Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.4. Opening Segment

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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The purpose of a memo is usually found in the opening paragraphs and is presented in three parts: the context and problem, the specific assignment or task, and the purpose of the memo.

  1. The context is the event, circumstance, or background of the problem you are solving. You may use a paragraph to establish the background and state the problem or simply the opening of a sentence, such as, “In our effort to reduce rat parts in our product….” Include only what your reader needs, but be sure it is clear. 
  2. In the task statement you should describe what you are doing to help solve the problem. If the action was requested, your task may be indicated by a sentence opening like, “You asked that I look at….” If you want to explain your intentions, you might say, “To determine the best method of controlling the percentage of rat extremities, I will….” 
  3. Finally, the purpose statement of a memo gives your reason for writing it and forecasts what is in the rest of the memo. This is not the time to be shy. You want to come right out and tell your reader the kind of information that’s in store. For example, you might say: “This memo presents a description of the current situation, some proposed alternatives, and my recommendations.” If you plan to use headings for your memo segments, you can refer to your major headings in this forecast statement to provide a better guide for your reader. 
  • Summary Segment

If your memo is longer than a page, you may want to include a separate summary segment. This segment provides a brief statement of the key recommendations you have reached. These will help your reader understand the key points of the memo immediately. This segment may also include references to methods and sources you have used in your research, but remember to keep it brief.

  • Closing Segment

After the reader has absorbed all of your information, you want to close with a courteous ending that states what action you want him/her to take. Make sure you consider how the reader will benefit from the desired actions and how you can make those actions easier. For example, you might say, “I will be glad to discuss this recommendation with you during our Tuesday meeting and follow through on any decisions you make.”

The Research Report

Generally, a research/ project report will include the following sections: 

  • Title page 
  • Table of contents 
  • Heading 
  • Introduction 
  • Body 
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations 
  • References 

However, it’s always best to consult a style manual for your discipline, to talk to other people in your discipline who have written reports, and to look at similar reports that have been published in order to more fully understand the expectations for reports in your field.