically grant them superpowers.
Executive reporting dashboards also make the decision-making process easier since there won’t be any misunderstandings regarding the meaning of the data.
Not only will you be able to gather the data in real-time, but you can also connect different sources onto the dashboard can use the visuals for performance comparisons.
Interested in giving executive report dashboards a try? Let’s check out some of the best examples.
Marketing Performance Dashboard
Customer support performance dashboard, financial overview dashboard, saas management dashboard, sales kpi dashboard.
To stay on top of your key user acquisition metrics, such as visit to leads conversion rates, email traffic, blog traffic, and more, you can use this Marketing Performance Dashboard .
You can pull in data from advanced tools such as HubSpot Marketing and Google Analytics to get a full overview of how your website generates leads.
Some of the things you will learn through this dashboard are:
- Which traffic sources are generating the most amount of leads
- How to track which number of users are new to your website
- How to compare the traffic you are getting from your email with blog traffic
- How to stay on top of lead generation goals each month
- How to be sure that your marketing activities are paying off
The key metrics included are bounce rate, new users, page/session, pageview, and average session duration.
You can use the Customer Support Performance Dashboard to track the overall performance of your customer service and check out how efficient individual agents are.
This simple and customizable dashboard will help you stay in touch with new conversation numbers, open/closed conversations by teammates, number of leads, and much more.
Also, you will get the answers to questions such as:
- How many new conversations did my customer support agents deal with yesterday/last week/last month?
- How many conversations are currently in progress?
- In which way are customer conversations tagged on Intercom?
- How to track the number of leads that the support team is generating?
- What is the best way to measure the performance of my customer support team?
Some of the key metrics are leads, open conversations, new conversations, tags by tag name, closed conversations, and more.
Want to know how much income your business generated last month? How to measure the financial health of your business? How about figuring out the best way to track credit card purchases?
You can track all of these things and more by using the Financial Overview Dashboard .
This free customizable dashboard will help you gain an insight into all of your business’s financial operations, cash flow, bank accounts, sales, expenses, and plenty more.
Understanding your company from a financial standpoint is one of the most important ingredients of good decision-making.
With key metrics such as gross profit, net income, open invoices, total expenses, and dozens more – all gathered in one financial reporting software , you will have no problems staying on top of your financial activities.
Use this SaaS Management Dashboard to have a clear overview of your business’s KPIs in real-time. This customizable dashboard will help you stay competitive in the SaaS industry by providing you with comprehensive data that can you can visualize, making it more understandable.
You will be able to:
- See how your company is growing on an annual basis
- Have a detailed outline of your weakest and strongest months
- Determine which strategies are most efficient in driving revenue
The key metrics included in this dashboard are recurring revenue, churn by type, MRR changes, and customer changes.
Do you want to monitor your sales team’s output and outcomes? Interested in tracking average deal sizes, number of won deals, new deals created, and more?
This Sales KPI Dashboard can help you do just that.
It serves as a perfect tool for sales managers that are looking for the best way to create detailed overviews of their performances. It also helps achieve sales manager goals for the pre-set time periods.
By connecting your HubSpot account to this customizable dashboard, you can learn:
- What’s the average deal size
- The number of open, closed, and lost deals each month
- How much revenue you can expect from the new deals
- How your business is progressing towards the overall sales goals
Although you probably understand what your executive summary should include by now, you may still need a bit of help with creating a clear outline to follow.
We thought about that too. Here are some template examples that will help you create executive summaries for different kinds of business needs.
Here is an executive summary template for a business plan:
- [Company profile (with relevant history)]
- [Company contact details]
- [Description of products and/or services]
- [Unique proposition]
- [Competitive advantage]
- [Intellectual property]
- [Development status]
- [Market opportunity]
- [Target market]
- [Funding needs]
- [Potential price of goods]
- [Projected profit margins for year one and two]
- [Summarize main points]
Executive summary template for marketing plan:
- [Product description]
- [Unique customer characteristics]
- [Customer spending habits]
- [Relationship to product]
- [Access channels]
- [Value and credibility of product]
- [Product competitive advantage]
- [Creative outlook]
- [Goal statement]
- [Forecasted cost]
- [Next week]
- [Next month]
Executive summary template for a research report
- [Project topic]
- [Name | Date]
- [Report introduction]
- [Research methods]
Executive summary template for project executive
- [Project name]
- [Program name]
- [Project lead]
- [Prepared by]
- [Project milestones]
- [Status overviews]
- [New requests]
- [Issues summary]
- [Project notes]
For the longest time, writing executive reports has been seen as a grueling and time-consuming process that will require many sleepless nights to get the job done right.
While there is plenty of truth to this, modern automated reporting software has revolutionized these writing nightmares.
Databox is one of those tools.
With Databox, you will be able to connect data from multiple sources into one comprehensive dashboard. Also, you are going to gain access to different types of charts and graphs that you can use for data visualization and make the report much more understandable to the readers.
Using a modernized tool like Databox will provide you with a faster, more accurate, and more efficient reporting process.
This advanced software allows you easily create your own customizable reports that can be adjusted in real-time as soon as new data emerges.
Who says executive reporting has to be a tedious process? Sign up for our free trial and see how easy creating executive reports can be.
Get practical strategies that drive consistent growth
How to Do an SEO Competitive Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide
8 Key Reports Every Sales Manager Should Know About
Quarterly Business Report: How to Write One and How to Present It Successfully
Latest from our blog
- 32 LinkedIn Statistics You Need to Know to Fine-Tune Your Strategies in 2024 November 9, 2023
- Using Leading Indicators to Forecast Ad ROI (Kevin Lord Barry, Right Percent) November 8, 2023
Popular Blog Posts
- What is a KPI?
- SMART Goal Tracker
- Marketing Report Templates
- Google Analytics Dashboards
- Google Search Console SEO
- Website Performance Metrics
- SaaS Metrics
- Google Analytics KPIs
- Business Dashboards
- Dashboard Integrations
- Dashboard Examples
- Calculate Metrics
- Build Dashboards
- Dashboard Reporting
- Metric Tracking
- Goal Tracking
- KPI Scorecards
- Desktop, Mobile & TV
- TV Dashboards
- Mobile Dashboards
- Dashboard Snapshots in Slack
- White Label Dashboards
- Client Reporting
POPULAR DASHBOARD EXAMPLES & TEMPLATES
- Marketing Dashboards
- Sales Dashboards
- Customer Support Dashboards
- Ecommerce Dashboards
- Project Management Dashboards
- Financial Dashboards
- SaaS Dashboards
- Software Development Dashboards
- Databox vs. Tableau
- Databox vs. Google Looker Studio
- Databox vs. Klipfolio Klips
- Databox vs. Power BI
- Databox vs. Whatagraph
- Databox vs. AgencyAnalytics
- Culture & Careers
- Product & Engineering teams
- Junior Playmaker Internship
- Talent Resource Center
- We're Hiring!
- Affiliate Program
- System status
- Case studies
- Help Center
- API Documentation
- Start a Chat
The escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel is leaving people in Gaza in urgent need of humanitarian support. Please donate now .
Writing an executive summary.
3 pages long
- Share on Twitter
- Share on Facebook
- Share on email
- Development methods
- Development research
- Executive summary
- Research methods
- Tools for writing
- Spanish guideline (213 KB)
- French guideline (189 KB)
An executive summary is one of the most crucial parts of a report. It represents a chance for the author to grab the reader’s attention and draw them into the main document.
When readers are pressed for time, it may be the only part of the report they read, so a well-written summary is vital. Unfortunately, summaries are often an afterthought for authors and are frequently written in haste.
Part of Oxfam’s Research Guidelines series, this guideline gives a short overview of how to write an engaging executive summary that conveys the most important information from the main report in a clear, concise way.
It provides tools for thinking about how to get the most out of your summary, as well as examples from academia and business, plus tips on things to avoid. This guide was originally written in 2015 and was updated in 2019.
- Green, Duncan
- Walsh, Martin
How to cite this resource
Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context. You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title . Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL
Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.
Here are similar items you might be interested in.
Terms of Reference for Research Template
7 pages long
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Research Ethics: A practical guide
16 pages long
Languages: Arabic, English, French, Spanish
- Fragile contexts
How to Analyse Change Processes
10 pages long
- Power analysis
- Social justice
- Contact Sales
- Download App
- Project planning |
- How to write an executive summary, with ...
How to write an executive summary, with examples
The best way to do that is with an executive summary. If you’ve never written an executive summary, this article has all you need to know to plan, write, and share them with your team.
What is an executive summary?
An executive summary is an overview of a document. The length and scope of your executive summary will differ depending on the document it’s summarizing, but in general an executive summary can be anywhere from one to two pages long. In the document, you’ll want to share all of the information your readers and important stakeholders need to know.
Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed? If so, your summary has done its job.
You’ll often find executive summaries of:
In general, there are four parts to any executive summary:
Start with the problem or need the document is solving.
Outline the recommended solution.
Explain the solution’s value.
Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.
What is an executive summary in project management?
In project management, an executive summary is a way to bring clarity to cross-functional collaborators, team leadership, and project stakeholders . Think of it like a project’s “ elevator pitch ” for team members who don’t have the time or the need to dive into all of the project’s details.
The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you’ve written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental study, you would compile a report on the results and findings once your study was over. But for an executive summary in project management, you want to cover what the project is aiming to achieve and why those goals matter.
The same four parts apply to an executive summary in project management:
Start with the problem or need the project is solving. Why is this project happening? What insight, customer feedback, product plan, or other need caused it to come to life?
Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives. How is the project going to solve the problem you established in the first part? What are the project goals and objectives?
Explain the solution’s value. Once you’ve finished your project, what will happen? How will this improve and solve the problem you established in the first part?
Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work. This is another opportunity to reiterate why the problem is important, and why the project matters. It can also be helpful to reference your audience and how your solution will solve their problem. Finally, include any relevant next steps.
If you’ve never written an executive summary before, you might be curious about where it fits into other project management elements. Here’s how executive summaries stack up:
Executive summary vs. project plan
A project plan is a blueprint of the key elements your project will accomplish in order to hit your project goals and objectives. Project plans will include your goals, success metrics, stakeholders and roles, budget, milestones and deliverables, timeline and schedule, and communication plan .
An executive summary is a summary of the most important information in your project plan. Think of the absolutely crucial things your management team needs to know when they land in your project, before they even have a chance to look at the project plan—that’s your executive summary.
Executive summary vs. project overview
Project overviews and executive summaries often have similar elements—they both contain a summary of important project information. However, your project overview should be directly attached to your project. There should be a direct line of sight between your project and your project overview.
While you can include your executive summary in your project depending on what type of project management tool you use, it may also be a stand-alone document.
Executive summary vs. project objectives
Your executive summary should contain and expand upon your project objectives in the second part ( Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives ). In addition to including your project objectives, your executive summary should also include why achieving your project objectives will add value, as well as provide details about how you’re going to get there.
The benefits of an executive summary
You may be asking: why should I write an executive summary for my project? Isn’t the project plan enough?
Well, like we mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or need to dive into your project and see, from a glance, what the goals are and why they matter. Work management tools like Asana help you capture a lot of crucial information about a project, so you and your team have clarity on who’s doing what by when. Your executive summary is designed less for team members who are actively working on the project and more for stakeholders outside of the project who want quick insight and answers about why your project matters.
An effective executive summary gives stakeholders a big-picture view of the entire project and its important points—without requiring them to dive into all the details. Then, if they want more information, they can access the project plan or navigate through tasks in your work management tool.
How to write a great executive summary, with examples
Every executive summary has four parts. In order to write a great executive summary, follow this template. Then once you’ve written your executive summary, read it again to make sure it includes all of the key information your stakeholders need to know.
1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving
At the beginning of your executive summary, start by explaining why this document (and the project it represents) matter. Take some time to outline what the problem is, including any research or customer feedback you’ve gotten . Clarify how this problem is important and relevant to your customers, and why solving it matters.
For example, let’s imagine you work for a watch manufacturing company. Your project is to devise a simpler, cheaper watch that still appeals to luxury buyers while also targeting a new bracket of customers.
Example executive summary:
In recent customer feedback sessions, 52% of customers have expressed a need for a simpler and cheaper version of our product. In surveys of customers who have chosen competitor watches, price is mentioned 87% of the time. To best serve our existing customers, and to branch into new markets, we need to develop a series of watches that we can sell at an appropriate price point for this market.
2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives
Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what your solution is. Unlike an abstract or outline, you should be prescriptive in your solution—that is to say, you should work to convince your readers that your solution is the right one. This is less of a brainstorming section and more of a place to support your recommended solution.
Because you’re creating your executive summary at the beginning of your project, it’s ok if you don’t have all of your deliverables and milestones mapped out. But this is your chance to describe, in broad strokes, what will happen during the project. If you need help formulating a high-level overview of your project’s main deliverables and timeline, consider creating a project roadmap before diving into your executive summary.
Continuing our example executive summary:
Our new watch series will begin at 20% cheaper than our current cheapest option, with the potential for 40%+ cheaper options depending on material and movement. In order to offer these prices, we will do the following:
Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood
Use high-quality quartz movement instead of in-house automatic movement
Introduce customizable band options, with a focus on choice and flexibility over traditional luxury
Note that every watch will still be rigorously quality controlled in order to maintain the same world-class speed and precision of our current offerings.
