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Evans D, Coad J, Cottrell K, et al. Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2014 Oct. (Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 2.36.)

Cover of Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation

Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation.

Chapter 9 conclusions and recommendations for future research.

  • How well have we achieved our original aim and objectives?

The initially stated overarching aim of this research was to identify the contextual factors and mechanisms that are regularly associated with effective and cost-effective public involvement in research. While recognising the limitations of our analysis, we believe we have largely achieved this in our revised theory of public involvement in research set out in Chapter 8 . We have developed and tested this theory of public involvement in research in eight diverse case studies; this has highlighted important contextual factors, in particular PI leadership, which had not previously been prominent in the literature. We have identified how this critical contextual factor shapes key mechanisms of public involvement, including the identification of a senior lead for involvement, resource allocation for involvement and facilitation of research partners. These mechanisms then lead to specific outcomes in improving the quality of research, notably recruitment strategies and materials and data collection tools and methods. We have identified a ‘virtuous circle’ of feedback to research partners on their contribution leading to their improved confidence and motivation, which facilitates their continued contribution. Following feedback from the HS&DR Board on our original application we did not seek to assess the cost-effectiveness of different mechanisms of public involvement but we did cost the different types of public involvement as discussed in Chapter 7 . A key finding is that many research projects undercost public involvement.

In our original proposal we emphasised our desire to include case studies involving young people and families with children in the research process. We recruited two studies involving parents of young children aged under 5 years, and two projects involving ‘older’ young people in the 18- to 25-years age group. We recognise that in doing this we missed studies involving children and young people aged under 18 years; in principle we would have liked to have included studies involving such children and young people, but, given the resources at our disposal and the additional resource, ethical and governance issues this would have entailed, we regretfully concluded that this would not be feasible for our study. In terms of the four studies with parental and young persons’ involvement that we did include, we have not done a separate analysis of their data, but the themes emerging from those case studies were consistent with our other case studies and contributed to our overall analysis.

In terms of the initial objectives, we successfully recruited the sample of eight diverse case studies and collected and analysed data from them (objective 1). As intended, we identified the outcomes of involvement from multiple stakeholders‘ perspectives, although we did not get as many research partners‘ perspectives as we would have liked – see limitations below (objective 2). It was more difficult than expected to track the impact of public involvement from project inception through to completion (objective 3), as all of our projects turned out to have longer time scales than our own. Even to track involvement over a stage of a case study research project proved difficult, as the research usually did not fall into neatly staged time periods and one study had no involvement activity over the study period.

Nevertheless, we were able to track seven of the eight case studies prospectively and in real time over time periods of up to 9 months, giving us an unusual window on involvement processes that have previously mainly been observed retrospectively. We were successful in comparing the contextual factors, mechanisms and outcomes associated with public involvement from different stakeholders‘ perspectives and costing the different mechanisms for public involvement (objective 4). We only partly achieved our final objective of undertaking a consensus exercise among stakeholders to assess the merits of the realist evaluation approach and our approach to the measurement and valuation of economic costs of public involvement in research (objective 5). A final consensus event was held, where very useful discussion and amendment of our theory of public involvement took place, and the economic approach was discussed and helpfully critiqued by participants. However, as our earlier discussions developed more fully than expected, we decided to let them continue rather than interrupt them in order to run the final exercise to assess the merits of the realist evaluation approach. We did, however, test our analysis with all our case study participants by sending a draft of this final report for comment. We received a number of helpful comments and corrections but no disagreement with our overall analysis.

  • What were the limitations of our study?

Realist evaluation is a relatively new approach and we recognise that there were a number of limitations to our study. We sought to follow the approach recommended by Pawson, but we acknowledge that we were not always able to do so. In particular, our theory of public involvement in research evolved over time and initially was not as tightly framed in terms of a testable hypothesis as Pawson recommends. In his latest book Pawson strongly recommends that outcomes should be measured with quantitative data, 17 but we did not do so; we were not aware of the existence of quantitative data or tools that would enable us to collect such data to answer our research questions. Even in terms of qualitative data, we did not capture as much information on outcomes as we initially envisaged. There were several reasons for this. The most important was that capturing outcomes in public involvement is easier the more operational the focus of involvement, and more difficult the more strategic the involvement. Thus, it was relatively easy to see the impact of a patient panel on the redesign of a recruitment leaflet but harder to capture the impact of research partners in a multidisciplinary team discussion of research design.

We also found it was sometimes more difficult to engage research partners as participants in our research than researchers or research managers. On reflection this is not surprising. Research partners are generally motivated to take part in research relevant to their lived experience of a health condition or situation, whereas our research was quite detached from their lived experience; in addition people had many constraints on their time, so getting involved in our research as well as their own was likely to be a burden too far for some. Researchers clearly also face significant time pressures but they had a more direct interest in our research, as they are obliged to engage with public involvement to satisfy research funders such as the NIHR. Moreover, researchers were being paid by their employers for their time during interviews with us, while research partners were not paid by us and usually not paid by their research teams. Whatever the reasons, we had less response from research partners than researchers or research managers, particularly for the third round of data collection; thus we have fewer data on outcomes from research partners‘ perspectives and we need to be aware of a possible selection bias towards more engaged research partners. Such a bias could have implications for our findings; for example payment might have been a more important motivating factor for less engaged advisory group members.

