Memos are an important, and frequent, job responsibility. Because memos communicate the, information necessary to keep a company running smoothly, you must write them clearly anti quickly. Do not be surprised if your supervisor says, “Send me a memo on that line slow-down by this afternoon.” Memos test your ability to analyze a problem quickly and to write a concise, accurate solution. Your ability to handle them tells your reader a great deal about your potential as a problem solver and decision maker.

Memo Format

Memo format is easy to construct. At the top of the page, place: To, From, Subject, and Date lines. That’s all there is to it. What follows below those lines is a memo report. Usually such a report is brief – from one or two sentences to one or two pages. Theoretically such a report has no length limit; practically, however, such reports are seldom longer than four or five pages.

Follow these guidelines to set up a memo or memo report:

  1. Place To, From, and Subject lines at the left-hand margin.
  2. Place the date either to the right, without. a head, or at the top of the list with a head (Date:).
  3. Follow each item with a colon and the appropriate information.
  4. Name the contents or main point in the subject line.
  5. Place names of people who receive copies below the name of the main recipient.
  6. Sign to the right of your typed name.
  7. Choose a method of capitalization and placement of colons.







Whatever memo format you choose, you need to write clear, concise text to convey your information~ The following report has a short introduction, r briefly tells the results of a test, and recommends a course of action – all in three paragraphs.

To: Bob Mitchell .  April 1, 19XX

From: Marcia L. Cody Subject: Shurstik vs. WA tapes I’ve completed the laboratory testing on the Shurstik and the WA tapes used for Bi-pack cans. This memo report presents the results of my tests along with my recommendation. I performed the laboratory vibration testing according to ASTM Rackaging regulations. The WAtape is far superior to the Shurstik tape in preventing can separation during shipping. The Shurstik tape showed 27 out of the 60 cans tested completely separated from each other. Another 17 out of the 60 cans joined together with the Shurstik tape showed severe tape scuffing. The WA tape tested showed no cans separated, and only 5 out of the 60 cans had some scuffing. My recommendation is to use the WA rather than the Shurstik tape to prevent can separation during shipping.



The informal report has five basic elements, arranged in a fairly standard form. You can adapt it to many situations – from presenting background to recommending and proposing. The form has five parts:

Conclusions and Recommendations

Informal Introductions

The object of an introduction is to orient the reader to the ·contents. Depending on’ the situation, you can choose one of four types of introductions:

  • State the objective.
  • State the context.
  • Alert the reader to a problem.
  • Use a preprinted form if one exists.

State the Objective The basic informal introduction is a one-sentence statement of the purpose of the report.

Objective: To report the results of the investigation of delays at Work Station 3.

Many reports start with this method; it is very common. State the Context: “An introduction that states the context provides enough information to orient a reader to the rest of the report~This common type of introduction, which will fit most situations, is an excellent
way to begin almost all memos, letters, and informal reports. To use an introductlon that states context, include four pieces of infor-
.mation: cause, credibility, purpose, and preview. Follow these guidelines:

  • Tell what caused you to write. Perhaps you are reporting back on an assignment, or you have discovered something the recipient needs to know.
  • Explain why you are credible in the situation. You are credible either because at your actions or YOUl po$lUOI’l
  • Name the-report’s purpose. Use one clear sentence: “Tlus report explains why Work Station 3 is inefficient.”
  • Preview the contents. List the main heads that will follow.

Two sample introductions that use these guidelines follow.


Lam responding :0’your recent request thatl research the types of writing tasks that will be required in the course of my data processlnq career. In gathering this information, I interviewed John Broderick, the Data Processing Manager Stephen Thomas and Associates, an architectural firm in Lexington, Kentucky.This report explains the writing responsibilities Purpose of a Data Processing Manager. These responsibilities consist of program descriptions, documentation, instruction sets, Preview and proposals.


