Researched Technical White Paper

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timer Asked: Oct 22nd, 2018
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Question Description

Overview

For this assignment, you will imagine that you work for The Mosaic Company and have been asked to write a technical white paper for an external audience (readers outside of your organization) describing the capabilities of your organization or a division of it.

The purpose of this white paper is to persuade external readers to make a decision or take an action that is favorable to your organization, such as switching business from a competitor to your organization.

Learning objectives

This assignment gives you practice in the following course objectives:

  • Analyzing the needs and expectations of a primary reader
  • Using the UST Library’s GPS research resources
  • Identifying authoritative sources and citing them correctly
  • Continuing to develop your technical writing style

Audience

Technical white papers are written for external audiences (e.g., current or potential customers or investors, etc.). External audiences want accurate and objective information about an organization in order to make decisions related to their professional responsibilities or personal needs.

Length

The body of your white paper, including images, should be 3.5 to 4 pages long, single-spaced. This does not include the cover page, the “Introduction” or “Conclusion” sections, or the “References” page.You can exceed 4 pages by a page or so, but the body must be developed to a minimum of 3.5 pages.

Stages of the assignment

As with all major assignments this semester, this assignment involves several stages.

Preparing for the assignment

  1. Read or review all of the following resources:
  • SEIS 605 Course Handbook:
    • Achieving a Technical Writing Style
    • Style and Mechanics Reviews
  • For documenting sources:
  • If you do additional reading about white papers online or in the Alred Handbook, remember the following for this assignment:
    • This white paper is for an external audience.
    • Use technical writing style, not promotional writing style. To review technical vs. promotional writing style, review the “Features, Functions, and Benefits” presentation (Blackboard > Content > Additional Topics).
    • Do not use the “you” perspective.
  1. Do preliminary research on your assigned employer to become familiar with the organization, its industry, and its accomplishments. Accomplishments can include developing a product, delivering a service, or implementing a new technology.
  2. Research several of your employer’s products and services so that you become familiar with your organization’s customers and investors, such as stock holders.

Analyzing the audience and purpose

  1. Research and analyze the external audience, both current and potential customers, that your organization wants to reach.
  2. Fill out the Communication Objectives Worksheet (Appendix B of this file) and turn it in on the due date stated in the Semester Schedule.

Writing the white paper

Outside sources

  1. Use a minimum of four authoritative outside sources of information. Begin your search for sources with the UST Library databases, which you learned about during our information session earlier in the semester.
  2. Make photocopies of all of the sources that you use in your white paper.
  3. On the photocopies, highlight all of the information that you use (i.e., quote, summarize, or paraphrase) in your white paper. You will include these highlighted photocopies when you turn in your white paper.

Body

  1. Organize the body of your white paper under headings and subheadings to show the hierarchy of information in the document. See the “Formatting the document” section below.
  2. Use visuals (e.g., images, charts, graphs) wherever they will help with your audience’s understanding. See “Visuals and captions” below.
  3. Use APA in-text citation style to identify your sources as you use information from them. To do this correctly, see Alred Handbook > Documenting Sources > APA Documentation > APA In-Text Citations.

Introduction and Conclusion sections

  1. Write the “Introduction” section after you have finished writing the body, so that you know exactly what you are introducing.
  • For ways to approach the introduction, see Alred Handbook > “Introductions.” Select a method of introduction that is appropriate for your topic and audience.
  • Remember to include a complete purpose statement at the end of the Introduction. See 605 Course Handbook > Achieving a Technical Writing Style > Content Development > Purpose statement.
  1. For the “Conclusion” section, put the document’s information into a wider context that has meaning to your audience (see 605 Course Handbook > Achieving a Technical Writing Style > Content Development > Conclusion).

Other pages

  1. Choose a cover page style that reinforces that this is an objective, factual document and not a promotional document.
  2. Fill in the fields for organization name, your name, and the date (just below your name if there is no specific field).
    1. Do not include a Table of Contents. Reports that are this brief do not need a Table of Contents.
    2. Add the “References” page following APA style (see sample in Alred Handbook, p. 143).

Visuals and captions

Use visuals wherever they will help your audience to understand the surrounding text. Each visual should be referred to in the text preceding it, and should have a complete figure caption.

