Technical Writing



Textbook Recommendation Report

You have been assigned to a textbook review committee at ECU and you are charged with evaluting two textbooks and writing a formal report about that comparision.

Turn in

Recommendation report (your last name must be the first part of the filename) (8-10 pages, not counting front matter or appendix)

Supporting document. (2 pages single spaced). No supporting document is minus one letter grade.


You will compare and evaluate two entry level textbooks in your major and make a recommendation for which should be used for a class. You must support your conclusions. You will discuss the textbooks in detail, establish criteria for judging them, explain how they compare, and justify your recommendation.

They must be two textbooks that can be used for the SAME course.

Ask a professor within your major for a second textbook to evaluate. They will have several. Also, use a real textbook sort of book; don't use a paperback book that was used for part of a class. Compare textbooks that can be used for the same class; don't try to compare textbooks for freshman versus junior level classes.

Be sure to use the report evaluation as part of your final checklist.

You must make use of styles. All elements should have style properly applied and they should be modified versions of Word styles. In other words, don't use the light blue heading 2 style or "list paragraph." Also, if you have indented paragraphs, you need a different style, they can't be Normal unless all of your paragraphs are indented. In other words, if the paragraph looks different, it needs a different style; you should not have to apply any specific formatting to the paragraphs

Do the analysis yourself. Do not make up data or fabricate a complex analysis of "A panel of six judges rated ..."

If you don't have two textbooks.

There are a bunch of online textbooks available for free. Pick two that could be used for the same class. Or use one that you own and pick one. Here's some online textbooks.





If you really have a problem with writing a textbook recommendation report, then you can propose a topic which which I must approve. (Believe me, the textbook report will be easier than picking your own.) A typical problem is that the topic is either too trivial or too big. .No, you can't recommend moving into one of two apartments or new tires for your car. Actually, no topic that is about you personally will be approved. You also can't make a recommendation for a new building at work....that simply can't be done properly in this length of report.

Supporting document

Turn in a 2 page report describing

a) the audience for your report and discuss the design decisions you made to support that audience.

b) why you designed the report as you did: font choices, page layout, graphic formatting, etc. Be specific: point sizes, font choice, leading, line spacing....

c) justify how each of your figures helps communicate the report's message and provides needed information to the audience (I've seen too many figures added just to have a figure.)

This is not a description of how you went about writing the report. The supporting document should explain your choices; in other words, show you are learning the concepts from the class. For example. Don't write:  “I used different sized text to show separation of topics as well as different font colors. I also used a serif font, which allowed the text to flow more smoothly.” Of course you will do these things, but you need to explain which fonts you picked and why they were the proper font choice. What fonts did you pick for the different headings and why? Why is your body font the proper choice? Why is your bullet list formatting the proper choice?

Things that that will hurt your grade on the supporting document

Examples of the recommendation report assignment

Commented sample1


Department committee.


The front matter includes: cover page, executive summary, and table of contents.

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