In this comprehensive guide, you will find all important information that will help you prepare this type of assignment. More specifically we will talk about:
- What is a position paper?
- How to write a position paper?
- Position paper example you could use for inspiration.
As an experienced paper writer team, we always come to support fellow students by providing them with helpful information and tips. Our readers can find detailed definitions and high-quality supporting materials on this website – all of that available for free!
What Is a Position Paper: Definition
First of all, let’s define it. Your position paper should clearly display and support your own view of a specific problem. Typically, position papers explore more or less controversial questions, which is why they must include argumentation supported by valid data. Providing evidence to the readers is the main distinctive feature of such an essay. Your work should demonstrate your ability to put up a strong case, not just describe your beliefs.
Before you write a position paper, think it through and start with understanding your purpose. What do you try to tell your audience, and what is the best way to convey it? This helps with building good argumentation and structuring your essay.
Keep in mind that unlike a persuasive essay, convincing your readers to accept your point isn’t your primary task. Your piece should mainly focus on information that makes an argument strong. That’s why you should use supportive evidence that backs up your viewpoints.
Purpose of a Position Paper
Why do you need a position paper? First of all, it serves as great supporting material when talking about your viewpoint in front of an audience. Writing a position paper beforehand helps to organize your thoughts on the topic and set your defenses properly. Besides, you can use it when speaking to ensure you haven’t forgotten to mention something important.
You might also be required to submit your paper before or after your speech. If it is your college or university assignment, this document will be your main output, which is why its structure and format are so important.
Position Paper Outline
One of the main first steps is preparing an outline for a position paper. After you’ve done some research and gathered enough data on your topic, spend additional time and create a concise draft. It should display your paper’s entire structure, including the key arguments, without going into much details. Your writing should follow a basic 5 paragraph essay outline.
Once done with your plan, you can review it and easily spot major gaps or inconsistencies. Checking your work at this stage is typically much more productive than after writing the full text.
Here is an example of position paper outline:
- Introduction Paragraph
- Hook the reader with stats, numbers or facts
- Introduce the issue
- Include a thesis statement presenting your central idea and stand on the problem
- Counter Argument(s)
- Present counterclaims
- Offer evidence that backs up counterarguments
- Refute the counter arguments using examples
- Introduce the 1st point
- Strong opinion
- Supporting examples
- Assert the 2nd point
- Strong opinion
- Supporting examples
- State the 3rd point
- Strong opinion
- Supporting examples
- Introduce the 1st point
- Conclusion Paragraph
- Restate your main claim
- Offer a course of action
Hopefully, this position paper template will speed up your progress with your own work. Check the attachments below – complete sample papers along with outlines are available there.
Position Paper Structure
What exactly does the structure of a position paper include? This is quite easy: similarly to any other scholarly essay, your position paper should contain three main parts:
- Main body part
You’ll write a good position paper if you make it readable and concise in addition to preparing string argumentation backed by valid evidence. Otherwise, your poorly structured text won’t impress your readers. We’ve prepared more helpful information on how you should compose each of these sections. You can find it below, so please read it attentively.
Also, check out the sample position papers available on this page. You can find more tips and ideas below.
Good introduction for a position paper should make your reader well familiar with the problem you are arguing about. This typically involves explaining why it is important for everyone or why you’ve decided to discuss it. Besides, the introduction must engage your audience so that they would be interested in hearing more about your position and evaluating its validity.
This is how to start writing a position paper:
- Clearly state your position, giving the thesis statement.
- Give enough context about the problem and its background, explaining why you stand this ground.
- ‘Hook’ your readers by making it sound interesting.
The latter can be achieved by making some hints about upcoming evidence, using some kind of wordplay, or just making a suitable joke.
Body of a position paper is where its argumentation should be placed. When you make a position paper, be sure to divide it into logically interconnected paragraphs – each one for one of your major arguments expressed in the topic sentence. Make proper transitions between them. Leave at least one paragraph for the counter argumentation you may have faced and for its rebuttal.
The evidence you’ve collected to support your claim should also be presented in the main body, together with quotes and references (if any). Remember to use solid and relevant data and avoid unnecessary facts, as they don’t bring value and may just make the text less readable.
Pay attention to the consistency and readability of this section. Its structure and contents show how well you’ve built your argumentation. And that is what makes position papers persuasive.
This is how to write a conclusion for a position paper that adds real value to it:
- Properly summarize your argumentation, showing how it supports your take.
- Make it sound strong; ensure that it is logical and well-readable.
- Keep it brief, don’t repeat anything from the main part.
Remember that your proposition paper conclusion will be the last thing your audience reads, so making a strong and persuasive ending would help with leaving a good impression on it.
