How To Write a Recommendation Report
A recommendation report is a useful professional tool that allows you to discuss potential solutions to a problem while also recommending the solution you think is most effective. By including supporting information for each solution, you can help readers make high impact decisions that may affect teams or organizations. In this article, we define a recommendation report, identify who uses them, discuss how to write one and provide writing tips.
What is a recommendation report?
A recommendation report, also referred to as a feasibility report, is a document that discusses multiple solutions to a problem before then making a recommendation on which solution to choose. Recommendation reports are both informative and persuasive documents, and they direct the reader to come to a certain conclusion regarding the most efficient solution. The report also discusses the potential solutions to the problem using a consistent set of criteria.
At the conclusion of the recommendation report, the writer recommends which solution to choose based on the criteria they offer. Professionals use recommendation reports in both academic and business settings.
Who uses recommendation reports?
A recommendation report is useful in any situation in which a consultant or team member performs research to solve a problem. This type of a report is common in the product development, information technology, retail and community development fields. Additionally, many organizations use recommendation reports to share background information and solution recommendations with investors or shareholders. A recommendation report may also function as one part of the project planning process if solving a problem or challenge is an early stage in the project.
How to write a recommendation report
You can write a recommendation report with the following steps:
1. Choose a topic
Choose a topic for your recommendation report. If you are writing a recommendation report in the workplace, you may already have a problem to solve, which serves as your topic. If you're writing in an academic setting, you may have more control over your topic, but you'll want to choose something that relates to your specific field of study. This is also a good time to evaluate your audience, focusing on what information they want and what background information they may need.
2. Collect research
Recommendation reports are usually evidence-based. This means that it is important to support any recommendations you make with reliable data. It can be helpful to begin your report by collecting sufficient research on the topic through:
Customer buying habits
The specific method you use when collecting research for a recommendation report may vary depending on the industry. For example, you might gather information on customer buying habits and website analytics to support the arguments you make in a recommendation report for a retail business.
3. Write your executive summary
Begin your recommendation report with your executive summary, which provides the reader with a synopsis of the document. It includes the writer's purpose and a brief overview of the report's information. This section also states that the report is a recommendation report and that at the end of it, you provide the reader with a recommendation.
4. Write your problem statement
Your problem statement provides readers with background information on the problem or challenge that your report addresses. In this paragraph, provide readers with a summary of the problem and emphasize why finding a solution is important. Try to provide all of the information that readers require in order to understand the need for a solution and your recommendation.
5. Write your solution paragraphs
After introducing the problem, you can start identifying potential solutions. It is a good idea to aim for an average of three solutions. However, your report may have fewer or more solutions depending on the scope of the problem or challenge you're addressing.
Each solution in this section has one or two paragraphs that discuss the solution in detail and provide evidence to support it. You might also include relevant information about each solution such as cost, resources, training or any other important factors.
6. Include your evaluation criteria
A recommendation report also lists your process for evaluating each solution, as this helps the reader understand how you arrived at your recommendation. Include a description of how one could apply each solution to the problem you're discussing, then hypothesize about the results. This process should help you identify for the reader the one solution that works best. You may also compare and contrast each solution using the evaluation criteria.
7. Discuss your final recommendation
This section discusses your final recommendation using the evaluation criteria and the comparisons against the other solutions. Here, you can include information that justifies your reasoning for choosing the solution and elaborates on its implementation.
For complex problems, it is possible to recommend more than one solution. In this case, however, it's helpful to discuss the situations in which the reader would apply each solution, as some solutions may favor certain conditions.
8. Compile your works cited
Compile the research you use throughout the report into a works cited page. Include all journals, websites, books or publications that you use to support your claims. If your industry prefers a certain citation style, such as MLA or APA, you can make your report appear more professional by adhering to your field's chosen format.
Tips for writing an effective recommendation report
Here are a few tips you can use to write an effective recommendation report:
Use calls to action: Actionable words that tell the reader exactly what you plan to do and how you plan to do it can help them envision the available options.
Provide relevant details: Relevant details that provide the reader with more information allows your audience to evaluate each potential solution more easily.
Rehearse your report: Whether or not you plan to present your recommendation report verbally, rehearsing the contents can help you proofread it for clarity. You might also practice presenting your report in front of a mirror or ask a trusted friend to listen.
Provide previous case results: You can further support each of the solutions you list by referring to a corresponding example in the industry. This might include a case study or an example of a business that used a similar solution.
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