Recommendation Report

Written by Dr. T. Miles

OVERVIEW

A recommendation report proposes a solution to a problem or evaluates possible solutions and recommends one. Before proposing or recommending a solution, the report needs to identify the problem.

Think about the various problems you encounter everyday or read about in the paper.

EXAMPLE: A HEALTH CARE/ECONOMIC PROBLEM

For instance, Congress is trying to figure out how to control the ever-increasing cost of Medicare/Medicaid. The problem seems to be that if we don't reform the system, part of Medicare (health insurance for seniors) may go broke in ten years (though such predictions have existed ever since Medicare was created). But reforming the system may require some seemingly unpleasant lifestyle changes: seniors may have to enroll in managed care plans (HMOs); in the case of a terminal illness, no extreme measures would be taken to effect an (unlikely) cure or to extend life. This would mean that certain conditions--like liver failure late in life due to alcoholism--would be treated with measures less expensive than a liver transplant, while other conditions, such as hypertension would get more, and faster, treatment. Are HMOs the solution? A feasibility study would evaluate this solution *among others* as a way to respond to the problem of rising Medicare costs.

EXAMPLE: TECHNOLOGY UPGRADE

In technology, problems are often resolved with a technical upgrade. For instance, you put dual airbags in cars because people too often don't use seat belts, and airbags prevent further injury even when seat belts are used. The problem here, which motivates people to improve a process, is that people continue to sustain severe injuries despite the availability of seat belts and dual airbags. Taking this one step further, some car companies (like Volvo) are not installing side airbags, in addition to the two in front, to protect people against side impacts, which often do not activate the two front airbags.

EXAMPLE: SOCIAL SCIENCE/COMMUNICATION

In the areas of social science and communication, a "technical upgrade" might exist in the field of small-business management, where many researchers are discovering that a business will run more efficiently if the employees are asked for their advice about how to improve processes.


FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVISING A SOLUTION

  1. Be SITE SPECIFIC. That is, don't propose a general solution; propose one that is specific to your situation.

  2. Survey what is currently known about your subject through research. SUPPORT your recommendations with RESEARCH.

  3. Consider ECONOMIC ASPECTS. Since money is involved in the improvement of almost anything, you must take into account the economic aspects. Do a long-term cost analysis. Will the improvement, over time, be worth the increased cost? How would one determine that?
  4. Consider CHANCE and human nature. Try to anticipate the unexpected. For instance, Corridor H in WV may not be built--not because of all the environmental studies, but because we have now learned that there are Civil War sites along the route--which no one, apparently, knew about before.


ORGANIZING THE REPORT

If you will read Chapter 11 in Reep, you will see that there are conventions for organizing feasibility studies (see pp. 308-310 for details, and 329-332 for an example) and proposals (see pp. 322-326 for details and pp. 347-52 for an example).

Both of these organizational patterns can be used for your recommendation report, although the PROPOSAL FORMAT will probably fit most topics better than the feasibility study format. If you want to adapt either of these patterns, discuss your plans with your professor.

In brief, here are the basic elements of each pattern. Please be sure to look at the book to see the sub-sections for each of the main points outlined here.

PATTERN 1: FEASIBILITY STUDY

(See pp. 308-310 in Reep for details, and pp. 329-332 for an example)

  1. Introduction
  2. Comparison of Alternatives
  3. Conclusions
  4. Recommendations

PATTERN 2: PROPOSAL REPORT

(See pp. 321-26 in Reep for details, and pp. 347-52 for an example)

  1. Problem
  2. Proposed Solution
  3. Needed Equipment/Personnel
  4. Schedules
  5. Budget
  6. Evaluation System
  7. Expected Benefits
  8. Summary/Conclusions

See the book for sub-sections and details about these patterns and the purposes for each type of report. Choose the organizational pattern that suits the purpose(s) of *your* report best; keep your readers' needs in mind.


EVALUATIVE CRITERIA

[You may have to hit "reload."--on the toolbar at the top of your screen.]

The recommendation report, the final assignment in ENGL 208, builds on the skills you've been developing all semester. You will once again need to use the audience awareness, organization principles, and document design skills that you used in the first two assignments; you will also draw on global and fine-tuning revision strategies from the editing assignment. This assignment, like the instruction manual, asks you to establish credibility in two ways: first hand knowledge and research. Like the instruction manual, it asks you to consider organization strategies. Finally, your report will incorporate the research and planning from assignment 5.

REMINDER: Please attach assignment #5 to the back of your Recommendation Report to remind us of your audience and your preliminary research.

  1. Establish credibility:

  2. Show an awareness of readers' needs in your decisions about organization (see Reep, Chapter 11, pp. 308-310 and 321-326).

  3. Show an awareness of readers' needs in your decisions about content. Specifically:

  4. Demonstrate your attention to format:

  5. Demonstrate your ability to document a source. If you need a review, look at Chapter 9 in Reep or check out Purdue's on-line guide to APA documentation.

  6. Demonstrate attention to fine-tuning revisions. If you need a review of punctuation or usage, check out the handouts available from Purdue's on-line writing center.

Please refer also to the basic criteria for an A, B, C, D, or F outlined in the syllabus.


Questions? Please contact your conference professor.

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