Typically, white papers are used to propose a solution to a problem. They usually start with a big-picture view of an issue’s context and then lead readers to a specific proposal for a solution. The audience for a white paper can be a specific business or multiple companies that have problems or needs requiring solutions. You may or may not know your audience personally, but in order to persuade your audience you must understand and focus on their needs. If you can research and address problems that your readers want to solve, they will read your white paper for a solution. Otherwise, your white paper may not be read. It is important to use audience analysis in order to understand your reader’s concerns and emphasize the reader benefits of your solution, rather than focusing on your own interests, opinions, or needs.
For this assignment, you will first identify and describe a current or anticipated problem in a business or industry in which you have worked in the past, or a business or industry you hope to join after graduation. You will then propose a thoughtful, persuasive solution to that problem. You will present the problem and solution in the form of a white paper.
Your white paper should be 3-5 double-spaced pages (minimum of 3 full pages) with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. The works cited page does not count toward the length requirement. You should organize your white paper carefully and use clear, specific headings so that busy readers can scan the document effectively. The white paper is worth 200 points towards your final grade.
Prior to our class visit to the library you will complete a prewriting assignment. The assignment is a short list of three problems, one of which you will select as the topic for your white paper. This list will be due at the start of next class.
Note: You may not use the sample topics provided in this assignment sheet for your own white paper.
After submitting your list, you should do some preliminary research on each problem in order to determine what kinds of sources are available. Based on your preliminary research, select the problem you feel you will be able to write about most successfully.
Format and Contents of Final Paper
Your white paper must contain all of the following parts:
After stating the problem, you need to provide background information about it to help readers make their decision based on a clear understanding of the facts. You also need to demonstrate your own expertise on the subject so that readers will perceive your solution as credible. Explain what is known about the problem and what caused it. Explain the consequences of the problem. Describe what is likely to happen if nothing is done. Describe previous attempts to solve the problem and explain why they were not successful.
Specific evidence is very important in this section, and you will need to do research. If you haven’t actually worked for the business or industry you are writing about, you will need to do the background research necessary to identify a current or anticipated problem, and then to pose a sound solution. Even if you are or have been employed at the business or industry in question, you will need to demonstrate a familiarity with the details, statistics, data, etc. that are relevant to your argument. Provide examples of the problem’s negative impacts. When possible, use numbers, statistics, and/or concrete facts: How much revenue has been lost? How many work hours have been wasted? How have public relations been damaged? How has customer satisfaction been decreased? Make sure to properly cite your sources for this information using MLA in-text citations. Also, make sure your evidence is appropriate to your argument—don’t identify a problem that you witnessed once at a single McDonald’s restaurant and try to claim that it is a problem that constantly plagues the entire fast food industry (unless you have concrete facts to support such a claim).
Grading/Assessment (Value: 200 pts.)
I will grade your paper according to both mechanics and content. I’ll ask myself some of the following questions: Is the paper well-organized, well-formatted, and easy to navigate? Does the author demonstrate a clear understanding of the business or industry and its needs? Does the author demonstrate a clear understanding of the problem and its context? Is the solution reasonable and persuasive? Does the author support his/her claims with sensible reasons and valuable evidence? Is the writing clear of grammatical problems and spelling errors? Are the sources credible and cited clearly in the text? Is the works cited page complete, accurate, and properly formatted?