White Paper Note: You may have taken WRTG 394 at UMUC. In WRTG 394, the final paper is a research-based business report. This assignment is different from the research-based business report in WRTG 394. In the white paper for WRTG 393, you provide background research to an audience to help the audience make a decision on a topic. In WRTG 394, the paper is written to a specific decision-maker about a specific problem in your workplace or community and recommends a specific course of action. The audience and approach for the white paper in WRTG 393 is very different from those for the research-based business report in WRTG 394. Note: If you have written a white paper for WRTG 293, the requirements for the WRTG 393 white paper are different from those in WRTG 293. The length, number of graphics, types of graphics, and focus of the white paper involve different requirements than those of WRTG 293. What to Do: The third writing assignment is a white paper. Review the following two videos to prepare for developing your white paper: “White Papers: An Introduction to the Genre and Its Expectations,” from the Purdue OWL “What is a White Paper?” by Mak Pandit Develop a white paper with a purpose of informing and persuading an audience with research about a subject for one of the following three options: 1. a white paper to an internal audience – written to individuals within an organization you work for or are a part of. The white paper could inform them about a trend in the field and / or to solve a problem in the organization. 2. a white paper to an external audience – written to individuals in a specific 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 an organization or to inform an external audience about a relevant trend. 3. a white paper promoting a new product or service to potential customers–written to an external audience however, it features different rhetorical considerations than the typical white paper written to an external audience does. The three options are discussed in the Purdue OWL video “White Papers: An Introduction to the Genre and Its Expectations.” In addition, the Mak Pandit video “What is a White Paper?” presents excellent insight into how these approaches would work. Strategies to Consider for this Assignment: 2 Follow these strategies when developing your white paper: Focus your topic Tailor your white paper to an identified audience If Your White Paper Is for: The White Paper: Internal audience Likely has 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. External audience Can have either 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. Potential customers to promote a product or service Can 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 you do not directly tell the audience what action they should take. Rather, offer background information that the audience can use to make a decision. The Purdue OWL video mentions this principle. This principle is one reason the video refers to the white paper as a backgrounder report. How to Organize your White Paper: Include the following sections in your white paper: Executive Summary Introduction Previous Approaches 3 New Findings Conclusion References In this section: Do this: Executive Summary Summarize your research and your purpose. The executive summary should be a stand-alone independent document. Write the executive summary in such a way that a busy executive could read it and know exactly what the paper is about without reading the rest of the document. Introduction Provide the groundwork for your readers with the details that you will introduce in the white paper. Define any terms in the Introduction. You can share an anecdote or illustration to describe why this topic is important. Previous Approaches Describe the approaches or strategies that have been previously used or are currently used about the topic. For example, if you are writing a white paper to advertise a new taxi service in your area, you might review what transportation services are currently available. You could show the challenges or problems that the current services involve. In this section of the white paper, your use of sources is very important. Integrate research to show that the problems you have identified exist. New Findings Present perhaps the most important information of the paper. Describe the findings of your research and relate these findings to the purpose of your report. You not only provide data and research, but also explain the data and research and why they are relevant to your report’s topic. 4 For example, if you are writing a white paper 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 (1) fills a need that the current set of transportation services does not fill or (2) solves a problem that the current set of transportation services does not solve. You provide data and evidence for why the new taxi service has promise in solving the problems you have identified. Note: Your use of sources is very important in discussing the new findings. Integrate research to show that the problems you have identified will be solved by your new approach. Conclusion Review what your research shows in light of the previous approaches used. Do not tell the audience what steps to take next. However, summarize what your findings articulate. References List the sources that you cited in the paper following APA format. Note: The lectures on white papers that you have viewed and white papers examples that you may have read may not have used APA format. Use APA format in this assignment. Requirements A minimum of five sources are required for your white paper. Additionally, a minimum of one source must be acquired through UMUC Library OneSearch. 5 Primary sources will be very beneficial for the white paper. For example, if you are writing you your white paper 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 from such interviews would be persuasive research to integrate into your white paper. What Are Some Resources about Developing a 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 How Long Is the White Paper: 2000-3000 words. Use a minimum of five sources, with at least one source acquired through UMUC Library OneSearch. What Types of Graphics to Use: 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 you take; tables, charts, or graphs you develop; 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 following points: 3:27 mark 5:29 mark 6:58 mark 7:01 mark 7:11 mark 7:43 mark 7:58 mark. What Is the Due Date: Submission dates for the draft white paper for feedback and the final white paper for a grade are posted on our class calendar.
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