“White Papers: An Introduction to the Genre and Its Expectations,” from the Purdue OWL
“What is a White Paper?” by Mak Pandit You may take any of the following approaches:
a white paper to an internal audience – written to individuals within an organization you work for or are a part of. The white paper might inform them about a trend in the field and/or to solve a problem in the organization.
a white paper to an external audience – written to individuals in a particular industry or field of study, but not an organization you are a part of. The white paper could address a problem you are attempting to solve in the organization or to inform an external audience about a relevant trend.
a white paper promoting a new product or service to potential customers. This is an example of a white paper to an external audience, but it features different rhetorical considerations than the typical white paper written to an external audience does.
All three options are discussed in the Purdue OWL video mentioned above. In addition, the video from Mak Pandit mentioned above provides excellent insight into how these approaches would work.
Strategies to Consider for this Assignment:
Please follow these guidelines:
have a focused topic
write to an identified audience
o if your white paper is to an internal audience, it might have a fairly narrow audience. For example, if you work in a hair salon and write a white paper promoting a new billing system for your salon, the audience will probably be the owner and manager of the hair salon.
o if your white paper is to an external audience, it could have a broad audience or a narrow audience. For example, if you do not work for a hair salon and you write a white paper promoting a new billing system for hair salons, the audience will probably be the various hair salons in your neighborhood.
o if your white paper is to promote a product or service to potential customers, it could have a fairly broad audience. For example, a white paper promoting a new taxi service in your neighborhood has, theoretically, all residents in the neighborhood as a potential audience.
integrate thorough research
make sure that you do not directly tell the audience what action it should take. Rather,
offer background information that the audience can use to make a decision. The Purdue OWL video mentions this principle. This is one reason the video refers to the white paper as a backgrounder report.
Please include the following sections in your white paper:
In the Executive Summary, summarize your research and your purpose. The executive summary should be a stand-alone document. It should be written in such a way that a busy executive could read the executive summary and know exactly what the paper is about without reading the rest of the paper.
In the Introduction, you lay the groundwork for your readers for the details that will be introduced in the white paper. If you need to define any terms, you will do so here. You might share an anecdote or illustration to describe why this topic is important.
In the Previous Approaches section, you will describe the approaches or strategies that have been previously used or are currently used on the topic. For example, if your white paper is being written to advertise a new taxi service in your area, you might review what transportation services are provided now. You could show the challenges or problems that the current services involve. Inthissectionofthewhitepaper,youruseofsourceswillbeveryimportant. Youshould integrate research to show that the problems you have identified exist.
In the New Findings section, you present perhaps the most important information in the paper. In this section, you will describe the findings of your research and relate these findings to the purpose of your report. You will not only provide data and research, but you will also explain the data and research and why it is relevant to your report’s topic.
For example, if your white paper is being written to advertise a new taxi service in your area, you might review what transportation services are provided now and show why the new taxi service fills a need that the current set of transportation services does not fill or solves a problem that the current set of transportation services does not solve. You will provide data and evidence for why the new taxi service has promise in solving the problems you have identified.
In this section of the white paper, your use of sources will be very important as well. You should integrate research to show that the problems you have identified will be solved by your new approach.
In the Conclusion section, you review what your research shows in light of the previous approaches used. You will not tell the audience what steps to take next. However, you will summarize what your findings articulate.
In the References, you will list your sources that you cited in the paper. You will list them in APA format. Please note that the lectures on white papers that you have viewed and examples of white papers you may have read may not have used APA format. You will be using APA format in this assignment.
You are required to have at least five sources for your paper. In addition, at least one of them is to have been acquired through UMUC Library OneSearch.
Primary sources will be very beneficial for the paper. For example, if your white paper is being written to advertise a new taxi service in your area, you might interview some local residents about the problems they have with the current transportation services in the area. The information in such interviews would be persuasive research to integrate into your white paper.
The following websites and documents offer additional guidance in writing a white paper:
Chapter 1, “A Primer on White Papers,” by Michael Stelzner
“The Art of the White Paper,” by Manuel Gordon and Gordon Graham
“Guidelines for Writing White Papers” from Warthman Associates
Length of your paper:
Your white paper should be 2000-3000 words in length. Again, you are required to use at least five sources, with at least one of them being acquired through UMUC Library OneSearch.
Your white paper should incorporate at least three graphics. Graphic can include tables, charts, or graphs showing some research findings. They can also be images that are relevant to the topic of the white paper.
At least two of the graphics must be original. Original graphics can include photos taken by you; tables, charts, or graphs developed by you; or screen captures showing a function on your computer (not a screen capture of an image off of the web).
To see examples of graphics used in white papers, see the Purdue OWL video, “White Papers: An Introduction to the Genre and Its Expectations,” at the 3:27 mark, at the 5:29 mark, at the 6:58 mark, at the 7:01 mark, at the 7:11 mark, at the 7:43 mark, and at the 7:58 mark.
Length2000-3000 words1600-1999 words1300-1599 words1000-1299 wordsfewer than 1000 wordsThe essay meets the word count requirement given in the instructions8 points6 points4 points2 points0 pointsGrammar and punctuationExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passdemonstrates accurate word forms5 points4 points3 points2 points0 pointsdemonstrates accurate sentences5 points4 points3 points2 points0 pointsdemonstrates accurate punctuation5 points4 points3 points2 points0 pointsrequirements for graphicsat least three graphicstwo graphicsone graphicno graphics meets the requirements for the number of graphics3 points1.5 points1 point0 pointsrequirements for original graphicsate least two graphics are originalone graphic is originalno graphics are original meets requirements for the number of original graphics3 points1 point0 pointsquality and message of graphicsExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsno graphicsgraphics enhance the message of the white paper5 points4 points3 points2 points0 pointsgraphics are readable3 points2.5 points2 points1 point0 pointsall graphics are labeled, and graphics from other sources are cited appropriately7 points6 points5 points4 points0 pointsgraphics are consistent and aligned appropriately for the document5 points4 points3.5 points3 points0 pointsExecutive summaryExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passis thorough — a busy executive understands the problem described and the purpose of the white paper from the executive summary4 points3.5 points3 points2.5 points1 pointIntroductionExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passsummarizes the research1 point0.8 points0.7 points0.6 points0 pointsdefines the necessary terms in the report1 point0.8 points0.7 points0.6 points0 pointsPrevious approachesExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passdescribes the approaches and strategies that have been previously used or are currently used7 points5 points4 points2 points0 pointsintegrates research to support the descriptions of the problems with the approaches8 points6 points5 points3 points0 pointsNew FindingsExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passdescribes the findings of the research and presents and interprets the data for the reader9 points8 points7 points4 points1 pointrelates these findings to the purpose of the paper9 points8 points7 points4 points1 pointConclusionExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passreviews the research in light of the previous approaches2 points1.5 points1 point0.5 points0 pointsprovides the audience with information about what steps might be taken2 points1.5 points1 point0.5 points0 pointsUse of sourcesExcellentGoodFairDoes not meet expectationsDoes not passsources listed and cited in APA format5 points4 points3 points2 points1 pointsources are scholarly, primary, or appropriate for the message in the white paper3 points2.5 points2 points1.5 points1 pointOverall ScoreA90 or moreB80 or moreC70 or moreD60 or moreF0 or more