There were a number of practical difficulties we encountered. One challenge was when to recruit the case studies. We recruited four of our eight case studies prior to the full application, but this was more than 1 year before our project started and 15 months or more before data collection began. In this intervening period, we found that the time scales of some of the case studies were no longer ideal for our project and we faced the choice of whether to continue with them, although this timing was not ideal, or seek at a late moment to recruit alternative ones. One of our case studies ultimately undertook no involvement activity over the study period, so we obtained fewer data from it, and it contributed relatively little to our analysis. Similarly, one of the four case studies we recruited later experienced some delays itself in beginning and so we had a more limited period for data collection than initially envisaged. Research governance approvals took much longer than expected, particularly as we had to take three of our research partners, who were going to collect data within NHS projects, through the research passport process, which essentially truncated our data collection period from 1 year to 9 months. Even if we had had the full year initially envisaged for data collection, our conclusion with hindsight was that this was insufficiently long. To compare initial plans and intentions for involvement with the reality of what actually happened required a longer time period than a year for most of our case studies.

In the light of the importance we have placed on the commitment of PIs, there is an issue of potential selection bias in the recruitment of our sample. As our sampling strategy explicitly involved a networking approach to PIs of projects where we thought some significant public involvement was taking place, we were likely (as we did) to recruit enthusiasts and, at worst, those non-committed who were at least open to the potential value of public involvement. There were, unsurprisingly, no highly sceptical PIs in our sample. We have no data therefore on how public involvement may work in research where the PI is sceptical but may feel compelled to undertake involvement because of funder requirements or other factors.

  • What would we do differently next time?

If we were to design this study again, there are a number of changes we would make. Most importantly we would go for a longer time period to be able to capture involvement through the whole research process from initial design through to dissemination. We would seek to recruit far more potential case studies in principle, so that we had greater choice of which to proceed with once our study began in earnest. We would include case studies from the application stage to capture the important early involvement of research partners in the initial design period. It might be preferable to research a smaller number of case studies, allowing a more in-depth ethnographic approach. Although challenging, it would be very informative to seek to sample sceptical PIs. This might require a brief screening exercise of a larger group of PIs on their attitudes to and experience of public involvement.

The economic evaluation was challenging in a number of ways, particularly in seeking to obtain completed resource logs from case study research partners. Having a 2-week data collection period was also problematic in a field such as public involvement, where activity may be very episodic and infrequent. Thus, collecting economic data alongside other case study data in a more integrated way, and particularly with interviews and more ethnographic observation of case study activities, might be advantageous. The new budgeting tool developed by INVOLVE and the MHRN may provide a useful resource for future economic evaluations. 23

We have learned much from the involvement of research partners in our research team and, although many aspects of our approach worked well, there are some things we would do differently in future. Even though we included substantial resources for research partner involvement in all aspects of our study, we underestimated how time-consuming such full involvement would be. We were perhaps overambitious in trying to ensure such full involvement with the number of research partners and the number and complexity of the case studies. We were also perhaps naive in expecting all the research partners to play the same role in the team; different research partners came with different experiences and skills, and, like most of our case studies, we might have been better to be less prescriptive and allow the roles to develop more organically within the project.

  • Implications for research practice and funding

If one of the objectives of R&D policy is to increase the extent and effectiveness of public involvement in research, then a key implication of this research is the importance of influencing PIs to value public involvement in research or to delegate to other senior colleagues in leading on involvement in their research. Training is unlikely to be the key mechanism here; senior researchers are much more likely to be influenced by peers or by their personal experience of the benefits of public involvement. Early career researchers may be shaped by training but again peer learning and culture may be more influential. For those researchers sceptical or agnostic about public involvement, the requirement of funders is a key factor that is likely to make them engage with the involvement agenda. Therefore, funders need to scrutinise the track record of research teams on public involvement to ascertain whether there is any evidence of commitment or leadership on involvement.

One of the findings of the economic analysis was that PIs have consistently underestimated the costs of public involvement in their grant applications. Clearly the field will benefit from the guidance and budgeting tool recently disseminated by MHRN and INVOLVE. It was also notable that there was a degree of variation in the real costs of public involvement and that effective involvement is not necessarily costly. Different models of involvement incur different costs and researchers need to be made aware of the costs and benefits of these different options.

One methodological lesson we learned was the impact that conducting this research had on some participants’ reflection on the impact of public involvement. Particularly for research staff, the questions we asked sometimes made them reflect upon what they were doing and change aspects of their approach to involvement. Thus, the more the NIHR and other funders can build reporting, audit and other forms of evaluation on the impact of public involvement directly into their processes with PIs, the more likely such questioning might stimulate similar reflection.

