Formal Report

Formal Report

Formal Report

Formal Report

Assignment Case
Businesses that enable collaborative consumption have gained increasing popularity in recent years.
Through online marketplaces such as Airbnb and Uber, individuals as well as companies can monetize
assets they own or provide services, often using peer-to- peer or business-to- consumer marketing
platforms. These business transactions are part of the sharing economy, also known as the
collaborative economy or the peer-to- peer economy. However, the sharing economy is not without
problems, such as potential labor abuse and tax evasion.
You are a senior business advisor at Cinti Business Advisors in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company
provides business advisory services to organizations in the public and private sectors. Among the
company’s clients are local- and state-level government agencies (e.g., city economic development
offices), NGOs (e.g., labor protection groups), and small to medium-sized businesses at various stages
of development (from start-ups to well established businesses). You report to the Director of
Business Innovation, Raymond James. He asks you to analyze the benefits and challenges of the
sharing economy from the perspectives of different stakeholder groups and provide
recommendations. Specifically, he asks you to investigate the common types of sharing business
models as well as the driving forces behind the sharing economy. Furthermore, he expects you to
identify and analyze all the stakeholders in the sharing economy (e.g., providers, consumers,
technology firms, policy makers) and the impact of sharing economy (benefits and problems) on each
group in the short- and long-term. Finally, you will make appropriate recommendations to the
different stakeholder groups on whether and how to participate in and/or interact with the sharing
You are to include credible and scholarly secondary research in your report. Several journal articles
and other resources on the topic of sharing economy is available on Blackboard to help you develop a
clear understanding of this topic. You may use any of the resources provided in your paper and
supplement specific details by conducting your own journal article search using ISU library journal
databases. You are also expected to visit websites of sharing businesses to understand how those
businesses work.

SUBMIT REPORT by Friday, July 7 (midnight EST)
Go to Blackboard  Course Modules  Week 4  Submit Your Formal Report Here
Please submit the report on time. Review the late penalty policy in course syllabus.

This report should follow these guidelines:
1. Writing style: formal (do not use contractions such as can’t, won’t, etc.), impersonal (do not use I,
we, you, my, our, etc.).
2. Pages: at least 12 double-spaced pages from introduction through recommendation (not including
preliminary and supplementary parts).
3. References: At least 10 secondary sources (including journal and newspaper articles) are required.
The references are to be dated 2006 or after.
4. Documentation: APA style for in-text citations and references.

BEIT 336 Formal Report page 2
Grading for Formal Report (depth of content, writing techniques, and format)
Section Parts Points Your

25 pts.
(Content, format,
writing techniques)

Letter of transmittal (block style)
Title page
Table of contents (use 1 st degree heading)
List of illustrations (use 1 st degree heading)
Executive summary (use 1 st degree heading)
Deficient (0-14)… Developing (15-18)…Satisfactory (19-22)…Superior (23-25)

6 pts
3 pts
4 pts
2 pts
10 pts

90 pts.
(Content, format,
writing techniques)

Overview: 18 pts. Total (use 1 st degree heading)
(Section content—no heading)
Problem statement
Scope (study factors with depth)
Sources and method(s) of collecting data
Report preview
Deficient (0-9)…Developing (10-12)…Satisfactory (13-14)…Superior (15-17)
Discussion of factors: 48 pts. Total (use 1 st degree heading; sub-
sections under each factor use 2 nd degree headings)
Content and writing
Deficient (0-28)…Developing (29-35)…Satisfactory (36-42)…Superior (43-48)
Report Ending (19 pts. Total)
Summary & Conclusion (use 1 st degree heading)
Recommendation (use 1 st degree heading)
Deficient (0-9)…Developing (10-12)…Satisfactory (13-14)…Superior (15-17)
In-text Citations (5 pts.)

6 pts
2 pts
4 pts
4 pts
2 pts
48 pts

10 pts
9 pts

5 pts



10 pts.
(content, format)

References page
10 Secondary references (APA style)
Rubric for both In-text Citations & References Page
Deficient (0-8)…Developing (9-11)…Satisfactory (12-13)…Superior (14-15)
10 pts

10 pts.