In response to your request that I recommend an integrated t software program for our office system, I have investigated two programs, Microsoft Works and Incredible Jack. I have read several detailed reviews and have talked to several current users O! eBen. The I1I ItAO presents mv recommendation an9 the reasons for it. The decision is based on \three criteria a: cost, documentation, and expandability

Alert the Reader to a Problem To alert the reader to a problem, you focus attention on it. To help the reader, set up a contrast between a positive and a negative, making the problem clear. Use one of the following methods:

  • Contrast a general truth (positive) wilh the problem (negative)
  • Contrast the problem (negative) with a proposed solution (positive)

In either case, you should point out the significance of the problem or the solution. If you cast the problem as a negative, show how it violates some expected norm. If you are proposing a solution, point out its positive significance,


The products we sell must reach our retailers in satisfactory General truth condition. To do so, the. products must remain tightly packed
in their corrugated boxes. Recent complaints from trucking firms that deliver our products indicate that the flaps on our corrugated boxes are constantly opening during normal transport. The loose flaps present a serious safety threat to our products and jeopardize relations with our retailers


Posting financial data on our balance sheets and on the forms derived from them has always been a tedious task. It is a costly, inefficient method; it is so difficult that comparative figures have often not been available for pricing decisions. Anew spreadsheet program based on Lotus 1·2·3 could completely eliminate the tedious recopying and allow us to have many versions of the figures available for major decisions. Use a Preprinted Form Some organizations commonly use a preprinted form for informal report introductions. Figure 11.1 shows such a preprinted form entitled “Technical Report Summary.” The form contains spaces for content information and blanks for information management details. The content information is labeled Current Objective and Abstract. The information management details include department number; report number, employee number, security level, special information on chemicals and a key-word glossary. Information managers use these key words to code the report into a data base so that other researchers can find and use it as needed, thus avoiding needless duplication of effort.


The summary  also called “Abstract,” or sometimes “Executive Summary”  is a one-to-one miniaturization of the discussion section” If the
discussion section has three partsf the summary has three statements,’each giving the major point of one of the sections~In the Galaxy Foods example op pp. 243-244, notice that both the summary and the discussion’ contain two sections. Each statement in the summary presents the-major point of  the corresponding section in the discussion


The backgroundjstatement gives the reader a context by explaining the project’s methodology or history. If the report has only an objective statement, this section orients the reader to the material of the report. In the Galaxy Foods example, the background section orients the reader to the topic.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Informal reports often have a section called “Conclusions and Recommendation.” As shown in the Galaxy Foods example (pp. 243-244), this section usually provides information that differs from the summary. Sometimes, however, this section can replace the summary. In the example on p. 230, no summary appears because the Conclusions and Recommendation section serves the same function.




This report responds to your request for setup and run hour comparisons on Part # 5008179 to determine if a proposed near net shape T15HV material is more cost effective than the CPM10V bar material currently used. A hypothetical process plan, using T15HV near net
shape material for Part # 5008179, is compared to the current process plan, which utilizes CPM10V bar material. The comparison is made on the total normal labor hours per piece for each plan. The process plan having the lowest total normal labor hours per piece will reflect which material is more cost effective


The following conclusions were reached during this project:

  1. There is an $8.00 per part savings in material cost if the near net shape T15HV material is used.
  2. Setup and tun hour comparisons reveal that using CPM10V bar material presents lower total normal labor hours per
    piece than T15HV in order quantities over 11 pieces.
  3. The T15HV material will present difficulties in quality inspection and internal spline broaching.

It would not be feasible to use a T15HV near net shape gear for the production of Part # 5008179 since the $8.00 material savings “per part will be offset in larger orders by labor costs


The discussion section contains the more detailed, full information of the report. As the examples below show, writers use heads to subdivide this section, eraploy visual aids, and sometimes provide the discussion with its own Introduction and conclusion. If the author has written the main introduction and summary correctly, the discussion will contain no surprises in information, just more depth. Two format concerns of the discussion section are pagination and heads.

Pagination Paginate informal reports as you would letters or reports. Follow these guidelines:

  • To paginate as a letter, place the name of the recipient, the page. and the da te across the top of the page:
  • To paginate as in a report, place the page number in the upper righthand corner or in the bottom center

To see a method of handling pagination, see the “Galaxy Foods” example (pp. 243-244); the page number is placed at the top right of each
page and the date (01/21/87) and report number (OK/16/87) are’ at the right.