  • Recommendations for further research

There are a number of gaps in our knowledge around public involvement in research that follow from our findings, and would benefit from further research, including realist evaluation to extend and further test the theory we have developed here:

  • In-depth exploration of how PIs become committed to public involvement and how to influence agnostic or sceptical PIs would be very helpful. Further research might compare, for example, training with peer-influencing strategies in engendering PI commitment. Research could explore the leadership role of other research team members, including research partners, and how collective leadership might support effective public involvement.
  • More methodological work is needed on how to robustly capture the impact and outcomes of public involvement in research (building as well on the PiiAF work of Popay et al. 51 ), including further economic analysis and exploration of impact when research partners are integral to research teams.
  • Research to develop approaches and carry out a full cost–benefit analysis of public involvement in research would be beneficial. Although methodologically challenging, it would be very useful to conduct some longer-term studies which sought to quantify the impact of public involvement on such key indicators as participant recruitment and retention in clinical trials.
  • It would also be helpful to capture qualitatively the experiences and perspectives of research partners who have had mixed or negative experiences, since they may be less likely than enthusiasts to volunteer to participate in studies of involvement in research such as ours. Similarly, further research might explore the (relatively rare) experiences of marginalised and seldom-heard groups involved in research.
  • Payment for public involvement in research remains a contested issue with strongly held positions for and against; it would be helpful to further explore the value research partners and researchers place on payment and its effectiveness for enhancing involvement in and impact on research.
  • A final relatively narrow but important question that we identified after data collection had finished is: what is the impact of the long periods of relative non-involvement following initial periods of more intense involvement for research partners in some types of research, particularly clinical trials?

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  • Cite this Page Evans D, Coad J, Cottrell K, et al. Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2014 Oct. (Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 2.36.) Chapter 9, Conclusions and recommendations for future research.
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Recommendation Letter for Higher Studies: 5 Templates

When you apply for further studies 📚, a good recommendation from your employer can do wonders.

If you are working and you wish to apply for higher studies 🏫 with the support of the employer of your present company, go ahead and ask the authorities to draft a recommendation letter ✉️ for you. 

They can directly recommend you by writing 🖊️ a quality recommendation letter. How to go about this letter format? Follow ➡️ this page to further under the writing content and format of this recommendation letter.

Table of Contents

What to Write in a Recommendation Letter From Employer For Higher Studies 

Are you wondering 🤔 about what sequence to follow while writing this? Or are you struggling with what to write ✍️ and what to put in the trash? Following these points will clear your shades of confusion! 

  • Introduce yourself with your full name 🪪 and job designation. Write the full name of your company and the exact position in the company. 
  • Clarify the intentions that lie behind this letter 📬. You should notify the reader that this is a recommendation letter for one of your employers. 
  • As you share this piece of information, write the full name and other details about the employee. This will help the reader 👁️‍🗨️ in identifying the person who is being recommended. 
  • Properly introduce your employer to the addressed recipient. Make an impressive 😊 introduction by writing interesting points. 
  • Mention his present position in your company 🏣, his past educational qualification, and scores of the competitive exam he has participated in. 
  • You should draw his career path under your supervision. From the beginning of his career path in your company till the latest condition, draw the graph 📈 of his growth. 
  • The next step 🪜 should be writing about his duties and tasks performed by him during his work hours in the company. 
  • Bring out his efficiency in the work 💼 assigned to him and connect this with his work ethic. 
  • You can smoothly jump 🦘 onto starting his qualities as an employee as well as a person. 
  • Comment on his teamwork qualities, communication skills 🎙️, diligence, determination, and other such positive character traits. 
  • You can also shed light 🕯️ on his future goals and persistence in achieving them. Share related instances for the same. 
  • Specify his want to complete his higher education 👩‍🎓 from this particular institution. 
  • Recommend him once again as a hardworking student and employee. Request the addressed authorities to permit him to join the educational program of his wish. 
  • End the letter with a positive 🌞 thank you. 

How to Write a Recommendation Letter From Employer For Higher Studies 

Understanding 🤓 the content of the letter won’t be sufficient. You also need to understand how to create a smooth flow in the letter. The tips in this section will assist you in refining 💫 your letter to its fullest extent. 

Recommend on practical grounds

You are recommending your employee 👩‍💼 in this letter. Make sure that your recommendation appears genuine without any tinge of fickleness. Sharing actual instances will make this recommendation of yours more practical 🌻. 

Connect his work achievements to his personal qualities

As you mention his efficiency in the workplace, you should 🔗 connect his achievements in the workplace to his personal qualities that are related. This will show the reader that his qualities are not made up; instead, they are real ✨ and earnest. 

A professional and formal approach

A recommendation letter is a formal 👔 letter sent to a reputed institution. Keeping this in mind, you inculcate a professional and formal approach in the tone 🗣️ of the letter. 

Template: 1

Recommendation Letter from the Employer for Higher Studies

The Head of Admissions Department,

The University of Birmingham,

Dear Sir/Ma’am, 

I am Catherine Joseph- Branch Manager – ST Machinery, Dallas. I would like to recommend one of the employees of our firm – Mr. Rob Simspson, for a place in the MS Mechanical Engineering course offered by the University of Birmingham.

Rob completed his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dallas, with a first-class score – of 76%, and then joined ST Machinery in 2015 as an intern. He completed the training successfully and has become Machine Production Supervisor in a very short period.

He is an honest and hard-working person and now aspires to complete a postgraduate course in mechanical engineering to boost his career prospects.

I have worked closely with Rob, and he was instrumental in helping our company exceed our turnover targets for the past two years in a row. He has excellent communication skills and is a proven team leader motivating his colleagues to excel.

His dream is to complete an MS course in the UK, and the University of Birmingham has been his first choice. I believe he will be the best-suited candidate for this course at your esteemed institute. 

I would like to recommend him for a place on the MS Mechanical Engineering course and wish him the best in his studies. 

Thanking you. 


