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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]. University of Maryland; Todorovic, Zelimir William, Ph D. The conceptual nature of much academic writing also means that recommendations arising from the findings are distributed widely and not easily or usefully encapsulated.
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. California State University Northridge; Clayton, John. "Writing an Executive Summary that Means Business." Harvard Management Communication Letter (July 2003): 2-4; 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.
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. Take notes as you go along, highlighting important statements of fact, key findings, and recommended courses of action.
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.
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.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.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.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. Although the format may vary, the main sections of an executive summary likely will include the following: Combine the Information Use the information gathered to combine them into an executive summary that is no longer than 10% of the original document. 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.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.