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Effective Recommendation Reports What to say and how to say it.

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1 Effective Recommendation Reports What to say and how to say it

2 Part One: What to include A recommendation report is a detailed report that a writer submits to a reader or group of readers who have the authority to endorse or reject the plan, such as: Department heads Managers Elected officials Civic leaders

3 Audience Direct the report to the decision-makers Envision the report read by others in the organization Explain the report so that anyone can understand it

4 Format Use report format (not letter or memo), 10-12 pages in length Include the following sections:  An introduction  A Methodology section  The Literature Review  Analysis of primary and secondary research  Recommendations  Closing  Appendices (reference page and other relevant materials)

5 What should recommendations do? Help your readers transform findings into actions, by recommending that the reader: Perform certain actions Refrain from performing certain actions Choose from various strategies, methods, or options

6 Part Two: Hints for Writing Effectively Write clearly “Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret to style.” Matthew Arnold

7 Write Clearly Begin with point (topic) sentences Use major and minor headings to distinguish primary and secondary ideas Eliminate words and ideas that are repetitive or unnecessary Use transitional words and phrases effectively

8 Write for Emphasis By Using the active voice Subordinating less important ideas Using parallel structures Breaking normal word order Making lists Using emphatic punctuation Using emphatic typographical devises

9 Use the active voice In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon. In the active voice, the subject does the action. The active voice is usually clearer and more emphatic. passive: The design was prepared by Sheila. active: Sheila prepared the design.

10 TRY USING THE ACTIVE VOICE: Rewrite this paragraph from the passive voice into the active voice The following action must be taken when a serious burn is treated. Any loose clothing on or near the burn is removed. The injury is covered with a clean dressing, and the area around the burn is washed. Then the dressing is secured with tape. Medication is not applied unless it is prescribed by a doctor.

11 In the active voice, the paragraph reads: Take the following action when treating a serious burn. Remove any loose clothing on or near the burn. Cover the injury with a clean dressing and wash the area around the burn. Then secure the dressing with tape. Do not apply medication unless a doctor prescribes it.

12 Subordinate less important ideas Subordination eliminates monotonous sentence structures and stresses the most important ideas. Since the beginning and endings of sentences are the most emphatic positions, subordination involves moving less important information to the middle.

13 You can move words, phrases, or clauses No Subordination: The landscape designer’s report was extensively illustrated. It covered ten pages. Subordinating a word: The landscape designers ten- page report was extensively illustrated. Subordinating a phrase: The landscape designer’s report, covering ten pages, was extensively illustrated Subordinating a clause: The landscape designer’s report, which covered ten pages, was extensively illustrated.

14 Example of subordination for emphasis Blast furnaces, in use all over the world, are employed mainly in the smelting of iron. (emphasizes the purpose of the furnaces) Blast furnaces, used mainly in the smelting of iron, are employed all over the world. (emphasizes the extent of their use)

15 TRY USING SUBORDINATION Combine the following three monotonous sentences into one sentence. Use subordination to shift the emphasis. In the first sentence, emphasize Neil’s brusqueness. In the second, emphasize his genius. Neil Weasel was in my class. He was often moody and brusque. He is surely a genius.

16 With effective subordination Although Neal Weasel is surely a genius, he was often moody and brusque in my classes. (emphasizes his brusqueness) Although Neal Weasel was often moody and brusque in my classes, he is surely a genius. (emphasizes his genius)

17 Using parallel structures “Parallel structure can produce an economy of language, clarify meaning, indicate the equality of related ideas, and, frequently, achieve emphasis.” Oliu, Brusaw, and Alred

18 When to use Wherever coordination exists Wherever elements are connected by coordinating conjunctions Wherever elements are compared or contrasted Wherever items are arranged in a list

19 How to use Repeat the word (or words) that introduces the first unit to make the relationship among the units clear. Examples: Not: The advantage is not in the pay but the greater opportunity. But: The advantage is not in the pay but in the greater opportunity

20 Another example… Practice parallel construction by using // before the parallel units Not: You should take care of //your physical self as well as being able to read or write. But: You should take care of //your physical self as well as your intellectual self.

21 Using lists Lists Break up blocks of dense text and complex sentences Allow key ideas to stand out Show the relationship of parallel or sequential ideas.

22 TRY USING PARALLEL STRUCTURES AND LISTS: Rewrite the text below into a list using parallel structure An organization needs to decide whether to do a special event. They can ask whether the event will boost its visibility in the eye of the public. Another criteria is whether it will raise more money. Some special events thank people who have helped in the organization. At the beginning or end of a fund-raising campaign it can be a celebration.

23 Revised into a list using parallel structure Consider the following criteria when deciding whether or not to do a special event. Ask whether the event will: Boost visibility in the eye of the public Raise more money Honor one or more people who have helped in the organization Celebrate the start of the end of a campaign.

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