Catherine Joseph, Manager – ST Machinery 

[email protected]

Download Template : ( pdf, docs, ODT, RTF, txt, HTML, Epub, Etc )

Template: 2

Recommendation Letter from Employer to University

Harvard Business School,

Greetings from Sugar Tech! 

I am Bet Thomas – HR Manager – Sugar Tech. I am using this letter to recommend one of my most hard-working employees – Aman Perera a place in the MBA at Harvard Business School. 

Aman is a student at India’s prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He completed his B.Sc. in Business Management with excellent academic scores and joined Sugar Tech three years ago. Aman started as a management intern and has steadily progressed to work as a recruitment specialist at Sugar Tech. He has been instrumental in recruiting IT and non-IT professionals for the company’s branches in many countries worldwide. 

He is a team player and an extremely self-motivated person, always helping others and ensuring that the concerns raised by employees are addressed with care.

An excellent motivational speaker, He regularly conducts training sessions for employees on topics ranging from time management, email-writing, corporate etiquette, etc.

He aspires to complete an MBA from Harvard specializing in human resources management. His ambition is to start a recruitment services company catering to companies in Asia.

I would like to conclude by wishing him all the very best in his academic pursuits, and I hope he will get selected and study at the prestigious Harvard Business School. 

Please write to me in case of any queries or clarifications. 

Bet Thomas, 

HR Manager – Sugar Tech, 

Template: 3

Recommendation Letter for University from Employer

California Technical University,

Greetings of the day! 

I am Rebecca, Branch Manager – TBC Chemicals. I am writing this letter to you to recommend one of my employees – Mr. Martin Joseph, a place in the MS in Analytical Chemistry course offered by California Technical University. 

Martin completed his BSc Chemistry course securing an overall percentage of 88%. He joined TBC Chemicals as a junior chemist trainee in July 2013. Since then, with his dedication and passion for work, he became a senior chemist in our production facility in San Fransico. Martin is intensely passionate about chemistry and is a great team player.

He has contributed directly to the increase in the annual production output of our factory. Martin is interested in developing natural substitutes for synthetic industrial chemicals and aspires to complete an MS in Analytical Chemistry at California Technical University and then progress to postgraduate research. 

I feel proud to have been associated with Martin and wish him all the very best in his academic pursuits.

Please feel free to contact me in case of any specific queries that you may have, and I once again recommend Martin for a place in the MS in Analytical Chemistry course offered by California Technical University. 

Warm regards, 

Branch Manager – TBC Chemicals 

Template: 4

California Business University,

This is with regard to Miss. Julia Roberts, hoping to be a future student of MS Business Management at your prestigious institution, California Business University.

It gives me great pleasure to recommend Ms. Julia to you, as she has shown exemplary performance and a top-notch track record in all the 3 years that she spent at our company.

She has shown a very keen interest in learning more and sharing her knowledge with the rest of her colleagues. She has been at the forefront in all aspects of her work and has proved to be a value-added asset to our organization.

She has been a great sales representative for our company and has constantly brought in good business for us. She has headed the sales teams in our Bangalore office for the last year and has been a great motivational leader to her subordinates.

As a Sales Team leader, her combined sales have been one of the highest in recent years, and have always managed to overachieve the prescribed targets every month, ahead of schedule.

I wish to recommend Ms. Julia both on a professional and personal level and can vouch for her diligence, efficiency, and productivity. I feel proud to have been associated with her and wish her all the best in his academic pursuits. Her spirit and determination are capable of doing wonders.

I would like to recommend her for a place in the MS Business Management course and wish her the best in her studies. If you need to contact me for more information or queries, you can reach me at +91 7225689454.

Thanking you.

Operations Manager, Sunsilk LLC.

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How to write a great Letter of Recommendation: Key Tips With 3 Samples

Letter of Recommendation can make or break your application. Make sure your LOR doesn't become your letter of rejection.

Anyone applying for a new job in a foreign country knows how important recommendation letters can be to getting hired. A reference letter provides employers with a third-party account of a candidate’s attributes and character traits.

SOP, LORs, and Resume  are part of your application documents that will be sent to all the universities along with your application form. Strong Letters of Recommendation showcases what makes you a diverse and notable applicant.  

Get effective recommendation letters to enhance your admission or job application today. Here's a guide to help you navigate through treacherous LOR writing. 

What is a LOR?


A Letter of Recommendation is a pre-arranged document by your Professor, Project Guide, or Reporting Manager attached with your application. A Letter of Recommendation is written by somebody reliable , with whom you have worked before. It supports your knowledge, abilities, expertise, and accomplishments.

If you are applying to an overseas university or job, take enough time to consider who to ask for Letters of Recommendation. Recommendations play an important role in deciding whether you get admission to graduate and the professional program of your choice. On many occasions, it helps in decisions vis-à-vis who is hired for a great job

A good recommendation should be honest, accurate, and complete . And hence to some degree, those providing recommendations are placed in a dilemma. The stress of writing one is candid!

It is a sign of respect and privilege if a person asks you for a Letter of Recommendation. When writing a LOR, you get to know a person better, mainly if you only know them from one class or project.

Letter of Recommendation: 8 points to remember!

The institutions & organizations that request the letter typically expect specific information about the applicant.