Organization & Pagination
Section headings
Deficient (0-5)…Developing (6-7)…Satisfactory (8)…Superior (9-10)

6 pts
4 pts

Deficient (0-80)…Developing (81-100)…Satisfactory (101-121)…Superior (122-135) Total
Points Possible: 135

Instructor Comments:

BEIT 336 Formal Report page 3

Formal Reports

Formatting and Writing the Formal Report
Formatting Instructions

For formatting guidelines for the formal report, read Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 12 and the material in Nelson’s Study Notes
under chapter 12 (particularly, Formatting Guidelines for the Formal Report). When there are differing formatting
guidelines between Lesikar/Pettit and Nelson, use the Nelson guidelines. For example, Lesikar/Pettit provides
different heading format instruction than Nelson—use Nelson.
Start the writing process with the body (or message) section and then write the supplementary and preliminary parts.
Detailed information for writing each section follows.

Preliminary Section

Preliminary pages are included in front of the body of the formal report. The pages that are included will vary according
to the formality of the report. Our formal report will contain the following preliminary pages in this order:
Letter of transmittal (block style)
Title page
Table of Contents (first-degree heading)
List of Illustrations (first-degree heading)
Executive Summary (first-degree heading)
Letter of Transmittal
The letter of transmittal is a very short message giving (transmitting) the report to the reader and must be included in
your formal report. See Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 10, pages 173-174. The following content should be included in the letter
of transmittal:
Paragraph 1 – transmit the report to the reader (use more polished words—“you asked me to do such and such project;
I did as you ask; report is attached”).
Middle paragraphs – discuss the report giving such information as the problem statement, factors, recommendations, or
problems associated with the project.
Last paragraph – include a goodwill closing with your contact numbers.
See a sample transmittal letter in Lesikar/Pettit on page 183.
While you are including only a letter of transmittal, a letter (or memo) of authorization and a letter (or memo) of
acceptance could be included. However, these items are usually included in very formal reports only. The authorization
letter or memo is from the person who assigned the project to you and includes the project assignment. The letter or
memo of acceptance is the writer’s reply to the letter or memo of authorization stating acceptance of the project.
Title Fly and Title Page
Both a title fly and a title page are often included in a formal report. In BEIT 336, you will include only a title page.
Review the discussion of the title fly and the title page in Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 10, pages 172 and 173. See samples on
pages 181 and 182. Format your title page according the Lesikar/Pettit discussion and sample. Follow the directions in
Lesikar/Pettit on pages 172 and 173 for writing a title. The title should not be “cutesy” or clever.
Table of Contents
The table of contents includes every heading in the report with the page number. Include a first-degree heading of
Table of Contents in your formal report. By looking at the table of contents and the placement of items on that page,
you can immediately see the organization of the report (note the capitalization and indentation of the headings in the
sample). Place the table of contents immediately after the title page. See Lesikar/Pettit chapter 10, page 174 and 184.
Note the dots running from an item on the table of contents to the page number. Those dots are called leaders.

BEIT 336 Formal Report page 4
Leaders help guide the reader from the item to the page number. Insert leaders in your Table of Contents. See the
Microsoft Word mini-manual in Nelson’s Study Notes for instructions on inserting leaders in Word.
You can also use Word’s built-in heading styles to create a table of contents.
List of Illustrations
A list of illustrations is included in a formal report. The list of illustrations is placed after the table of contents (first-
degree heading List of Illustrations) and is a categorized list of the tables and figures (with titles and page numbers) in
the report. The label, number, title, and page number is included for each graphic aid. See Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 10,
pages 174 and 185.
Executive Summary
An executive summary is a condensed version of the entire report from overview through recommendations. Other
terms for the executive summary are synopsis, precis, and epitome. The executive summary may be written in the
indirect or direct order. However, you may find it simpler to use the indirect order for the formal report assignment.
Use the heading Executive Summary (first-degree heading format). Include the following items in your executive
summary: problem statement, factors, summary, conclusions, and recommendations. The Executive Summary should
be single spaced (even though the rest of the report will be double spaced) and be no longer than one page in length
Note the difference between an executive summary and a summary. The executive summary is a condensed version of
the report from overview to recommendations, and the summary is a brief restatement of the main facts presented in the
discussion of factors sections only. For discussion and a sample see Lesikar/Pettit chapter 10 pages 174, 175, and 186.

