PLANNING THE RECOMMENDATION REPORT
In planning such a report, you must consider the audience, devise criteria for r your recommendations, employ visual aids, select an principle, arid f0110w the usual form
Consider the Audience
Many different people with varying degrees of knowledge (a multiple dience) read these reports. A recommendation almost always travels up the organizational hierarchy to a group – a committee or board – that makes the decision. These people mayor may not know much about the topic or the criteria used as the basis for the recommendation. Usually, however, most readers will know a lot about at least one aspect of. the report – the part that affects them or their department. They will read the. report from their own point of view: The personnel manager will look. closely at how the recommendation affects workers; the safety manager will judge the effect on safety, and so on. All readers will be concerned about cost. To satisfy all such concerns, the writer must present a report that allows readers to find and feel comfortable about the information they need.
To make data meaningful, you must analyze or evaluate them according to criteria. Selecting logical criteria is crucial to the entire recommendation report because you will make your recommendation based on those criteria.
The The Elements of a Criterion
A criterion’has three elements a standard, and a rank. The. name of the criterion identifies some area relevant-to the situation, for example, “cost.” The standard is a statement that establishes a limit on a criterion. Consider two very different standards that are possible for cost:
- The cost of the water heater will not exceed $500.
- The cheapest water heater will be purchased.
The different standards influence the final decision. In the example above, if the second standard is in effect, the writer cannot recommend a machine that costs more, even if it has more desirable features. The rank of the criterion is its weight in the decision relative to the ether criteria. “Cost” is often first, but it might be last, depending on the situation.
As a writer of recommendations, you must identify all three elements. Criteria vary according to ‘the type .of problem. There is no formula for selecting them, so you have to use your professional expertise and the information you have about needs and alternatives in the situation. In some situations, a group or person will have set up all the criteria in rank order. In that case, all you have to do is show how the relevant data from ‘the alternatives fit the criteria
Suppose you are a social worker who has to recommend a group home in which to place a client. Since this is a routine situation for you, your Human Services Division has compiled a list of criteria and standards. Some of these are Cost may not exceed the client’s in come. The ratio of staff to residents should be below five to one. Basic independent living ·skills should be taught. Recreational facilities should be available. As these are the usual or expected criteria in this situation, you use them
to evaluate the. available group homes before placing the client. Or say you are asked to choose a machine – a computerized robot for an educational program If you are familiar with the program and with this kind of machinery, you use your understanding of both to generate a list of criteria that includes Features Noise level
Use Visual AidS
Although you might employ many kinds of visuals maps of demographic statistics, drawings of key features, flow charts for procedures you will most commonly use tables and graphs. With these visuals, you can”present complicated information easily, for example, cost or comparison of features. For many sections in your report, you will construct the table or figure first, and then write Hie section. The point of the section will be to explain the data in the table or figure Visual aids help overcome the problem of multiple audiences. Consider’ ng a visual with each section
in your report. In the following. example’, the author first collected the data, then
made the visual aids, and then wrote’the section.
Our department has sufficient funds to cover either piece of equipment, Cost is the second most important criterion in closing between the Bock Robot and the Rough BoiY4000 ZNZ Mill. Both companies also offer 10% educational discounts on the final price vf any purchase. Bock Grammatical The robot comes with all the features needeo for operation. The final cost of the Bock is $1,467.90 less than that of the Rough Boy 4000 ZNZ Mill. (See Table 1.)Rough Boy 4000 ZNZ Mill. The ZNZ Mill has extra’ costs in addition to the base price of the machine. The extra costs are a result of extra equipment and installation costs required for operation of the machine.Conclusion. The Bock Grammatical Robot meets the cost criterion better than the Rough Boy ZNZ Mill because it is $1,467.90 cheaper
A Comparison of Costs·
Select an Organizational Principle’ and Follow the Usual Formal
As you plan your report, you must choose a format, an organizational principle for the entire report, and an organizational principle for each section Choose a Format The format you select will determine how many elements you include. You might use an informal format with one level of heads, or you might choose a formal format, complete with.title page, list of illustrations, summary, and chapter divisions. Your decision will the pend on the situation. If the audience is a small group that is fa.n.liar with .
the situation, an informal report will probably do. If your audience is more distant from you and the situation, a formal format is preferable. If you use an informal format, you need an introduction and summary, as explained in . The body will remain basically the same. With format, you need to provide the entire range of elements described in detail in If you select a formal format, the following outline
will suffice for almost any recommendation or feasibility report,
.A. (If necessarily a section may be devoted to .additional background
and introductory information.) .
B. Presentation and in protection data for the first criterion
C. Presentation and interpretation of data for the second criterion
D. Some for any additional criteria.
Appendix Organize thee Discussion by Criteria The discussion of a good feasibility report is organized according to criteria, with each criterion receiving a major heading Your goal is to present comparable data so readers can evaluate it easily. Such an arrangement, while not easy to write, is much easier read and understand.
Follow the Usual Form for Writing Recommendation Reports In the discussion of your report, each section deals with one criterion and evaluates the alternatives in terms of that criterion, Each of these sections should contain three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. In the introduction, define the criterion and discuss its standard, rank, “and source, if necessary. If you discuss the last three somewhere else in the report, do not repeat the In the body explain the relevant facts about each alternative in terms of the criterion; and in the conclusion state the judgment you have made as a result of applying this criterion to tae facts, You will find sample annotated sections on pp, 278-279,