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White Papers: An Introduction: Intro

Been assigned to write a White Paper or you just want to know more about them - read on, or watch the video!

OWL About White Papers

First-Year Symposium 2017

There are two research guides being used for the Freshman Symposium 2017

Need more information about research? Check this out!
Or contact the Library at 304.637.1200 or

Common Types of White Papers

Type  Purpose
 Position  Paper   Explains and advocates a standard, trend, or technology. Explains  why  this standard is important to the potential customer. 
 Business  Explains why potential customers need or want the product. 
 Competitive   Review   Positions the product and differentiates it from competitors. 
 Evaluator’s  Guide   Provides a thorough explanation of the product’s features and  functionality. 

Chart adapted from Gordon, M. & Graham, G. (2003). The art of the white paper. Retrieved from:


Searching for White Papers

White Papers are not scholarly, they are NOT peer reviewed, however they can be helpful sources for certain types of research papers. If you are considering a White Paper as a source in your research paper, make sure it adheres to the class assignment, if in doubt ask your Professor.

A lot of White Papers are available via the web. When searching on the web, to minimize being overwhelmed with search results type:

"white paper"

Enclose a phrase in quotation marks, it will search for exactly that phrase.

Next, select a second word or phrase that links to your research.

e.g. "white paper" AND "academic libraries"

Research Tip! Be specific with your search terms. e.g. don't search for only the word: library, instead what aspect of libraries are you researching? Is it "academic libraries" OR "public library" OR be even more specific ...

"white paper" AND "academic libraries" AND marketing