You may take any of the following approaches:
• a general white paper to an external audience – written to individuals in a particular
industry or field of study, but not an organization you are a part of. The white paper
could address a problem you are attempting to solve in the organization or inform an
external audience about a relevant trend.
• a white paper promoting a new product or service to potential customers. This is an
example of a white paper to an external audience, but it features different rhetorical
considerations than the typical white paper written to an external audience does.
Please follow these guidelines:
• have a focused topic. Please see the sample white papers from previous students for
examples of how previous topics have been developed for this paper.
• write to a reasonably focused and identified audience
o A white paper to an external audience can have a broad audience or a narrow
▪ For example, if you do not work for a hair salon and you write a white
paper promoting a new billing system for hair salons, the audience will
probably be the various hair salons in your neighborhood.
o A white paper that promotes a product or service to potential customers could
have a fairly broad audience.
▪ For example, a white paper promoting a new taxi service in your
neighborhood has, theoretically, all residents in the neighborhood as a
• integrate thorough research
• do not directly tell the audience what action it should take. Rather, offer background
information that the audience can use to make a decision. The Purdue OWL video
mentions this principle. This is one reason the video refers to the white paper as a