You’ll find a conclusion template in one of the sections below.
How to Write a Position Paper in 9 Steps
Let’s get to the point – you must write a good position paper, and now you’re looking for some helpful tips on that. We’ve got your back!
First and foremost, the best beginning is to set up a strong position. Otherwise, your essay will simply be uninteresting. Now make sure you can actually prove what it states. But that’s just the beginning: think about captivating headings, add some clever techniques and diligent work to that, keeping focus on your goal – and you’ll get an excellent paper.
What should be added? Just keep reading. We’ve prepared an elaborate guide on how to write a position paper step by step. Let’s go and check it!
1. Choose a Topic
Creating position papers requires some hard work, but choosing a proper subject may save a lot of time and effort. If it is uninteresting or too narrow, that might result in an issue. Better to choose a topic that:
- Is relevant and controversial: this will draw your readers’ interest.
- Is understandable for you, so it would be easier for you to discuss some points about it.
- Has received some coverage in news, books, or other sources, making it simpler to find enough evidence about it.
Before commencing the writing process, search among good topics for position papers and select one most suitable for taking a point around it.
2. Do Research Before Writing a Position Paper
Conducting preliminary research for position papers is a key step before starting with actual writing. This is where you can collect evidence about your subject:
- Google it This is easier but remember to filter out results with low credibility.
- Media If this is a recent and big event, it should be mentioned in the news; make sure to pick the most credible resources.
- Check the sources used by books or articles written on the subject This way, you might find some ‘hidden gems’ that are difficult to google.
Don’t know if you’ll write a winning position paper? Follow the next steps closely. And don’t forget to explore the free samples available on this page, check their structure and style.
3. Draft a Position Paper Thesis
Thesis of a position paper is basically its foundation. Make it strong, and you’ll ensure your success.
Don’t be too wordy. One sentence is enough to deliver your thesis and summarize your position on the topic. You can put it closer to the start or put it at the end of your introduction so that it summarizes the explanations you would give about the problem.
Examples of a position paper thesis:
• Online education is cost-effective, being more affordable for both students and educational institutions.
• Schools should offer low-income pupils summertime educational resources.
4. Create an Outline
Once you have decided about the direction you’re taking with your essay, proceed with the position essay outline. This step is often overlooked, but it will be much easier to find and correct mistakes and gaps at this early stage. So, writing a position paper outline actually saves you time.
This is how to write a position paper outline:
- Keep it brief, just one sentence per idea. No need to always use full sentences, just make them readable.
- Include your thesis, mention the context, then write one sentence per each argument.
- Briefly summarize it, one sentence will suffice as well.
Don’t forget to review your outline carefully.
5. Begin Writing Your Position Paper
Once you’ve ensured the outline of an essay doesn’t have any gaps or logical flaws, go ahead and complete the full-text version. If you wonder how to start a position paper at this stage, begin with the introduction. You already have its shortened draft, so just add necessary details and list explanations if needed. But don’t give particular arguments or refute opposing opinions yet, those should come in the main body part.
See how to write an introductory paragraph for a position paper in the next section.
Position Paper Introduction Example
Looking for introduction position paper examples? We’ve got one for you. Here’s how you can start your essay:
Traditional education is commonly regarded as a better alternative since live interaction with teachers often facilitates the learning process. However, given the ever-growing problem with student loans, the affordability of online education has become an important factor. Additionally, when studying online, people don’t have to commute, thus saving extra time and money. So, we can see that online education is more effective for common students.
Check our sample position paper for introduction examples. They are available for free download.
6. Include Evidence in Your Position Paper
As we’ve already explained, position papers must be backed by solid evidence. You have to prove your point, and that requires addressing it with data, not just stating it with confidence.
When you write your position paper, there are two main requirements for backing your claim:
- collect valid and relevant data;
- present it in your text properly.
Here’s an example of evidence in a position paper:
As shown by many researchers (particularly by Kim and Norton in their work, 2018), more than 60% of students in the US attend online courses on a regular basis.
7. Provide Counterarguments and Refute Them
Still learning how to write position paper? If it is your first one, consider an important fact: ignoring evident contradictions to your claim doesn’t add credibility. Instead, you must work with counter arguments which is similar to writing an argumentative essay. You may be aware of the opposite opinions or think and assume which objections your opponents would make. Better mention them in your essay and show how you counter these claims.
Here are some examples of counterarguments for position papers:
Evidently, e-learning doesn’t allow face-to-face interaction with your tutor, which may make it harder to exchange experience. However, the affordability factor still makes it a better choice, especially for motivated students. The price difference between traditional and online education might not be that big. But if we add the price of commuting and time spent on that, this difference becomes much bigger.
