This is the first step in completing your Final Project. In order to conduct a good usability or web design project, you first need to know what the problems/issues (needs) are related to the company/organization that the website represents, and you need to know as much as you can about the audience, the users of the website. In order to gather that information, you will do some research, and then write a White Paper about your findings.
Audience: Our class
Purpose: To learn about and analyze the problems/issues that need to be addressed in the website that you will addressing for your Final Project, and to learn about and analyze the audience for the website. Pages 18-24 in the Stolley book lists a lot of good points to use to analyze how well a website is meeting its purpose for its intended audience.
Length: Approximately 2 pages single-spaced
Format: Your choice - Word document, online document.
You may not be familiar with what a White Paper is. You've probably done this type of exercise before, but never thought about it in this way. Listed below are some sites that will explain what a White Paper is, and examples of White Papers related to conducting usability research.
And here's a student example: