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PSCI 3140: LGBT Politics in America

Library research guide for PSCI 3100

The White Paper

For this assignment, write a white paper on one of the following hypothetical scenarios (from your course syllabus):

  1. President Smatresk is trying to decide whether UNT should offer domestic partnership benefits to LGBT couples, so he requests a white paper from his staff on the topic;
  2. A conservative Democrat running for the U.S. Senate from Texas asks her campaign staff for a white paper on whether she should come out in favor of same sex marriage;
  3. A state is considering a law that would prohibit adoption agencies from discriminating against same sex couples. The committee of jurisdiction has asked its staff to produce a white paper on whether the law should create an exemption for religiously affiliated agencies;
  4. Denton County is considering creating a domestic partnership registry, similar to the program that currently exists in Travis County. Write a white paper on this issue on behalf of one of the following organizations: Chamber of Commerce, Texas Eagle Forum, or Equality Texas.
  5. President Smatresk is trying to decide whether UNT should adopt a third gender classification in its information software. In addition, male and female, students, faculty, and staff could choose genderqueer. He has asked you, as a member of his staff, to draft a white paper on this topic. 

Tips on writing a white paper

White papers can have the following sections:

Title: it should catch the reader’s attention, keep the audience in mind, and focus on the benefits of what you will be proposing

Abstract: this is a summary of your paper, it should be short and to the point, but provide enough detail to keep the reader interested and want to read the rest of the paper

Introduction: historical or background information can go here, build the trust of your reader showing you have done your research and are an authority on the subject, this is also a good place to show the reader you share a common goal

Problem Statement: not quite time for the sales pitch yet, fully describe the problem from the perspective of your reader

High-level solution: this is the solution overview, your claims should be backed up by scholarly research and data, graphs, charts and maps work well here

Solution details: here’s your sales pitch, your reader should understand there is a problem and your general idea for the solution, this is the meat and potatoes of your white paper and where the majority of your research to back up your position will go

Benefit: show return on investment (ROI) here and reassure your reader that your solution can fix the problem

Summary: this may be the only part of the white paper that your intended audience will read so be sure to restate the most important points, the problem, solution, and benefits

Call to action: you did all this research for a reason, tell them what you want them to do and the steps to take to get it done

(tips adapted from StratVantage Consulting's White Paper Structure)

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