Informal reports almost always contain heads. Usually you need only one level; the most commonly used format is the “side left,” though other formats are acceptable. Follow these guidelines:

  • Place heads at the left hand margin, triple-spaced above and doublespaced below; use underline or boldface.
  • Capitalize only the first letter of each main word (do not cap a, an, or the, or prepositions).
  • Use no punctuation after heads.
  • In your heads, use a word or phrase to indicate the contents immediately following.
  • At times, use a question for an effective head.

Kinds of Writing I Will Encounter

According to Mr. Welke, I will encounter three kinds of technical writing: reports, memos, and pr.oposals. Of the two types of reports the ottlce, the most.common one givas information on inventory of parts, tools, and equipment. The second type of report gives information on personnel-relatedmatters, such as hiring, firing, layoffs, and absenteeism. Memos are used to give (or requestl information or instructions. Proposals wUl,include layout changes and equipment aporoprlatlonkequests.

For Whom Will I Write?

My writing will be directed at people who will know more, less, Double-space qr equal amounts of information about my subject. I will also
write for,people higher or lower than I am, or at my same level within the corporation



Writers frequently use informal formats, in many variations, such preprinted forms and outline reports. Because the format is so versatile. can use it for nearly any kind of content. This section introduces you to several variations.

Brief Analysis Reports

Brief analysis reports are very common in industry. They present conclusions about an endless array of problems that beset normal operating procedures. Like the example below, they often have an objective, summary, introduction (optional), conclusions, and a discussion built around a visual aid.


Date: November 5, 1990
To: Tom Patterson
From: Ted Umentum


To show that a modified conveyor belt will reduce employee fatigue and back problems


The workers in Department B are sustaining reduced output due to fatigue and backaches. This problem will be solved by raising the height of the conveyor belt, to reduce unnecessary bending for these workers


Recently A(JeBaking Consultants conducted a study comparing the productlon output of one department of workers with the output of another department. These consultants found that as the workday progressed, output of Department A stayed constant whereas Department B decreased considerably

Employee Fatigue

The workers in Department B are sustaining reduced output . due to fatigue and backaches. After numerous observations, have found that these workers are suffering from these health problems because the conveyor belt, from which they pick up products to be packed, is too low to the ground. This poor position of the conveyor belt causes workers to bend over further than necessary to retrieve products. The extra bending is the cause of numerous back problems, which result in medical expenses paid by the company. It is also the cause of increased fatigue, resulting in a lower production output rate per s-hour shift (see Table 1).

Mean Number of Units Produced per Hour in Departments Aand B



As you can see in Table 1, the production rate of Department B, per hour, decreases considerably towards the lunch break, whereas the ·production rate of Department A stays relatively consistent. Both departments then receive an hour break for lunch and return to work. Once again the production rate of Department B decreases until quitting time, whereas Department A remains consistent.

Conveyor Modification

My proposal is to implement a modified conveyor belt. The proposed conveyor belt will stand 8 to 10 inches higher than the previous conveyor. This procedure can be accomplished by soidering an 8- to 10-inch extension piece to each of the existing legs consecutively and then refastening the conveyor to the floor. This modification of the conveyor will increase producti:i~ty due to reduced stress from bending over. The mocltlcatton will also reduce medical expenses paid out by the company due to past backaches.

Another solution considered was to implement an adjustable conveyor belt that would automatically adjust to a number of different heiQhts.This solution was rejected because of its high cost.

Trip Reports

As part of your job you may often take trips to conferences or to other sites. Many companies require that, upon your return, you file a trip report to discuss your activities and main experiences. To write a good trip report, you must prepare before you start your trip (Reirfl.old).You should ask your boss and colleagues what information they would like you to discover. For example, if you are planning to attend the Widget Designers International Convention, your colleagues might want-to learn more about environmental concerns in recycling widgets and new software to aid in widget design and simulation. At the conference, you would look especially for that kind of information.

