A white paper is an essential business or organizational document that broadens the reader’s view of a problem. It presents a particular issue in great detail while relaying the organization’s standpoint on the matter. It serves to assist the decision-making process in order to resolve the problem.
How to Start a White Paper
- Select and research an issue.
While this first step may be considered obvious, it is essential that you allocate a sufficient amount of time to it. The issue should be controversial, problematic, or ambiguous, and be in the sphere of interest of the audience and the organization itself. A possible problem may include long-term productive supplier relationships or decreasing turnover. An issue may often lie on the surface if the author has experience in a certain sphere and has a vast knowledge of the challenges people frequently face. In any case, thorough research should be conducted in order to develop a deep understanding of an issue and enable it to be presented with greater finesse.
- Know your audience.
A key consideration in writing a white paper is to determine who will be reading it. The issue you select should be directly related to the interests of the group to which you address your paper. There is also a necessity to recognize the level of expertise that the target individuals possess. This will determine the style of writing and assist you in choosing the correct terms to use.
- Develop a title.
Even though you might be convinced that the issue you present is relevant to the public you are addressing, it may not be that obvious to them. Therefore, you need an effective title that explains the meaning of your white paper. It should attract attention and stimulate people to read further.
- Create an outline.
In any kind of a written work that presupposes a lengthy and elaborate narration, it is a good idea to create an outline. It will help with the design and structure of the document and aid you in applying any changes throughout the writing process.
In this section, the author is required to briefly present the problem and include a small amount of context. This contextualization will help immerse the reader into the issue and show them why it is worthy of discussion. It might also be helpful to include a solution and state why you believe it will address the challenge. In summary, the introduction should succinctly address “what,” “why,” and “how” in your project.
- The historical context of an issue
The first section after the introduction should provide the reader with a broader view of the issue. Here, it is critical to overview the roots of the problem and why it has emerged. It is generally appropriate in this chapter to cite extensively; use names and dates to speak about fundamental events that have led to the problem taking shape. Despite the importance of a historical context, do not be overzealous in describing it. The present situation, and ways to improve it, should be of greater significance here.
- Discussion and analysis
Once the context is set, and the issue is explained, you need to transition to the current state and offer a critical analysis of the problem. Here, you may explain to the audience in greater detail the effects of the identified challenge and the consequences of not addressing it. You may also include affected parties and stakeholders showing the potential problems they would encounter, to ensure that the reader understands how critical it is to resolve the issue. Create parallels between the past, present, and future to demonstrate the scale of change. It is also paramount to present facts and data to support your opinion, as well as cite credible sources. As analysis often requires juxtaposition, utilization of a well-established academic practice to employ visual aid can positively characterize your work and aid readers’ comprehension.
- Solution and justification
Having discussed and analyzed the issue, one needs to transition to presenting a solution. One of the most transparent ways to present your ideas is to make a step-by-step list of actions. It is straightforward and can illustrate your train of thought simply. If, by any chance, this approach is not applicable, you may either implement a paragraph-based narration or bullet points. The general idea here is to achieve clarity, and the choice of which approach is best is left up to the author. A second important item in this section is a justification for the suggested solution. This may also be presented through steps, bullet points or just be set out in a number of separate paragraphs. Regardless of the information grouping choice, one needs to demonstrate a clear, logical basis on which you have built your proposition. Drawing upon credible scholarly research, estimations, calculations, and other data types may boost the value of your white paper significantly. The usage of visual support could also be warranted and acceptable.
In this section, one needs to revisit the key statements and form a clear understanding of what you wanted to achieve with the paper. Remember that this is the last chance to address the reader and it is critical that he or she is left with the correct impression or idea. Whether you are arguing for a particular solution, proposing a policy, or simply encouraging the audience to address this challenge further, you need to express this explicitly and unambiguously. This is also the place to set out your own philosophy or organization’s regarding the matter.
This section is addressed last in this guide as it should be the final part to be written. However, despite this order, the summary should be placed at the beginning of the actual paper, before the introduction. A summary allows a reader to save time reading your white paper report if he or she wants a brief overview of the whole work. A proper summary includes the main thesis, evidence, and conclusion or end message.
How to Finish a White Paper
As soon as the white paper is finished, one needs to consider proofreading the whole text. Pay attention to language mechanics, the accuracy of citations, data usage and other instances to ensure excellent quality. It is equally important to check the flow of ideas and see if everything is logically explained. To achieve that you may present the work to experts or inexperienced people to gather feedback.
This guide offers a set of recommendations on how to prepare to write, structure, narrate, and finalize a white paper. Each stage is critical and should be developed with the utmost care. In summary, one should to choose an issue, present it within the relevant historical context, discuss its present state and influences using reliable data, and offer a justified solution.