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 the work you did in the Visual Representation to include an argument driven analysis of an environmental justice case study. 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.

Assignment Goals

Because each White Paper will analyze a case study through argument and then develop the paper through invention, drafting, peer review, and revision, the project meets all four of the course learning goals: Rhetoric, Process, and Collaboration.

White Paper Checklist

  • How do racism and environmental degradation reinforce one another? What tools does Environmental Justice offer to redress the twin harms of racism and environmental degradation?
  • To develop your argument in response to this question, expand the key term you illustrated in the Visual Rendering through at 2 valid sources: at least 1 source must come from a peer reviewed journal or book & your other source (if you choose) may come from a NGO or .gov site.
  • Analyze one or more of our community partners as a case study (or studies) to support develop and support your claim.
  • Please include at least 2 visual elements; headings; & MLA format for your title and author titles, in text citations, works cited, etc.
  • For full credit, the final draft must be 4-5 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 relationship between racism and environmental degradation? Does the author develop the claim through a key term drawn from the Visual Rendering to show how the community partners redress twin iniquities? (20%)  
3. Development of Ideas: Does the author develop the claim by accurately explicating the key concept through the analysis of at least 2 peer reviewed sources? Does the author develop the claim through an analysis of a community partner covered in the class? (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 essay in MLA 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? (10%)