The general format of the one-to-two-page letter is the following:

  • Official college/institute/committee letterhead.
  • Title & Address of where the letter is being submitted.
  • The student/employee's full name is in bold.
  • Some context about referee's position as well as how well they know the applicant
  • Some context about your relationship.
  • Specific accomplishments of the student/employee that are directly relevant to the position/course being applied to.
  • An evaluation of the student/employee directly responding to precise requests from the potential employer/school/board.
  • A conclusive statement about the referee's level of support and enthusiasm, as well as an invitation to contact them for additional information


Types of Letters of Recommendation:

A Letter of Recommendation is an on-paper document for a study abroad program containing information about an individual's personality, work ethic, community, accomplishments, etc.  

Letter of Recommendation is mainly of two types:

  • Academic Recommendation Letter:  Academic Recommendation Letter is mainly used by the students during the admission procedure. Students may request recommendations from former teachers, principals, deans, trainers, and other education professionals familiar with the student's academic experience or extracurricular achievements.

Most schools or colleges expect at least two or three reference letters during the admissions procedure. Teachers and counsellors help the student through this step.

  • Employment Recommendation Letter:  Employment Recommendations work as an effective tool for individuals seeking a job . Generally, employment recommendation letters include employment history, work performance, work ethic, and individual accomplishments.

The letters are typically written by former or current employers or direct supervisors. Co-workers are also acceptable but not as desirable as employers or supervisors. Recommendations can be in many forms. They can be uploaded on a website, attached with a resume, supplied with the application, etc. 

Types-of-Letters-of-Recommendation (1)

Basic Six Sections to A Letter of Recommendation:

Each letter must also contain the following six primary sections: 


Top Formats of Letter of Recommendation: 


Here are some sample letters of recommendation to help you get some clarity on various types, formats and some dos and don'ts. Find the best formats to help you write a LOR that boosts your application.

Sample 1: LOR for Engineering Student

Sample LOR- Engineering Student1

Tip: This LOR is a good example, but it could have emphasized the student's technical achievements and practical projects, as it is a submission for an engineering student. The LOR should write about the probable strengths & qualities of the candidate that align more with the upcoming course.

Sample 2: LOR for Jobseeker 


Tip: This LOR is a good example. It highlights the key characteristics and demonstrates those traits through specific anecdotes and observations.

Sample 3: LOR for from Employer for Higher Studies

Sample LOR for MBA1

Tip: This is an excellent example of a LOR. This sample speaks in-depth about the employee, shows a genuine connection between the writer and the employee. It describes how the applicant's capabilities make her a perfect candidate for the course she is about to enrol in. 

What Makes a Good Letter of Recommendation?


  • Robust Letters of Recommendation communicate what makes you a well-defined and memorable applicant. It highpoint you from other candidates, where a considerable number of applicants are highly qualified
  • The best endorsements highlight your key characteristics and demonstrate those traits through specific anecdotes and observations. Those reading the letters should sense that the recommender was excited to write about you and raved about helping you on your path to university or job. 
  • Your recommender should mention why they admire you while having the stories & examples to back up their praise.  They should shine a light on what makes you tick and what skills and experiences have shaped who you are today
  • Reference letters should not only discuss your academic skills and potential but should shed light on your character and disposition. Admissions officials see LOR as a big picture of what type of person will be coming to their campus and how they would contribute inside and outside the classroom.
  • A recommendation can speak in your favour, especially if it gives you a high score compared to other students. They show that your manager/employee has taken the time and thought to develop a powerful statement of support.
  • A letter should be eloquent and well crafted . They add something unique and exciting to your application and grab the attention of admissions officers, many of whom have read hundreds if not thousands of applications.

Tips for Indian students

An important thing to remember as an applicant is that the Admission Committee runs over a large number of letters and countless records. Here are some guidelines to remember while drafting a LOR for someone:

  • They can undeniably notice if the LOR was copied or composed from the web. So, make sure to write a draft yourself, even if it is stressful.
  • If you compose the LORs yourself, make sure the characteristics and examples are tangible and vary for each LOR. Remember, every person writing for you will have various encounters and relations with you.
  • The subjects mentioned ought to contrast just like the style of writing

Mistakes to Avoid while Writing a LOR:

There are many normal slip-ups which both recommenders or the students requesting a suggestion should keep away from.  Here is a list of the most common and repeated LOR blunders .

  • Not writing an individualized LOR
  • Repeating your SOP & Resume
  • Lack of relevant information
  • Not Validating Your Candidature

Conclusion: A Letter of Recommendation holds extreme importance for a candidate who has applied for a course or a job profile. LOR needs to be comprehensive and precisely elucidated. It should be candid with insights about the applicant and their personality. Once you know what to highlight, how to make the request, and what to provide, you'll be on your way to receiving an excellent recommendation letter and higher chances of success in your application.


1. Who can write a LOR?

Ans: A professor or former employer mainly writes LOR.

2. Why is the LOR Required?

Ans: The LOR is required for academic purposes, which tells about students' qualifications, qualities and abilities.

3. What should be written in a LOR?

Ans: A letter of recommendation should comprise information on who you are, your relation with the person you are recommending, why he/she is qualified, and the specific skills they have. Whenever possible, it's helpful to provide specific anecdotes and examples that illustrate your suppor.

4. How do you start a letter of recommendation?

Ans: Open with a welcoming and professional salutation, such as "Dear Dean of" “Respected in charge” If you don't know the person's name, use department name & their title. Build excitement for your strong recommendation from the first sentence.

