how to write a recommendation in a report

Step 2: Formulate Findings and Recommendations

The next step involves proposing solutions to address constraints or opportunities uncovered during analysis. Keep in mind that you’re constructing an argument—a narrative that nudges key stakeholders toward a set of proposed recommendations. Your argument will be vetted and challenged and it’s likely that choices will have to be made regarding which recommendations can be implemented. That said, it’s important to remember that you’re providing data for decision making and proposing changes, so you’ll need to back up your advice with good reasoning.

2.1  Findings

Findings emerge from the qualitative and quantitative analyses. Findings are typically divided into sections by technical area, following the outline established in the field guide. Be sure to highlight gender-relevant findings. Furthermore, be prepared for new or surprising findings that may emerge, as these may require modifications to the original outline. Every assessment report includes a description of the private health sector, sometimes referred to as the private sector “landscape.” Though there are many ways the information can be presented, it is useful to have a visual graphic to illustrate the myriad actors and organizations.

Key questions to be addressed in the description of the private health sector include:

2.2  Recommendations

Recommendations are arguably the most important part of the analysis phase—this is where you’ll suggest specific interventions or strategies to address the issues and constraints identified in the assessment.

Recommendations should directly respond to key findings arrived at through data collection and analysis. A process of prioritization is essential to narrowing down findings, and once this is done, recommendations should be developed that align with the most important findings. Use the abbreviated Gender Analysis and Integration Matrix (GAIM) on 1.4 to prioritize gender findings and determine at which level(s) you may wish to intervene. Will your resulting program/project/strategy address a root cause? Will it seek to accommodate or transform existing gender norms?

Reviewing previous assessment reports may be helpful at this stage, to learn what strategies were recommended to address specific private sector constraints in other countries. This table synthesizes key problems affecting service delivery in the private sector , drawing from previous assessments, and links them to potential interventions.

RESOURCE ► When examining the supply chain in Nigeria, our assessment team identified weak regulation of drug vendors as a main area of concern. This lack of enforcement was compromising drug quality without increasing access where it was most needed. Given this finding, we proposed designing a pilot pharmaceutical network that would achieve the following:

Recommendations should be one-sentence, succinct, and start with an action verb (create, establish, fund, facilitate, coordinate, etc.). They should use a “SMART” format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Each recommendation should be followed by a few sentences of explanatory text.

In addition to being “SMART,” recommendations should be feasible. Both operational feasibility and political feasibility (i.e., political will) should be considered when developing recommendations. Experience has demonstrated that gauging potential public sector receptivity to proposed private health sector initiatives is essential.

A final consideration for recommendations is timing. Often solutions to identified problems are sequential, building upon intermediate steps. Teams sometimes frame recommendations as near-term (e.g., 6 to 12 months) and longer term (e.g., one to three years). This example from the Tanzania assessment report illustrates near-term and longer-term recommendations .

Recommendations are typically summarized in the Executive Summary, and presented in full within specific technical sections, usually as a short list of bullets following the findings summary. In some reports, there may be a section at the end of the document that consolidates recommendations and highlights the linkages across core areas (e.g., service delivery and health financing) prior to the conclusion section.

TIP ► Recommendations stem from the findings. Link each of your recommendations to the finding that supports it, to highlight the direct connection between assessment and action. You can show this link visually by using a two-columned table: the first column lists the finding, and the respective recommendation is listed adjacently in the second column.

2.3  Distilling Key Findings and Recommendations

By now it may be clear that private health sector assessments generate a high volume of information. One of the challenging aspects of conducting this type of assessment is sorting through the voluminous information, weighing the relative import of each finding, and determining which findings to highlight in terms of their impact on private sector involvement in health. This process of selecting the key findings is followed by developing corresponding recommendations for improving or increasing the private health sector’s role, or otherwise facilitating an appropriate role for the sector.

SHOPS developed a template to help the assessment team assign priority levels to the specific issues they have identified in the analysis step . The team should work together to arrive at shared judgments regarding the priority order of the top three to five issues in each core area (i.e., Environment, Financing, Service Delivery, Supply Chain, and Demand). Next, the team can record the key determinants or causes of the main issues, either from earlier root cause analysis, or from team brainstorming at this time. This work should facilitate generating potential solutions to address the causes behind the issues identified, which can be entered in the column on the right.

In Summary: Considerations for prioritizing recommendations

Once the team has reached consensus on the main findings and corresponding recommendations to enhance the role of the private sector, the next step is to draft the report.

