How to Write Recommendations in a Report
The recommendations section of any report is important because it calls people to action based on the evidence that has been gathered and analyzed in the report. It needs to be actionable, specific and make sense as a solution to the problems detailed in the report. Some readers will skip the report and turn directly to the recommendations section, which represents the essence of the report’s work, so you need to take special care with clarity and correctness.
Review the body of the report for conclusions and fashion recommendations based on them. The recommendations section should flow logically and directly from information in the body.
Put recommendations in a numbered or bulleted list format. If action is imperative, list them in order of priority so that decision makers know which items need attention first. If recommendations are of equal importance, list them in the same order that they occurred in the body of the report.
Categorize the list, if it is long and items within it fall into logical groupings. For example, one part of the list might need action from educators and another part by administrators. You could divide the list into two categories, depending on who should perform each action. Also, if different situations in the future demand different recommendations, you can separate the list to account for these contingencies.
Write one-sentence recommendations, starting with actionable verbs and using concise language. While you may follow that sentence with some details, reminding the audience what motivates the recommendation, the body of the report itself has already done that work. It is more important to cut through the verbiage and give the audience clear, easy to understand actions. To recommend implies that there will be some action, so starting with a verb reinforces this.
Include an action plan for each recommendation if this fits the scope of the report. Often someone will commission or design a report simply to list possible solutions, not to investigate how to implement them. However, if a conference that explored recommendations and how to put them into effect, for example, was the basis of the report, the recommendations section would reflect this. It would include sub lists or sentences explaining the action and how to achieve it.
Reread the section repeatedly, checking for clarity, grammar and punctuation flaws.
Mark Saga has been a writer and teacher since 1984. His writing about the US Navy has appeared at navyshipnews.com. Saga has also sold extensively on eBay and Amazon, specializing in books and paper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and an Master of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University.