8. Summarize Your Position
When writing your position paper, it is important that you make it sound impressive in the end. Your position paper conclusion should properly summarize all arguments and rebuttal of counterarguments. Keep it brief, without repeating much, just highlight how all your findings support the claim.
You can also add some extra notes, e.g., making additional assumptions, different predictions about this problem’s impact in the future, or hints about extra evidence you haven’t mentioned before to keep your text brief. This may help to make a lasting impression on your audience.
Finally, review your conclusion once again, ensuring that it is logical and doesn’t contradict any claims, arguments, or assumptions provided above.
Check the next section for an example of how to write a position paper conclusion.
Example of a Position Paper Conclusion
Need an actual conclusion for a position essay example? It can be something like this:
According to the statistical data presented above, e-learning is already gaining increasing popularity among students below 25 ages all over the globe. Since it is better compatible with the part-time work schedule most students have to follow, this format has actually proven its efficiency in recent years. And it is quite safe to assume it will become a new dominant way of education within the next decade or two.
You can also find the conclusion of a position paper essay example if you check the free samples that are available on this page.
9. Proofread Your Position Paper
After your position essay is complete, you absolutely should spend some extra time and review it again. Try adopting a critical view, putting yourself in your potential opponent’s shoes. Are there any logical gaps or grammar mistakes left? Paper position is not clear enough? Wrong source mentioned? Nearly every text has some issues to correct. Sometimes even evident typos are left overlooked when writing.
It is best to have someone else review a position paper since its writer may be biased toward their own text. Another way is reading it aloud to yourself prior to submission. Some flaws may be uncovered this way too.
Position Paper Format
Your position papers format is another element that shouldn’t be overlooked. Proper headline and paragraph styles make your text more readable. Also, there might be specific requirements for making citations. All your evidence must be presented correctly so that it doesn’t get mixed with your own opinions.
Format depends on the discipline. You might need to use one of the popular styles: MLA, APA, or Chicago. If you don’t see which one of them is required, better ask your tutor.
You can find some position paper format sample in our free attachments, available below.
Position Paper Examples
Need an example of a position paper so that you could learn how all these recommendations can be implemented? We’ve got some for you!
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll find sample of position papers available for free download. Each position paper example essay has been written by professional research writers and can be used for inspiration or as a reference. Just don’t copy any of those materials in your own text, as you should only submit 100% original works.
Position paper example 1
Position paper example 2
Position paper example 3
Position Paper Sample 4
Tips for Writing a Position Paper
Finally, some extra tips on writing a position paper that is really persuasive:
- Choose topics that are interesting for you. This will motivate you to discuss them.
- Plan ahead and consider your deadlines. Don’t spend too much time conducting the preliminary research or perfecting your argumentation if it is already valid.
- Pay attention to your sources. Some books or research might be considered dubious by your opponents or might have some obvious gaps.
- Review your position papers as many times as possible. Ideally, ask a person with an opposite side on this issue to read and refute it.
- Keep it professional. Maintain a confident tone but stay logical and correct, avoid emotional or derogatory remarks.
More examples of position papers are available here – you can check them below.
Final Thoughts on How to Write a Position Paper
So, in order to write a position paper, you need to choose an appropriate topic and elaborate on your position regarding the specific problem. Then you should defend it using logic, facts, and confidence.
Still not clear what are position papers and how one should write them? Check out this sample position paper for students available below, and you’ll find all our tips illustrated there. Follow its structure and style, just don’t copy anything to avoid plagiarizing.
If you are stuck in any stage of the writing process, don’t hesitate to use professional academic writing services. StudyCrumb is always here for you to solve any academic challenge you may have. Let us know your task, and we will match you with the most fitting expert who can write an excellent position paper for you.
FAQ About a Position Paper
1. How long should a position paper be?
The length of a position paper is usually limited to one page and a half (up to 350 words). Don’t make it too long, stick to the facts and brief statements. When given with confidence, concise claims are more persuasive.
At the same time better include all necessary evidence, not rely just on confidence. So don’t make it less than one page.
2. What are the kinds of support in a position paper?
You can use these support types in your position paper:
- Factual knowledge: either well-known facts (e.g., historical or biological) or data retrieved from credible sources;
- Statistical trends: always helpful for making assumptions but also need to be backed by sources;
- Informed opinion: citations from renowned specialists in fields related to your topic.
3. What is forbidden in a position paper?
When writing a position paper, avoid the following:
- Taking opinions for facts.
- Using threats or derogatory language as a means of persuasion.
- Comparing unrelated situations and making some conclusions from that.
- Copying other works without citing them.