Summary of the Assignment:
- Task: In this paper, you will write a document that provides information that an external audience can use to inform a decision.
We have read various white papers in the class this semester. White papers can be any one of the following types:
o technical papers
o business benefit papers
o advocacy papers
o hybrid technical/business papers
The CANRIGHT document that is provided in the class in LEO describes all four of these types of white papers.
- Length: 1200-1600 words
- Graphics: at least three graphics, two of which have to be original
- Format in Citing and Listing Sources: APA
- Number and Sources: at least five sources, at least one of which has to be obtained
Brief Description of the White Paper:
In preparing for this assignment, you will want to review the following video:
“White Papers: An Introduction to the Genre and Its Expectations,” from the Purdue OWL You may take any of the following approaches:
- a general 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.
Both options are discussed in the Purdue OWL video mentioned above.
Please note: You will not be writing a white paper to your boss or to superiors in the company for which you work.
That type of paper would be an internal white paper. If you take WRTG 394, you can write that type of paper. For WRTG 393, we ask for a white paper to an external audience.
Strategies to Consider for the White Paper:
Please follow these guidelines:
- have a focused topic. Please see the sample white papers from previous students for examples of how previous topics have been developed for this paper.
- write to a reasonably focused and identified audience
o A white paper to an external audience can have a broad audience or a narrow
▪ 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 A white paper that promotes a product or service to potential customers 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
- integrate thorough research
- 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.
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