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Blog >> How to Write a Recommendation Report + Recommendation Report Template!

How to Write a Recommendation Report + Recommendation Report Template!

Making decisions requires the vigilant evaluation of options.   A recommendation report proposes multiple potential solutions to a problem and concludes by recommending the best one. Compared to  white papers , recommendation reports are more overtly persuasive, since they make a final recommendation that is informed by research and evidence. Read our advice all the way to end to download our free recommendation report template. Or better yet, if you’re ready to level-up your professional writing game, definitely check out our expert-crafted  recommendation report template pack —an exclusive item in our   Templates for Busy Professionals™  series.

Watch our video about the reasons why you should write a recommendation report plus get a sneak-peak into our templates. If you’re ready to propel your professional potential, be sure to check out our online, on-demand writing course,   Wordsmith: A Grammar & Writing Course for Busy Professionals . Now let’s jump into recommendation reports…

how to write a recommendation in a report

What sections are typically included in a recommendation report?

Executive summary.

Begin with an “executive summary” that briefly introduces and summarizes your purpose for writing this report. This section establishes reader expectations for what is to follow. Make sure to state clearly here your reasons for writing this report, and what is contained within the report.

Problem Statement

All recommendation reports address a real and important problem. The Problem Statement is perhaps the most important part of the report because it articulates this problem clearly, providing a strong sense of need for the options you will explore in the rest of the report. The Problem Statement is where you justify the purpose of this report.

To justify the options you recommend, you must first understand the specific needs of the business, organization, or stakeholders you are writing for (i.e. What does the organization need? Why? What is the background of this problem? Who are the major stakeholders? What has been tried in the past? Why didn’t it work?). Your Problem Statement will serve as your introduction to the options discussed in this report.

Description of Options

This is the heart of a recommendation report. In this section, you describe a set number of possible ideas (typically 3) for solving the problem cited at the beginning of your report. Your ideas should be creative and well-planned.  Each option (which should be described in 1-2 paragraphs) should include the following information:

Evaluation Criteria & Evaluations of Each Option

After describing the three options, you should outline criteria for evaluating those options. The criteria should be based on the information outlined in your Statement of Need. After listing and justifying evaluation criteria, you should evaluate each option based on its ability to answer your criteria.

Final Recommendation

After describing and evaluating your options, you will recommend the one you think is best and provide a discussion of the reasons why you recommend it. In other words, defend your recommendation thoroughly in this section.

The conclusion to a recommendation report should re-emphasize the final recommendation and offer suggestions about how the audience/reader could move toward implementation.

Works Cited

Recommendation reports sometimes require in-depth research that can range from conducting interviews and surveys to reading peer-reviewed journal articles or other related documents. You should cite this information so that future readers can find the articles and resources you used. The citation style you use should be based on the industry you’re writing for; the chemical industry will expect ACS Style, medical professionals will expect AMA, humanities audiences will expect MLA, social sciences will expect APA, and so on.

Point of View: Should I Use Third Person or First Person?

Like most business reports, this should be written professionally. This usually means avoiding too much personal narrative, and instead relying on third person. For example (third person): “This report overviews three options for community partnership with Feed My Starving Children.” However, it is perfectly fine to use the collective first person sparingly throughout the report, especially to indicate something practical that you did. For example (collective first person): “ We  designed this campaign with a special emphasis on bold color in order to draw the viewer’s attention to the innocence of childhood imagination, and in order to contrast that with the hopelessness of hunger.” OR “In this report,  we  overview three options…” Notice that these three examples are not opinionated (as one might fear when using first person). Instead, they merely acknowledge that  a real, living, breathing human wrote this report and developed these options.  For this reason, first person is great when it’s used for these rhetorical purposes.

Get Our Recommendation Report Templates!

If you’re ready to start building a professional-quality recommendation report, be sure to get our   Recommendation Report Template Pack —a robust set of highly designed report templates with expert writing advice built right in. If you’ve ever found yourself needing to argue for a specific course of action in your organization, a recommendation report will help you analyze a problem, product, population, or process and make clear recommendations about the best path forward.

Recommended Readings

Here are some of our favorite resources on recommendation reports:

Learn more about our online business writing courses.

how to write a recommendation in a report

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Recommendation Reports

Report body, report back matter, formatting and design, additional resources, suggest an edit to this page.




Recommendations are not always a required feature when writing a report.