3. Explain the solution’s value
At this point, you begin to get into more details about how your solution will impact and improve upon the problem you outlined in the beginning. What, if any, results do you expect? This is the section to include any relevant financial information, project risks, or potential benefits. You should also relate this project back to your company goals or OKRs . How does this work map to your company objectives?
With new offerings that are between 20% and 40% cheaper than our current cheapest option, we expect to be able to break into the casual watch market, while still supporting our luxury brand. That will help us hit FY22’s Objective 3: Expanding the brand. These new offerings have the potential to bring in upwards of three million dollars in profits annually, which will help us hit FY22’s Objective 1: 7 million dollars in annual profit.
Early customer feedback sessions indicate that cheaper options will not impact the value or prestige of the luxury brand, though this is a risk that should be factored in during design. In order to mitigate that risk, the product marketing team will begin working on their go-to-market strategy six months before the launch.
4. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work
Now that you’ve shared all of this important information with executive stakeholders, this final section is your chance to guide their understanding of the impact and importance of this work on the organization. What, if anything, should they take away from your executive summary?
To round out our example executive summary:
Cheaper and varied offerings not only allow us to break into a new market—it will also expand our brand in a positive way. With the attention from these new offerings, plus the anticipated demand for cheaper watches, we expect to increase market share by 2% annually. For more information, read our go-to-market strategy and customer feedback documentation .
Example of an executive summary
When you put it all together, this is what your executive summary might look like:
Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries
You’re not going to become an executive summary-writing pro overnight, and that’s ok. As you get started, use the four-part template provided in this article as a guide. Then, as you continue to hone your executive summary writing skills, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:
Avoid using jargon
Your executive summary is a document that anyone, from project contributors to executive stakeholders, should be able to read and understand. Remember that you’re much closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders will be, so read your executive summary once over to make sure there’s no unnecessary jargon. Where you can, explain the jargon, or skip it all together.
Remember: this isn’t a full report
Your executive summary is just that—a summary. If you find yourself getting into the details of specific tasks, due dates, and attachments, try taking a step back and asking yourself if that information really belongs in your executive summary. Some details are important—you want your summary to be actionable and engaging. But keep in mind that the wealth of information in your project will be captured in your work management tool , not your executive summary.
Make sure the summary can stand alone
You know this project inside and out, but your stakeholders won’t. Once you’ve written your executive summary, take a second look to make sure the summary can stand on its own. Is there any context your stakeholders need in order to understand the summary? If so, weave it into your executive summary, or consider linking out to it as additional information.
Your executive summary is a living document, and if you miss a typo you can always go back in and fix it. But it never hurts to proofread or send to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes.
In summary: an executive summary is a must-have
Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone up to date and on the same page about your project. If you have a lot of project stakeholders who need quick insight into what the project is solving and why it matters, an executive summary is the perfect way to give them the information they need.
For more tips about how to connect high-level strategy and plans to daily execution, read our article about strategic planning .
Project management software and tools: Your best picks for 2023
SWOT analysis: What it is and how to use it (with examples)
SMART Goals: How To Write Them and Why They Matter
4 tips to use email and Asana together
How it works
Transform your enterprise with the scalable mindsets, skills, & behavior change that drive performance.
Explore how BetterUp connects to your core business systems.
Build leaders that accelerate team performance and engagement.
Unlock performance potential at scale with AI-powered curated growth journeys.
Build resilience, well-being and agility to drive performance across your entire enterprise.
Transform your business, starting with your sales leaders.
Unlock business impact from the top with executive coaching.
Foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.
Accelerate the performance and potential of your agencies and employees.
See how innovative organizations use BetterUp to build a thriving workforce.
Discover how BetterUp measurably impacts key business outcomes for organizations like yours.
A demo is the first step to transforming your business. Meet with us to develop a plan for attaining your goals.
- For Individuals
Best practices, research, and tools to fuel individual and business growth.
View on-demand BetterUp events and learn about upcoming live discussions.
The latest insights and ideas for building a high-performing workplace.
- BetterUp Briefing
The online magazine that helps you understand tomorrow's workforce trends, today.
Innovative research featured in peer-reviewed journals, press, and more.
We're on a mission to help everyone live with clarity, purpose, and passion.
Join us and create impactful change.
Read the buzz about BetterUp.
Meet the leadership that's passionate about empowering your workforce.
How to write an executive summary in 10 steps
Understand Yourself Better:
Big 5 Personality Test
Whether presenting a business plan, sharing project updates with stakeholders, or submitting a project proposal, an executive summary helps you grab attention and convey key insights.
Think of it as a condensed version of a document, report, or proposal that highlights the most important information clearly and concisely. It's like a "cheat sheet" that gives you a snapshot of the main points without reading the entire thing.
Throughout the article, we'll explore some examples of executive summaries to give you a better understanding of how they can be applied. Plus, we'll provide you with ready-to-use templates and best practices for writing compelling executive summaries.
What is an executive summary?
An executive summary is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It is typically written for busy executives or decision-makers who may not have the time to read the entire document but still need to grasp its key points and recommendations.
An effective executive summary should capture the essence of the document, highlighting the most important information in a brief and easily understandable way. It should provide a snapshot of the document's purpose, methodology, major findings, and key recommendations. The summary should be written in a way that allows the reader to quickly grasp the main ideas and make informed decisions based on the information presented.
Why do you need to write one?
For a business owner , an executive summary is one of the most important documents you will have. Like a business plan , they help you lay out the potential value of your business and your potential for success.
Unlike a business proposal, however, an executive summary is designed to be read in a brief amount of time. That makes them ideal for a variety of uses, like project proposals and research summaries. Sending your strategic plan to a prospective investor or stakeholder likely won’t get you far. But a brief report that clearly states your key findings and what’s in it for them might help you — and your proposal — stand out. It isn't all the details. It's what gets you the meeting to share more.
An executive summary is also a business document that can travel without you. It may be presented to other leaders and potential investors. If it’s written well, it will take on a life of its own. You may find that you get support and resources from places you never imagined.
What should be included in an executive summary?
Your executive summary should include brief descriptions of who your product, service, or proposal is for and your competitive advantage. Be sure to introduce your report concisely yet clearly . Note the most important points and its overall purpose––what do you hope to achieve with this report?
Also, include any necessary background information and statistics about the industry, high-level information about your business model, necessary financial information, or other insights you discuss in the report. Depending on your proposal, you may want to consider summarizing a market analysis of your target market.
Typically, an executive summary follows a structured format, including sections such as:
- Introduction: Provides a brief background and context for the document.
- Objective or purpose: Clearly states the goal of the document and what it aims to achieve.
- Methodology: Briefly describes the approach, data sources, and methods used to conduct the research or analysis.
- Findings: Summarizes the main findings, conclusions, or results derived from the document.
- Recommendations: Outlines the key recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings.
- Conclusion: Provides a concise wrap-up of the main points and emphasizes the significance of the document.
How do you write an executive summary?
When tackling an executive summary, it's all about following a structured approach to ensure you effectively communicate those crucial points, findings, and recommendations. Let’s walk through some steps and best practices to make it a breeze:
Step 1: Get to know the document
Take the time to dive into the full document or report that your executive summary will be based on. Read it thoroughly and identify the main objectives, key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
Step 2: Know your audience
Think about who you're writing the executive summary for. Consider their knowledge level, interests, and priorities. This helps you tailor the summary to their needs and make it relevant and impactful.
Step 3: Outline the structure
Create an outline for your executive summary with sections like introduction, objective, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion. This way, you'll have a logical flow that's easy to follow.
Step 4: Start strong
Kick off your executive summary with a captivating opening statement. Make it concise, engaging, and impactful to hook the reader and make them want to keep reading.
Step 5: Summarize objectives and methodology
Give a brief overview of the document's objectives and the methodology used to achieve them. This sets the context and helps the reader understand the approach taken.
Step 6: Highlight key findings
Summarize the main findings, conclusions, or results. Focus on the juiciest and most relevant points that support the document's purpose. Keep it clear and concise to get the message across effectively.
Step 7: Present key recommendations
Outline the important recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings. Clearly state what needs to be done, why it matters, and how it aligns with the document's objectives. Make those recommendations actionable and realistic.
Step 8: Keep it snappy
Remember, an executive summary should be short and sweet. Skip unnecessary details, jargon, or technical language . Use straightforward language that hits the mark.
Step 9: Review and polish
Once you've written the executive summary, give it a careful review for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Make sure it captures the essence of the full document and represents its content faithfully. Take the extra step to edit out any fluff or repetition.
Step 10: Dress to impress
Consider formatting and presentation. Use headings, bullet points, and formatting styles to make it visually appealing and easy to skim. If it makes sense, include some graphs, charts, or visuals to highlight key points.
Tips for writing an effective executive summary
- Adapt your language and tone to suit your audience.
- Keep things concise and crystal clear—say no to jargon.
- Focus on the most important info that packs a punch.
- Give enough context without overwhelming your reader.
- Use strong and persuasive language to make your recommendations shine.
- Make sure your executive summary makes sense even if the full document isn't read.
- Proofread like a pro to catch any pesky grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.
Executive summary template for business plans
Here's a general template for creating an executive summary specifically for business plans:
[Your Company Name]
[Business Plan Title]
Provide a brief introduction to your company, including its name, location, industry, and mission statement . Describe your unique value proposition and what sets your business apart from competitors.
Summarize the key findings of your market research. Provide an overview of the target market, its size, growth potential, and relevant trends. Highlight your understanding of customer needs, preferences, and behaviors.
Product or service offering
Outline your core products or services, including their key features and benefits. Emphasize how your offerings address customer pain points and provide value. Highlight any unique selling points or competitive advantages.
Explain your business model and revenue generation strategy. Describe how you will generate revenue, the pricing structure, and any distribution channels or partnerships that contribute to your business's success.
Marketing and sales strategy
Summarize your marketing and sales approach. Highlight the key tactics and channels you will use to reach and attract customers. Discuss your promotional strategies, pricing strategies, and customer acquisition plans.
Introduce the key members of your management team and their relevant experience. Highlight their expertise and how it positions the team to execute the business plan successfully. Include any notable advisors or board members.
Summarize your financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expected expenses, and projected profitability. Highlight any key financial metrics or milestones. Briefly mention your funding needs, if applicable.
If seeking funding, outline your funding requirements, including the amount needed, its purpose, and the potential sources of funding you are considering. Summarize the expected return on investment for potential investors.
Reiterate the vision and potential of your business. Summarize the key points of your business plan, emphasizing its viability, market potential, and the expertise of your team. Convey confidence in the success of your venture.
Note: Keep the executive summary concise and focused, typically within one to two pages. Use clear and compelling language, emphasizing the unique aspects of your business. Tailor the template to suit your specific business plan, adjusting sections and details accordingly.
Remember, the executive summary serves as an introduction to your business plan and should pique the reader's interest, conveying the value and potential of your business in a concise and persuasive manner.
Executive summary examples
Every executive summary will be unique to the organization's goals, vision, and brand identity. We put together two general examples of executive summaries to spark your creativity and offer some inspiration.
These are not intended to be used as-is but more to offer ideas for how you may want to put your own executive summary together. Be sure to personalize your own summary with specific statistics and relevant data points to make the most impact.
Example 1: executive summary for a communications business plan
We're thrilled to present our innovative [insert product] that aims to revolutionize the way people connect and engage. Our vision is to empower individuals and businesses with seamless communication solutions that break barriers and foster meaningful connections.
The communications industry is evolving rapidly, and we've identified a significant opportunity in the market. With the proliferation of remote work, the need for reliable and efficient communication tools has skyrocketed. Our extensive market research indicates a demand for solutions that prioritize user experience, security, and flexibility.
At [Company Name], we've developed a suite of cutting-edge communication tools designed to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our flagship product is a unified communication platform that integrates voice, video, messaging, and collaboration features into a seamless user experience. We also offer customizable solutions for businesses of all sizes, catering to their unique communication requirements.
Unique value proposition:
What sets us apart from the competition? Our user-centric approach and commitment to innovation. We prioritize user experience by creating intuitive interfaces and seamless interactions. Our solutions are scalable, adaptable, and designed to keep up with evolving technological trends. By combining ease of use with advanced features, we deliver unparalleled value to our customers.
Our primary focus is on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that require efficient and cost-effective communication tools. We also cater to individuals, remote teams, and larger enterprises seeking reliable and secure communication solutions. Our target market encompasses industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and professional services.
To generate revenue, we employ a subscription-based business model. Customers can choose from different plans tailored to their specific needs, paying a monthly or annual fee. We also offer additional services such as customization, integration, and customer support, creating additional revenue streams and fostering long-term customer relationships.
Marketing and sales strategy:
Our marketing strategy centers around building brand awareness through targeted digital campaigns, content marketing, and strategic partnerships. We'll leverage social media, industry influencers, and online communities to reach our target audience. Additionally, our sales team will engage in proactive outreach, nurturing leads and providing personalized consultations to convert prospects into loyal customers.
Team and expertise:
Our team is composed of experienced professionals with a deep understanding of the communications industry. Led by our visionary founder and supported by a skilled and diverse team, we have the expertise to drive innovation, develop robust products, and deliver exceptional customer service. We're passionate about our mission and dedicated to making a lasting impact in the market.