  1. Number the captions consecutively, starting with “1” (e.g., “Fig. 1.”). Complete the caption with a statement describing the image shown (e.g., “Fig 1. Preparing Computer Components for Bagging.”).
  2. Format figure captions consistently throughout the document.
  3. Refer to the visual in the text before the visual appears, using the figure number and a brief description of the information shown in the figure. This can be done in a number of ways:
  • “Figure 5 shows a comparison of the cars’ performance and mileage.”
  • “The cars’ performance and mileage are shown in Figure 5.”
  • “Tests of the cars’ performance and mileage yielded different results (see Fig. 5).”
  • “Test results of the cars’ performance and mileage (Fig. 5) varied widely.”

Formatting the document

Body text

Use a common serif font for body text (if you don’t know what “serif” means, look it up), either Times New Roman or Palatino. Use 11 pt or 12 pt type size.Single-space the text, allowing extra space between block paragraphs.

Headings

General

· Use a common sans-serif font, either Ariel or Calibri, for headings and subheadings.· Do not number the headings. Numbered headings are used in large, multi-section documents that have numerous internal cross-references to other internal sections. This means that as you turn your outline into your actual assignment, you’ll remove the numbering that you used to show hierarchy in your outline.

Heading schemes

You can use different heading schemes (hierarchies) than the ones shown below, as long as your pages appear balanced (see examples of balanced pages throughout our textbook).Example of a two-level heading scheme (body text in Times New Roman 12 pt):

Level 1 Heading (Ariel 16 pt plain)Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.Level 2 Heading (Ariel 12 pt. italic)Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Example of a three-level heading scheme:

Level 1 Heading (Ariel 16 pt plain)Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.Level 2 Heading (Ariel 12 pt. italic, underlined)Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.Level 3 Heading (Ariel 12 pt. italic)Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Heading spacing

Position headings to be visibly closer to the text that follows them than to the text preceding them. View a demo of vertical spacing at http://www.gcflearnfree.org/word2010/9.2 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Page layout

Margins

Use one-inch margins at the top, sides, and bottom.

Paragraphs

Use either block paragraphs (most common) or first-line-indented paragraphs, and space them accordingly:· Block-paragraphs need extra vertical spacing to appear distinct on the page. The block paragraphing in this Handbook demonstrates this extra spacing. Don’t add a whole extra “return”; instead, increase the paragraph spacing. View a demo of paragraph spacing at http://www.gcflearnfree.org/word2010/9.2 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.First-line-indented paragraphs need no additional vertical spacing between them.

Page numbers

· Always number the pages of documents that are longer than one page.· Place page numbers in the document’s footer area. View a tutorial at http://www.gcflearnfree.org/word2010/19.4 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Appendix A: Assignment Q&A

Documenting sources

Q1: When I use information from one source but published in different forms and at different times, does that count as only one source? For example, I’m using information from news articles, reports, and various locations on my organization’s website, but they’re all published by my organization.

A: As you indicate in the start of your question (“from one source”), what you describe is information from only one source. Your reader should see on your “References” page that you have used information from at least four different sources, no matter how many individual references you list for each source. See the sample “References” page on p. 143 of the Alred Handbook (Documenting Sources > APA Documentation > APA Sample Pages).

Q2: How do I identify and document a personal phone interview that I had with someone at [organization]? He stated in an e-mail that I have permission to use his name.

A: State in the text that the information is from a phone interview, and identify the person by name, title, organization, and date of the interview.

Note that a phone or in-person interview is not appropriate to list on the “References” page, because “…a reader would not be able to find your interview in print or online, [and] no recoverable data are available" (APA Style Blog, http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/10/apa-style-for-citing-interviews.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.).

Unfortunately, this means that if the interview is your only information from that source, the source can’t count toward the assignment’s four-source requirement.

Q3: I’m quoting a list of phrases word-for-word. Do I need to include the citation after each line?

A: No. Instead, identify the source before the list starts, in the introductory sentence that provides context for the list, and then use an in-text citation at the very end of the quoted material.

Q4: How do I punctuate around quotation marks? Do the periods and commas go inside or outside the quotation marks?

The following APA Style Blog post answers this question very well, in a concise and easy-to-use table format: http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/08/punctuating-around-quotation-marks.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Appendix B: Communication Objectives Worksheet (copy into separate Word file before submitting)

Name:

Overall Purpose

Please keep the questions in this worksheet and add your answers below the questions.

  1. What are you writing?
  1. Where are you working, and who has asked you to write this document?
  1. What outcome do you desire from your white paper?
  1. What outcome does your external reader desire from your white paper?

Reader Profile

  1. Who is your primary reader? Include job title and professional responsibilities.
  1. What is your reader’s relationship to you?
  1. Who might be secondary readers?
  1. How familiar is your primary reader with the topic of your white paper?

