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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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5.2 Planning a business report

Business studies reports follow a structure that is very similar to those normally written to help management to make decisions. The main purpose of these reports is to describe a real life business situation and to provide a list of recommendations.

While the overall structure is similar to that of a science or a technology report, the main text is usually structured using a ‘business model’, i.e. a framework that helps the writer to analyse a situation by looking at its specific features.

The following assignment task is structured using a SWOT model. SWOT stands for:





In other words, it is a framework that analyses a business by looking at its strengths and weaknesses as well as at any opportunities it can exploit and the threats it faces.

Below is a business studies assignment question:

Use a SWOT model to analyse the multinational company Coca-Cola.

Table 6 shows how this report should be structured.

Table 6 The main elements of a business report
TitleAttracts the reader's attentionConcise phrase or sentence introducing the content
Executive summaryGives a brief summarySection or paragraph explaining the purpose of the report, the main findings and the recommendations
IntroductionGives the purpose of the investigation being reportedParagraph providing background information and explaining why the investigation was required
MethodExplains how the investigation was conductedExplains why a particular model has been used and how the data was collected
AnalysisExamines the situation in great detail using the SWOT categoriesFour sections or paragraphs under the following headings:
  • strengths
  • weaknesses
  • opportunities
  • threats
ConclusionDescribes what the study has shownParagraph briefly summarising the findings, i.e. the content of the analysis and highlighting the key factors
RecommendationsSuggests future actionParagraph or bullet point list of recommendations based on the findings