Report Section
Introduction or Overview

The Overview (or introduction) is the first section of the body of the report. The content of the overview or the
introduction of a formal report is more developed than that of a short, informal report. To help you learn how to
approach this type of introduction, I am providing a discussion of each part of the overview. Use the heading
OVERVIEW for this section formatted as a first-degree heading (Review Report Headings under chapter 8 of Nelson’s
Study Notes), and do not include other headings in this section. The Overview section should be about two pages
(doubled spaced) in length.
Background (Lesikar/Pettit, page 177)
The first item in the Overview is a discussion of the background of the problem. In a formal report, the writer spends
some time “setting the stage” for the reader—a full discussion of the larger picture of the problem or topic provided the
audience needs such a discussion. In this discussion, include information concerning the historical development of the
topic or what happened previously about the topic or problem. Bring the discussion down to your company or situation
from the historical or global view. For your assignment in BEIT 336, write two to three paragraphs of background
information and include reference citations if applicable. Avoid including information in the background portion of the
report that you will want to use later in the discussion of factors. Do not include a separate heading for the background.
Problem Statement (Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 5; Nelson’s Study Notes, chapter 5; and The Analytical Report
As the second piece of information in the Overview, provide the reader with a succinct problem statement. The problem
statement is included early in the overview so the reader is clear on your purpose (what you have done and why you did
it). You don’t want to keep the reader in the dark; your reader must not be confused about your purpose for writing.
Think of the problem statement as bringing the topic down from the broader picture stated in the background to the
particular situation and company. The problem statement is one sentence written in the question, infinitive, or
declarative form. Do not include a separate heading.

BEIT 336 Formal Report page 5
Scope (Factors) (Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 5; Nelson’s Study Notes, chapter 5; and The Analytical Report
After the problem statement is written, include a discussion (in paragraph form) of the breadth and depth of the factors.
Do not include a separate heading for this information.
Sources and Methods of Data Collection (Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 10, page 177).
The discussion of the secondary sources and methods (Internet, library) you used to gather information should include
about a paragraph of information. Do not include a separate heading for this information.
Report Preview (Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 10, page 8)
To complete the Overview section, include a report preview paragraph. In a report preview, the writer tells the reader
the organization of the report. Remember, in a report preview, you name the sections of the report body that follows
the Overview. Do not include a separate heading for this information.

Discussion of the Data Gathered on the Factors

After the introduction or overview where you “set the stage” for the reader, you discuss the information gathered on
each factor or subtopic. The headings for this section should be the names of your subtopics (factors) and should be
formatted as first-degree headings. Remember, to write the headings as topic headings and to be parallel. Discuss the
subtopics in order of most important and in the same order as written in the report preview. The discussion of the
factors should be the largest section of the report. You will be graded on depth of content and must have about 9 pages
of information.
These sections, of course, should include information you gathered on the breadth and depth of all the subtopics or
factors. Include a transition paragraph at the beginning of each factor section. In other words, you are “setting the
stage” for the particular section. You are to be objective and use data you gathered. Also, avoid including early
conclusions—save the conclusions for later. Include text reference citations in the parenthetical style using APA style
guide for all information taken from secondary sources, and tell the reader when you are using primary data you gathered
(you will include the student survey result as your primary data; also, you can make up additional information such as
personal communication with certain students, residence hall directors, etc.). Ethical behavior involves giving credit for
reference sources, and plagiarism is not acceptable. Finally, include the required graphic aids in this section.
Graphic aids are used in reports to simplify data and to provide visual interest. Graphic aids should be included when
relevant to the purpose and audience and when used in conjunction with words and not as a substitute for words.
There are two basic types of graphic aids, tables and figures (figures may be referred to as charts). A table is a
presentation of qualitative or quantitative information in rows and columns. Tables are a good choice for precise data
but not to show trends or relationships. The word figure or chart is applied to any other graphic aid (maps, bar chart,
pie chart, or line chart, etc.). A figure is a good choice when you want to represent approximate values and to show
trends. The labels will be Table and Figure (or Chart—Lesikar/Pettit uses the word Chart) for the formal report.
The tables and figures will have numbers and titles. The tables and figures are numbered independently. Therefore, you
will have a Table 1 and a Figure 1 at the very least. These graphic aids will have a title as well. The title should be short
and to the point (Refer to Lesikar/Pettit page 278).
Graphic aids must be introduced in the text formally. Use the information presented in Lesikar/Pettit page 276, and use
the information included under Formal Graphic Aid Presentation (under chapter 14) in Nelson’s Study Notes. Graphic
aids are placed right after being introduced in the text—not in the appendix. While material can be placed in the
appendix, reserve that placement for supplementary information (nice to know but not necessary).

