Assigning students to write a white paper can help them focus on an audience, develop an appropriate voice, learn to make a solid case with evidence and conduct careful research.
By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT
Last month, we discussed the value of old-fashioned writing assignments, such as notes, journals and reflective papers instead of blogs. This month, we will review the value of using white papers as thoughtful and effective assignments for students.
History of White Papers
White papers have historically been used for a range of purposes, most commonly to persuade decision makers to adopt a policy or consider a new program or a set of strategies. In many situations, they were background papers to provide an in-depth analysis of a situation, event or potential development so that key executives had the information to make better decisions. Sometimes, they were just background documents; often, they contained recommendations for decisions and information about implementation steps. They were typically written for a specific audience and crafted to make a persuasive case backed by strong evidence.