However, in circumstances where Recommendations do appear in a report, they have paramount importance.

Recommendations are given when a report provides information about the result of an investigation, research and /or inquiry. A matter is investigated because there is a problem or issue.

The Recommendations state what is recommended to correct the problem or issue.

Recommendations are usually numbered.

A report that provides information on risks associated with computers in a business, may provide recommendations on how to control these risks.

For example, the report might contain recommendations as follows:

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 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.

Steps to Take in Writing a Recommendation Report

How to Write a Needs Assessment Report

How to write an executive summary on ethics in the workplace, how to properly format for an interoffice memo.

Writing a recommendation report usually involves describing a situation, evaluating possible alternatives and proposing a solution to a problem. The final report should include clear, precise and evidence-based fndings and recommendations. Whether you’re writing a project, performance or risk assessment, clearly stating the facts makes it easier for others to reach a decision based on your research.

Selecting a Format

A comprehensive recommendation report typically includes a table of contents, executive summary, data acquisition methodology, options and conclusions. You can download a business recommendation template or create your own document or presentation format. Additionally, you can provide attachments with details or include links to websites with relevant information. Select a format that is best suited to the type of report you are writing.

Describing the Situation

The goal of the recommendation report is to outline helpful recommendations that can fulfill a need or resolve a vexing problem, according to the University of Arkansas . When writing a recommendation report, start by clearly stating what you’re evaluating. This sets the tone. For example, if you need to create a report on absenteeism at your company, start by listing statistics about the problem. Then add commentary about its impact. For example, absenteeism might lead to decreased productivity, missed deadlines and lowered customer satisfaction.

Conducting Research

In your recommendation, you need to define the methodology used to collect data. For example, you might create an online survey, conduct focus groups, complete interviews or read literature on the subject. This activity helps you find out what other people think about the topic and what actions they may be taking based on their own experiences. For example, you might discover that employees at your company may miss work repeatedly due to caregiver obligations, poor health or transportation problems. Analyze the situation thoroughly before drawing any conclusions. For instance, you can use analysis techniques such as drawing a fishbone diagram to determine the root cause of the problem.

Qualifying Alternatives

After you lay out the problem, you may go on to suggest viable solutions, as explained by professor T. Miles at West Virginia University. In writing research recommendations, recall what factors should be considered For example, when writing a recommendation report about employee development needs, list options for developing professional skills, such as effective communication, negotiation and decision making. Your recommendation report may also include details about past interventions and results.

Summarizing Findings

Summarize your findings from your research using concise charts, lists and diagrams. This makes it easier for your superiors to interpret your recommendation and draw their own conclusions. For example, you may find that employees fail to recognize the impact of their absenteeism. Promoting awareness can increase attendance and maintain appropriate coverage.

Your recommendations should have specific, measurable and achievable actions defined. They should also be realistic and time constrained. A recommendation might suggest design, distribution and display by the end of the month of posters in the workplace that highlight incentives and punishments, for instance.

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Sample Recommendation Report

Printed Page 487-511

The following example is the recommendation report on the tablet project proposed in Chapter 16 . The progress report for this project appears in Chapter 17.

Transmittal “letters” can be presented as memos.

The writers include their titles and that of their primary reader. This way, future readers will be able to readily identify the reader and writers.

The subject heading indicates the subject of the report (the tablet study at RRMC) and the purpose of the report (recommendation report).

The purpose of the study. Notice that the writers link the recommendation report to the proposal, giving them an opportunity to state the main tasks they carried out in the study.

The methods the writers used to carry out the research.

The principal findings: the results and conclusions of the study. Notice that the writers state that they cannot be sure whether the technical information they have found is accurate. Is it okay to state that you are unsure about something? Yes, as long as you then propose a way to become sure about it.


The major recommendation. The writers ask their supervisor if she will reconsider whether the hospital can afford tablets specifically designed for health-care environments. That’s not insubordination. Just be polite about it.

A polite offer to participate further or to provide more information.


A good title indicates the subject and purpose of the document. One way to indicate the purpose is to use a generic term—such as analysis, recommendation, summary, or instructions —in a phrase following a colon. For more about titles, see " Writing Clear, Informative Titles ."

The names and positions of the principal reader and the writers of the document.

The date the document was submitted.

The name or logo of the writers’ organization often is presented at the bottom of the title page.


In the abstract, the title of the report is often enclosed in quotation marks because the abstract might be reproduced in another context (such as in a database), in which case the report title would be the title of a separate document.