Report Ending

The closing section of summary, conclusions, and recommendations in a formal, analytical report is the writer’s
opportunity to present analysis and to end the report. The closing section can probably be covered in about three pages,
and the first-degree headings should be Summary and Conclusion, and Recommendations.

BEIT 336 Formal Report page 6
Summary and Conclusion (Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 9 and chapter 10, page 178)
A summary is a brief restatement of the main facts presented under each factor and is frequently included in a formal
report either at the end of the report or at the end of the discussion for each factor. No new information is included in
this section, and do not cite sources. Reminder: each factor should be summarized in a separate paragraph. Use the
words Summary and Conclusions as a first-degree heading for this section.
A conclusion is an interpretation of the facts you gathered and discussed. A conclusion is an observation based on the
facts and not a repetition of those facts. In other words, a conclusion is a statement answering the question, “What do
the facts mean?” and not a repetition of the facts (percents, dollars, numbers, etc.). A conclusion is not an action the
company must take. Conclusions must come from the facts you gathered and discussed (use the main facts you gave in
the Summary). In our case, you should be able to develop a conclusion for the facts gathered for each factor. To give
you a simple example: assume you are researching alternative sites for a new plant and have gathered the following data:
Site A: $50,000 cost, 5 acres, and 5 miles from the interstate
Site B: $75,000 cost, 7 acres, and 1 mile from the interstate
The conclusions could be that Site A is least expensive and that Site B has more acreage and is closer to the interstate.
Again, use the words Summary and Conclusions as a first-degree heading for this section. You should have a
summary and a conclusion for each factor (you will probably write a paragraph for each factor).
Recommendation (Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 9 and chapter 10, pages 178)
A recommendation is a suggested action the company should take based on the conclusions (conclusions were based on
the facts) and answers the problem statement. A recommendation cannot come from new facts but comes from facts
and conclusions already discussed. The suggested action should be explicit (use action verbs such as purchase,
implement, explore, etc.) and detailed. In addition, the recommendation includes a “how” to implement or the next step
the company should take. Use the word Recommendations as a first-degree heading for this section.
Finally, as a reminder—you will have discussed the data (both primary and secondary) for each factor. The summary is
developed from the data you discussed, the conclusions are drawn from the main facts repeated in the summary, and the
recommendations are developed from the conclusions. The recommendation answers the problem statement. Thus,
the logic goes full circle from the problem statement, factors, data, summary, conclusions, recommendations, and back
to the problem statement.

Supplementary Section

After you have written the body of the report, you are ready to write the supplementary section. The supplementary
section of the formal report contains the References page and the Appendix. Place References on the next page after
Recommendations. The References page contains only the sources cited in the body of the report. Use the APA style.
I have provided a link on our class Web site to the Purdue University Online Lab (OWL) which contains extensive
information on how to format references in the APA style. Click on External Links, then on APA Style - Purdue
University Web Site. You can also find this information on the University of Wisconsin link, APA Style - University of
Wisconsin Web Site. The best reference is, of course, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6 th
edition, available at the bookstore. You are not required to purchase this book, but you are responsible for correctly
formatting all references in your report according to APA style.
Place the appendix immediately after the list of references (see Lesikar/Pettit, chapter 10, page 179). An appendix
contains supplementary material for the reader. Obviously, important material is discussed in the text. Sometimes,
however, only a portion of a piece of information is discussed in the text, but the writer feels the entire piece of
information might be interesting to some readers and that material is placed in the appendix. The appendix of your
formal paper will include supplementary materials you gathered in your primary and secondary research (you will, of
course, discuss the pertinent results in the text).
Each item of supplemental information is included in a separate appendix (if you have more than one appendix, the
appendices are each given a letter such as Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.). If you have just one appendix, the material is
titled Appendix without letters. A title page is included before each item of information. The title page contains the
word appendix formatted in first-degree heading format (with a letter if you have more than one appendix) and the title
of the appendix contents (again, formatted as a first-degree heading). The word Appendix and the title are centered
horizontally and vertically. See Formatting Guidelines for the Formal Report under chapter 12 of Nelson’s Study Notes.

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