Based on extensive market research and financial analysis, we anticipate strong growth and profitability. Our financial projections indicate steady revenue streams, with increasing customer adoption and market share. We're committed to managing costs effectively, optimizing our resources, and continuously reinvesting in research and development.
To fuel our ambitious growth plans and accelerate product development, we're seeking [funding amount] in funding. These funds will be allocated towards expanding our team, scaling our infrastructure, marketing efforts, and ongoing product innovation. We believe this investment will position us for success and solidify our market presence.
In summary, [Company Name] is poised to disrupt the communications industry with our innovative solutions and customer-centric approach. We're ready to make a positive impact by empowering individuals and businesses to communicate effectively and effortlessly. Join us on this exciting journey as we redefine the future of communication. Together, we'll shape a connected world like never before.
Example 2: executive summary for a project proposal
[Project Proposal Date]
Hello! We're thrilled to present our project proposal for [Project Name]. This executive summary will provide you with a high-level overview of the project, its objectives, and the value it brings.
Our project aims to [describe the project's purpose and scope]. It's a response to [identify the problem or opportunity] and has the potential to bring significant benefits to [stakeholders or target audience]. Through meticulous planning and execution, we're confident in our ability to achieve the desired outcomes.
The primary goal of our project is to [state the overarching objective]. In addition, we have specific objectives such as [list specific objectives]. By accomplishing these goals, we'll create a positive impact and drive meaningful change.
Our proposed approach for this project is based on a thorough analysis of the situation and best practices. We'll adopt a structured methodology that includes [describe the key project phases or activities]. This approach ensures efficient utilization of resources and maximizes project outcomes.
The benefits of this project are truly exciting. Through its implementation, we anticipate [describe the anticipated benefits or outcomes]. These benefits include [list specific benefits], which will have a lasting and positive effect on [stakeholders or target audience].
We've devised a comprehensive timeline to guide the project from initiation to completion. The project is divided into distinct phases, with well-defined milestones and deliverables. Our timeline ensures that tasks are executed in a timely manner, allowing us to stay on track and deliver results.
To successfully execute this project, we've identified the key resources needed. This includes [list the resources required, such as human resources, technology, equipment, and funding]. We're confident in our ability to secure the necessary resources and allocate them effectively to ensure project success.
A project of this nature requires a well-planned budget. Based on our analysis, we've estimated the required funding to be [state the budget amount]. This budget encompasses all project-related costs and aligns with the anticipated benefits and outcomes.
Our project proposal is an exciting opportunity to address [the problem or opportunity] and create tangible value for [stakeholders or target audience]. With a clear vision, defined objectives, and a robust implementation plan, we're ready to embark on this journey. Join us as we bring this project to life and make a lasting impact.
Is an executive summary the same as a project plan?
While both are important components of project management and documentation , they serve different purposes and contain distinct information.
An executive summary, as discussed earlier, is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It provides a snapshot of the key points, findings, and recommendations. It focuses on high-level information and aims to provide an overview of the document's purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations.
On the other hand, a project plan is a detailed document that outlines the specific activities, tasks, timelines, resources, and milestones associated with a project. It serves as a roadmap for project execution, providing a comprehensive understanding of how the project will be carried out.
A project plan typically includes objectives, scope, deliverables, schedule, budget, resource allocation, risk management, and communication strategies. It is intended for project team members, stakeholders, and those directly involved in the execution.
In summary, an executive summary offers a condensed overview of a document's key points, while a project plan provides a comprehensive and detailed roadmap for executing a project.
Executive summaries vs. abstracts
An executive summary is not the same as an abstract. Executive summaries focus on the main points of a proposal. They highlight when and why a reader should invest in the company or project.
An abstract, on the other hand, concentrates on what the business does and its marketing plan. It typically doesn’t include detailed information about finances.
While it is usually compelling, it’s less of an elevator pitch and more of a summary. The goal of an abstract is to inform, not to persuade. On the other hand, the goal of an executive summary is to give readers who are pressed for time just enough information that they’ll want to look further into your proposition.
When do you use an executive summary?
An executive summary is used in various situations where there is a need to present a condensed overview of a longer document or report. Here are some common instances when an executive summary is used:
- Business proposals: When submitting a business proposal to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders, an executive summary is often included. It provides a concise overview of the proposal, highlighting the key aspects such as the business idea, market analysis, competitive advantage, financial projections, and recommended actions.
- Reports and research studies: Lengthy reports or research studies often include an executive summary at the beginning. This allows decision-makers, executives, or other stakeholders to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations of the report without going through the entire document.
- Project updates: During the course of a project, project managers may prepare executive summaries to provide updates to stakeholders or higher-level management. These summaries give a brief overview of the project's progress, achievements, challenges, and upcoming milestones.
- Strategic plans: When developing strategic plans for an organization, an executive summary is often included to provide an overview of the plan's goals, objectives, strategies, and key initiatives. It allows executives and stakeholders to grasp the essence of the strategic plan and its implications without reading the entire document.
- Funding requests: When seeking funding for a project or venture, an executive summary is commonly used as part of the funding proposal. It provides a succinct summary of the project, highlighting its significance, potential impact, financial requirements, and expected outcomes.
In general, an executive summary is used whenever there is a need to communicate the main points, findings, and recommendations of a document concisely and efficiently to individuals who may not have the time or inclination to read the entire content. It serves as a valuable tool for understanding and facilitates quick decision-making.
5 ways project managers can use executive summaries
Project managers can use executive summaries in various ways to effectively communicate project updates, status reports, or proposals to stakeholders and higher-level management. Here are some ways project managers can use executive summaries:
- Project status updates: Project managers can provide regular executive summaries to stakeholders and management to communicate the current status of the project. The summary should include key achievements, milestones reached, challenges encountered, and any adjustments to the project plan. It allows stakeholders to quickly grasp the project's progress and make informed decisions or provide guidance as needed.
- Project proposals: When pitching a project idea or seeking approval for a new project, project managers can prepare an executive summary to present the essential aspects of the project. The summary should outline the project's objectives, scope, anticipated benefits, resource requirements, estimated timeline, and potential risks. It helps decision-makers understand the project's value and make an informed choice about its initiation.
- Project closure reports: At the end of a project, project managers can prepare an executive summary as part of the project closure report. The summary should highlight the project's overall success, key deliverables achieved, lessons learned, and recommendations for future projects. It provides a concise overview of the project's outcomes and acts as a valuable reference for future initiatives.
- Steering committee meetings: When project managers present updates or seek guidance from a steering committee or governance board, an executive summary can be an effective tool. The summary should cover the important aspects of the project, such as progress, issues, risks, and upcoming milestones. It ensures that decision-makers are well-informed about the project's status and can provide relevant guidance or support.
- Change requests: When submitting a change request for a project, project managers can include an executive summary to summarize the proposed change, its impact on the project, potential risks, and benefits. It helps stakeholders and decision-makers quickly assess the change request and make informed decisions about its implementation.
Using executive summaries, project managers can efficiently communicate project-related information to stakeholders, executives, and decision-makers. The summaries provide a concise overview of the project's status, proposals, or closure reports, allowing stakeholders to quickly understand the key points and take appropriate action.
When should you not use an executive summary?
While executive summaries are widely used in many situations, there are some cases where they may not be necessary or suitable. Here are a few scenarios where an executive summary may not be appropriate, along with alternative approaches:
- Highly technical documents: If the document contains highly technical or specialized information that requires a detailed understanding, an executive summary alone may not be sufficient. In such cases, it is better to provide the complete document and supplement it with explanatory materials, presentations , or meetings where experts can explain and discuss the technical details.
- Personal or creative writing: Executive summaries are typically used for informational or analytical documents. If the content is more personal in nature, such as a memoir, novel, or creative piece, an executive summary may not be relevant. Instead, focus on providing an engaging introduction or book blurb that entices readers and conveys the essence of the work.
- Short documents: If the document itself is already concise and can be easily read in its entirety, an executive summary may be redundant. In these cases, it is more effective to present the complete document without an additional summary.
- Interactive presentations: In situations where you can present information interactively, such as in meetings, workshops, or conferences, it may be more effective to engage the audience directly rather than relying solely on an executive summary. Use visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, and Q&A sessions to convey the necessary information and capture the audience's attention.
Final thoughts on writing a compelling executive summary
An executive summary isn’t the kitchen sink — it’s the bells and whistles. Geared toward busy decision-makers, these one-pagers communicate your case for action and proposed solutions. When it’s written well, your audience will walk away with an understanding of what needs to be done, why it needs to happen, and why they should help it move forward.
But writing it well doesn’t just mean spell-checking. It means tailoring your communication to an influential, yet busy and distracted audience. To be effective, you’ll need to write your proposal with empathy and an understanding of what matters to them .
BetterUp Associate Learning Experience Designer
How to write a LinkedIn summary that impresses recruiters
Executive development is personalized to leaders everywhere, executive presence: what is it, why you need it and how to get it, how stanford executive education embraces vulnerability as a form of resilience, 12 resume objective examples and tips for writing one, unlock your potential and level up your career with executive coaching, 5 reasons hr leaders benefit from the betterup + workday partnership, bold conversations to drive bold actions: laura fuentes, evp and chro at hilton, writing a resignation letter that’s effective and professional, similar articles, continuous improvement process: a 6 steps guide to implementing pdca, what’s a project scope, and how do you write one, how to make decisions like a multi-billion dollar corporation, cv versus resume demystify the differences once and for all, writing an elevator pitch about yourself: a how-to plus tips, 10 organizational skills that will put you a step ahead, recognizing, resolving, and releasing internal conflict, how to write a memo: 8 steps with examples, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..
3100 E 5th Street, Suite 350 Austin, TX 78702
- Platform Overview
- BetterUp Lead
- BetterUp Manage™
- BetterUp Care™
- Sales Performance
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Case Studies
- Why BetterUp?
- News and Press
- Leadership Team
- Become a BetterUp Coach
- BetterUp Labs
- Leadership Training
- Business Coaching
- Contact Support
- Contact Sales
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Trust & Security
- Cookie Preferences
How To Write an Effective Executive Summary to Yield Results
By Kate Eby | April 3, 2018
In this article, you'll learn how to craft an organized, well written executive summary the next time you have to gain the attention of a time-strapped audience.
Included on this page, you’ll find information on how to write an executive summary that wins the proposal, how to format your executive summary , an executive summary checklist , and more.
What Is the Purpose of the Executive Summary?
An executive summary should be clear and concise (typically one to two pages long) and present the main points in a formal tone. The purpose of an executive summary is to pique the reader’s curiosity by presenting facts from the larger piece of content it is summarizing.
The executive summary can be either a portion of a business document (a business plan, project proposal, or report) or long articles and documents common in research-driven communities and academia. When crafted correctly, the executive summary provides an overview of the information and objectives in the larger document. The executive summary stands alone from the content it summarizes, and should include the essential information, the recommendations, the findings, and the conclusion of the more extensive document.
The Benefits of a Well Written Executive Summary
A well planned, well written executive summary is a valuable tool because it prioritizes the reader’s time and reduces the effort required to learn the critical aspects of the content. The summary can convey the purpose of your business plan, project proposal, product launch presentation, or sales pitch to keep the reader engaged and reading further, or empowered to take action. Even if it is the only thing your audience reads, a strong executive summary creates value for the reader as a first impression. Use the executive summary to make a business case, support a position, or tell a story. The reader should know how the subject of your content impacts them, benefits their work, their company, or their projects after reading the executive summary.
Various industries use executive summaries as a communication tool, including healthcare, education, government, technology, real estate, finance, law, the nonprofit sector, and more. One of the benefits of using an executive summary is that it is not exclusive to one type of communication. Executive summaries show up in a variety of use cases, including the following:
Product launch plans
College campus surveys
Market research reports
Hospital planning and evaluation
How to Write an Executive Summary
Crafting a useful executive summary requires more than simply cutting and pasting vital information from the body of your report or proposal. The executive summary may be the only part of the report your target audience reads, so you should spend the time to make it valuable.
It doesn’t have to be an intimidating process, but before you begin writing, you should ask the following critical questions:
Who depends on the information? When you write the executive summary, decide who you are targeting and the critical information that audience needs. What do they need to know to make a decision? What would they already know? Do you have a specific customer you want to reach with your message or story? Writing the executive summary with that audience in mind will make it useful because the story you’re telling about your business, project, or proposal will resonate.
What is the objective? While it’s true that an executive summary recaps essential information from the body of the content it summarizes, that is its function, not its purpose. Write the summary to your intended audience and include the crucial information that supports your objective for creating the document. What do you need the reader to understand? Is the aim to recommend change based on the results of your research? What needs to happen for the project plan to succeed based on your proposal? Let your objectives determine the content and context of your summary.
What are you recommending? Use the executive summary to draw conclusions and make recommendations to the reader. If your report presents the need for change, recommend the actions that the body of your document supports in the summary. State the benefits of your product or service, or the solutions you provide more detail on in the proposal. Ultimately, don’t make the reader work to find out what action they need to take: Make your recommendations clear in the executive summary.
How will you make an impression? The “executive” summary earned its name from the need to get the upper management’s attention. Executives did not have the time to read every word of every document. The summary had to make an impression because it might be the only part of the material that would be read. Regardless of its origins, the principle of using the summary to make an impression on the reader is sound, as that impression might encourage the reader to keep reading or take action. Consider how you shape the message, organize the sections of your summary, or present research to stand out in a brief space.
