Recommendations are often included with a report’s conclusion, although they serve different purposes. Whereas a conclusion offers you the opportunity to summarize or review your report’s main ideas, recommendations suggest actions to be taken in response to the findings of a report. You can regard recommendations as a prompt to action for your readers. As you have seen from your planning, your report structure should lead up to the recommendations and provide justification for them. Just as a proposal grows from your project’s goals and objectives, a report should actually grow backwards from your recommendations. Having your recommendations accepted then becomes part of your purpose.
What makes a good recommendation? Effective recommendations:
- describe a suggested course of action to be taken to solve a particular problem;
- are written as action statements without justification;
- are stated in clear, specific language;
- should be expressed in order of importance;
- are based on the case built up in the body of the report; are written in parallel structure.
A word of caution about writing recommendations: you should always consider your relationship with the reader first. If you have no authority to make recommendations, the reader may be hostile to their presence.
Have a look at the following examples from different types of reports. Many of the recommendations included here are well written but a few contain some significant shortcomings. Position your cursor over the excerpts to see our comments.
Recommendation Report part 1:
I want a complete draft of your final recommendation report by the last day of class, 12/1. I will return it with comments within 24hrs. This will allow you to devote the time you would normally spend preparing for and completing a final exam on revising based on my comments. This should put you in the best position to earn an "A."
Recommendation reports evaluate a process or a product and recommend (or perhaps advise against) a specific course of action. Base your recommendation on a specific set of criteria. Please consult pages 208 - 211 in the MIT Guide for specifics regarding recommendation reports and criteria sections.
This report involves drawing on the data in your progress report and conducting additional research in order to make specific recommendations to me regarding the content and design of this class and the usefulness of iFixit in accomplishing the stated course goals:
- Understanding differences between academic and technical writing
- Analyzing contexts, purposes, and audiences to determine appropriate writing style (technical, semi-technical, non-technical), as well as content, organization, and design choices, for technical documents
- Learning strategies for testing the usability and overall effectiveness of a document
- Writing clear, concise, consistent, and accurate prose
- Employing writing as a process, from researching a problem to organizing and drafting a document to testing, revising, and editing that document
- Practicing strategies for effective collaboration on large writing projects
- Employing rhetorical strategies for effective visual and document design
- Addressing ethical, cultural, international, and political issues related to writing
- Gaining proficiency in using computer-mediated communications
Thinking of the work we've done this quarter with iFixit milestones, individual assignments, and collaboration, try to identify how the work you've done facilitates or interferes with achieving the goals stated above. If you did find an assignment or activity ineffective, propose an alternate method that you think might work better.
One place to look for alternate assignment ideas is to look for course materials that other instructors have used for upper level tech writing courses.
Choose your points of comparison and make a recommendation based on advantages and disadvantages of the available options. I expect five to seven pages for this assignment.
Submit on Canvas according to the submission requirements stated in your syllabus.