Writing Assignment #5
White Paper for an External Audience
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: 1300-1600 words
Graphics: at least three graphics, one of which has 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 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 fairly broad audience, but the
paper should focus on a particular problem that the audience is experiencing.
For example, you could write a white paper on better ways of training employees
to detect phishing scams. The audience would be a broad range of managers and
IT professionals. However, the problem they all share would be clear: Phishing
emails have become a problem for cybersecurity in many companies.
You could write a white paper on better ways of teaching English grammar online
to high school students. The audience would be a broad range of English
instructors and principals of high schools, perhaps parents of high school students
as well. However, the problem they all share would be clear: Current approaches
to teaching grammar to high school students in an online format are not working
as they should.
integrate thorough research
do not make a hard sell to the audience about what action it should take. Your white
paper is designed to inform an audience of a possible solution to a problem. The Purdue
OWL video mentions this principle. This is one reason the video refers to the white
paper as a backgrounder report.
Continue to the next page
How to Organize the White Paper:
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 some groundwork for your readers for the details that will
be introduced in the white paper. At a minimum, you need to define key terms in this
section. You might also share an anecdote or illustration to describe why this topic is
In the , you will describe the approaches or strategies that
are currently used for the issue. For example, if you are writing a white paper about a
new way to train employees on how to detect and ward off phishing scams, you would
review what training procedures are being conducted now by most companies to help
them detect and ward off phishing scams. You could show the challenges or problems
that the current training features. You might show that employees are still falling prey to
phishing scams despite this training, or that employees find the training uninspiring,
boring, and routine.
In this section of the white paper, your use of sources will be very important. You should
integrate research to show that the problems you have identified exist. For example, in
the situation described above, you would need sources to give evidence that employees
find training ineffective.
In the , you will describe a new approach to addressing the
problem you have identified.
For example, if you are writing a white paper about a new way to train employees on how
to detect and ward off phishing scams, you would show why a new approach to training
employees on phishing scams would be more effective than the current approaches.
Perhaps the current approaches are boring online tutorials, and you are proposing exciting
onsite training sessions complete with scenarios, role-playing, and group work.
You would want to integrate research to show that your new approaches might be
superior. For example, you might cite a study that indicates that online tutorials are
boring and that employees want more interaction. The more research, the more
persuasive your argument will be.
In the Conclusion section, you briefly review what the problem is, how the research
shows that is is a problem, and what the potential new approach is.
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 UMGC Library OneSearch.
Length of the Paper:
Your white paper should be 1300-1600 words in length. Again, you are required to use at least
five sources, with at least one of them being acquired through UMGC Library OneSearch.
Your white paper should incorporate at least three graphics. Graphics 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 one of the graphics must be original. Original graphics can include photos taken by you
or tables, charts, or graphs developed by you.
For example, using the situation described previously, you could integrate the following:
a table that illustrates what percentage of companies use online tutorials to train their
employees on phishing attacks
a graph that features how training on phishing has increased while successful phishing
attacks have also increased, thus demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the training.
an image of employees clicking routinely through an online tutorial on phishing.
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.
Your instructor will notify you of the due date. You will write a first draft, your instructor will
comment on the first draft, and you will submit a second draft using the comments as your guide.
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