Recommendation Report Assignment

Recommendation Reports are a common genre of discourse in business and academic settings.

The Recommendation Report Assignment is the culmination of an eight-week long collaborative project in Professional Writing, an undergraduate course on workplace writing.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the time you’ve completed this module, you’ll be able to

Assignment Guidelines

The Recommendation Report Assignment builds on all of the work you have done earlier in the process, including

  1. Problem Definition Assignment
  2. Pitch Assignment
  3. Team Charter Exercise
  4. Research Summaries Exercise
  5. Empirical Research Exercise
  6. Research Proposal Assignment
  7. Progress Report & Presentation

Now that you’ve completed your research, you can turn your focus toward analyzing your findings, synthesizing them, and developing a recommendation or a set of recommendations for your

  1. Audience:
    • Your Recommendation Report may be written to the audience of your choice (e.g., a client, a stakeholder, an investor). Your audience is familiar with your past work pertaining to the Consulting Simulation
  2. Purpose:
    1. following an eight-week project, your team is making recommendations for solving a problem. Your recommendations are supported by research
  3. Genre: Formal Report with front matter, body, and back matter
    • Length: 12 to 15 pages (group of 4 students) or 15 to 18 (group of 5 students) page report body with front matter, back matter, and supplemental material
The Recommendation Report may include information that was presented in earlier texts, including the Problem Definition, The Pitch, Research Proposal, and Progress Report Presentation. While you may recycle substantial chunks of your earlier work into your final report, you should be careful to revise and edit this content carefully. After all, these documents served very different rhetorical situations.

Required Content

Recommendation Reports are a type of final report. Below is a summary of required minimum content for your Recommendation Report. To fully understand the conventions of this genre, see Formal Reports.

Front Matter

Prepare the font matter only after you have a complete draft of the report, and don’t prepare the table of contents until the end. 

The report front matter will include:

  • Letter of transmittal
  • Cover
  • Title page
  • Executive Summary (may also be called Abstract)
    • In 200 words or less summarize the gist of your Recommendation Report. Have about one or two sentences for each major section of the report.
      • Introduction to the problem
      • Potential solutions to the problem
      • Empirical Research Methods used to investigate the problem
      • Results*
      • Recommendations
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Illustrations

Required Content: Report Body

Note: your specific rhetorical context will determine what headings you use in your Recommendation Report. That said, the following sections are fairly typical for this genre, and they are required, as appropriate, for this assignment.

SectionAnswers the questionNotes
PurposeWhat is the purpose of this piece of communication?Succinctly explain the purpose of this document, not the purpose of the project.
Organizational SummaryWhat content is included in the memo?

Key Terms.
Provide a brief overview of the report’s main sections for readers who may only read the summary. 

Are there any key terms or concepts that the audience may need defined?
Introduction What problem(s) does the report address? What is the context?Be interesting.

Introduce the problem definition. (You may use boilerplate from the Client Proposal and Progress Report)

Provide all of the background and rationale for pursuing this study. [Here you may repeat some language from both the letter of transmittal and the Executive Summary.]

Engage in Rhetorical Reasoning: Provide the background information your reader needs to understand the problem, stakeholders, and potential solutions

Appeal, if appropriate, to the benefits for the audience
Research Methods*

If your team used empirical methods, your report needs a Results section.
1. What textual research or empirical research was done? How? Why?Here your aim is to define the research methods you employed.

Use task orientation: Describe the exact tasks you performed and the rationale for each task.

What roles were assigned: Project Manager, Analysis & User Research, Interface Analysis, Deliverables Specialist?

Include a Gantt Chart to identify the work actually conducted as opposed to what was originally planned.

Demonstrate to the reader that you followed the plan outlined in the research proposal. If you made deviations, identify why.
Results (for empirical contributions to knowledge)What did you find out from your research?The Results section is the writing space reserved for reporting discoveries. This space is reserved for investigators who are employing empirical methods. If you did not use empirical methods, you do not need this section.

Note: A Results section is not equivalent to a review of literature section.
Scope or Limitations of the Study (optional)What are the shortcomings of this study? Did anything go wrong?Optional section. Include if you encountered any problems that might limit your recommendations
Conclusions (for empirical contributions to knowledge)What do your results mean?Your research won’t “speak for itself” to the client. You have to tell the client what your results mean. Draw conclusions and implications based on what you have learned. Explain the relationships between pieces of data/information. Describe trends. If there are anomalies, explain what seems wrong or different from what was expected. 
RecommendationsWhat recommendations can you offer based on your conclusions?Tells the reader what steps, measures, actions they should take in light of the conclusions you have reached.

Substantiate the value of your recommendations by grounding them in textual research and empirical research.

Explain how the recommendations might be implemented. 

Explores how implementing the proposed recommendations benefits the audience.

Required content: Report back matter

Collect material for the appendices as you go. The report back matter will include:

  • Bibliography, which is sometimes referred to as Works Cited or References (Use a citation format appropriate for your field (APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, etc.)
  • Appendices, if necessary (e.g., letters of support, financial projections)

Required features: Formatting and design

Employ a professional writing style throughout, including:

  • Page layout: Appropriate to audience, purpose, and context. 8.5 x 11 with 1-inch margins is a fail-safe default.
  • Typography: Choose business-friendly fonts appropriate to your audience, purpose, and context; Arial for headers and Times New Roman for body text is a safe, neutral default.
  • Headings and subheadings: Use a numbered heading and subheading system, formatted using the Styles function on your word processor.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists: Use lists that are formatted correctly using the list buttons on your word processor with a blank line before the first bullet and after the last bullet
  • Graphics and figures: Support data findings and arguments with appropriate visuals – charts, tables, graphics;  Include numbered titles and captions
  • Page numbering: use lower-case Roman numerals for pages before the table of contents, Arabic numerals; no page number on the TOC.

Submission Guidelines

The Document Delivery Specialist alone needs to upload the Recommendation Report to the Course Learning Management System.

Individual team members do not need to upload copies of the report.

Additional Resources