How to Write a White Paper
White papers are great for commercial purposes, which is why they are commonly assigned to students who study business, management, marketing, and similar disciplines. Their purpose is to describe a problem, suggest a solution, and convince the audience that this solution will work most effectively for this particular problem.
As an academic task, a white paper requires students to show their problem-solving skills as well as their abilities to conduct an analysis and persuade others. So, how can you write white papers properly? Keep reading to find it out.
Helpful Tips on White Paper Writing
You’re probably familiar with the basic structure and requirements of different academic papers, so there’s no need to describe how the writing process goes step by step. Instead, you may need some more advanced tips. Here they are:
Define who your audience is
You may be asked to write a white paper for a usual class or for an exam. However, when talking about the audience, we don’t imply your professor and classmates. We imply the imaginary audience that is interested in the modeled problem and its solutions.
For example, your professor may give you a task to write a white paper suggesting your ways to improve the quality of online courses provided by your college. In this case, your audience will likely consist of professors and college administration representatives. If your teacher has asked you to write a white paper presenting your product as a solution to some problem, your audience must be your potential investors.
Anyway, you should ask yourself, “If the modeled problem were real, who would my audience be? What level of knowledge about the problem I am going to discuss would they have?”
Make up a worthy title
A catchy title is crucial for a white paper. It should specify the problem you are aiming to solve. In a real world, your white paper risks being left with no attention at all if the title is weak. You may or may not include the phrase “a white paper” in the title; it’s up to you.
Show that you have studied the problem well enough
You need to convince the reader that your solution to the problem is the best one. And you won’t manage to do it if the reasoning doesn’t seem to be well-researched. If this problem existed in the past, give an overview of how it has been treated centuries ago. If it’s an urgent problem today, explain what makes it so important and what solutions have already been applied as well as why you reject them as the best ones.
Avoid the language that may show you off as anything less than a professional – that is, don’t try to persuade the audience by claiming that the solution is right because you think so, don’t use jargon words, and make sure your explanations are not vague.
Visual content is not only appealing to the eye but also useful when it comes to helping the reader understand the point better. It includes:
They work as support for your arguments. Note that it’s important to format visual elements correctly. Your professor should have given you the guidelines concerning this issue. Some professors require students to include all visual elements in the text according to the context, while others require placing them alongside the rest of supplementary elements in the appendix. If it’s the second case, you should also ensure that you make references to the appendix in the body of the text appropriately.
Include other solutions
Of course, you are presenting only one solution, which is the best; however, describing other solutions is a good idea too. You should present them from such a perspective: why are they not the best? what are the reasons they have failed? This way you will show the audience that you are familiar with the whole subject and equipped with counterarguments to every possible solution except yours. However, be careful and avoid diminishing the importance and contribution of other solutions. Instead, show that they make sense and are useful
Be precise and informative
It’s important that you describe precisely the process of working out the solution you suggest. Mention each step and explain why they altogether have led you to this solution. Lists and headings will help you organize all the information in a comprehensible and informative manner.
Also, back up your suggestions with official reports, statistical data, or other publications where one can find figures and facts that prove that you’re right. They don’t need to be visual – you can simply cite them and include the source in your reference list.
Writing a white paper is a great way to practice different skills. Yet, you may not always have time and desire to write. If that’s the case, it makes sense to get some homework help. Anyway, whether you decide to complete your writing task yourself following these tips or to get some help with it, you will get a good grade for sure!