Executive Summary Checklist
After you answer these questions and begin writing your document, refer to the following checklist as you develop the executive summary.
Download Executive Summary Checklist
What Is the Format of an Executive Summary?
Every executive summary intends to distill information to the reader upfront, so it is typically placed first in the document. (Sometimes it is a separate section of a formal business document listed in the table of contents.)
When used in a less formal manner, the executive summary is an opening paragraph, a separate one-page summary memo, or the first page of a report. For example, if your goal is to raise capital, use the executive summary like an investor profile that provides the reader the information necessary to land the meeting or get the funding, without further reading.
The format and length vary based on the purpose of the content that you are summarizing; there is no set structure to follow. Here are some formatting tips that you can use for any executive summary, regardless of the style:
Order of Appearance : Beyond the introduction, decide what sections of the summary are most important to the purpose of the document. Organize your subheadings or sections in that order. Use bullet points and plenty of spacing between the different parts of the summary to make the content more accessible to scanning eyes. By doing so, you naturally discard information better left to the body of the document, and you honor the reader’s time by prioritizing the message, recommendations, conclusions, or solutions in the longer document.
How Much Is Too Much : Executive summaries vary in length based on the type of content they summarize or their purpose. Some recommend keeping the summary to a specific percentage of the overall document, while others advocate a set number of pages. Focus on keeping the summary brief but comprehensive, with the most important information available to the reader.
Audience Aim : The tone and language of the executive summary should match that of the target audience. Avoid using technical jargon that requires definitions, and present the information in an accessible manner based on the knowledge and expertise of your intended audience. Do not include acronyms or highlight data that need an extensive background for context, and avoid using casual, informal tones. That said, an executive summary used in internal communications will have a different tone and style than one used in external communication tools.
One-page Executive Summary Template
This template is designed to fit your executive summary on one page. Take advantage of the short sections and bullet points to keep the document concise and hook the reader with the information that will keep them reading. Organize the key points by customizing the subheadings to emphasize their importance based on your purpose for the document.
Download One-page Executive Summary Template
Excel | Word | PDF
What Are the Common Pitfalls of Executive Summaries?
When formatting and organizing the executive summary, beware of the following pitfalls that plague poorly written and poorly planned summaries:
Fact or Persuasion : Support your motives and the objective of the executive summary with the facts. If the summary is for a sales proposal or pitch deck, persuade your reader up front with data and information, not buzzwords and cliches. If the executive summary includes generalizations or opinions that you don't support within your material with market research, project examples, independent data, testimonials, etc., you risk misleading the reader. Avoid writing a summary that leads clients, policy makers, or management to an unsupported recommendation or conclusion for the sake of persuasion — instead, focus on the facts.
Relevance Over Repetition : By nature, the executive summary is a repetitive summary of content. Therefore, only include the most relevant details — those that summarize the true purpose of the overall content. Use the rest of your business plan, research report, or client proposal to cover topics relevant background information at length. If you try to cut and paste too much information and context from your longer business or research document into the summary, the details might overshadow the impression you want to make on the reader. The background becomes the introduction, and you risk losing a reader’s attention (especially an online audience).
Consistency Is Key : The executive summary highlights the substance of the larger piece of content. Don’t feature information here that is not covered in the body of the proposal. Avoid using different subheadings to organize copy in the body of the report. For example, if you highlight “Project Milestones” in the executive summary, do not list them in a new section for “Project Goals” in the business proposal. Use the tone and language you establish in the summary throughout the material. If you target an audience without expertise in the subject matter, don’t switch to highly technical analysis in the body copy. Finally, if you cover something in the executive summary, cover it again in the report. Don’t make the reader work to learn more about something you highlighted in the summary.
Draw a Clear Conclusion : Write an executive summary that comes to a conclusion and supports your purpose for creating the document. Keep the reader’s interest in mind when you summarize a lengthy project proposal or report. Does the reader have a clear understanding of the solutions you propose? Can they identify the problems you solve? If the executive summary is the only thing they read, can they take action on your recommendations or anticipate a desired outcome based on the information you included?
Executive Summary Outline Template - PowerPoint
Use this free template to outline your next big presentation, or keep it updated as a live meeting record to keep up with your evolving internal business plans or funding needs. The slides are formatted to outline the important elements of a formal business plan summary. You can customize the slides to fit the order of importance for your content’s purpose or extend each. Use the slides as an outline to keep track of the content you want to summarize after every update or draft of the report.
Download Executive Summary Outline Template - PowerPoint
What to Include in an Executive Summary
You will determine the components of each executive summary you write based on the reason for writing it and your target audience.
For example, a business plan for an external audience includes financial information and details on the size and scale of a company; startups seeking funding and investors will highlight specific financial requirements and how they impact the business strategy. Executive summaries vary in the content they cover, but here is a common framework:
Introduction : This opening statement, paragraph, or section should clearly state the document’s purpose and the content to follow. How you will use this section depends on the desired outcome for the reader or audience, who should immediately find value in the information you present. Therefore, the details included in the introduction should grab and hold the reader’s attention.
Company Information : When writing an executive summary for an external audience, include your company name, a description of your mission or purpose, contact information, location, and the size and scale of your operations. In some cases, the summary introduces the founders, investors, and corporate leadership. It might include background information of each that outlines previous industry or startup experience, or historical context on the current state of the company. When used in a presentation or research report, introduce the team presenting or responsible for the report’s findings.
Products and Services : The executive summary is the place to highlight the problem you solve or the need you fulfill. For a report, this is where you might highlight what you researched and what the reader should know about your findings. For a project proposal, include what you’re planning to accomplish and what you need to make it successful. For marketing plans or product launch presentations, tell the reader why your service or product is relevant at this particular moment in time.
Market Analysis : The executive summary of a business plan might profile the target customer and explain the market opportunity for a product or service. Consider answering questions like: Is there a five year plan for this market? How do you anticipate growing the customer base and improving market share? What stands out from your research about your customers that the reader should know?
Competition Analysis : This section should include answers to the following questions:
What is the competitive advantage of your proposed solution or product and who or what do you compete with in this market?
What are the opportunities now and in the future?
What are the risks in your market and your product or service?
Do you have relevant experience with major competitors?
What are the future plans for growth and what obstacles do you anticipate addressing?
Financials : The executive summary might summarize key financial data that is relevant to the reader or data that supports your research. If the purpose is to secure funding, include the specific amount you are requesting. Be sure to provide context for the financial data or any number you highlight in the executive summary. This section is a great way to highlight growth, or to use metrics to provide perspective on the company.
Conclusions : Recap your findings, the problem and solution discussed, or the project and work proposed. If there is a decision the reader needs to make, be direct about it. Make the outcomes obvious, but leave enough intrigue for the rest of the content to follow.
How Do You End An Executive Summary?
Although the executive summary begins a document, it concludes so that it can stand alone from the rest of the content and still be of value. Use the conclusion to recap your findings, make recommendations, and propose solutions to the problem.
If there is a decision you want the reader to make, ask make a call to action in this section. If you are summarizing a research report, summarize the findings and the research methods used to conclude the work. Make the outcomes or recommendations visible, but leave enough out to incentivize the audience to continue reading. Close the executive summary with a strong statement or transition that sets up the theme or central message to the story you tell in the report or proposal.
What Should Be in the Executive Summary of a Business Plan?
Traditional business plans differ in context and content based on if the audience is internal or external. Both audiences benefit from some of the previously discussed elements of the executive summary (like a substantial introduction).
However, the summary of an internal business plan does not require a section that introduces management or key personnel. An external business plan targets an audience that expects to find crucial financial information in the summary. When you develop the executive summary of the business plan, determine the information to include based on the audience and purpose of the document.
Business Plan Executive Summary Template
This executive summary template is designed to get your business plan noticed and reviewed. In this scenario, you’re presenting to an external audience and therefore should include more attention to detail with a standard business plan document. Use bullet points and clear, formal language to guide the reader to the most important information about your company.
Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
You can find a variety of templates for various industries and needs by reading “Free Executive Summary Templates.”
What Should Be in an Executive Summary of a Report?
Josh Bernoff spent 20 years writing and editing reports for Forrester Research. He is an advocate of creating actionable reports that tell a story. He believes that the executive summary is crucial.
“If the report is a story, the right executive summary is the same story, written briefly,” writes Bernoff . He recommends imagining that your readers ask you questions like, “What’s the coolest stuff in this report?” and “What did you find out?” while writing the report.
“Your answer, written directly to the reader, is the executive summary,” Bernoff explains in his book.
The executive summary of a report requires vivid details that grab online readers’ attention in a hurry. According to Bernoff, the summary recaps the story you want to tell behind all the words in the report. Using this advice as a guidepost, consider including the following answers to these questions to create your report’s summary:
What is the central plot of your report?
Why is this story important?
What are the most memorable scenes (examples, data, case study results, etc.) from the different sections of the report?
How does your research address the story’s central conflict (the problem solved)?
How does your research support the story’s conclusion?
What actions does the story recommend the reader be aware of?
The executive summary of lengthy research reports — especially those used in academic articles, scientific journals, government studies, or healthcare initiatives — require additional formatting considerations and elements not found in business plans or proposals. Consider the following guidelines when developing the executive summary of a research report:
Present the sections of the executive summary in the same order as in the main report.
Do not include information or research that is not supported and presented in the body of the report.
Draw a conclusion with the executive summary that justifies the research and provides recommendations.
Use a tone and language to describe technical information that readers without advanced knowledge or expertise of the subject matter can understand.
Remember that an executive summary of a report is distinct from an abstract. Abstracts are shorter overviews of a report and are common in academia. They familiarize the reader with a synopsis of the research that is much shorter than an executive summary. You can also think of an abstract as a standalone statement that helps the reader determine if they will read on. The executive summary, by contrast, summarizes the research in a structure that includes the summary, methods, results, conclusions, and recommendations for the reader without necessarily having to read further.
Research Report Executive Summary Template
Use this template to create a synopsis of research results for reports — these will typically be longer than an executive summary for a business plan and proposal. The template is formatted to accommodate in-depth reports that need space for charts and tables to illustrate research data. It is designed to summarize technical information in a concise manner, with clear subheadings that communicate key findings to readers with various expertise and interest.
Download Research Report Executive Summary Template
Word | PDF
Get Funding with Your Executive Summary
Startups seeking capital investment from venture capital funds and angel investors can repurpose the executive summary from a business plan as a more concise, less formal investor profile.
This type of summary memo is stripped down and focused on the specific financial requirements and how the funding makes an impact on the business strategy. It is the perfect template to create a profile on investor platform websites like AngelList and Gust . Use the following tips to transform traditional business plan summaries into the pitch that lands you a meeting or funding:
Include the specific dollar amount you’re requesting, the purpose for the funds raised, and any relevant data such as repayment terms, collateral, equity share information, etc.
Keep the financial data simple and round to the nearest whole dollar amount.
List founders, partners, and key management personnel and highlight specific domain expertise or previous startup experience.
Describe your company’s growth plan and the proposed exit strategy.
Remove any industry buzzwords, meaningless phrases, and cliches (for example “the Uber of…,” “game-changing,” “disruptive,” “next Facebook,” “world-class,” etc.).
Mention noteworthy achievements, intellectual property, important business partnerships, or information on product development stages in test markets.
Describe work in progress and highlight relevant information about customer growth, market demand, and product development.
Startup Executive Summary Template
Transform your executive summary into an investor document with this template. It acts as a one-page pitch that serves as your company profile on investor platforms. You can repurpose this template and save it as a PDF summary memo to land future meetings with investors. For more information on business plans for startups, including free budget templates, read “ Free Startup Plan, Budget & Cost Templates .”
Download Startup Executive Summary Template
Seamlessly Track the Progress of Your Executive Summary with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet
Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change.
The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.
Take your work to the next level. See how Smartsheet can help.
- Contact sales
Start free trial
How to Write an Executive Summary (Example & Template Included)
Here’s the good news: an executive summary is short. It’s part of a larger document like a business plan, business case or project proposal and, as the name implies, summarizes the longer report.
Here’s the bad news: it’s a critical document that can be challenging to write because an executive summary serves several important purposes. On one hand, executive summaries are used to outline each section of your business plan, an investment proposal or project proposal. On the other hand, they’re used to introduce your business or project to investors and other stakeholders, so they must be persuasive to spark their interest.
Writing an Executive Summary
The pressure of writing an executive summary comes from the fact that everyone will pay attention to it, as it sits at the top of that heap of documents. It explains all that follows and can make or break your business plan or project plan . The executive summary must know the needs of the potential clients or investors and zero in on them like a laser. Fortunately, we’ll show you how to write and format your executive summary to do just that.
Getting everything organized for your executive summary can be challenging. ProjectManager can help you get your thoughts in order and collaborate with your team. Our powerful task management tools make it easy to get everything prioritized and done on time. Try it free today.
What Is an Executive Summary?
An executive summary is a short section of a larger document like a business plan , investment proposal or project proposal. It’s mostly used to give investors and stakeholders a quick overview of important information about a business plan like the company description, market analysis and financial information.
It contains a short statement that addresses the problem or proposal detailed in the attached documents and features background information, a concise analysis and a conclusion. An executive summary is designed to help executives and investors decide whether to go forth with the proposal, making it critically important. Pitch decks are often used along with executive summaries to talk about the benefits and main selling points of a business plan or project.
