What is a White Paper?

What is a “White Paper”?
Most of you know what a journal article is, but what is a “white paper”?  I decided to share my findings with you. I began my search on Google search engine. For articles and academic peer reviewed information, I use Google Scholar. For a more general understanding of terms and their history, I use Wikipedia. According to the latter, the origins of the term “white paper” are in Palestine. The term used to mean “authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and may be a consultation as to the details of new legislation, it does signify a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law” (Wikipedia). In the early 1990s, “the term white paper has come to refer to documents used as marketing or sales tools” (Wikipedia). However, the purpose is not only to sell a product or service.

A white paper will discuss not only the product, but also the reason for using it to resolve problems. The problems and the solutions are often research-based so that it’s wrong to view the underlying reasons behind the white paper as merely commercial and business oriented. According to Purdue University, a white paper serves both the company members and others outside the company. The purpose of a white paper is to serve and cater to a population’s needs.

How do you write a “White Paper”?
The Internet is making us smarter by providing easy to access information on any topic. One way of transmitting the information is through white papers. When was the last time you wrote a white paper? What steps should you take when writing a white paper?  Jennifer Mattern suggests you follow these steps:

  1. Choose a problem
  2. Proof that there is a problem
  3. Mention other related problems
  4. Offer available solutions
  5. Suggest your solution

According to Randall Cronk, white papers consist of seven key sections:

  1. Title
  2. Deck
  3. Second deck (optional) Introduction
  4. Main body introduction Main body development Conclusion
Examples of “White Papers”
  1. Great writing by Randall Cronk
  2. White paper guidelines by  NWCG IRM Program Management Office
  3. White paper examples  by Evolved Media
Watch and learn how to write a  professional “White Paper”

Hire someone to write your “White Paper”

If you cannot do it yourself, hire someone to write the white  paper for you. There are professional writers who do this for a living.
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