A good trip report includes an introduction, information on the specific concerns of your readers, and information on topics of general interest to the company. You should provide

  • as much relevant, specific information as possible
  • the significance of those specifics for your company


Date: April 10, 19XX
To: C. M. Kirkland
From: James Hall
Subject: 1990 Widget Designers International Convention
This report discusses the Annual Widget Designers International Convention held in Jonesboro, Tennessee on April 1. The convention featured sessions on widget recycling and computerized widget design. Also featured were discussions of widget quality control and displays of other computer developments for widget design


Dr. Janet Polansky reported on widget recycling bills now under consideration. A federal bill before Congress will require all manufacturers of more than one thousand widgets per hour to cdhtribute one cent per widget to the Superfund. This fee would.gause our price to rise. State laws are still a hodgepodge, but the emerging issue appears to be biode-: gradability. All nonblodeqjadabte widgets will be outlawed on
the East and West coasts by 1992. Developing a biodegradable widget would give us a olear competitive edge since we would not lose customers in that area


A new design program – Widget! – allows designers to simulate up to five simultaneous designs in any widget application. The program costs $895. I learned the basics in a one-hour workshop. The program is remarkably easy. The five designs can be produced in two hours, down from the current three days.

Quality Control

While quality control is not an issue here at Wheeler-Amalgamated, . impressive reductions on waste have been achieved with Data special “quality teams” at Nash Incorporated. These teams make surprise inspections and, if necessary, hold ~raining sessions immediately. They also – and this is the key – offer positive reinforcement for achieving preset goals.

Computerized Displays

The displays contained exhibits from our competitors – about the same as those detailed in last year’s report. A new development. though, is the use of color computer slide shows thdl ~19hlight each product. Our booth did nOI contain such a system and so seemed old-fashioned. I recommend that we investigate this approach for next year.

laboratory Reports

A laboratory report communicates information gained through laboratory tests, the most rigid of all data-gathering methods. The outline below presents the usual form for writing a lab report. This basic approach will work in most situations.

Results (often in tabular form)
Discussion of Results

A laboratory report’s descriptions of methodology affirm the accuracy of the data that is discussed. Not all laboratory reports include recommendations. The following professional report attempts to determine the difference between a new resin and standard ones. Note how the introduction gives the purpose and indicates, by its structure, the contents of the body. The section entitled Results and Discussion also contains a d’escription of methodology. Only selections from the report are presented here.



Work has continued in evaluation of new-technology polypropylene resins to determine the differences between these materials and standard polypropylene resins and how.these differences might De exploited to provide improved product performance. Results from this work are described in the following report


Evaluation of XVZ Co. New-Technology
POlypropylene Resin ,

XYZ Co. supplied us with a 1OOO-ibsample of new-technology polypropylene resin, Lot #486. This material was prepared at its new U.S. manufacturing facility. The resin was evaluated in our laboratory in comparison to XYZ’s currently supplied material (Lot #312) and also in comparison to a second sample of new-technology material from XYZ prepared from European-made flake (Lot #687). Lot #687, described in this report, is a remake of Lot #13577, which was evaluated in the Film Division last December.

These resins were evaluated to determine melt flow-rate (before and after processing), die swell, polydispersity, thermal characteristics, processability, physical property performance, and tape properties. Initial melt flow-rate, die swell, and polydispersity results and thermal characteristics of these materials were reported previously (L.B. Brown. Technical Report Summary·#O.o4, June 1990). Processability and.
performance results for these materials are discussed below; the three materials were evaluated in July.

Table 1 summarizes before-. and alter-processinp melt flow-rate and die swell results for XYZ standard-technology and new-technology polypropylene resins. All measurements were made~sing ihe melt plastorneter in the laboratory. ( As seen from the data in Table 1, the new-technology, U.S.-made pOlypropylene resin has a slightly lower melt flowrate and lower die swell compared to the standard polypropylene resin. The melt flow-rate for this sample is also much higher than that of the previously supplied resin sample prepared from European-made flake, ‘while the die swell is much lower. An increase in melt flow-rate from 2 to 3 g/10 minutes had been recommended by XYZ personnel for Lot #486 in order to decrease extruder gate pressure; there had been a 30% increase in gate ‘pressure compared to the control resin, as well as an increase in extruder current-draw when processing lot #577 in the December evaluation. Some of the previously observed differences in gate pressure and current draw for processing the new-technology resin may just be attributed to the difference in melt flow-rate of the two samples. The current adjustment in melt fiow-rate for Lot #486 brought a decrease in extruder gate pressure to approximately 15% greater than the control material.