Unlike an abstract, which is a short overview, an executive summary format is a condensed form of the documents contained in the proposal. Abstracts are more commonly used in academic and research-oriented writing and act as a teaser for the reader to see if they want to read on.
Get your free
Executive Summary Template
Use this free Executive Summary Template for Word to manage your projects better.
How to Write an Executive Summary
Executive summaries vary depending on the document they’re attached to. You can write an executive summary for a business plan, project proposal, research document, or business case, among other documents and reports.
However, when writing an executive summary, there are guidelines to ensure you hit all the bases.
Executive Summary Length
According to the many books that have been written about executive summaries, as well as training courses, seminars and professional speakers, the agreed-upon length for an executive summary format should be about five to 10 percent of the length of the whole report.
The language used should be appropriate for the target audience. One of the most important things to know before you write professionally is to understand who you’re addressing. If you’re writing for a group of engineers, the language you’ll use will differ greatly from how you would write to a group of financiers.
That includes more than just the words, but the content and depth of explanation. Remember, it’s a summary, and people will be reading it to quickly and easily pull out the main points.
You also want to capture a reader’s attention immediately in the opening paragraph. Just like a speech often opens with a joke to break the tension and put people at ease, a strong introductory paragraph can pull a reader in and make them want to read on. That doesn’t mean you start with a joke. Stick to your strengths, but remember, most readers only give you a few sentences to win them over before they move on.
Don’t forget to explain who you are as an organization and why you have the skills, personnel and experience to solve the problem raised in the proposal. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy biography, often just your name, address and contact information will do, though you’ll also want to highlight your strengths as they pertain to the business plan or project proposal .
The executive summary shouldn’t stray from the material that follows it. It’s a summary, not a place to bring up new ideas. To do so would be confusing and would jeopardize your whole proposal.
Establish the need or the problem, and convince the target audience that it must be solved. Once that’s set up, it’s important to recommend the solution and show what the value is. Be clear and firm in your recommendation.
Justify your cause. Be sure to note the key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. This is the point where you differentiate yourself from competitors, be that due to methodology, testimonials from satisfied clients or whatever else you offer that’s unique. But don’t make this too much about you. Be sure to keep the name of the potential client at the forefront.
Don’t neglect a strong conclusion, where you can wrap things up and once more highlight the main points.
Related: 10 Essential Excel Report Templates
What to Include in an Executive Summary
The content of your executive summary must reflect what’s in the larger document which it is part of. You’ll find many executive summary examples on the web, but to keep things simple, we’ll focus on business plans and project proposals.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan
As we’ve learned above, your executive summary must extract the main points of all the sections of your business plan. A business plan is a document that describes all the aspects of a business, such as its business model, products or services, objectives and marketing plan , among other things. They’re commonly used by startups to pitch their ideas to investors.
Here are the most commonly used business plan sections:
- Company description: Provide a brief background of your company, such as when it was established, its mission, vision and core values.
- Products & services: Describe the products or services your company will provide to its customers.
- Organization and management: Explain the legal structure of your business and the members of the top management team.
- SWOT analysis: A SWOT analysis explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. They describe the internal and external factors that impact your business competitiveness.
- Industry & market analysis: This section should provide an overview of the industry and market in which your business will compete.
- Operations: Explain the main aspects of your business operations and what sets it apart from competitors.
- Marketing plan: Your marketing plan describes the various strategies that your business will use to reach its customers and sell products or services.
- Financial planning: Here, you should provide an overview of the financial state of your business. Include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.
- Funding request: If you’re creating your business plan to request funding, make sure to explain what type of funding you need, the timeframe for your funding request and an explanation of how the funds will be used.
We’ve created an executive summary example to help you better understand how this document works when using it, to sum up a business plan.
To put all of that information together, here’s the basic format of an executive summary. You can find this same information in our free executive summary template :
- Introduction, be sure to know your audience
- Table of contents in the form of a bulleted list
- Explain the company’s role and identify strengths
- Explain the need, or the problem, and its importance
- Recommend a solution and explain its value
- Justify said solution by explaining how it fits the organization
- A strong conclusion that once more wraps up the importance of the project
You can use it as an executive summary example and add or remove some of its elements to adjust it to your needs. Our sample executive summary has the main elements that you’ll need project executive summary.
Executive Summary Example
For this executive summary example, we’ll imagine a company named ABC Clothing, a small business that manufactures eco-friendly clothing products and it’s preparing a business plan to secure funding from new investors.
Company Description We are ABC Clothing, an environmentally-friendly manufacturer of apparel. We’ve developed a unique method of production and sourcing of materials that allows us to create eco-friendly products at a low cost . We have intellectual property for our production processes and materials, which gives us an advantage in the market.
- Mission: Our mission is to use recycled materials and sustainable methods of production to create clothing products that are great for our customers and our planet.
- Vision: Becoming a leader in the apparel industry while generating a positive impact on the environment.
Products & Services We offer high-quality clothing products for men, women and all genders. (Here you should include pictures of your product portfolio to spark the interest of your readers)
Industry & Market Analysis Even though the fashion industry’s year-over-year growth has been affected by pandemics in recent years, the global apparel market is expected to continue growing at a steady pace. In addition, the market share of sustainable apparel has grown year-over-year at a higher pace than the overall fashion industry.
Marketing Plan Our marketing plan relies on the use of digital marketing strategies and online sales, which gives us a competitive advantage over traditional retailers that focus their marketing efforts on brick-and-mortar stores.
Operations Our production plant is able to recycle different types of plastic and cotton waste to turn it into materials that we use to manufacture our products . We’ve partnered with a transportation company that sorts and distributes our products inside the United States efficiently and cost-effectively.
Financial Planning Our business is profitable, as documented in our balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. The company doesn’t have any significant debt that might compromise its continuity. These and other financial factors make it a healthy investment.
Funding Request We’re requesting funding for the expansion of our production capacity, which will allow us to increase our production output in order to meet our increasing customer demand, enter new markets, reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.
If you’d like to see more executive summary examples for your business plan, you can visit the U.S. small business administration website. They have business plans with executive summary examples you can download and use.
Executive summaries are also a great way to outline the elements of a project plan for a project proposal. Let’s learn what those elements are.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal
An executive summary for your project proposal will capture the most important information from your project management plan. Here’s the structure of our executive summary template:
- Introduction: What’s the purpose of your project?
- Company description: Show why you’re the right team to take on the project.
- Need/problem: What is the problem that it’s solving?
- Unique solution: What is your value proposition and what are the main selling points of your project?
- Proof: Evidence, research and feasibility studies that support how your company can solve the issue.
- Resources: Outline the resources needed for the project
- Return on investment/funding request: Explain the profitability of your project and what’s in for the investors.
- Competition/market analysis: What’s your target market? Who are your competitors? How does your company differentiate from them?
- Marketing plan: Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales and partnership plans.
- Budget/financial planning: What’s the budget that you need for your project plan?
- Timeline: What’s the estimated timeline to complete the project?
- Team: Who are the project team members and why are they qualified?
- Conclusions: What are the project takeaways?
Now that we’ve learned that executive summaries can vary depending on the type of document you’re working on, you’re ready for the next step.
What to Do After Writing an Executive Summary
As with anything you write, you should always start with a draft. The first draft should hit all the marks addressed above but don’t bog yourself down in making the prose perfect. Think of the first draft as an exploratory mission. You’re gathering all the pertinent information.
Next, you want to thoroughly review the document to ensure that nothing important has been left out or missed. Make sure the focus is sharp and clear, and that it speaks directly to your potential client’s needs.
Proofread for Style & Grammar
But don’t neglect the writing. Be sure that you’re not repeating words, falling into cliché or other hallmarks of bad writing. You don’t want to bore the reader to the point that they miss the reason why you’re the organization that can help them succeed.
You’ve checked the content and the prose, but don’t forget the style. You want to write in a way that’s natural and not overly formal, but one that speaks in the manner of your target audience . If they’re a conservative firm, well then, maybe formality is called for. But more and more modern companies have a casual corporate culture, and formal writing could mistakenly cause them to think of you as old and outdated.
The last run should be proofing the copy. That means double-checking to ensure that spelling is correct, and there are no typos or grammatical mistakes. Whoever wrote the executive summary isn’t the best person to edit it, however. They can easily gloss over errors because of their familiarity with the work. Find someone who excels at copy-editing. If you deliver sloppy content, it shows a lack of professionalism that’ll surely color how a reader thinks of your company.
Criticism of Executive Summaries
While we’re advocating for the proper use of an executive summary, it’d be neglectful to avoid mentioning some critiques. The most common is that an executive summary by design is too simple to capture the complexity of a large and complicated project.
It’s true that many executives might only read the summary, and in so doing, miss the nuance of the proposal. That’s a risk. But if the executive summary follows the guidelines stated above, it should give a full picture of the proposal and create interest for the reader to delve deeper into the documents to get the details.
Remember, executive summaries can be written poorly or well. They can fail to focus on results or the solution to the proposal’s problem or do so in a vague, general way that has no impact on the reader. You can do a hundred things wrong, but if you follow the rules, then the onus falls on the reader.
ProjectManager Turns an Executive Summary Into a Project
Your executive summary got the project approved. Now the real work begins. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you organize tasks, projects and teams. We have everything you need to manage each phase of your project, so you can complete your work on time and under budget.
Work How You Want
Because project managers and teams work differently, our software is flexible. We have multiple project views, such as the kanban board, which visualizes workflow. Managers like the transparency it provides in the production cycle, while teams get to focus only on those tasks they have the capacity to complete. Are you more comfortable with tasks lists or Gantt charts? We have those, too.
Live Tracking for Better Management
To ensure your project meets time and cost expectations, we have features that monitor and track progress so you can control any deviations that might occur. Our software is cloud-based, so the data you see on our dashboard is always up to date, helping you make better decisions. Make that executive summary a reality with ProjectManager.
You’ve now researched and written a persuasive executive summary to lead your proposal. You’ve put in the work and the potential client sees that and contracts you for the project. However, if you don’t have a reliable set of project management tools like Gantt charts , kanban boards and project calendars at hand to plan, monitor and report on the work, then all that preparation will be for nothing.
ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you real-time data and a collaborative platform to work efficiently and productively. But don’t take our word for it, take a free 30-day trial.
Deliver your projects on time and under budget
Start planning your projects.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Research Paper
26 August 2023
When people work on organizing their research papers, they need effective guidelines on how to write an executive summary. This article provides insights students should grasp to create high-standard texts, including defining what is an executive summary, its meaning, and its basic structure. About the structure, the guideline teaches students all the sections of an executive summary (introduction, purpose statement, methods, findings, recommendations, limitations, implementation, and conclusion), the contents of each part, and how to write each element. Other insights include 20 tips for producing a high-standard executive summary, including 10 dos and 10 don’ts. Lastly, the article gives a sample outline template for writing a good executive summary and a practical example of this section of a research paper.
How to Write an Outstanding Executive Summary for a Research Paper & Examples
A habit of reading different types of papers is helpful to students’ mental preparation for course assessments but, more importantly, to their intellectual development. Reading various types of essays , reports, and research papers also induces the mental faculties of intellect, reason, imagination, and intuition, which are essential for academic discourse. Indeed, one can tell a writer who reads habitually by how they construct and defend arguments and ideas in their works. Basically, this guideline for writing an effective executive summary includes essential insights into what students should and should not do when writing this type of academic document. The article also defines what is an executive summary and its meaning, outlines its distinctive features, shows how to write each part of this section of a research paper , explains concepts, and gives helpful tips for producing a high-standard document. In turn, this guideline gives a sample outline of a project paper and an example of an executive summary.
Definition of What Is an Executive Summary and Its Meaning
From a simple definition, an executive summary is a text that accounts for the main points of a longer text, mainly a market study report, project report, and business proposal. In this respect, it serves the same purpose as an abstract , the only difference being that it is not used in research papers. Ideally, an abstract is a short and descriptive section of the essential details of a research paper, such as background, methodology, results , and conclusion . In contrast, an executive summary means writing a comprehensive overview of a report, research proposal , or project that explains the main points, including recommendations. Practically, an abstract is between 0.5-1 page, while an executive summary is about 5-10% of the document’s total word count. Since the purpose of an executive summary is to summarize the entire research paper comprehensively, it precedes the introduction of a report, proposal, or business plan.
Use exceptional writing services that guarantee original and well-researched papers.
Distinctive Features of an Executive Summary
An executive summary is identifiable by specific features that distinguish it from other texts, including essays and research papers. Essentially, all scholarly documents require the same level of mental preparation by writers to produce high-quality work. However, students must understand that some papers are demanding because of their contents, which underscore the basic essay outline . The main contents that earmark the distinctive features of an executive summary are an introduction, a purpose statement, methods, findings, recommendations, limitations, an implementation plan, and a conclusion.
The introduction of an executive summary highlights the document’s topic, which emphasizes the type of paper it is, such as a business proposal, project report, or market research report. In this respect, it must be short and precise. Because the focus is the topic, one should use a bridge sentence or short paragraph for the introduction.
2️⃣ Purpose Statement
The purpose statement of an executive summary communicates the document’s primary objective. In this respect, it provides a brief background of the topic to enhance the reader’s understanding of the essence of the document. The language in this part reflects an expected end, while common terms include ‘aim,’ ‘goal,’ ‘purpose,’ or ‘objective.’
