What is a position paper?
A position paper is an essay that presents a writer’s point of view, belief, and conviction on an issue. It is generally opinionated but contains factual details and evidence that strengthen the writer’s stand.
The purpose of a position paper is to generate support from the readers through strong and valid assertions. Thus, for a position to be convincing, the writer must make sure to include all sides of the issue, research details, strong evidence, and refutation of counterclaims.
Steps in Writing a Position Paper
1. Analyze an issue and make a stand.
Choose an issue open to arguments. It should not be too general nor too specific that no supporting evidence can be made.
Once the issue has been selected, do comprehensive research and investigation. Explore all sides of the issue. Organize them by making a list of pros and cons. Supporting evidence may be gathered from sources such as books, academic journals, newspapers and magazines, reports, and even testimonies from experts.
Once these steps have been observed, you can finally make a stand. In taking a position, make sure to consider the following:
- Are you familiar with the issue’s pros and cons?
- Is your established position supported by research and factual details?
- Are there available research materials to prove your claims?
2. Organize your ideas and data in an outline.
Develop your arguments by focusing on three points: general statement of the position, refutation of counterclaims, and supporting evidence of claims. These three main points must be identified in the outline. The outline serves as the framework of the entire paper. It organizes the thoughts and ideas of the author.
The following outline structures your position paper:
3. Write the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Now that you have already made an outline, it will be easier to write your position paper.
Begin with the introduction. Since it is the first thing that readers read, the introduction must be catchy. It should capture the attention of the reader. Therefore, several strategies must be applied to begin the paragraph, such as the use of a rhetorical question, a quotation, anecdote, or simply a general statement that puts that topic in context. Furthermore, the introduction must identify the issue and provide a background about it. Most importantly, it should contain the position of the author expressed through a thesis statement.
Develop your arguments in the body of your essay. Depending on your subtopics, the number of paragraphs varies. Usually, the first paragraph in the body contains the counterclaims about the issue. It is important for you to know the opposing stand’s arguments in order to convince your reader that you are well-informed on the many sides of the issue. In this way, you’ll persuade them to believe your position more. After the counter arguments have been presented and refuted, it is now time to present your own arguments. In presenting your own arguments, it is good that you assert at least three main points in your claims and defend them with your educated opinion and supporting evidence.
End your paper with a conclusion. In this part, you summarize your points by restating your thesis statement. You may also suggest a plan of action but do not include new ideas or information.
4. Revise, edit, and proofread.
The writing state is not the ultimate step in writing a position paper. Revising, editing, and proofreading your work are vital to the paper’s completion. Revision is the process of improving the content of one’s work by changing some details presented in the paper. This is the stage when you add or remove some ideas or evidence. Editing, on the other hand, concerns the writer’s organization of ideas and choice of words. When editing, cut out repetitive ideas, or add transition sentences or devices. This ensures that the message is conveyed clearly and concisely. The final and equally important step is proofreading. When proofreading, you check for errors in grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.