5. How do I write a good recommendation letter?

Ans: Your letter should define how you know the person and explain why you recommend them. Once you know what to highlight, catch the eyes of admissions officers, it will strengthen the application

6. Can family members write a letter of recommendation?

Ans: Under no situation should you submit a letter of recommendation from a member of your family. Most people will not look at the letter favourably, and it will not strengthen your application.

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  • Tips to help you get the best letter of recommendation for your higher studies

Sample letters of recommendation (LORs) for students planning their studies abroad

Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


  • Doodle Nandi

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An LOR or Letter of Recommendation influences a student's college application. Learn the LOR format, sample LOR and dos & don'ts of writing LORs.

sample lors for higher studies abroad

What’s covered in this article?

What makes a good LOR?

What is a good lor format, sample letter of recommendation (lor).

  • Tips for writing a good LOR
  • Mistakes to avoid in an LOR
  • Whom to ask for an LOR

FAQs on writing a Letter of Recommendation or LOR

Studying abroad involves a lot of paperwork. Amidst the pile of papers, there is one that could be most stressful - the Letter of Recommendation (LOR). An LOR is a prerequisite for most foreign university applications . It can decide the fate of your application. You might be blank right now, thinking about how to proceed with getting an LOR, and wondering whom to ask for an LOR for your higher studies abroad. A sample LOR is a good place to start. You can understand the format and the general style of writing to convey your expectations to your referee.

A good LOR should highlight your eligibility for the course you picked. It should talk about your skills and accolades that are most relevant to your subject. It should also mention what makes you unique and how you can contribute to the institution and society. It is best to avoid generalisations. The referee’s suggestion should be very clear and it is best if it is reiterated at the end of the letter.

Check out our article if you need more pointers for getting a good LOR from the right referee.

Register for more updates on writing LORs

An LOR can have 3 to 4 paragraphs.

The first paragraph should explain the relationship between the student and the referee. It should also include information like how long the referee has known the student and in what capacity. This paragraph should mention the profession and/or area of expertise of the referee. They can also mention how long they have known you.

In the next two paragraphs , the referee can talk about their evaluation of the student/candidate. A line or two about why they think the student is the apt candidate for the course should also be added. In these two paragraphs, the referee can also talk about the achievements (academic and otherwise) of the candidate. If the candidate’s skills and expertise are mentioned, it is necessary to back the claim with examples. Any other qualification, voluntary activities etc. can be added too.

The final paragraph should be more like a summary of your reasons for recommending the candidate for the university programme. You can conclude by reiterating your recommendation.

Apart from these, ensure that you use a formal font with black as the font colour. It should be formatted properly with the right alignment, sufficient line spacing and paragraph breaks.

A good LOR can make your university application stand out from the rest .

An LOR should start with the date and place and salutation, followed by the referee’s introduction, the body of the LOR, a concluding paragraph and finally the signature. If the LOR is supposed to be addressed to a specific person in the admission committee or the faculty, you can address them in the letter.                                                                                  

8 November 2022

Dear Admission Committee,

As a professor of [subject] at [college name] in Chennai, I am delighted to recommend [student name], a final year BSc [course name] student for the prestigious [prospective course name] course offered by the [university name], [place]. I am a [qualification of the referee] in [subject] and have X years of experience imparting my knowledge to students. I had the privilege of teaching and guiding [first name of the student] for the past three years and I have seen him/her evolve from a promising student to a mentor for his/her classmates.

He/she has always demonstrated [skills] and was an outstanding student in terms of academic performance. He/she was open to feedback and took initiative to improve herself/himself to eventually excel at what he/she does. [Add an example to validate this claim]. The best part about [student name] that I would like to highlight is his/her interest in helping his/her peers get better at their studies.

[Student name] represented our institution at the college level and state-level [competition names] competitions bringing accolades to our college. I particularly remember an instance when he/she [any instance when the student proved their skills/knowledge]. For his/her undergraduate project, he/she worked on [topic]. Though it was a difficult theme, she and her team were able to [results] ahead of the stipulated time.  She organised [subject] events in our college and was an active participant in volunteering activities too.

[Student] has always been at the forefront of any events at our college, contributing to its fame and success in our district. I believe his/her self-discipline and an inquisitive mind are his/her biggest assets that ensure continued success in all his/her endeavours. I strongly recommend [student] for the [course name] course offered by your institution and I wish her all the best.

Thanks and regards,

Email address

Phone number

What makes an LOR unique is the skills and accomplishments that the referee chooses to highlight. This should vary based on the courses you are applying to. It is ideal if the points vary from one referee to another because different people will have different opinions about you. What they think is relevant should find a place in the recommendation letter. However, the basic structure of the LOR can remain the same. Explore our article on the different types of LORs to understand more about the specific details to be included in LORs for different subjects.