In an executive summary, methods outline the writer’s approach to achieving the primary objective, such as examining official data, conducting a field study, reviewing the literature, or interviewing stakeholders. Students need to understand that this component differs from the research methodology of research papers. In this respect, it does not detail the methods one has used to complete the work. In essence, it outlines the strategies that help writers to better understand critical issues, such as challenges to a sector, stakeholder sentiments, industry insights, or potential barriers.
Findings in an executive summary are the outcomes of the methods, meaning it is what the writer has discovered about an issue, such as an industry, stakeholders, or a project. This component is crucial to readers because it offers a sneak peek into the outcomes that underscore the primary purpose of the entire document: project report, market research report, or business proposal.
Recommendations in an executive summary underscore the writer’s perspective regarding the issues that a research paper addresses as a challenge or problem. For example, if the paper is a report about healthcare status, the challenges or problems it identifies may be nursing shortages or medical errors. The recommendations should highlight what stakeholders, like the government and health institutions, must do to overcome these challenges or problems. In other words, the recommendations address what must be done to rectify a situation or make it possible to achieve specific outcomes.
Like a research paper, an executive summary must point out the limitations that the document’s author encountered in reporting about a project or business plan. For example, these limitations may include a lack of goodwill among stakeholders, sufficient time to investigate a matter, or resources to execute the task. This information is essential to the audience because it indicates the dynamics influencing the primary objective.
7️⃣ Implementation Plan
The implementation plan is the component in an executive summary that provides a framework for adopting and implementing the recommendations. Typically, this information includes claims and activities, people responsible, the timeframe, and budget allocation. Sometimes, an evaluation plan is also part of the implementation plan.
The conclusion part of an executive summary is a call to action about the project report, market research report, or business proposal. Unlike conclusion examples in other academic papers and essays that summarize the paper’s main points, the conclusion of an executive summary gives a direction about the document. Essentially, writers use this component to call to action the audience to adopt the recommendations or compel stakeholders to adopt a particular perspective. In turn, it persuades the audience to adopt a particular stance regarding the report or proposal.
The Length of an Executive Summary
Students should know the length of each of the above sections, except the introduction and conclusion parts, depending on the document’s total length, which determines the word count of an executive summary. For example, a long and robust project report or business proposal requires a long executive summary with an extended purpose statement, methods, findings, recommendations, limitations, and implementation, which means the length of 4-10 double spaced pages, or 2-5 single spaced pages, or 1000–2500 words, depending on the volume of the work. Typically, the introduction and conclusion sections take a statement or short paragraph of 0.5-1 double spaced page or 125-250 words, irrespective of a research paper or executive summary’s length. However, if a research paper is a long work of more than 10 double spaced pages, 5 single spaced page, or 2500 words, the introduction and conclusion parts should not exceed 5-10% of the whole word count. Besides, the body section of an executive summary must take 80-90% of the total word count of a research paper, not less. The word count of a title page, a table of contents , an abstract, a reference page, and appendix is not considered since these parts are technical and do not mean writing itself.
How to Write Each Section of an Executive Summary for a Research Paper
Writing an executive summary requires students to demonstrate an understanding of its purpose. This understanding means students should know when to write it, what to talk about, and how to write each of the sections above. Therefore, writing an executive summary is essential to approach carefully and with the utmost focus.
1️⃣ Writing an Executive Summary as a Last Action
Because an executive summary overviews the entire research paper, students should write this part after finishing their market research reports, project reports, or business proposals. However, one should read and reread the whole research paper to know the most significant points forming part of the summary. By writing an executive summary as a last item, one can have a mental picture of what to address to give the audience a comprehensive sneak peek into a research paper document.
2️⃣ Making Notes of Important Aspects
While reading and rereading a research paper, students should take notes of the most critical aspects of their work that must appear in an executive summary. These aspects must address each section above. Moreover, one should identify crucial information in an introduction, a purpose statement, methods, findings, recommendations, limitations, an implementation plan, and a conclusion.
A. Writing an Introduction Part of an Executive Summary
When writing a college essay introduction , students must refrain from going into details about the purpose of the text because they will have an opportunity to do so later. While one may mention the document’s background, one should make it concise to contextualize the topic. The most crucial detail is that the introduction part of an executive summary should be a sentence or brief paragraph.
B. Writing a Purpose Statement Part of an Executive Summary
When writing the research paper’s purpose, students should communicate the type of document, such as a business proposal, a market research report, or a project report. The next thing is to state the background; provide the reason for writing, like sourcing funds; recommend solutions; or report progress and challenges. However, one should avoid going into detail because they will do so later in an executive summary of a research paper.
C. Writing a Methods Part of an Executive Summary
When writing a methods section, one should focus on giving the audience a sense of the strategy that helps achieve the outcomes. However, writers should approach this part differently than the methodology section of a research paper. Instead, they should mention what they did to execute the work, such as interviewing stakeholders or analyzing official data. The best way to approach this section is to list everything one did to make a research paper.
D. Writing a Findings Part of an Executive Summary
Since the purpose of the findings section in a research paper is to narrate outcomes, students should write it in the past tense. Therefore, when writing this section of an executive summary, authors should see themselves as reporters educating the audience about what they have learned in executing the task. An essential detail students should note when writing the section is to refer to credible sources of information that lead to the findings. These reliable sources can be documents, organizations, individuals in leadership, or industry experts.
E. Writing a Recommendations Part of an Executive Summary
When writing a recommendations section in an executive summary for a research paper, students should focus on giving a clear summary of what should happen after the findings. Essentially, one should address the key decision-makers or stakeholders because they are responsible for creating change through policy. The best approach to writing recommendations is to interrogate each challenge or problem and related findings to understand what must happen to create positive outcomes.
F. Writing a Limitations Part of an Executive Summary
The best approach to writing a limitations section in an executive summary for a research paper is to interrogate the challenges one has faced in the project, such as a lack of goodwill among stakeholders or sufficient time, resources, or support. Ideally, writers aim to inform the audience of the factors that have complicated their work or may complicate the implementation of the recommendations.
G. Writing an Implementation Plan Part of an Executive Summary
When writing an implementation plan in an executive summary, students should focus on telling the audience the procedure for actualizing the recommendations. In this respect, the best approach to writing this section is to interrogate the recommendations to determine what must happen to actualize each. For example, some issues to consider may include people in charge of implementation, such as an organization’s human resource director, the time it would take to actualize (timeline), the budget, and how to measure success (evaluation).
H. Writing a Conclusion Part of an Executive Summary
When writing a conclusion part, students should aim to persuade the audience to adopt a particular stance regarding a research paper or proposal. Although one might reiterate the topic, it is not necessary to mention each of the preceding sections. Instead, writers should focus on sending a strong communication regarding it. The best approach to writing the conclusion section is to influence the audience’s perspective on the topic and the recommendations and implementation.
3️⃣ Explaining Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Key Terms
Since an executive summary is an overview of a market research paper, project report, or business plan, authors should write it clearly and precisely. The best approach is to use simple language and define all acronyms, abbreviations, and key terms. In turn, students should not assume that readers know what each acronym, abbreviation, and key term means when they read research papers.
4️⃣ Proofreading, Revising, and Editing an Executive Summary Section of a Research Paper
After completing writing a research paper, students should proofread it to identify grammatical and formatting mistakes and inconsistent arguments and ideas. For example, the best way to fix these mistakes and flaws is to revise the whole research paper by fixing mistakes, like missing punctuation and wrong citations, and editing it by adding or deleting words and sentences to create a logical order of thoughts and ideas. In turn, writers must be factual, not use word count fillers, and avoid unnecessary repetitions. Besides, students should know that the audience is not interested in stories but in factual communication that makes logical sense.
Sample Paper Template for Writing a Good Executive Summary
Like essays, executive summaries have a specific structure students should demonstrate in their writing. The sections above underscore this outline template, meaning students should know what each section of writing an executive summary for a research paper entails and how to write it. The best way to write a high-quality executive summary is to create a template and populate it with ideas for a project, a business plan, a proposal, or a report. This preparation helps writers to have a mental picture of the kind of document they want to have and the right attitude when writing.
I. Introduction: [Introduce the topic and state the kind of document, such as a market research paper, project report, or business plan].
II. Purpose Statement: [Explain the primary objective of a research paper, such as investigating a problem, souring some funds, or reporting its progress].
III. Methods: [Enumerate how the task is accomplished, such as examining official data, interviewing stakeholders, or reviewing the literature].
IV. Findings: [Provide the outcomes of the methods, such as what official data reveals, stakeholders’ sentiments, or what research says].
V. Recommendations: [State clearly what stakeholders or key decisions must do to address the challenges or problems that the findings reveal].
VI. Limitations: [Discuss the challenges or problems that were encountered in completing the task, such as poor time management, a lack of support, or absent goodwill by stakeholders].
VII. Implementation Plan: [Include what stakeholders or key decision-makers must do to actualize the recommendations, such as identifying a person responsible and establishing a budget and timeline].
VIII. Conclusion: [Persuade the audience to adopt the recommendations and work toward creating change by facilitating an implementation plan].
Join our satisfied customers who have received perfect papers from Wr1ter Team.
Example of an Executive Summary for an 8000-Word Research Paper
Topic: A Need for Proactive Climate Change Initiatives
I. Example of an Introduction Section in an Executive Summary
Stakeholders in the climate change discourse must shift focus from discourse to practical, proactive measures to demonstrate seriousness in tackling the biggest threat of the millennium.
II. Example of a Purpose Statement Section in an Executive Summary
The purpose of writing this executive study is to examine the status of the climate change discourse, interrogate dynamics that make it unpromising as a practical solution to the crisis, and recommend what stakeholders must do to restore hope to millions globally who are afraid that climate change poses the biggest threat to the existence of current and future generations.
III. Example of a Methods Section in an Executive Summary
An executive report employs several data-gathering methods to achieve these objectives, including examining the climate change discourse over the decades to identify key themes: environmental policies, greenhouse gases, industrial pollution, natural disasters, weather forecasts, and others. Another method is interrogating research and official data on climate change by government agencies in the last three decades. The report also considers interviews with environmentalists, social justice advocates, government officials, and leaders of organizations that dedicate their mission to creating awareness about the need for environmental conservation and preservation.
IV. Example of a Findings Section in an Executive Summary
Overall, the methods above reveal worrying findings about the climate change discourse:
- Human activities, including industries and deforestation, have increased global warming to 1.1 degrees C, triggering unprecedented changes to the Earth’s climate. The lack of consensus on reversing human-induced global warming among the most industrialized countries suggests that the trend will worsen in the coming decades.
- The impacts of climate change are evident on people and ecosystems. Without urgent practical interventions, these impacts will become more widespread and severe with every additional degree of global warming.
- Developing and implementing adaptation measures in communities can effectively build and foster the resilience of people and ecosystems. However, stakeholders must interrogate their climate change funding priorities for effective proactive interventions.
- Communities will continue recording climate-induced losses and damages as long as communities cannot adapt to some impacts of this global problem. An example is 1.1 degrees C of global warming.
- Projections indicate global greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions will peak at 1.5 degrees C before 2025 in selected at-risk pathways.
- Burning fossil fuels remains the leading cause of the global climate crisis.
- Carbon removal is the most effective and practical solution to limiting global warming from peaking at 1.5 degrees C.
- There is a lack of commitment by key stakeholders to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation.
- Climate change and the collective efforts to mitigate and adapt to its impacts will exacerbate global inequity if stakeholders do not prioritize just transition.
These findings of a research paper confirm that the climate change discourse is alive to the threat the global problem poses to people and ecosystems and the weaknesses in the current interventions.
V. Example of a Recommendations Section in an Executive Summary
This executive report recommends that key stakeholders, including governments, communities, policy experts, and financiers, must adopt to prioritize practical solutions to the global climate crisis.
- Stakeholders must target a net-zero climate-resilient future through urgent, systemwide transformations.
- Adopt policies that enhance access to fresh produce by establishing a relationship between farmers and consumers.
- Improve awareness about the critical benefits of organic foods.
- Consider policies that promote regenerative farm practices to eliminate toxins and revitalize soils.
- Create infrastructures for transforming waste into compost manure for farm use.
- Develop policies that encourage communities to embrace a green neighborhood.
VI. Example of a Limitations Section in an Executive Summary
This executive report recognizes several limitations that have made the fight against climate change unproductive and threaten current and future endeavors to arrest the crisis. For example, stakeholders need to note that these limitations may undermine the implementation of the recommendations in this report. One limitation is a lack of goodwill among key stakeholders. The four leading industrial powers, namely the United States, China, India, and Brazil, contribute to significant global atmospheric temperature increases. Traditionally, these countries have refused to agree on how to cut back on industries primarily because they are the main drivers of their economies. Another limitation is the mis-prioritization of financing, where much focus is on theoretical interventions, such as agreements and seminars, at the expense of practical solutions like building infrastructures for transforming waste into usable products. While stakeholders agree on the essence of the 3R (reuse, reduce, and recycle) framework, there is little practical implementation at the community level.
