How to Write an Executive Summary in APA Style

An executive summary is a section appearing at the beginning of a long document. It offers the reader a concise, accurate, and conclusive summary of the document. The following information will help you create an executive summary that follows APA format.

  1. Arrange the summary in the same order as the long document, with the same major headings. Include sub-headings if the information under the sub-heading will provide necessary summary information for the reader. Generally, you can summarize an entire section without including sub-headings.
  2. Summarize each section with up to five sentences, including the same details and conclusions as in the report. Most executive summaries are no longer than one page.
  3. Do not include technical language or jargon. The language in the summary should be generic enough for any reader, and at a level appropriate for ease of understanding without further research.
  4. If the long document includes problems and consequences of those problems, include recommendations for resolution.
  5. If recommendations for resolution are included, choose at least one and include reasons for choosing that resolution. If appropriate, mention one or two other resolutions and explain why they also would be good second choices.
Author: Janie Sullivan

Janie Sullivan, MBA, MAEd, has been teaching adult learners for over 20 years. She has taught online over 15 years, specializing in writing, communications, and small business applications. Janie directs the Center for Writing Excellence where she offers writing, editing, and formatting services for writers. She has been published in several newspapers and magazines as well as multiple online sites. She teaches communication, business strategy, leadership, and management courses. Janie has published a book "Develop and Deliver an Online Class." This is the third book she has written about writing and teaching online. She also has published a novel and an anthology of short stories.

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