How to Write Recommendation Reports: Purpose, Structure & Content

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  • 0:01 Recommendation Reports
  • 0:40 Content
  • 4:32 Organization
  • 5:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Deciding between two or more products or solutions can be an onerous process in business. In this lesson, we'll look at a helpful decision-making tool, the recommendation report. We'll examine what it is, what it includes, and how it is organized.

Recommendation Reports

Luis is a vice president for a software company. His CEO thinks the company might be better if they change the computers their programmers use. He's asked Luis to compare their current computers with a couple of others and write a report recommending which type of computer they should buy.

A recommendation report is a paper that compares two or more products or solutions and makes a recommendation about which is the best option. Because the purpose of the report is to recommend a course of action, it is called a recommendation report.

Let's follow Luis as he researches and writes his recommendation report.


Luis needs to write a recommendation report for his CEO, letting the CEO know which type of computer Luis thinks would be best for the company to buy. There are several parts of a recommendation report. To help Luis make sure he includes all of them, let's go through each one.

1. Introduction

In the opening section, Luis will want to describe the problem or situation and mention the items that will be compared. For example, in his introduction, Luis can talk about how the purpose of the report is to decide whether to continue using the same computers or to switch to another brand. It's up to Luis to decide whether to mention the specific computers he will be comparing, but he at least needs to mention that he's comparing computers.

2. Background

Luis will also want to include any relevant background information that the reader will need to know to make sense of the report. This background information could include a description of the company, the history and context of the problem being addressed, any technical background information, or any other information that is important.

For example, Luis might want to talk about why the company first started using the computers they do, as well as address why they are considering changing computers now, like because the brand they've been using has raised the prices. He'll also want to include information on technical specifications needed for the programmers. For example, if they need a certain amount of memory, he will want to introduce that and talk about what RAM is.

3. Requirements

This section is sometimes called the criteria section. In this section, Luis will want to describe how he is evaluating the products or solutions that he's comparing. For example, he might say that he's comparing the cost of the machines, the amount of RAM, the screen size, and so on. Note that he's not actually comparing the items yet; he's just listing and describing how he will evaluate them, kind of like a teacher offering a rubric to a student, so the student knows how he or she will be graded.

4. Options

In the options section, Luis will want to offer a brief description of each item he is comparing. In this case, he will include a brief description of each type of computer that he is considering. If he has decided not to consider any computers because of something that was not mentioned in the requirements section, he will need to explain why in this section, as well. For example, if he eliminated a couple of computers because they are not offered by the company's preferred vendor, Luis can explain that here.

5. Category-by-category comparisons

This is, in many ways, the heart of the paper. Luis will divide this section into subsections, one for each requirement he listed before. In each subsection, he will compare all options based on that requirement. For example, in the cost subsection, he can talk about the different costs of each computer he's comparing, including which one costs the least. Likewise, in the RAM subsection, he can compare the amount of RAM for each computer, including which one offers the most RAM.

6. Conclusions

In this section, Luis will want to sum up the conclusions he's reached about the proposed options. For example, he might remind the reader that computer X is the cheapest, but computer Y has the most RAM.

7. Recommendation

By now, Luis' recommendation is probably pretty clear. After all, he's already outlined which computers are better in each category, as well was summed up the conclusions about the computers that he's come to. But in the recommendation section, he'll explicitly say which computer he recommends choosing.


Luis has done a lot of writing, and he has a very long paper! He's wondering if he has it organized in the best possible way.

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