VII. Example of an Implementation Plan Section in an Executive Summary
The implementation plan for the recommendations above recognizes government agencies as the most suitable implementers because official bodies are the key stakeholders who finance climate change initiatives. The business plan considers that, to shift the climate change fight from mere discourse to practical evidence, stakeholders must prioritize the following:
- A budget of at least $50 million annually at the country level;
- A period of between 2-5 years; and
- Periodic evaluation of progress through at least one annual seminar or conference.
VIII. Example of a Conclusion Section in an Executive Summary
This executive research paper calls on all stakeholders in the climate change discourse to reconsider the current focus by recognizing its failure to create meaningful change as evidence shows the crisis continues to worsen. Instead, they should focus on practical, proactive interventions focusing on communities because that is where much environmental damage happens. It is also where the adversities of the crisis manifest most powerfully.
4 Easy Steps for Writing an Executive Summary
Writing an executive summary is a technical undertaking requiring writers to consider each section’s basic structure and essential details. When writing a research paper, one must know when to write each section and what to say. In this respect, preparation, stage setup, writing a first draft of an executive section, and wrap-up are essential steps students should follow to produce a research paper document that meets quality standards.
Step 1: Preparation
As the first step in writing an executive summary, preparation helps writers to develop a proper mindset that involves knowing the basic structure and what to write in each section of a research paper. Therefore, the critical task for students in this stage is constructing the basic structure and stating what must happen in each section.
Step 2: Stage Setup
Setting up the stage is the second step in writing an executive summary. It involves reading and rereading the document to identify critical details to address in each section of the basic structure. The best approach to achieve this outcome is to make notes of the most vital data when reading a research paper.
Step 3: Writing a First Draft of an Executive Summary
The third step is to create a first draft of an executive summary by putting all the critical data into relevant sections. Ideally, people must start with a clear introduction where they point out the focal point of a research paper and then move to a study’s purpose statement, methods, findings, recommendations, limitations, implementation plan, and conclusion. Each research section must summarize and not explain the most critical data.
Step 4: Wrap-Up
Wrapping a first draft into a final version of a research paper is the last step in writing an executive summary. This stage involves proofreading, revising, and editing a first version of an executive summary to eliminate grammar mistakes and inconsistent statements. As a result, authors must perfect their executive summaries of research papers by fixing errors and flaws that affect the logical progression of ideas and thoughts and the overall quality of the text.
20 Tips for Writing an Effective Executive Summary
Writing an executive summary can be demanding, particularly for students who do not prepare well or do not know what is most important. The following tips can be helpful: begin an executive summary by explaining why the topic is important; state the purpose of a research paper by outlining the problem and why it is essential or relevant to the audience; explain the methods that help to execute the task; state the findings; enumerate the limitations by addressing dynamics that undermine the implementation of solutions; consider the recommendations and list them using numbers or bullet points; outline an implementation plan that identifies the person or entity that oversee the implementation, the budget allocation, and how to evaluate progress; and write a conclusion that persuades the audience to adopt a particular perspective about the topic. In turn, 10 dos and 10 don’ts that writers should consider when writing their executive summaries in their research papers are:
10 things to do when writing an executive summary include:
- reading a research paper thoroughly to identify the primary objective, methods for collecting data, key findings, recommendations, significant limitations, and an implementation strategy;
- considering the audience of an executive summary to determine whether to use simple or technical language;
- writing formally and avoiding jargon;
- outlining the structure that considers all the main sections (introduction, purpose statement, methods, key findings, recommendations, limitations, implementation, and conclusion);
- organizing an executive summary in a summary format;
- using a short, clear, precise, and captivating opening statement to hook readers;
- including each section to state the most critical details;
- focusing on summarizing a research paper rather than explaining its contents;
- reviewing a research paper for incorrect information;
- proofreading, revising, and editing an executive summary to eliminate all mistakes.
10 things not to do when writing an executive summary include:
- using jargon to simplify complex terms and phrases;
- explaining rather than summarizing a research paper;
- creating too many grammar mistakes, such as missing punctuation and confusing words with a similar pronunciation;
- ignoring the basic outline of an executive summary;
- writing a lengthy introduction;
- concentrating on some sections more than others;
- explaining ideas or concepts not discussed in the main research paper;
- providing a very short or long summary that does not align with the document’s total word count;
- beginning an executive summary with anecdote or irrelevant information;
- placing an executive summary at the end of a research paper.
Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Executive Summary
- Tell an interesting story. Writers should approach an executive summary as a platform for inducing the reader’s interest in reading a research paper. As such, one should use each section to tell what is most crucial to the audience.
- Highlight critical data. Writers should focus on what is most critical in each section of an executive summary, emphasizing statistical data because it is visually captivating.
- Maintain a formal tone from beginning to end. Writers should avoid using jargon to simplify complex concepts or terminologies.
- Write an executive summary after completing an actual research paper. Writing an executive summary as the last element of a research paper helps one to approach this paper as a final summary of the main points. In turn, the mistake of starting an executive summary before writing an actual research paper is that authors can write about details they fail to address in the final version of a document.
Influence of colors on mood and behavior, influence of social media on modern society, how to write a history essay with tips and examples, classical music vs. modern pop music: a historical perspective, revolutionizing medicine with 3d printing, overcoming a fear that changed my life, the cultural impact of british invasion bands in the 1960s, exploring the impact of telemedicine in patient-centered care, virtual reality and its potential impact on social media, exploring the future of renewable energy sources.
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Research Paper
Published 16 October, 2023
It is necessary to file an executive summary along with the documents for business purposes. Students need to write an executive summary (sometimes known as a management summary) of their content to give a brief description to the readers about their work.
It must cover every significant point of your research but in short. So that the audience would get an accurate idea of your work and can decide whether they should read further your larger paperwork or not. Students must not skip any key idea and essential points while giving a precise summary of their work. The executive summary doesn’t contain an introduction, conclusion, or any new idea of your research paper.
It is challenging and complicates the task for the students to cover each argument, idea and the main point of their research work within the possible minimum number of words. However, you have to do it smartly to convince the readers of the purpose of the research.
What is an executive summary?
An executive summary gives a concise view of a prodigious document. It is generally the first most or only thing which readers need to consider so it must be able to communicate every key point, Research findings , and Results of your research.
It is a brief synopsis of your research work. So to maintain its length, you can’t skip any vital point to describe in it as hardly any reader goes through the entire report. You must write a compelling executive summary to grab the attention of your readers and allure them to go into the depth of your paper.
Executive summaries Components
There are mainly four components of the executive summary, shown below:
- Purpose: You must clearly define the very purpose you need to address and ways to analyze them.
- Key points: Every vital aspect, along with the central idea of your research, you should describe in the exact order as the main paper.
- Results: The outcomes yield from the research.
- Recommendations: You should recommend your suggestions to improve the issues found while researching.
Though it is a very tough task to write a compelling executive summary, yet you can achieve your goal by giving due consideration to the above components.
Importance of executive summary
- The executive summary is a condensed version of the main document, such as a business plan, that grabs the attention of your audience. It contains information on what needs to be done and how you will do it in order for success to come about.
- Filing a useful executive summary with the main document is a way for the students to grab the attention of their professors and to attract them with the content so that they would agree to go through the entire research work.
- If the college students are struggling with their low grades, then they can accelerate them by impressing their supervisors with their quality work. Students can confidently update their resume for the job with their research activity if they got kind remarks from the professors for their hard work.
- Similarly, an excellent executive summary can entice the investors to read the entire business document and go into its dept. It helps them to make an accurate decision about whether they should invest in the proposed business plan or not.
Read Also: Defining Hypothesis in Research
How to write a fantastic Executive summary?
There are essential suggestions that can help the students to write a useful executive summary.
1. Write it up to last
When it is about to inform innovative business decisions and strategies, then students need to do valuable research.
Once the students can do educational research, then they have to start working in terms of packaging findings that can easily communicate the need and value for an altered strategy to leadership. The most significant and effective way to do this is to create an appropriate business plan, including all of the findings, research, and suggestions. This type of creative business plan requires an executive summary.
It can be the best practice to craft the executive summary of an appropriate business plan after every other part of the report. This gives the surety to the students that they can build out a review representing the final remnants of the plan as accurately as it is possible.
2. Try to capture the reader’s attention.
There is no doubt that a well-format executive summary must be informative in nature. However, it should also capture the attention of the audience. If the audience found the content interesting, then they can decide whether they want to read the remaining document or not.
The main objective of the presentation direction should be to inspire the audience with the research findings and the structurally proposed trends. Admittedly, at the end of the practical executive summary, readers might be eager to know whether they would be an advisor, banker, investor, or executive.
The right executive summary should be thorough, but the review should not reveal everything immediately. The audience would get encouraged to read out the complete story by reading the fantastic summary of a report.
3. Make sure an executive summary can stand extraordinarily
An executive summary with a clearly defined structure can become efficient. Without involving the practical review, any of the reports can appear dull and unclaimed. If the students are not able to make the executive summary that can stand on its own, then they have to revise it again and again until they get succeeded.
A useful and informative introduction paragraph, central body part, and conclusion should allow the audience who does not know the business to read the executive summary and understand the key findings from the student’s research, and the primary elements which you have mentioned in the business plan.
4. Think of an executive summary to make a condensed business plan
Students have to create a compelling executive summary to align it with more critical business strategies and plans. While writing about the executive summary, students have to read thoroughly business plan and can take the crucial information from each critical section. All the facts, evidence, numbers, and goals mentioned in the business plan must fit in the executive summary.
5. Make and include supporting research
Make the supportive claims to the executive summary for which the students have done high research and use it to create an appropriate business plan.
6. Boil it down as much as possible
Students have to use precise words and a succinct style to make a unique executive summary. By getting all the necessary information onto one page, students can condense the executive research effectively. The more succinct research students make, the more apparent their message received to the audience plus readers will get more confidence to understand the business strategies.
7. Start impressively with a BANG
If the students include a thought-provoking quote or an inspiring paragraph at the beginning of the executive summary, then it can attract the reader’s attention and can make the readers think like the students want to.
8. Keep things innovative and decisive
Try to focus the executive summary only on the positive elements of the business plan and the research done. Students have to leave all the negative discussions, obstacles, risks, and challenges for the body section of the business plan.
Necessary five-paragraph steps for making an executive summary
Students can break down a compelling executive summary into five paragraphs.
Paragraph 1: Provide a mandatory overview of a business plan
Students can capture the attention of readers by writing attractive statistics and quotes at the beginning of the summary. The first paragraph should include relevant information about business plans and insight information about the industry.
Paragraph 2: Discuss target competition, market, and business strategy
The second paragraph should include a concise and precise definition of the target market and the point of the business plan which the students want to solve. In the next step, outline the strategies with efficiency and the essential information that the specific business possesses.
The marketing strategy should focus on the three primary ways to achieve the plan of the target market. When the students focus on three forms of the market strategy, then they can maintain precision, and make the readers interested to read about their plan.
Paragraph 3: Provide an overview of highlights
The third paragraph of the executive summary should reflect operational highlights like where the office of the company is located and how long one can work there.
Paragraph 4: Make forecasting
Here students have to create sales forecasting projections after their business plan gets implemented. Students can calculate the breakeven point, and then inform the audience how they can turn a business plan into profit.
Paragraph 5: Detail the needs of investors
If any business requires finance, then one has to understand that it is time to invest in it. Students have to clear every information and point to make the current projections.
Appropriate length of an executive summary for a research paper?
There is no rule or secret of writing an executive summary of the research paper by using the words, but if the students understand the basic guidelines, they can make it useful. However, if the students are making it huge, then there is no need to write it. The real of the executive summary is to grab the attention of the reader as well as to reduce the time of the students.
For example, if the students have written ten pages of a research paper, then the executive summary will not be much larger than one page. The length of the executive summary should be as small as is possible by mentioning all the necessary points. When the students can put all the informative data in their review by making it shorter, then it means they had made an effective paper.
Instructions for writing an executive summary
We’ve compiled a list of executive summary tips to help you get started. These include general and more specific instructions for how best to approach your document so that readers can quickly understand its purpose, content, and value proposition
- Students must understand that an executive summary of any business report or research paper is a short review of the document: Short and review are two keywords here. Students should not make a comprehensive executive summary in any way. The executive summary should not be a substitute for the paperwork. You should keep the executive summary less than 10% of the original document. Students can keep it between 5% and 10%, not more than this.
- An executive summary of a business document has adhered to specific structural and stylistic guidelines: Students should apply specific structural and stylistic guidelines while writing an executive summary for the document like; Paragraph of the summary should be kept short The executive summary should make some sense even if you do not read the paper You should write an executive summary in a language that is appropriate for the readers.
- Students must define the problem: A problem should be clearly defined in an executive summary. Students should make sure that they are describing the problem clearly in simple and understandable terms because the documents and original reports are written based on Requests for proposals.
- Students must provide a solution while writing an executive summary: A solution must be written for the stated problem. Students need to write the solution to deliver a claim statement of purpose so that the solution can effectively tackle the problem. The solution will not make any sense if you have not clearly defined the problem.
- Graduate students must use bullet points, graphics, and headings: It is not an easy and simple task to write an executive summary. It would help if you did not write long blocks of text in the executive summary. If students enhance understanding of the fact or writing more skimmable summary then it is good to use the following; Graphics: The use of graphics in the executive summary illustrates the precise nature of the problem of the client, which can drive the point of the summary. Stimulating the visual sense by using graphics is very useful as the logical sense. Bullets: students can break down the long list of information in the desirable bullets. Headings: students should organize the theme of the summary in headings if necessary. It will help to orient the reader as readers always drive into the summary.
