People can find samples of formal written reports on the Pennsylvania State University and Monash University websites. The Pennsylvania State University's engineering and science department offers three sample reports and a template for creating a formal report; it also shows details on the requirements for formatting the report. The Monash University website offers an example of a formal case study report, including a full table of contents, memos to go with the report and a downloadable Microsoft Word document of the report.
Formal reports include sections for the main text and the front and back matter, and their purpose is to report the findings of the writer, which may be obtained through experimentation, research or analysis, and then discuss those findings, evaluate them and possibly make a recommendation. There are a variety of types of formal reports, including case studies, laboratory reports, progress reports, theses and design reports.
Included in the front matter of a formal report is the cover page, title page, table of contents and an overall summary, or abstract, of the report's contents. The main text includes an introduction with background information, a discussion of the findings and a conclusion providing an evaluation and recommendation based on the findings. The back matter includes such items as appendices, a glossary of terms and a references page.