A yardstick report is one that looks at multiple solutions to a problem. By defining the criteria with which a solution is chosen, each possible solution is then explained and a recommendation is made. Basically, the yardstick is the way to measure several solutions to see which is best for a particular problem when there is more than one option. In the end, one solution is recommended based upon the facts and how it best fits into the criteria.

Step 1

Identify the problem at the beginning of the report, by clearly stating the problem at hand.

Step 2

List all possible solutions to the problem. For example, the company trying to choose appropriate advertising for a new product can choose to advertise with television ads, print ads in the newspaper, Internet advertisements, radio advertisements or billboard advertisements.

Step 3

Define criteria by which to choose a solution. This may mean including or excluding aspects of a solution. The criteria must be specific enough to narrow down the solutions. For example, the criteria for choosing an advertising method might include limited funds, broad appeal, and a desire to direct people to a website where they are able to purchase the specified product.

Step 4

Compare each solution to the criteria. It is important that the analysis of each option be thorough and clearly explained. For example, television advertising would be expensive, but targets a wide range of people. Newspaper ads would target only a specific region of people, but would cost less. Internet ads would target a wide range of people and the budget can be adjusted as needed. Internet ads can also send people directly to website. Radio ads can reach a wide variety of people, but only in a specific geographic area and can cost a good deal of money. Billboard ads can be made cheaply with small roadside signs, but the size is limited and people driving by may not remember the web address.

Step 5

Decide on a solution and make a recommendation. At this point, the facts should make the recommendation clear. In our example, Internet advertising makes the most sense, as it fulfills all the criteria.


  • Be clear and specific when evaluating each solution. Do not force the reader to make a leap of understanding by not explaining why a solution is included or excluded.


  • If a recommendation is not easy to make, add to the criteria in order to narrow down the solutions further.