Abstracts are often formatted as a single paragraph.

The background and purpose of the report.

The methods.

The major findings.

Note that the writers provide some technical information about tablet use, clinical staff attitudes, and technical characteristics of tablets.

The major recommendations.

A keywords list ensures that the report will appear in the list of results of an electronic search on any of the terms listed.


Note that the typeface and design of the headings in the table of contents mirror the typeface and design of the headings in the report itself.

In this table of contents, the two levels of headings are distinguished by type style (boldface versus italic) and indentation.


The executive summary describes the project with a focus on the managerial aspects, particularly the recommendation. Note the writers’ emphasis on the problem at RRMC.

Here the writers present a brief statement of the subject of their report.

The background of the feasibility study that Dr. Bremerton is funding.

A brief statement of the methods the writers used to carry out their research. Note that throughout this report the writers use the active voice (“We studied the literature . . .”). See Ch. 10 for more on the active voice. Note, too, that the discussion of the methods is brief: most managers are less interested in the details of the methods you used than in your findings.

Findings are the important results and conclusions of a study.

Note that the writers use the word recommend . Using key generic terms such as problem , methods , results , conclusions , and recommendations helps readers understand the role that each section plays in the document.

Because the executive summary is the report element addressed most directly to management, the writers make clear why they prefer looking again at whether the hospital can afford to purchase health-care-specific tablets.


Some organizations require that each first-level heading begin on a new page.

A brief statement of the context for the report.

Note that the word currently is used to introduce the background of the study: the current situation is unsatisfactory for several reasons.

A formal statement of the task the committee was asked to perform. The writers paraphrase from the memo Dr. Bremerton gave them. Often in technical communication, you will quote or paraphrase words your reader wrote to you. This practice reminds the reader of the context and shows that you are carrying out your tasks professionally.

The writers incorporate a brief overview of their methods into the list of tasks.

The writers devote two paragraphs to their principal findings. The introduction can present the major findings of a report; technical communication is not about drama and suspense.


Notice the writers’ use of the phrase “we recommend.” Repeating key terms in this way helps readers understand the logic of a report and concentrate on the technical information it contains.

An advance organizer for the rest of the report.


The writers use the same task organization as in the proposal and the progress report.


By stating that they know that their sources are a mixture of different kinds of information, not all of which is equally useful for every kind of question that needs to be answered, the writers suggest that they are careful analysts.

The writers carefully explain the logic of their methods. Do not assume that your readers will automatically understand why you did what you did. Sometimes it is best to explain your thinking. Although technical communication contains a lot of facts and figures, like other kinds of writing it relies on clear, logical arguments.

As discussed in " Conducting Primary Research ," some questions will misfire. Therefore, it is smart to field-test a questionnaire before you distribute it.

Including a page number in the cross reference to the appendix is a convenience to the reader. When you do so, remember to add the correct page number after you determine where the appendix (or the several appendixes) will appear in the report.


Note that the writers present their references to their sources throughout the report.

Here, again, the writers explain the logic of their methods. They decided to rely on the experiences of hospital administrators. This approach will likely appeal to Dr. Bremerton.

Often you will begin your project with a cost criterion: your recommended solution must not cost more than a certain amount.

The writers present just enough information about the technologies to help the reader understand their logic. Writers sometimes present too much information; include only as much as your readers need to be able to follow your report.


Because analyzing their data and writing this report is part of the study, it is appropriate to include it as one of the steps. In some organizations, however, this task is assumed to be part of the study and is therefore not presented in the report.


The writers present an advance organizer for the results section.


The writers continue to use the task structure that they used in the methods section.


The function of a conclusion is to explain what the data mean. Here the writers explain how their results can help their readers determine how to proceed with the tablet study. Notice that a conclusion is not the same as a recommendation (which explains what writers think should be done next).

At this point in the report, the writers have decided to abandon the “task” labels. Their thinking is that they are focusing less on what they did and more on the meaning of the information they gathered. However, they retain the headings that help readers understand the topic they are discussing.


This recommendation states explicitly what the writers think the reader should do next. Note that they are sketching in ideas that they have not discussed in detail but that might interest their readers.


This list of references is written according to the APA documentation style, which is discussed in Appendix, Part B.


Presenting the percentage data in boldface after each question is a clear way to communicate how the respondents replied. Although most readers will not be interested in the raw data, some will.



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