Writing White Papers in High-Tech Industries: Perspectives from the Field

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White papers are increasingly prevalent in the high-tech industries where many technical communicators work, yet these documents have received relatively little discussion in technical communication forums. Survey results indicate that some technical communicators do write white papers, and that they believe white papers deserve more attention. To understand what white papers are and how they are used, I interviewed 10 practicing technical communicators who write white papers as part of their work. Their comments provide an overview of white paper audiences, the purposes for which white papers are written, the content of typical white papers, the people and processes involved in creating white papers, and the ways white papers are evaluated.

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