Date of Graduation

Spring 2008


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Kristene Sutliff


The white paper is a widely used technical marketing document genre that has been curiously neglected in technical writing instruction. Used in government for over four centuries to foster discussion and promulgate official political positions, the white paper genre has expanded in recent decades to such diverse areas as business, education, marketing, law, medicine, science, accounting, architecture, and even religion. A general survey of many documents, combined with a meticulous analysis of a few, representative documents, should yield a array of characteristics common to the genre as a whole, which will help form a basis for instruction in white paper design and production. By examining the history of white papers, detailing their use in a variety of rhetorical situations, thoroughly surveying a surfeit of individual white papers, and analyzing four white papers in detail using the Data-Based Strategy for Document Evaluation, I will demonstrate how white papers in all situations are a hybrid document type that uses information persuasively.


white papers, technical writing, technical marketing, business writing, document design.

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Edward D. Thompson

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