Melt Flow-Rale and Die for XYZ Co. Polypropylene Resin


Outline Reports

An expanded outline is a common type of report, set up like a resume, with distinct headings. This form often accompanies an oral presentation. The speaker follows the outline, explaining detail at the appropriate places. Since members of the audience have copies of the report and do not have to t~~ notes, they comprehend more. Procedural specifications and retail management reports often use this form. The writer assumes that the reader already knows the terminology. Usually the reader does, especially if the form is specifications. The brevity of the form allows the writer to condense material, but of course the reader must be able to cumprehend the condensed information. To write this kind of report, follow  these guidelines:

  • Use heads to indicate sections and to function as introductions.
  • Present information in phrases or sentences, not paragraphs.
  • Indent information, like in an outline, underneath the appropriate head.




Preprinted Forms

The preprintedform is common. This section explains two commonly used types: a brief rnessage form and a controlled information form.

Brief Messages

Most firms use printed memo forms for brief hand- ‘written notes. The forms have spaces for entering the recipient’s name, the sender’s name, and a brief message. Some forms have boxes to check to indicate “please return call” or “for. your information” or “file” or whatever Sometimes these forms are very small – 4 x 4 inches – ‘and sometimes they are the size of standard paper — 81f2 x 11 inches. . A typical memo form, used by Ohio Datagraphics Company, is shown in Figure 11.2. The top of the.memo form provides space for the writer’s
name, the reader’s name, the subject, and the date. Company practice or policy will dictate the content of these spaces. To fill in a printed form, use these guidelines:


Memorandum’ Form

  • Write legibly or type.
  • Indicate the contents of the memo on the subject line.
  • Write the main point first, then give sUPP9rt.

Controlled Information Form

The controlled information form provides spaces that the reader must fill in. Examples includetax forms, policy statements, and proposal applications. The reader places the required in; formation, as directed, in the required space. A university grant proposal form (Research Initiative Proposal) is shown in Figure l1.3. It has spaces for all pertinent items: name and date, department, proposal title; and total

To fill in controlled information forms, use the following guidelines:

  • Write legibly or type.
  • Draft several versions before you attempt the final version’. (photocopy the original to ~se for planning and writing your drafts.) ,
  • In, each space, place the main idea first, then give support.

Research Initiative Proposal


Answer each question only in the space provided.
Name the objective of your proposal’
What methodology will you use to achieve the objective?
Explain how you will evaluate your success:
Explain how this project fits your department’s mission:
On a separate sheet, provide budget estimates for salary, fringes,
materials, supplies and services, and travel.

Cuntrnllcd Information Form

If-you design a form like this, follow these guidelines:

  • Make all rules long enough for their intended information .
  • Allow enough space between lines so that the respondent’s words will fit. While lO-point type is easy to read, it is difficult to produce
    handwriting that small.
  • Carefully consider how much space to provide for open-ended questions.
  • (If respondents will type in answers, how many lines can they fit in ‘:le space you leave? II respondents handwrite answers, allow enough space to accommodate all the idiosyncrasies of handwriting.)
  • Ask only for information you will use.
  • Arrange items so that they are clumped by topic .
  • Arrange items so that you can compare answers easily.


To provide readers with timely information, informal reports are common
in industry. The informal report, usually only one or two pages, often uses
a memo format and may use a preprinted introductory page. Always as
concise as ‘possible, the informal report often follows this outline: introduction,
summary, background, conclusions and recommendations, and
discussion. The object of the introduction is to orient the reader quickly;
three common types of introductions are (1) to state the objective, (2) to
provide context or general background, or (3) to orient the reader to a problem.
Many kinds (If informal brief reports arc used in business and industry,
especially short analysis, trip, and lab reports.


Select and write the type of introduction you need:
To give objective of the report
To provide context, background
To alert readers to the problem .
Prepare a style sheet for heads (2 to 4 levels), margins, page ‘”
numbers, visual aid captions. , .
Decide whether to use a memo format or a preprinted introductory
sheet (if available). “0
List conclusions.
List recommendations.
Will each new section start. at the top of a new page?
Prepare the visual aids you need.