Here are some sample LORs for your reference:

  • Sample LOR written by a professor for a student looking to study MS in Computer Science abroad . [PDF, 78KB]
  • Sample LOR written by an employer for an employee looking to study MS in Analytical Chemistry abroad . [PDF, 77KB]
  • Sample LOR written by a professor for a student looking to study an MBA abroad . [PDF, 76KB]
  • Sample LOR written by an employer for an employee looking to study an MBA abroad . [PDF, 78KB]
  • Sample LOR written by an employer for an employee looking to study Chemical Engineering abroad . [PDF, 76KB]
  • Sample LOR written by a professor for a student looking to study Electronic Engineering abroad . [PDF, 75KB]

The Dos: Tips for writing a good Letter of Recommendation

Tips for writing an LOR or Letter of Recommendation

  • Choose the right person to write an LOR for you. (More guidance on that below)
  • Choose a referee who has known you for a long time and knows about your academic and professional achievements rather than choosing someone who knows or cares little about you.
  • Ensure that you give the referee adequate time to draft the LOR. If possible, spend time with your referee, helping him or her with the inputs required to draft the letter.
  • The skills and accomplishments mentioned in the LOR should align with the subject or requirements of the course you are applying to.
  • Ensure that the letter is written in crisp and simple English.  It should not be riddled with grammar errors.
  • Make sure you follow a specific format and font while writing the LOR – every LOR must have a basic structure. Read more about the LOR format below.
  • If the recommender highlights any skill, add supporting details to it.
  • Ensure that all information stated in the letter matches your academic scores. Any specific achievements related to the course you wish to study should be mentioned.
  • Always maintain factual accuracy. Add data to support the claims.
  • If the institution has specified a word limit, say 500-600 words for the LOR, you should adhere to it.
  • Ensure that the letter is delivered to the university well before the deadline.
  • Personally, thank your referee for the help and support they show.

Are you looking for expert support to help you with university applications? Just fill out the form on this page and our counsellors will get in touch with you.

 The Don’ts: Mistakes to avoid while writing an LOR

What to avoid in an LOR or Letter of Recommendation

  • Don’t try writing an LOR on your own and using somebody else’s signature. That’s illegal!
  • If the institution (where you plan to send the letter) requests that you as the applicant should not read the letter and that it should be sent directly to the institution, please do follow the request.
  • Don’t get a letter written by a referee who does not know anything about your academic or professional achievements.
  • Don’t wait till the last minute to send over the letter to the institution.
  • Do not copy-paste content from the web. It should be used as a reference only.
  • Do not exaggerate. Your skills and accomplishments shouldn’t be inflated. The reviewing authority will be able to see through this and it will negatively impact your application.

Whom to ask for an LOR?

Sometimes institutions themselves ask for LORs from particular people. It could be your professor, your manager or your colleague if you were employed. You might feel confused if it is left to you to decide on your referees.

Don’t worry, there are ways to identify the best people to ask for an LOR or letter of recommendation. To choose either an employer or a professor whom you think can be ideal as referees, you need to first make a list of the names that come to your mind. Our article tells you three crucial points to help you shortlist the people to ask for an LOR. In the end, it all boils down to how willing they are to spend their time writing a convincing recommendation letter for you.

Think over it and choose the best from the list!

Are 200 words enough for an LOR?

An ideal recommendation letter should not be more than 1-page long. If the recommendation letter talks about your relevant skills, accomplishments, contributions, motivations and such, then the length of the LOR should not matter. That said, a very long reference letter is not good. A very short one will not give a good impression of the candidate.

Can I write LOR by myself?

It is not right to write a recommendation letter by yourself. The institution is looking for a professor or colleague’s honest opinion of you and you shouldn’t be the one writing it. If they are new to writing recommendation letters, you can give pointers or provide samples for guidance. Some institutions request that the recommendation letters are sent to them directly and not through the candidate.

Can I study abroad without an LOR?

The short answer is yes, considering that there are several institutions where a recommendation letter is not a mandatory requirement. They evaluate candidates based on other admission criteria such as their Statement of Purpose, resume, academic profile and work experience if any.

How many Letters of Recommendation are required to study abroad from India?

Most institutions ask for 2 or more recommendation letters. Some might also specify from whom the letter of recommendation should be.

Can I ask my HOD to write a recommendation letter to support my study-abroad application?

If the institution that you are applying to specifically asks for a Letter of Recommendation from the Head of the Department, please go ahead and approach them. However, if you have a choice, you should always give preference to someone who knows you and your potential well. If your HOD indeed knows your calibre and is ready to vouch for you, you can request a recommendation letter.

An LOR cannot be taken lightly. It can either get you what you want or take you nowhere. So it is essential that you build a strong rapport with either your employer or your professor, but only through working hard. 

Let us know if you have any questions. We can help you with more advice on how to get a pressing LOR for overseas education done. 

Editor's note : This article was originally published in March 2018. Our content writer Roshna Mohan has edited it to include up-to-date information and made it comprehensive.

Need help preparing LOR?

Shivam Srivastava

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Letter of Recommendation For Further Studies by Employer

Letter of Recommendation For Further Studies by Employer while doing job with scholarship from the company.

Recommendation Letter for Studies by Employer

The Institute XYZ, Head of Department, Lahore

Subject: Letter of Recommendation For Further Studies by Employer

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing in favor of Mr. M Umer Farooq who is working in my company XYZ in Power Engineering department. He is a talented, and devoted employee, and intended towards further studies in specialized field of power engineering. I recommend him for further studies in Masters of his desired area in Institute XYZ so that he may enhance his technical, and critical skills.

