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Difference Between a White Paper and a Case Study

White Paper vs Case Study

There are several significant differences between a White Paper and a Case study when it comes to the tone, objectives, audience, subject-matter, and directness of each document.

The white paper was originally used by government agencies to present policy information. It is a persuasive and informative piece meant to grab the attention of the reader while providing expert insight, technical information, and a logical argument in order to sell a product, service, policy, or innovation. A specific problem or obstacle is introduced to the reader and the solution to it is presented and outlined. Charts, diagrams, graphs and other visual tools are normally included in the white paper to display information. The content and tone of a white paper vary depending on the topic and the prospective audience.

Case Studies were initially used within the field of social science to test hypotheses alongside statistic and are typically used to examine some social phenomena. Businesses also produce case studies. Market research, in particular, is area in business where case studies are useful. Case studies require a period of observation and/or research, identification of a specific problem, insufficiency, or inefficiency, the proposal of a solution, and evaluation of how successful a solution was in solving the issue(s). Similar to white papers, case studies are used to present the benefits of a product, service, or innovation; however, they also provide real examples of how the product has proved to be a solution to a problem or otherwise filled a void. Due to the latter, case studies typically provide greater detail, with the exception of Technical White Papers which provide extensive detail to engineers and other technical specialists on how a product works or a procedure is conducted. More often, white papers provide information on how a business will benefit from a proposed solution without relying on or stressing anecdotal evidence. On account of their differing natures and areas of emphasis some white papers may be considered hard-sell documents, depending on the tone in which it is written, while case studies are typically drafted as soft-sell documents with more of a subtle, educational tone.

The targets of business or marketing case studies include: executives, customers, the general public, and company personnel. The objective may be to increase interest in a product, increase staff morale, and raise confidence in a company and its ability to provide solutions. Background information about a company, including its market share, areas of specialization, and previous successes, is often included in in order to provide a context in which to place the case study.

When conducting case studies within the fields of Social or Behavioral Science, individuals or groups are observed, and information is gathered then analyzed, in order to form conclusions about relationships and/or test hypotheses.

While each seeks to persuade, case studies deal more with examination and explanation to backup a proposed a solution, while white papers focus on increasing the understanding of a problem and selling the reader on the benefits of implementing a particular policy, product, or service, to solve the issue. white papers are popularly used in business-to-business marketing to generate leads, and to propose or present government policy but are also produced in behavioral and social science research. Case studies are frequently used in business marketing, human resources management , and in the study of labor and health markets, the effectiveness of government policy, intergovernmental relations, and various other social science phenomena.

  • White Papers were initially used to present or propose government policy, while case studies were initially introduced into social science research.
  • A white paper provides the benefits and rationale for the implementation of a proposed solution, while a case study provides actual examples for how a solution has fixed a problem.
  • A case study typically offers greater detail than a white paper, with the exception of technical white papers.
  • Case studies focus more on examination and proving a solution’s effectiveness, while white papers do not provide this evidence.
  • A case study is typically more subtle in nature than a white paper.

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