Overview of the report. This report evaluates the possibility of controlling fire ants in a potential campground area such that people can use it for recreational purposes. The report considers two methods of controlling the fire ants and determines whether either one would provide enough control to make the campgrounds feasible. In this sense, this report is a feasibility report: it attempts to determine whether controlling the fire ants is possible and practical.
Introduction. The first sentence indirectly indicates the topic and purpose of the report: controlling fire ants. The rest of the introduction provides a good overview of the contents of the following.
Problem. This report first reviews the problem: fire ants. Without some sort of control program, camping is impossible.
Requirements. In the criteria section, the writer states the basic minimal requirements—what it will take to control the fire ants enough to permit camping.
Limitations. In the other recommendation reports, you've seen sections that discussed how the options were reduced to the three or four under consideration. This "limitations" section is similar: it acknowledges that there are numerous methods to control fire ants but, for reasons explains in the section, the study is limited to the two methods described.
Second-level headings. This report has six second-level headings for the major sections: problem, requirements, limitations, comparisons, conclusions, and sources.
Third-level headings. In this report, third-level headings are used for the different ways the two fire-ant control methods will be compared: chemical actions, application requirements, environmental hazards, effectiveness, and cost. These are also the points of comparison. Remember that to write an effective comparison, the point-by-point approach is usually much more effective in that it forces you as a writer to systematically compare the options by key categories of requirements.
Notice that the environmental-effects section has what amounts to fourth-level headings in the bulleted-list items with the italicized labels.
Source citations. Notice the bracketed numbers occurring throughout the report. These indicate the source of borrowed information, at each point where it is borrowed. Go to the end of the report to see what the various sources are. Notice that citations that have a comma in them, such as [5,7], mean that the borrowed information came from a combination of those sources (in this example, source 5 and source 7).
Comparison sections. Notice that the heart of this recommendation report—and, really, of any such report—is the comparison section. In this report, we have a comparison section with four subsections that compare the two options by one point of comparison at a time.
Individual conclusions. In typical recommendation reports, you expect each comparison section to state a conclusion as to which option is best in terms of that point of comparison. Notice, however, that the chemical-action section does not state which is better: it simply explains that the two products use different chemical processes. However, the section on costs provides a strong conclusion as to which product is less expensive.
Conclusions. Recommendation and feasibility should end with a review of the key primary conclusions reached in the comparison sections. These conclusions should be numbered and presented in the same order they are stated in the preceding text. Since situations like these almost never produce a clear winner, you must also include secondary conclusions—conclusions that balance conflicting primary conclusions. The conclusions list should end with a final conclusion, which states which is the best choice. This example does not include secondary and final conclusions. However, their logic is expressed in the recommendation section.
Summary table. This report is provides a summary table that re-presents the key comparative information from the preceding sections. This gives readers a way to get the key points at a glance or to review them quickly.
Recommendation section. This recommendation section provides the rationale for choosing the option it does. Notice that it qualifies its recommendation.
Information sources. At the end of the report, we have the list of information sources. This report uses the number system in which the sources are numbered, and these numbers are used along with page references in the body of the report to indicate the source of borrowed information.