Your Truly,

Muhammad Umer Farooq

Sample Recommendation Letter format

To Whom It May Concern

This is to certify that Ms. Hammna is engineer at SemiOffice Corporation, working with us since two years for civil, mechanical & electrical works for our various engineering projects.

SemiOffice Corporation have a good team of engineers, supervisors, and technical manpower of all grades, and performs the work professionally, and with devotion to complete the specified projects tasks within the scheduled time, and to our client satisfaction.

We wish her every success in future, and strongly recommend her to continue her further studies in her desired era of management. We would like to involve her again on our future up-coming projects after the completion of studies. We will also give her favour if she is interested to continue her job while studying. The company will facilitate her with office time relaxation, exam vocations, and educational scholarship as per company policy.

For, and on behalf of

Signatory Authority

Sample Recommendation Letter by Employer

Letter of Recommendation for Further Studies by Employer

To whom it may concern

It brings me great pleasure to recommend Mr. Goldstein for further studies. He has been working at our company as Marketing Executive for two years. Given his experience, and skills, he can improve himself by adding a master’s degree to his qualification. He is a graduate, and has extensive experience in the field. He is currently working part time at our company, and wishes to continue his studies in the morning.

He is therefore commended to any institution he may apply. I am willing to provide any further information related to this matter.

The manager

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I am a content creator and entrepreneur. I am a university graduate with a business degree, and I started writing content for students first and later for working professionals. Now we are adding a lot more content for businesses. We provide free content for our visitors, and your support is a smile for us. View all posts by David Beckham

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Recommendation letter for Further Studies by Employer

Recommendation letter for Further Studies by Employer

[Here briefly describe on sample Recommendation letter for Further Studies by Employer. These recommendation letters are applicable for further Studies by Employer while doing a job with a scholarship from the company. You need to modify this sample according to your needs.]

To Whom It May Concern,

This is to certify that (Employee name) is an engineer (Job Designation) at (Company/Institute name), working with us since two years for civil, mechanical & electrical works (Department name) for our various engineering projects. (Briefly describe on job specifications.)

Company/Institute name have a good team of engineers, supervisors and technical manpower of all grades and performs the work professionally and with devotion to complete the specified project’s tasks within the scheduled time and to our client satisfaction. (Job description and performance of the employee)

We wish his/her every success in the future and strongly recommend him/her to continue his/her further studies in his/her desired era of management. We would like to involve his/her again on our future up-coming projects after the completion of studies. We will also give his/her favor if s/he is interested to continue her job while studying. The company will facilitate him/her with office time relaxation, exam vocations and educational scholarship as per company policy.

For and on behalf of –

Signatory Authority,

Your Name…

Job Designation…

Another format,

Letter of Recommendation for Further Studies by Employer

To whom it may concern,

It brings me great pleasure to recommend (Employee name) for further studies. He has been working at our company as Marketing Executive (Job designation) for two years (More/less). Given his experience and skills, he can improve himself by adding a master’s degree to his qualification. He is a graduate and has extensive experience in the field. (Job description and performance of the employee). He is currently working part-time at our company and wishes to continue his studies in the morning. (Briefly describe on job specifications.)

He is therefore commanded to any institution he may apply. I am willing to provide any further information related to this matter.

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  • How to Write Recommendations in Research | Examples & Tips

How to Write Recommendations in Research | Examples & Tips

Published on September 15, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

Recommendations in research are a crucial component of your discussion section and the conclusion of your thesis , dissertation , or research paper .

As you conduct your research and analyze the data you collected , perhaps there are ideas or results that don’t quite fit the scope of your research topic. Or, maybe your results suggest that there are further implications of your results or the causal relationships between previously-studied variables than covered in extant research.

Table of contents

What should recommendations look like, building your research recommendation, how should your recommendations be written, recommendation in research example, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about recommendations.

Recommendations for future research should be:

  • Concrete and specific
  • Supported with a clear rationale
  • Directly connected to your research

Overall, strive to highlight ways other researchers can reproduce or replicate your results to draw further conclusions, and suggest different directions that future research can take, if applicable.

Relatedly, when making these recommendations, avoid:

  • Undermining your own work, but rather offer suggestions on how future studies can build upon it
  • Suggesting recommendations actually needed to complete your argument, but rather ensure that your research stands alone on its own merits
  • Using recommendations as a place for self-criticism, but rather as a natural extension point for your work

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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See an example

recommendation for further study sample

There are many different ways to frame recommendations, but the easiest is perhaps to follow the formula of research question   conclusion  recommendation. Here’s an example.

Conclusion An important condition for controlling many social skills is mastering language. If children have a better command of language, they can express themselves better and are better able to understand their peers. Opportunities to practice social skills are thus dependent on the development of language skills.

As a rule of thumb, try to limit yourself to only the most relevant future recommendations: ones that stem directly from your work. While you can have multiple recommendations for each research conclusion, it is also acceptable to have one recommendation that is connected to more than one conclusion.

These recommendations should be targeted at your audience, specifically toward peers or colleagues in your field that work on similar subjects to your paper or dissertation topic . They can flow directly from any limitations you found while conducting your work, offering concrete and actionable possibilities for how future research can build on anything that your own work was unable to address at the time of your writing.

See below for a full research recommendation example that you can use as a template to write your own.

Recommendation in research example

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If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

George, T. (2023, July 18). How to Write Recommendations in Research | Examples & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/recommendations-in-research/

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