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Overview of the report. The report studies uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and recommends one for a specific company.
Business letter format. Notice that this writer presents her report directly within a business letter. Headings, lists, tables, and sources are all included within this letter. When you write a recommendation report, you can present it either in this format, or you can present it in a separate document that uses standard report format and attach a cover letter or memo to the front.
Introduction. As the first paragraph of a business letter, this introduction has some elements of business correspondence, such as the direct address to the recipient/client and the reference to a prior meeting. Notice that the background goes on a bit long in this introduction; it could be moved to the section entitled "Background on power supplies." In any case, this introduction does indeed offer a thorough overview of the contents that follow.
Background. This report includes some very useful discussion as to why UPS systems are necessary. This section establishes the need for the solution that this report will recommend.
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 [1;5], mean that the borrowed information came from a combination of those sources (in this example, source 1 and source 5).
Requirements. This section establishes what minimal requirements UPS systems must possess to be considered as candidates for this recommendation. Obviously, this writer is repeating the requirements as described to her by the client. Despite that fact, it's important to include this information in the report so that the client can verify this writer's understanding of those requirements.
Options to be considered. In this section, the writer briefly explains how she narrowed the field to the UPS systems that she will be comparing.
Second-level headings. This report has eight second-level headings for the major sections. Notice that a heading is not used for the introduction: for a relatively short document like this one, we can assume that the paragraph just after the title is—or ought to be—introductory in nature.
Third-level headings. In this report, third-level headings are used to mark each of the points of comparisons. Notice that the overview of the points of comparison is presented between the comparison heading and the first third-level heading.
Summary table. This report is provides a summary table that re-presents the key comparative information from the preceding sections. This strategy is quite common in business and technical writing; give readers multiple opportunities and multiple ways of getting the important information.
Individual conclusions. In this type of report, each comparison section should state a conclusion as to which option is best in terms of that point of comparison. This report states a conclusion at the end of each comparison section.
Conclusions. The conclusions section provides a numbered list of the key primary conclusions reached in the body of the report. It also states secondary conclusions, which narrow the choices down to one. The conclusions section must end with a final conclusion, which states which option is the best choice.
Recommendation section. This recommendation section states which option is recommended and provides a list of reasons for that recommendation.
Glossary. This report provides a handy glossary in which key terms are defined. However, it does leave out a few, for example, VA rating.
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.
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