Usability Objectives

  1. What are the key questions your reader will ask while reading your white paper? (List at least 5.)
  1. How will your reader search for the answers (e.g., reading sequentially, jumping from section to section)? Why?

Persuasive Objectives

  1. What might your reader’s initial attitude be toward your white paper? Why?
  1. What do you want your reader to decide or do as a result of reading your white paper?

Stakeholders

  1. Who, besides your readers, are stakeholders in your white paper?
  1. How will your stakeholders be affected by your white paper?

Purpose Statement

Write a purpose statement for your white paper (see 605 Course Handbook > Achieving a Technical Writing Style > Content development > Purpose statement). Your purpose statement might change slightly by the time your white paper is complete.

NOTE: A white paper is a persuasive document, not a purely descriptive document. For this reason, the purpose statement’s element D describes what your organization wants your audience to do with the information (e.g., move its accounts to your employer, contract with your employer for its IT needs, etc.).

Outline

Create a working formal outline below to show the structure you anticipate your white paper will have. To review formal outlining, see SEIS 605 Course Handbook > Formal Outlining.

As with your purpose statement, your white paper’s final structure might be different than you show in this outline.

Appendix C: White Paper Grading rubric

CriteriaPerformance
MissingFalls shortAcceptable/ DevelopingGoodOutstanding
0 pt1 pt2 pts3 pts4 pts
Uses correct format and organization; Introduction includes a complete purpose statement.
Develops ideas and arguments with appropriate and sufficient evidence to meet the audience’s needs.
Uses sources ethically and cites them correctly.
Uses elements of technical writing style (e.g., objective, concise, and direct phrasing; no avoidable personal pronouns, conversational phrases, clichés, or slang). For information about technical writing style, see 605 Course Handbook > Achieving a Technical Writing Style.
Uses the conventions of written English (correct word choice, grammar, mechanics, spelling). For information about grammar and mechanics, see 605 Course Handbook > Style and Mechanics Reviews.

Rubric average score:

See table on next page for how the rubric average score
is converted to a letter grade.

Total: ___¸ 5 criteria = ___

Conversion of rubric average score to letter grade.

Rubric Total Pts

Average Score
(
¸ 5)

Letter Grade

20

4.0

A

19.5

3.9

19

3.8

18.5

3.7

A-

18

3.6

17.5

3.5

A-/B+*

17

3.4

B+

16.5

3.3

16

3.2

B

15.5

3.1

15

3

14.4

2.9

14

2.8

13.5

2.7

B-

13

2.6

12.5

2.5

B-/C+*

12

2.4

C+

11.5

2.3

11

2.2

C

10.5

2.1

10

2.0

9.5

1.9

9

1.8

8.5

1.7

C-

8

1.6

7.5

1.5

C-/D+*

7

1.4

D+

6.5

1.3

6

1.2

D

5.5

1.1

5

1.0

4.5

0.9

4

0.8

3.5

0.7

D-

3.0

0.6

*Midway between the higher and the lower letter grade.

Rubric

Final Researched Technical White Paper Rubric

Final Researched Technical White Paper Rubric

CriteriaRatingsPts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeUses correct format and organization; Introduction includes a complete purpose statement.--Conclusion section places document information into a wider context that has meaning to the audience.

20.0 pts

Full Marks

0.0 pts

No Marks

20.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDevelops ideas and arguments with appropriate and sufficient evidence to meet the audience’s needs.--3.5-4 pages long --Include SWOT analysis

20.0 pts

Full Marks

0.0 pts

No Marks

20.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeUses sources ethically and cites them correctly.--Minimum of four authoritative outside sources

20.0 pts

Full Marks

0.0 pts

No Marks

20.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeUses elements of technical writing style (e.g., objective, concise, and direct phrasing; no avoidable personal pronouns, conversational phrases, clichés, or slang). For information about technical writing style, see 605 Course Handbook > Achieving a Technical Writing Style.

20.0 pts

Full Marks

0.0 pts

No Marks

20.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeUses the conventions of written English (correct word choice, grammar, mechanics, spelling). For information about grammar and mechanics, see 605 Course Handbook > Style and Mechanics Reviews.

20.0 pts

Full Marks

0.0 pts

No Marks

20.0 pts

Total Points: 100.0

Tutor Answer

DrReginaldWoof
School: UCLA

Hi, please see the attached paper. Have ...

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Review

Anonymous
Good stuff. Would use again.

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