Write a Position Paper in 5 Steps
A position paper is an assignment that requires you to select a certain topic and to convey your opinion on it. Quite often, topics for such papers are controversial. When writing a position paper, you’ll need to use statistics, facts, and other sorts of evidence so that you can convince your readers to accept your point. Thus, you have to research your topic and build a well-structured argument, which requires you to prepare an outline. Experts from College-Writers service have some useful tips for you.
Step 1: Choose a Topic
Your position paper will consider a topic, supporting it with the information from your research. We recommend that you find an arguable topic. A good topic should allow you to make a strong case, even if it doesn’t reflect your personal beliefs. No matter whether it’s complex or simple, your argument must be logical and solid.
Step 2: Conduct Research
First, you must determine whether or not you have the necessary evidence to support your point. To do this, you need to conduct preliminary research. Your topic and opinion should withstand a challenge.
We recommend that you search for information on proven, reputable websites (e.g. .gov and .edu). Look for official statistics and professional studies. If you realize that you’re unable to find enough data, or that your position contradicts the findings of studies, we suggest that you choose another topic. This way, you’ll save time and avoid frustration.
Step 3: Challenge Your Position
To support your position, you should be also familiar with the opposite viewpoint. Think of all the possible challenges you may deal with when supporting your point. Your paper should address the opposite opinion and use counter-evidence against it. You may discuss the chosen topic with your friends, family, or colleagues to learn other opinions so that you can take them into account. Address the opposing arguments and determine their weaknesses.
You may also write down a list of your points and a list of the opposite points. Evaluate all the arguments and make sure you have enough points so that you won’t be outnumbered.
Step 4: Collect Evidence
When you know the strengths of your point and the weaknesses of the opposite point, you can continue your research. Use proven online sources but don’t forget that you can also go to a library and look for printed sources. In this case, you can also ask a librarian for help so they will recommend some helpful books and articles. When working with articles and books, the validity of your sources is also crucial. You should only use evidence from reputable sources and avoid subjective opinions.
The more sources you have, the better. You need experts’ opinions (professors, doctors, etc.), as well as opinions based on personal experience. Personal experiences allow you to make your paper more emotional. Make sure that the chosen statements support your opinion but don’t repeat it word-for-word.
Step 5: Write an Outline
A position paper should have the following structure:
1. Introduce the topic and provide the necessary background information. Write your thesis statement. Here are some sample points:
- For many years, companies have been supposed to place warning labels on dangerous products according to the FDA requirements.
- Fast food is dangerous for our health.
- Fast food packages must have warning labels
2. Address the opposite points. For example:
- Warning labels will have a negative impact on the profits of big corporations.
- People will say that government control is unnecessary.
- Who will decide whether or not certain food is dangerous?
- Such a program may be costly.
3. Acknowledge the opposite points and support them but stick with your views:
- Deciding what restaurants should be regulated by this policy will be expensive and difficult.
- The government shouldn’t control business.
- Taxpayers will have to pay the costs associated with this program.
4. Explain why your point is still valid, despite the solid counter-arguments. Here you can refute the opposite arguments, while also supporting your own point. Here are some examples:
- Despite the associated costs, public health will improve.
- Restaurants will need to improve the quality of their products.
- The government is supposed to care about the safety of its citizens.
- The same system already works with cigarettes and alcohol.
5. Restate your thesis statement and summarize your opinion. At the end of the paper, focus on your argument and don’t mention counter-arguments. The main thing is to make your audience remember your opinion after reading the paper.
When writing a position paper, be confident and don’t be afraid to make your statements with authority. You should demonstrate that your opinion is correct and persuade your readers to accept it.