re: What is a White Paper?

Subject: re: What is a White Paper?
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 10:44:32 -0600

re: What are white papers? Just informational writing on a topic? What is
their purpose? Is there a format?

This is a good question. I'd be very interested in learning of a reference
where a formal definition is attempted.

Generally they are a summary of known information about a topic, perhaps the
results of a survey or study. It's likely the white paper is then a
proposal for action or at least a conclusion, with the background
information providing justification. The term itself, I think is designed
to make you think the report is something important, significant,
all-encompassing, and akin to gospel.

There is an example at You can find
more by searching for "white paper" at
Still more are at

Regarding format, it's likely they should begin with an abstract or summary
'cause they're likely to be long.

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