Preprinted Forms

  1. Photocopy the blank form to use for planning and for writing rough draft.
  2. Study the questions to pick out key words. What kinds of data will supply the answers?
  3. Who will read this form? What kind of information do they need or expect?
  4. Brainstorm answers for each question.
  5. Write a topic-sentence answer to each question supply additional detail as needed.
  6. Type up the final form.


A professional model of an informal report follows. Derived from research
in data bases, the report is an in-house memo describing the actions of
competitors. The purpose of this report is to inform its audience. oticc
that it presents ,all the basic information in the introductory sections and
·then gives the information again, in more complete form, in the discussion




Determine what competitive food companies are doing to improve the culinary
skills of their employees in order to facilitate more rapid formulation of high-quality
foods, entrees, and restaurant products


The following companies actively support development of culinary skills within
their R & D organizations:
Real Delight – sends master chefs to culinary schools ancj seminars,
Foote International – hires bakers from a French baking school and operates
an in-house school for franchisers


This literature search on culinary-skills development was comprehensive, covering
the U,S. food-processing industry in general. Although major competitors such as
National, Wheeler, and Real Delight were looked at specifically, results were not
limited to any predetermined list of food companies, I am confident that the
information provided in this search is all that can be found in the publicly available
literature discussing this topic.


The two consumer f”nd and beverage companies identified have publicly discussed
the trainiog of thc’r employees in culinary skills either by professionals outside the
organization or thro~gh in-house training programs.

Real Delight.

Last September, Pro Food Consultants, an industry-service

division of Pro Foods, Inc., conducted a healthy foods workshop for master chets from
the Real Delight Company. The three-day seminar, Pro Food’s Cooking, was ‘leld at
the Pro headquarters in Expensive, PA.The program was designed to share Pro
Food’s expertise regarding the health-conscious consumer’s concerns and hterdsts,
and to-explore the wide variety of nutritious ingredients and preparat.on technuuos
that appeal to this market.
Four Real Delight chefs – V, Wolfe, S. Hultel, E. Teye, and J. Medelrnan — joined the
Pro Food’sCooking staff of food technologists, culinary artists, nun.uonlsts: chemists, and
researchers in discussions and hands-on cooking exercises rela!dr. to consumer

interests in health, especially salt, sugar, fat, fiber, and protein in the diet. According to
the director, Marion Sctlweisguth, Pro Food’s Cooking is the avenue through which Pro
Food’s information and expertise become available in the food industry.
Earlier this month, Real Delight announced that its Delightvan will tour ten U.S.
cities, serving free cups of hot soup to many of the nation’s outdoor workers and
needy. The ten cities that the Delightvan will visit this month are Chicago, Tulsa,
Nashville, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and
Indianapolis. Bill Jones and Dave McCordick, chefs with extensive food-service
experience and CUlinarytraining, will prepare and serve Real Delight’s soup from
the Delightvan. Between them, the chefs have served such notables as Prince
Philip of England and Presidents Ford, Carter, and Nixon. In addition, Jones
attended a culinary training seminar at the Ccrdon-Bleu in Paris.

Foote International.

The production, marketing, and dlstribution efforts of
Foote International have made croissants the dominant item in the corporate
product line. While sales of Foote croissants – through product-line and market
expansion – have advanced dramatically, the company has just begun to tap the
potential market for its bread and related pastry products.
Access to baking technology at the Clare Kelly School of Baking has aided the
company in its production process and new product development. Foote International
currently employs approximately 15 Fr~nch-trained bakers. Their training involves
a minimum of four years’ experience in France, before spending six months at
the School of Baking and then being selected to join Foote International.
In 1981 the company began to franchise its retail bakeries to-restaurants and
other food retailers who bake and sell the complete product line, under the name ,
Foote International, in their own businesses. The franchise manager and baker
must successfully complete a two-week course at the Foote International Baking
School, which covers such areas as proprietary frozen dough processes, production
control, baker management, and product merchandising.
Materials use~ in preparing this search report are available lor perusal.

