What is a white paper?
A white paper is a document used to inform readers on a particular topic/issue with the intention of using authoritative knowledge and research to argue for a specific solution.
Standard format of a white paper
- Abstract - overview of main points
- Problem Statement - explicitly states the issue the paper will address
- Background - provides the reader with the background information needed to become familiar with the issue being presented
- Solution - using the gathered evidence present a solution to the issue
- Conclusion - summarizes major findings
- References - list of sources used
Finding White Papers & Policy Briefs: Below are some resources to find a variety of white papers & policy briefs:
- National Bureau of Research (NBER) Working Papers
New research by NBER affiliates, circulated for discussion and comment. The NBER distributes more than 1,200 working papers each year. These papers have not been peer reviewed. Papers issued more than 18 months ago are open access.
- CRS Reports
These documents were prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress.
- Policy Archive
Policy briefs and research from sources such as the American Bar Association, the Brookings Institution, the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Policy Studies, and others.
- Annenberg Public Policy Center
Policy briefs and research on the role of communication in politics, adolescent behavior, child development, health care, civics and mental health, and other areas.
- Rand Corporation
Provides research in a variety of areas such as arts, civil justice, education, national security, public safety, and other areas.