- College students must write fresh and Jargon free content in an executive summary: Jargon is trendy in the business world. Students should avoid the words like interface, core competency, leverage, and burning platform in the executive summary.
Read Also: Problem Statement In Research
- Start with an original document: students should be familiar with the original paper to include it down to the information version. Review your document correctly whether it is a business plan, report, or manual to include the main ideas of it in an executive summary.
- Write a brief review: define the purpose and scope of the company which sponsors the document. It is the main section of the executive summary of the paper. You have to write about the specialty of your business in two or three lines. Mention why your business deserves the scrutiny of the people who are reading the summary.
- Define the problem: discussion about the problem is the foremost step of writing an executive summary of the paper. So, students here need to explain the issue of the topic. The problem should be defined in a clear and precise manner. The ill-defined problem will not sound convincing to the readers and will not let you describe the solution of the problem.
- Write a unique solution: Defining the problem is a secure part of the summary. Now, in this next step, you have to convince the readers for reading your paper by providing them with a unique solution to the defined problem. It will be a great idea for your summary if you clearly define the problem as well as a solution in it.
- Talk about the market potential: According to this tip, you have to elaborate on the stated problem by providing the stats of your business. Do not give too much extra about your business than your company has.
- Incorporate your USP: At this point, you can elaborate on the unique selling proposition of your business.
- If necessary, talk about your business model: Describe the business modal clearly and easily if needed. Some executive summaries do not need to define a business modal. However, if your summary needs it, then explain it clearly.
- If necessary, discuss your management team: If there is a need, then present your management team. It can be an essential part to be written in a summary depending upon the type of your industry.
- Provide business financial projections to support informative claims: Based on the market skills, business strategy model, and historical performance, students have to develop a bottom-up executive economic forecast. The primary purpose of the projections is to demonstrate competence as well as the ability to build financial projections based on a set of predictions or assumptions.
- Ease in to make a request: Now the time comes to request either a loan or an investment, which mainly depends on the purpose of the executive summary. Students should restate the term that why the business company requires a value. Remind the audience about the pain and business strategies that you are going through. Finally, recognize the team about doing the job excellently. One can ask for the major plans and amount that can help make a business successful. It is not worth disclosing any of the statements, yet instead, it can be effective through face-to-face negotiation.
- Recheck the entire summary: When one had written all the essential terms then rereading it can be useful. Carefully proofread the review by considering the audience for the presentation of the documents. Make sure that the language is concise and clear to the audience who is new to the topic.
How is an executive summary of a research paper different from the abstract?
The process of writing an executive summary of your paper is entirely different from a research paper abstract . For writing an of your paper, you cannot follow the same format of writing an abstract. An abstract and an executive summary of the research paper serve different purposes.
An abstract is a glimpse of what the students are going to do in the research paper whereas for the summary; students need to discuss everything and every part of the research paper in brief without missing any fact and crucial point.
So while writing an executive of your research paper, you have o write everything from the aim of the paper to the solutions of the problem along with the references. On the other hand, while writing an abstract of the paper, there is no need to write all these.
Now, you should have the knowledge to draft a compelling summary for your document. From the above content, you would have learned everything about writing an executive summary.
If even you lack somewhere while writing a useful summary of your paper, the helpers of MyResearchTopics.com can assist in writing an executive summary of the paper.
Stuck During Your Dissertation
Our top dissertation writing experts are waiting 24/7 to assist you with your university project,from critical literature reviews to a complete PhD dissertation.
Other Related Guides
- Research Project Questions
- Types of Validity in Research – Explained With Examples
- Schizophrenia Sample Research Paper
- Quantitative Research Methods – Definitive Guide
- Research Paper On Homelessness For College Students
- How to Study for Biology Final Examination
- Textual Analysis in Research / Methods of Analyzing Text
A Guide to Start Research Process – Introduction, Procedure and Tips
Research findings – objectives , importance and techniques.
- Topic Sentences in Research Paper – Meaning, Parts, Importance, Procedure and Techniques
Recent Research Guides for 2023
Get 15% off your first order with My Research Topics
Connect with a professional writer within minutes by placing your first order. No matter the subject, difficulty, academic level or document type, our writers have the skills to complete it.
My Research Topics is provides assistance since 2004 to Research Students Globally. We help PhD, Psyd, MD, Mphil, Undergrad, High school, College, Masters students to compete their research paper & Dissertations. Our Step by step mentorship helps students to understand the research paper making process.
Research Topics & Ideas
- Sociological Research Paper Topics & Ideas For Students 2023
- Nurses Research Paper Topics & Ideas 2023
- Nursing Capstone Project Research Topics & Ideas 2023
- Unique Research Paper Topics & Ideas For Students 2023
- Teaching Research Paper Topics & Ideas 2023
- Literary Research Paper Topics & Ideas 2023
- Nursing Ethics Research Topics & Ideas 2023
Disclaimer: The Reference papers provided by the Myresearchtopics.com serve as model and sample papers for students and are not to be submitted as it is. These papers are intended to be used for reference and research purposes only.
- Sites at Penn State
ENGL 202C: Tech Writing 2023
Blog 13: analyzing executive summaries.
The executive summary is one of the most important components of your Group Report. To get a better understanding of what the executive summary should look like, complete the following exercise:
- NOTE: This article discusses a 1-4 page executive summary, which applies to longer reports. Since your group report will be shorter, you should think about 2-3 paragraphs as the ideal length for your executive summary.
- Find an example of a professional report online, which includes an executive summary, and study it closely.
- Describe the general focus of the report and include a link to it.
- Analyze the executive summary in particular, addressing its strengths and weaknesses, as well as what you can learn about writing executive summaries through this example.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Mobile Menu Overlay
The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20500
FACT SHEET: President Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence
Today, President Biden is issuing a landmark Executive Order to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more. As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive strategy for responsible innovation, the Executive Order builds on previous actions the President has taken, including work that led to voluntary commitments from 15 leading companies to drive safe, secure, and trustworthy development of AI. The Executive Order directs the following actions: New Standards for AI Safety and Security
As AI’s capabilities grow, so do its implications for Americans’ safety and security. With this Executive Order, the President directs the most sweeping actions ever taken to protect Americans from the potential risks of AI systems :
- Require that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government. In accordance with the Defense Production Act, the Order will require that companies developing any foundation model that poses a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety must notify the federal government when training the model, and must share the results of all red-team safety tests. These measures will ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy before companies make them public.
- Develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set the rigorous standards for extensive red-team testing to ensure safety before public release. The Department of Homeland Security will apply those standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish the AI Safety and Security Board. The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will also address AI systems’ threats to critical infrastructure, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks. Together, these are the most significant actions ever taken by any government to advance the field of AI safety.
- Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by developing strong new standards for biological synthesis screening. Agencies that fund life-science projects will establish these standards as a condition of federal funding, creating powerful incentives to ensure appropriate screening and manage risks potentially made worse by AI.
- Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content . The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. Federal agencies will use these tools to make it easy for Americans to know that the communications they receive from their government are authentic—and set an example for the private sector and governments around the world.
- Establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software, building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing AI Cyber Challenge. Together, these efforts will harness AI’s potentially game-changing cyber capabilities to make software and networks more secure.
- Order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security, to be developed by the National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff. This document will ensure that the United States military and intelligence community use AI safely, ethically, and effectively in their missions, and will direct actions to counter adversaries’ military use of AI.
Protecting Americans’ Privacy
Without safeguards, AI can put Americans’ privacy further at risk. AI not only makes it easier to extract, identify, and exploit personal data, but it also heightens incentives to do so because companies use data to train AI systems. To better protect Americans’ privacy, including from the risks posed by AI, the President calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect all Americans, especially kids, and directs the following actions:
- Protect Americans’ privacy by prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques— including ones that use cutting-edge AI and that let AI systems be trained while preserving the privacy of the training data.
- Strengthen privacy-preserving research and technologies, such as cryptographic tools that preserve individuals’ privacy, by funding a Research Coordination Network to advance rapid breakthroughs and development. The National Science Foundation will also work with this network to promote the adoption of leading-edge privacy-preserving technologies by federal agencies.
- Evaluate how agencies collect and use commercially available information —including information they procure from data brokers—and strengthen privacy guidance for federal agencies to account for AI risks. This work will focus in particular on commercially available information containing personally identifiable data.
- Develop guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques, including those used in AI systems. These guidelines will advance agency efforts to protect Americans’ data.
Advancing Equity and Civil Rights
Irresponsible uses of AI can lead to and deepen discrimination, bias, and other abuses in justice, healthcare, and housing. The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken action by publishing the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and issuing an Executive Order directing agencies to combat algorithmic discrimination , while enforcing existing authorities to protect people’s rights and safety. To ensure that AI advances equity and civil rights, the President directs the following additional actions:
- Provide clear guidance to landlords, Federal benefits programs, and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination.
- Address algorithmic discrimination through training, technical assistance, and coordination between the Department of Justice and Federal civil rights offices on best practices for investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations related to AI.
- Ensure fairness throughout the criminal justice system by developing best practices on the use of AI in sentencing, parole and probation, pretrial release and detention, risk assessments, surveillance, crime forecasting and predictive policing, and forensic analysis.
Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students
AI can bring real benefits to consumers—for example, by making products better, cheaper, and more widely available. But AI also raises the risk of injuring, misleading, or otherwise harming Americans. To protect consumers while ensuring that AI can make Americans better off, the President directs the following actions:
- Advance the responsible use of AI in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services will also establish a safety program to receive reports of—and act to remedy – harms or unsafe healthcare practices involving AI.
- Shape AI’s potential to transform education by creating resources to support educators deploying AI-enabled educational tools, such as personalized tutoring in schools.
AI is changing America’s jobs and workplaces, offering both the promise of improved productivity but also the dangers of increased workplace surveillance, bias, and job displacement. To mitigate these risks, support workers’ ability to bargain collectively, and invest in workforce training and development that is accessible to all, the President directs the following actions:
- Develop principles and best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers by addressing job displacement; labor standards; workplace equity, health, and safety; and data collection. These principles and best practices will benefit workers by providing guidance to prevent employers from undercompensating workers, evaluating job applications unfairly, or impinging on workers’ ability to organize.
- Produce a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts , and study and identify options for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions , including from AI.
Promoting Innovation and Competition
America already leads in AI innovation—more AI startups raised first-time capital in the United States last year than in the next seven countries combined. The Executive Order ensures that we continue to lead the way in innovation and competition through the following actions:
- Catalyze AI research across the United States through a pilot of the National AI Research Resource—a tool that will provide AI researchers and students access to key AI resources and data—and expanded grants for AI research in vital areas like healthcare and climate change.
- Promote a fair, open, and competitive AI ecosystem by providing small developers and entrepreneurs access to technical assistance and resources, helping small businesses commercialize AI breakthroughs, and encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to exercise its authorities.
- Use existing authorities to expand the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas to study, stay, and work in the United States by modernizing and streamlining visa criteria, interviews, and reviews.
Advancing American Leadership Abroad
AI’s challenges and opportunities are global. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue working with other nations to support safe, secure, and trustworthy deployment and use of AI worldwide. To that end, the President directs the following actions:
- Expand bilateral, multilateral, and multistakeholder engagements to collaborate on AI . The State Department, in collaboration, with the Commerce Department will lead an effort to establish robust international frameworks for harnessing AI’s benefits and managing its risks and ensuring safety. In addition, this week, Vice President Harris will speak at the UK Summit on AI Safety, hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
- Accelerate development and implementation of vital AI standards with international partners and in standards organizations, ensuring that the technology is safe, secure, trustworthy, and interoperable.
- Promote the safe, responsible, and rights-affirming development and deployment of AI abroad to solve global challenges, such as advancing sustainable development and mitigating dangers to critical infrastructure.
Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI
AI can help government deliver better results for the American people. It can expand agencies’ capacity to regulate, govern, and disburse benefits, and it can cut costs and enhance the security of government systems. However, use of AI can pose risks, such as discrimination and unsafe decisions. To ensure the responsible government deployment of AI and modernize federal AI infrastructure, the President directs the following actions:
- Issue guidance for agencies’ use of AI, including clear standards to protect rights and safety, improve AI procurement, and strengthen AI deployment.
- Help agencies acquire specified AI products and services faster, more cheaply, and more effectively through more rapid and efficient contracting.
- Accelerate the rapid hiring of AI professionals as part of a government-wide AI talent surge led by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellowship. Agencies will provide AI training for employees at all levels in relevant fields.
As we advance this agenda at home, the Administration will work with allies and partners abroad on a strong international framework to govern the development and use of AI. The Administration has already consulted widely on AI governance frameworks over the past several months—engaging with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the UAE, and the UK. The actions taken today support and complement Japan’s leadership of the G-7 Hiroshima Process, the UK Summit on AI Safety, India’s leadership as Chair of the Global Partnership on AI, and ongoing discussions at the United Nations. The actions that President Biden directed today are vital steps forward in the U.S.’s approach on safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. More action will be required, and the Administration will continue to work with Congress to pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible innovation. For more on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance AI, and for opportunities to join the Federal AI workforce, visit AI.gov .
We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.
Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.