Key Considerations for Writing Your White Paper
Identify Key Decision Makers
THIS WILL BE: PRIINCIPAL, GEORGINA TAIT – use this name
A White Paper Is Not the Place for Traditional Academic Writing
In a white paper, you need to hold the reader’s attention, so be concise. Being concise literally means that you use as few words as possible while still writing properly. Sentence fragments are not acceptable, but using charts and graphs to convey information is not only acceptable but is preferred. For example, instead of developing a paragraph that lists data on graduation and related promotion of employees participating in higher education, put the data in a simple graph. Most software packages have table- and graph-making capabilities, so work with those. Remember, though, that you must have a brief text explanation of each table or graph you use.
Being concise also means that you don’t clutter up your narrative. Inserting references after each assertion you make—though the norm in what you write for any doctoral assignment—is counterproductive in a white paper. In cases where you need a citation (and you do, because experts always cite sources), an endnote is the best choice. To do this, insert a raised (superscript) number that corresponds to a like-numbered reference at the end of the document. Your readers, depending on their levels of understanding, are not concerned with the nuances of Brookfield 1980 versus Brookfield 2010, or Senge’s first edition versus fifth edition, so cite the most recent source only and move on.
White Paper Examples
Below are links to two examples of white papers developed for educational systems (from Week 2). You can find many others online. Keep in mind that these examples are much longer than your final project needs to be. Depending on the number and sizes of your tables and graphs, a reasonable length for your assignment is 20–30 pages.
· Educational Excellence Everywhere .
· Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education .
White Paper Elements
Following are the elements of the white paper that you must include for your course project:
1. A snappy, attention-getting title that is unambiguous. The linked examples below demonstrate this well. There is no question what the issue is, but each is more memorable than a traditional journal article’s title (for example, in the week’s readings: “Executive Coaching in an Era of Complexity. Study 1. Does Executive Coaching Work and If so How?: A Realist Evaluation”).