Recommendation reports provide research opinions and recommendations.  They start from a stated need, a selection of choices, or both and then recommend one, some, or none. For example, a company might be looking at grammar-checking software and want a recommendation on which product is the best. As the report writer on this project, you could study the market for this type of application and recommend one particular product, a couple of products (differing perhaps in their strengths and their weaknesses), or none (maybe none of them are any good). The recommendation report answers the question “Which option should we choose?” (or in some cases “Which are the best options?) by recommending Product B, or maybe both Products B and C, or none of the products.

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Typical Contents:

The structural principle fundamental to this type of report is this: you provide not only your recommendation, choice, or judgment, but also the data and the conclusions leading up to it. That way, readers can check your findings, your logic, and your conclusions and come up with a completely different view. But, more likely, they will be convinced by all your careful research and documentation.


Introduction.

In the introduction, indicate that the document that follows is a recommendation or feasibility report (or whatever you chose to call it). Instead of calling the report by name (which might not mean anything to most readers), you can indicate its purpose. Also, provide an overview of the contents of the report.

For some of these reports, you’ll also be able to discuss the situation and the requirements in the introductions. If there is little to say about them, you can merge them with the introduction, or make the introduction two paragraphs long—it’s up to you. Here are some templates you can follow as you plan your recommendation report:


Category-by-Category Comparisons.

One of the most important parts of a recommendation report is the comparison of the options. Remember that you include this section so that readers can check your thinking and come up with different conclusions if they desire. This should be handled category by category, rather than option by option.

Schematic view of the whole-to-whole and the part-by-part approaches to organizing a comparison. Unless you have a very unusual topic, use the point-by-point approach. If you were comparing tablets, you’d have a section that compared them on cost, another section that compared them on battery function, and so on. You wouldn’t have a section that discussed everything about option A, another that discussed everything about option B, and so on. That would not be effective at all, because the comparisons must still be made somewhere. (See below for a schematic illustration of approaches to comparisons.)

Each of these comparative sections should end with a conclusion that states which option is the best choice in that particular category of comparison. Of course, it won’t always be easy to state a clear winner—you may have to qualify the conclusions in various ways, providing multiple conclusions for different conditions.


Conclusions.

The conclusions section of recommendation report is in part a summary or restatement of the conclusions you have already reached in the comparison sections. In this section, you restate the individual conclusions, for example, which model had the best price, which had the best battery function, and so on.


Recommendation or Final Opinion.

The final section of recommendation reports states the recommendation. You’d think that that ought to be obvious by now. Ordinarily it is, but remember that some readers may skip right to the recommendation section and bypass all your hard work! been one model that was better than the rest, but even it was not worth having.

The recommendation section should echo the most important conclusions leading to the recommendation and then state the recommendation emphatically. Ordinarily, you may need to recommend several options based on different possibilities. This can be handled, as shown in the examples, with bulleted lists.