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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Beginning a report


Executive Summary (Abstract)

An executive summary provides a quick overview or synopsis of a report, summarising the essential parts. It outlines the following information:

  • the purpose of the report
  • the methods used to conduct the research
  • the result of the research
  • the conclusions drawn from the research
  • recommendations for future actions.

The executive summary/abstract is generally written last. This allows you to summarise all the major areas of the report.


The aim of this report was to investigate university teaching staff attitudes to the use of mobile phones by students in tutorials. A survey of teaching staff from each college was conducted in first semester of the academic year. Overall, the results indicate that the majority of staff found student mobile devices use a major disruption in tutorials. The report concludes that the predominant view of staff is that mobile phones are disruptive and should be turned off during tutorials. It is recommended that the university develops guidelines which would support staff in the restriction of student use of mobile phones in tutorials except in exceptional circumstances.

[Purpose: The Aim Of This Report Was To Investigate University Teaching Staff Attitudes To The Use Of Mobile Phones By Students In Tutorials.] [Method: A Survey Of Teaching Staff From Each College Was Conducted In First Semester Of The Academic Year.] [Results: Overall, The Results Indicate That The Majority Of Staff Found Student Mobile Devices Use A Major Disruption In Tutorials.] [Conclusions: The Report Concludes That The Predominant View Of Staff Is That Mobile Phones Are Disruptive And Should Be Turned Off During Tutorials.] [Recommendations: It Is Recommended That The University Develops Guidelines Which Would Support Staff In The Restriction Of Student Use Of Mobile Phones In Tutorials Except In Exceptional Circumstances.]


A good introduction is important in a report. It should give the reader all the information required to understand the importance and relevance of the report. It should clearly state:

  • the context of the report
  • the purpose of the report

There has been a great increase in the use of personal mobile phones over the past five years with every indication that this usage will continue to increase. Indeed, widespread use of mobile devices in educational contexts for non educational purposes has been reported as distracting and disruptive to learning environments. Recently a number of university teaching staff have proposed that an institution wide policy be developed regarding student mobile phone use during tutorials and lectures. This report will discuss research into staff attitudes to the issue of student mobile phone usage in the teaching and learning environment.

[Context: There Has Been A Great Increase In The Use Of Personal Mobile Phones Over The Past Five Years With Every Indication That This Usage Will Continue To Increase. Indeed, Widespread Use Of Mobile Devices In Educational Contexts For Non Educational Purposes Has Been Reported As Distracting And Disruptive To Learning Environments. Recently A Number Of University Teaching Staff Have Proposed That An Institution Wide Policy Be Developed Regarding Student Mobile Phone Use During Tutorials And Lectures.] [Purpose: This Report Will Discuss Research Into Staff Attitudes To The Issue Of Student Mobile Phone Usage In The Teaching And Learning Environment.]