Assignment Description

Experts in all academic disciplines, as well as scientists and researchers in nonprofit and government agency, use the “white paper” most often to communicate their argument and findings to other expert audiences. In this assignment you will practice this form of expert communication by expanding frameworks and key concepts from the reading to case studies you uncover through original research. Over the course of the unit, we will practice academic writing at the sentence and paragraph level, explore research methods, and develop an understanding of how to persuade readers to consider our arguments and analysis to effect change.

White Paper Checklist

  • Craft an argument that responds to the following prompt: How does the language that experts use to transmit the devastation and/or promise of environmental justice constrain and/or enable the implementation of socially and environmentally equitable projects?
  • To develop your argument in response to this prompt, choose and define a term or terms key to one or more of the readings assigned for the first unit
  • Use the key terms you chose as a lens to analyze at least 2 case studies that you find through original research and develop the claim you make in response to the prompt
  • Please include at least 2 visual elements; headings; & APA format for your title and author titles, in text citations, references, etc.
  • For full credit, the final draft must be 6-8 pages and in 12 pt. font


As with all assignments this semester, your peers and I are your primary audience. That said, the White Paper is the primary tool that experts use to communicate with one another. So as you take on the voice of an expert communicating complex information to expert audiences, what choices do you have to make to persuade your readers of the efficacy of your argument and insight of your case analysis.


The Essay is worth 20% of your total grade and will be assessed according to the final criteria adapted from the Common Feedback Chart:
1. Rhetorical Awareness: Does the Essay address writing the situation (and assignment) completely and/or with unexpected insight? I.e., does the paper signal an awareness of audience, context, and overall purpose? (20%)
2. Stance: does the author make about the language experts use to communicate environmental justice can either constrain or enable? Does the author develop the claim through terms key to the readings to show how the language we use can constrain/enable communication? (20%)  
3. Development of Ideas: Does the author develop the claim by accurately explicating the key concept and development/comms issue through the analysis of at least 2 valid sources? Does the author develop the claim through an analysis of an environmental project (i.e. Superfund clean-up site, renewable energy production, conservation efforts, etc.) OR a communications campaign (“save the planet/animals”; companies such as Patagonia or Subaru, Breathelife Campaign, etc.)? (20%)
4. Organization: Does the author establish a clear pattern for reading? Do the different parts of the paper express an internal coherence? (20%)
5. Conventions: Is the paper in APA format? Does the paper meet grammar, mechanics style, and syntax conventions with few or no errors? (10%)
6. Process: Does the final draft demonstrate planning and revision? Did you complete at least 2 peer worksheets on or before the due date? (10%)