Some elements of formal reports include a title page, table of contents, an abstract, summary and results. A conclusion and recommendations are also included in formal reports.
Formal report title pages generally list the name of the person, department or company that requested the report, as well as the name of the person who prepared the report. The date is included, along with the subject of the report.
The table of contents lists the headings that are present throughout the report and the page numbers where they are located. Any illustrations or tables of information should also be included in the table of contents.
The abstract should include the reason for the report, the method of study used for the information gathered, and briefly state what the findings of the study were and what the significance of the findings are. In the results portion of the report, all information gathered throughout the course of the study is presented, in as much detail as is required. The results portion thoroughly answers all questions that researchers set out to answer if the sought-after information was found.
The conclusion summarizes the results of any experiments and states whether results agreed with the hypothesis.
Recommendations are made in reports to suggest ways to solve the problems that initiated the study, and often include a cost and benefit analysis of the solutions offered.