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Lesson 7. Providing Rationale for Your R... > What Are Key Findings? - Pg. 28

Providing Rationale for Your Recommendations Sampled Households Past 4 week brand usage Past 3 months brand usage Past 3 months brand purchase 15% 23% 19% Nonsampled Households 9% 13% 12% 28 The promotion department's sampling payout model confirmed the sampling program is a financially sound initiative. Specifically, the model projected the sampling program would generate a volume increase of 20 percent over year one, and pay out in 12 months, based on the purchase levels seen in the sampling effec- tiveness research. What Are Key Findings? Memos that summarize or analyze data without making a recommendation would of course not require a section providing the rationale for the recommendation. Summaries and analyses will instead generally have a section containing conclusions, as discussed in Lesson 6. This type of memo will have findings following the conclusions. Key findings are the most relevant facts that come from your analysis of data, research, or other business events. Key findings accompany con- clusions in the same way that rationale points accompany recommendations. After reading your key findings, your reader should ... · Understand that your conclusions are based on facts. · Be confident that the facts you've presented are adequately supported by the data you've col- lected and summarized. · Be persuaded to agree with your conclusions. The principles discussed earlier that apply to developing rationale points also apply to key findings. With that in mind, when developing your key findings you should ... · Put them in order of importance, starting with the most important. · Include only those key findings that tie in directly to your conclusions. Don't include stray findings. If a finding doesn't support a meaningful conclusion, leave it out. · Start your key finding with a topic sentence, followed by the corroborating data. Occasionally, when the findings do not require a significant amount of supporting data--that is, each finding can be encapsulated in a sentence or two without additional support--you may wish to combine the conclusions and key findings sections. Do this by stating a conclusion as the topic sentence of a paragraph, and list the findings that support that conclusion as the remainder of the paragraph. Typically, you would only combine these sections for analyses with a small number of fairly straightforward conclusions. A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph, and states the main point. Additional sentences in the paragraph should support the point made in the topic sentence. Plain English Writing the Key Findings Suppose you're the marketing director of a small software company that is preparing to launch a desktop publishing product called Publish It and a clip art/graphics product called Imagine It. Your department recently conducted packaging communication research to confirm that the packaging communicated key messages. Your research summary concluded that the new product packaging direction communicates key messages effectively. Your key findings from the research might look something like the following.