Position Paper: Definition, Elements, and Example

Academic writing is straightforward, businesslike, and unbiased. In it, although you are free to express your opinion, you need to support it with accurate facts and evidence. Doing so would allow you to express your contrary view without making ill-founded statements.

The position paper is a form of writing used in academic and professional contexts that summarizes the writer’s arguments supporting a certain issue. It is persuasive written discourse reflecting an individual’s view about an issue that is often controversial, requiring one’s definitive stance.

As you can see, certain topics call for a deep personal conviction. Writing is a forum where issues may be raised. Expressing one’s opinion is both a right and a skill, and it is welcomed in a democratic society. If you wish to express your opinion, you can do so through subtle and polite language. You may also express your opinion using facts to validate what you believe. Other ways to do that would be to cite examples and statistics to prove that your claim is not entirely personal and subjective. In expressing your opinion, you have to realize that not everyone shares your viewpoint.

In academic writing, the writer cites statements of fact, balancing them with well-substantiated statements of opinion, thereby making the article both interesting and thought-provoking, personal and academic. 

When you write a position paper, your aim is to inform others about your stance, position, or conviction about a certain issue. It reflects what you know about the topic, exposing your belief about it. Although it is a statement of your strong belief and opinion, you must combine it with valid and verifiable facts.

Position papers are used not only in schools but also in government and corporate offices. In academic settings, position papers are an expression of an individual’s claim, written without the academic rigor of conducting a full-blown research. In government and politics, position papers are often a prelude to a debate. In corporate offices, position papers are an expression of an employee’s definitive position about issues that are crucial to both the company and its employees.

Just like any piece of academic writing, the position paper must have the basic elements: an interesting introduction, well-developed body paragraph and an effective conclusion. To sway your readers to follow your line of thinking and argument, you need to use persuasive techniques when you write your position paper. By giving sufficient evidence through verifiable facts and convincing details, you will be able to persuade your readers to go along with your argument.

Note the following example of an outline of a position paper:


The Department of Health is overseeing issues concerning the health and eating habits of school children.

Thesis Statement

Stricter regulations should be imposed on the selling of junk food in school cafeteria.

Supporting statements for the topic

  1. Junk foods contain harmful fats and additives that jeopardize the health of individuals.
  2. Studies have proven that test results improved when children refrained from eating junk foods.
  3. The school cafeteria has to set a good example of healthy eating habits among students.


  1. Other factors such as genetics and environmental toxins also do harm to individuals.
  2. The high test scores could have been due to other factors such as positive reinforcement from their parents.
  3. The school cafeteria administrators cannot always monitor what students eat outside the school.

Supporting details to validate or oppose counterargument

  1. Genetics and the environment are certainly factors to consider, but poor eating habits and unhealthy food choices only aggravate the problem.
  2. Conclusive studies have pointed to a positive correlation between healthy eating habits and high IQ.
  3. School officials can implement stricter policies granting school cafeteria administrators such authority.


Banning junk foods in school cafeterias across the country will ensure the health of school children, thereby paving the way towards a healthier nation composed of physically and mentally capable citizens.

  • Have a definitive stand.
  • Do a thorough research of the issue.
  • Be prepared to defend your position and provide evidence for your counterarguments.
  • Your conviction should be reflected in your thesis statement.