Oibliographic ~esources

  1. Dialog InformationRetrievalService.File 15:Abillnform,August 1971-January 1986.
  2. Dialog Information Retrieval Service. File 192: Arthur D. Little/Online, 1977- November 1985.
  3. Dialog Information Retrieval Service. File 196: Find/Svp Reports and Studies Index, 1977-November 1985.
  4. Dialog Information Retrieval Service. File 545: Investext (Business Research Corporation). July 1982-JanuafY 9, 1986.
  5. Dialog Information Retrieval Service. File 47: Magazine Index, 1959.March 1970, 1973 – January 1986.
  6. Dialog Information Retrieval Service. File 79: Foods Ad/ibra, 1974-January 1986.


  1. In groups of three or four, analyze the results and discussion section
    of the report on pp. 236-237. Each paragraph has a specific function.
    Decide what the functions are and evaluate the effectiveness of the
    paragraphs and of the whole section. Make a brief oral report to the
  2. In groups of three or four, analyze the sections of the “Galaxy Foods”
    report on pp. 243-244. How does the summary relate to the discussion’!
    Do you feel that you know everything you need to know after reading
    the first few paragraphs? What does the discussion section add to the


  1. Assume that you have been assigned by your department manager to
    explain an important process, concept, or mechanism to the new vice
    president of your division. Write a memo report using one of the introductory
    methods explained in this chapter. Consider topics such as just-in-time
    manufacturing, sterilizing bottles before filling them with milk, the
    method.of depreciation used by your company, the way your hospital
    analyzes a patient’s nutritional intake, or see lists of topics given at the
    ends of Chapters 2, 3, 8, and 9.
  2. Write an informal re~ ·rt in which you use a table or graph to explain a
    problem to your manager. Use the “alert the reader to the problem”
    introduction, summary, and discussion sections explained in this chapter.
    Select ~ problem from ~'”ur area of professional interest, for example,
    a problem you solved (or saw someone else solve) on a job. Consider
    topics ~.uch as pilferage of towels in a hotel, difficulties in manufacturing
    a machine part, drop in sales in a store in a mall, difficulties with a
    measuring device in a lab, or problems in the shipping department of a
    furniture company.
  3. Write an outline report in which you summarize the major points of two
    articles on a topic in your field.
  4. Write an outline report in which you summarize a long report that you
    have written or are writing. Depending on your instructor’s requirements,
    use a report you have already written in ‘another class or one that you
    are writing in this class.
  5. Say that you have to give an oral presentation: write and hand out an
    outline report that will serve as “notes” for your speech.
  6. Form into groups of three or four. Create a form that requires students
    to fill in the blanks. The form should require essay answers, not just yes
    or no answers. For the next class, type the form and make enough copies
    for your classmates. Have the rest of the class fill it out. Then do one of
    two things (or both depending on your instructor): (1) read all the answers
    and evaluate the effectiveness of the form, then write a memo report
    giving the results of your evaluation, or (2) create a table 01: graph that
    displays the information that you have collected, then write a memo
    report explaining the results. Possible topics include opinions on issues
    in student life, such as the effectiveness of certain courses in a major
    or the effectiveness of distribution requirements in the total curriculum.
    Or you could create a mock·work situation in which you require workers
    to express opinions about safety concerns.


Riordan, Timothy. City of Day ion: 1986Program Strategies. Dayton, OH: City of
Dayton, 1986.
Reimold, Cheryl. “The T;ip Report Part 1: Preparation.” The Tappi Joumal69.10
(1986): 168.
The Trip Report Part 2: Writing the Draft.” The Tappi jOllrlla/69.11 (1986):
“The TripReport Part 3: The Report Itself.” The Tappi jOl/rIlIl/69.12 (1986):

Memorandums and Informal Reports

Memorandums and Informal Reports




Tho day-to-day operation of a company depends on informal reports that circulate within and among its departments. Those reports present the results of investigations of problems and convey information about products, methods, and equipment. The informal format makes the contents seem less threatening and more readily accessible. The basic informal format is easy to adapt to ~early any situation – and has been adapted to many purposes throughout industry. As a result, these reports are used both for readers close to the writer, such as immediate supervisors and coworkers, and for readers who are distant in the hierarchy. It},addition’, an informal report or memo can be used to send important information to a large group 0’£ people across a number of levels in the institute national hierarchy.

To explain this important format, this chapter has three sections: the ,elements of memo format, the Clements of the informal report, and the uses of informal format, including analysis reports, trip reports, lab reports, and reprinted forms.