What's in an “Introduction”?
Many writers have trouble crafting an introduction and it is a source of frustration that can lead to writer's block and procrastination.
Many students try to write the introduction to their paper first. (It's the introduction and it comes first, so that would make sense, right?) Before you can easily write an introduction it is important to first do the research for your topic and to have completed your paper outline.
Personally, I often write the entire paper and then go back and write the introduction LAST.
Your introduction needs to get the reader's attention. It should be interesting enough to entice the reader to read more of your paper and it should tell the reader what the paper will focus on.
One literary trick is to open your paper with an attention grabber. Some common devices used to provide the attention grabber are:
- Provide startling information
Startling information must be fact-based and backed by scholarly evidence. Providing startling information in your introduction could be pulling a few surprising or powerful facts or statistics from your research and then tying them into why you are writing the paper and why the reader should keep reading.
An anecdote is a short and focused story about your topic. Stories make an interesting opening for a paper and serve to get the reader's attention.
A dialog can be a simple exchange between characters on your topic.
- Provide summary information
Creating an introduction that provides a general summary of your topic in an interesting manner.
Open your paper with an interesting quote that you tie to your topic.
- Ask a compelling question of the reader
Ask a question of the reader that is designed to peak their interest and make them want to learn more about your topic in order to answer the question for themselves.
Finish the introduction paragraph with your thesis statement. This way, you have an attention grabber to "hook" the reader and this leads naturally into your thesis statement (which is the main point of your paper).
What is the purpose of an executive summary?
An executive summary typically provides a one-page snapshot of the entire report, focusing on the main highlights. It is usually included at the start of a case report before the main text. Depending on the preferences of your instructor and institution, the executive summary can be written in either paragraph- or point-form.
What should be included in an executive summary?
The executive summary of a case study report should include the following:
Tell readers in 1–2 sentences what the issue at hand is.
Example: The main problem facing Company XYZ is that sales are declining and employee morale is low. Without addressing these concerns, Company XYZ will be in serious trouble and may not be able to regain their standing as an industry leader.
What should be done to address the problem?
Example: In order to solve this problem it is recommended that Company XYZ undergo a change in strategy, structure, and culture. Specifically, it is recommended that Company XYZ
- pursue a strategy that places a high level of importance on innovation;
- restructure the organization so that it is flexible, innovative, and appropriate for the size of the organization; and
- begin to reshape the company’s organizational culture and the way in which day-to-day business is conducted; managers at all levels of Company XYZ will need to emphasize the values of ethics, creativity, and trust.
Supporting arguments and evidence
Summary of all of the major sections of your report, highlighting the arguments and evidence that support your recommendation.
What is the key message you want readers to take away? Why is it important to solve this problem and what do you anticipate the outcomes will be if the recommendations are followed?
Tip: Keep these arguments in the same order they appear in the main text.
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write the Executive Summary?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the executive summary section of a case study report:
- Write the executive summary after all of the other sections of the report have been written.
- Consider your role. Write from the perspective that you are asked to adopt; for example, did the case instructions ask you to assume the role of an internal organizational member? An external organizational consultant? Some other stakeholder? How will this influence the tone and content of the summary?
- Avoid repeating case facts in detail. There can be a more general, summative opening sentence but the remainder of your executive summary should focus on going beyond the case information that was provided.
- Clearly state and justify the specific recommendation that will solve the problem that is being encountered. Imagine a skeptical audience: Why should they believe you?
- Include only key financial numbers and associated costing information.
- Make the executive summary can stand alone. Readers should be able to understand the Executive Summary even if they don’t read the rest of the report.
Example: Annotated Case Study Report
Learn more about writing strategies for The Executive Summary section of your paper.