Types of Research and Information Documents – III

This final part of the article discusses about Summary documents that give the essence of the report that can be either Analytical document or Informational document. Unlike the previous types of documents, a Summary document is much shorter and quickly presents the essence or gist of the larger version in a simple and concise way.

Summary Documents

Summary documents give a quick overview of the main or original work that helps to understand the big picture. They are used in almost all the fields ranging from academia, science to business. Every Research, concept, report or informational document has some form summary to facilitate understanding the gist. A brief description of each of them is as below-


A datasheet is usually used in technical aspects. It is a document summarizing the technical specifications of an electronic component, technology, a system or software as a list. Usually, a datasheet looks like a spreadsheet with little description.

Typically, a datasheet is created by the author or manufacturer of the component. A datasheet helps in understanding the component better to use it properly.

Fact Sheet

It is a summary of data about an event, an organization, an issue, a product or a service. They are more popular online as they give quick basic Information that can be printed out instantly.

A fact sheet contains a list of basic facts or key attributes about the subject. It is a simpler presentation of data on a subject as key points with a simple structure in less space. They may contain lists, statistics, points in FAQ form, and in how-to style.

‘Onepage’ is a type of Fact sheet.


Abstract is a brief summary or abridgement of a larger complex work, such as a research article, book, and thesis. Abstracts are mainly used in academic research to let the readers know the essence of the work quickly avoiding them to go through the entire work to understand the subject matter. Abstract is the research work in a nutshell that is usually in a single page.

Executive Summary

Executive summary is usually used in business for a summary of a longer report or a proposal. Executive summary is written for an executive who will not have enough time to read the original or entire report. It is prepared in such a way that readers can rapidly become aware of the larger version without reading it. It is intended to aid decision making by business managers.

An executive summary differs from an abstract in the structure and purpose. An abstract is short and provides a neutral overview or orientation rather than being a condensed version of the full document like an executive summary. Unlike an abstract, it can be more than a single page based on the original report and contains conclusions and recommendations.