What are White Papers?

A white paper is a persuasive, educational document that informs readers of the best manner in which to solve a problem also described in the text. Other content might include the introduction of new information or may be instructional in nature, and could be accompanied by graphs or charts. White papers detailing product specifications written by lead product designers are often included with software purchases along with an FAQ page. White papers can also refer to marketing communications that promote a company’s products or solutions as well as Government documents that contain expert opinions on policy. A white paper can serve to educate laypeople about a complicated process, technology or product by offering a document that is easier to read than one aimed at experts in the field. To write an effective whitepaper, one must fully understand the subject matter, have a grasp on who the target audience will be, and write about how the subject matter solves real problems. The object of a good white paper is to inform, educate and convince. The basic order format for writing a white paper is in five steps: a one paragraph description of what the paper is about, two or three paragraphs that describe the problem, a larger section on how the product or technology works, a description of how the product solves the problem, and a conclusion detailing how this product or technology is the best solution to the problem.

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