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Report Writing: Conclusion

Aim:
This slideshowpage is to help you write the conclusion section of a business report.

On this page: Explanation, Example, Exercise

Explanation
This section of the report has two parts:

  1. It reviews the main findings and results, and expresses them in general terms.
  2. It draws a main conclusion and links to the recommendations by showing a need for action.

  1. It reviews the main findings and results, and expresses them in general terms.
    This part is also for busy readers who don't have time to read all of your findings, and for readers who want to read an overview of the findings before deciding whether to read the findings in detail.


    Example from a report on developing tourism in Hong Kong:
    The findings indicate that tourists are now looking for more than just a shopping trip; they are seeking a complete experience with plenty of attractions to visit, good service and a pleasant environment. Our market research has shown, however, that Hong Kong simply does not have enough attractions. The average visitor to Hong Kong stays here for just 3.5 days and a shopping trip to Stanley market and a visit to Ocean Park are still the main attractions for them.

    Although findings are usually discussed in the Findings section, or in a Discussion section after the findings, in some reports the conclusion also contains some discussion of the main findings, in which the writer discusses possible reasons for them. For example:
    This may be because Hong Kong is seen as a small place, that people can see in only a few days. Also, tourists may only be interested in a few of the attractions offered in brochures. In addition Hong Kong is expensive compared to other south-east Asian destinations, and so is not suitable for an extended holiday.

     
  2. It draws a main conclusion and links to the recommendations by showing a need for action.

    Example:
    It can be concluded that to encourage visitors to stay longer (and hence spend more money) and to get greater numbers to come here, Hong Kong must develop a new and less polluted tourist-friendly infrastructure with new and exciting attractions.

    It is important not to give detailed recommendations in the conclusion section. In the above example, the sentence 'Hong Kong must develop a new and less polluted tourist-friendly infrastructure with new and exciting attractions' is a general recommendation that leads into more detailed ones which will be written in the Recommendations section.

     

Content

  • The Conclusion should give the main cause(s) of the problem or opportunity that is the topic of the report.
  • The section should summarise the main findings and link to the Recommendations.
  • It should not include findings that are not related to the Recommendations.

Organisation

  • The Conclusion section comes after the Findings and any Discussion section.
  • It comes before the Recommendations.

Grammar

  • Generally uses past tense to summarise the Findings, but you can use present tense or the present perfect if you think that the Findings are still true now.
  • The first part should be objective, in that pronouns such as ' I ' should not be used.
    To do this you can:
    • change the subject of the sentences; e.g. 'I found that...' changes to ' The findings indicate that...'; or
    • use passive voice; e.g. 'I conclude that...' becomes ' It can be concluded that...'
  • In the second part, the lead-in to the recommendations, it is acceptable to refer to your organisation as 'We', or by its name; e.g. ' The PolyU should address these issues.'
Common errors:

Vocabulary

  • Matching Nouns and Verbs for Reports - an exercise in choosing the right vocabulary for reports.
  • Business reports are often about staff. More information about how to use the word staff correctly is available.

Style and Tone

  • This section should be formal.
  • Like most formal business writing, it should be clear, concise, and correct.

Conventions

  • The conclusion is usually shorter than the Findings and the Recommendations.
  • The conclusions of business reports tend to be less tentative than those of academic reports.

 

Example Conclusion

4. Conclusion
The fire was caused by an electrical fault in the 30-year-old wiring of the building, which was installed by an unregistered contractor and had not been maintained or inspected for 5 years. The incident was made worse by the lack of safety training for the building occupants, the blocked fire exits and the non-functioning fire-fighting equipment.

In order to prevent future fires, ensure safety, reduce insurance premiums, and avoid legal liability, the building management company must improve facilities and training.
 

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Exercise

Instructions:
Choose the correct option from the drop-down boxes, then click the 'Show Answers' button below:

 

 

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Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012