How to Write a Position Paper: Tips and Guidelines

How to Write a Position Paper: Tips and Guidelines

Writing a position paper can be a challenging task, but with the right tips and guidelines, it becomes a full and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a student learning the ins and outs of argumentative writing or a professional in healthcare or government, position papers are a critical part of the work you’ll encounter. A position paper takes a stand on a controversial issue and argues for or against it, citing sources and evidence to support your position.

One of the first steps in writing a position paper is to identify a topic that is both critical and interesting to your audience. You want to choose an issue that has two clear sides, with strong arguments and evidence for each. For example, you may choose to write about the use of surveillance in the name of national security. While some argue that it is necessary to ensure the safety of the country, others believe it is an invasion of privacy and an unjust practice.



Once you have chosen your topic, it is important to conduct thorough research and collect reliable sources to support your arguments. This includes finding studies, statistics, and expert opinions that back up your position. Be sure to include a variety of sources, including both primary and secondary, to strengthen your position. As you collect your sources, be sure to take careful notes and cite them properly, using a citation template or following the guidelines of a specific citation style, such as APA or MLA.

Proofreading and editing are crucial steps in the writing process, especially when it comes to position papers. Before submitting your paper, take the time to carefully read through it and check for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Make sure your arguments are clear and well-supported, and that your paper flows smoothly from one point to the next. It may also be beneficial to have someone else read your paper and provide feedback, as they may spot mistakes or offer suggestions for improvement that you may have missed.

Understanding the Purpose

The purpose of a position paper is to persuade the audience about a specific viewpoint while considering opposing positions as well. The writer needs to identify the needs of the audience and challenge their existing beliefs or perspectives. By presenting supporting evidence and logical arguments, you can effectively communicate your position on the issue.

Position papers are often written for a specific audience, such as policymakers or executives in a particular field. It is crucial to tailor your paper to resonate with your intended audience by using language that is suitable for that context.

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One of the key differences between position papers and other types of essays is that position papers require a strong emphasis on researching and citing credible sources. Incorporating data, facts, and statistics from reputable sources adds credibility and authority to your arguments.

A position paper takes a stance on a particular issue, such as healthcare policy or national security. It aims to persuade the reader of the writer’s viewpoint and provide a convincing case through evidence and rational arguments.

While writing a position paper, it is important to address opposing positions and counterarguments. This shows that you have considered different perspectives and strengthens your position by demonstrating your understanding of the topic.



Once you have drafted your position paper, it is essential to proofread and edit it carefully. This helps ensure clarity, coherence, and proper organization of ideas. Reviewing for grammar and spelling errors is crucial for maintaining a professional and polished paper.

Conducting Research

  • Start by identifying the specific topic or issue that your paper will be addressing. This will help you focus your research and find relevant sources.
  • Make use of various resources, including books, articles, and reputable websites, to gather information about your topic. Be sure to use credible sources to ensure the validity of your arguments.
  • In addition to supporting your own arguments, it is also important to consider opposing viewpoints. Include research that presents differing opinions and arguments to provide a balanced perspective.
  • Take the time to read and analyze the sources you find. Highlight important points and note down any relevant information that you can use in your paper.
  • Create an outline to organize your research findings and plan the structure of your paper. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you include all the necessary information.
  • When researching, remember to cite your sources properly. This is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism.
  • If you’re having difficulty finding enough information on your topic, try expanding your search criteria or consulting additional resources such as academic journals or government publications.
  • Proofread your research to ensure that it is free from errors and logical inconsistencies. This will help strengthen your arguments and ensure that your paper is well-written.

Conducting research is a crucial part of writing an effective position paper. It allows you to gather evidence, identify opposing viewpoints, and develop a strong thesis statement. By following the steps and guidelines outlined here, you can conduct research that is beneficial for your paper and supports your stance on the issue at hand.

Examples:

  • When conducting research on the topic of the death penalty, you may come across research that highlights the difference in crime rates between states with and without capital punishment.
  • Researching the role of executive professions in national security could involve examining case studies and examples of how similar policies have been implemented in other countries.
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Remember, conducting research is not a one-time exercise. It is an ongoing process that plays a crucial role throughout the writing of your position paper. Stay dedicated, click here to learn more about the topic, and be sure to publish an essay that takes a strong stand and is backed up with solid evidence.

Structuring the Paper

2. Body paragraphs:

The body of your position paper should consist of several paragraphs, each presenting a separate supporting point for your argument. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly states the point you will be making. Provide evidence, examples, and data to support your point. Use reputable sources and cite them properly. Make sure to address potential counterarguments and refute them.

4. Proofread and revise:

After writing your position paper, take the time to proofread it for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. Make sure your sentences flow smoothly and your paragraphs are well-structured. Check that you have supported your arguments with enough evidence and examples. Revise your paper as necessary to ensure clarity and coherence.

Remember, every position paper is unique and may require some adjustments to this general structure. Adapt it to suit the specific needs of your topic and the requirements of the assignment. By following these steps and guidelines, you will be able to craft a well-structured and persuasive position paper.

Proofreading and Editing

1. Take a Break

Before you start proofreading, take a break from your writing. This will allow you to approach your paper with fresh eyes and a clear mind. You may want to leave your paper aside for a few hours or even a day before revisiting it.

2. Read it Aloud

When proofreading, read your paper aloud. This will help you identify any awkward phrasing, grammatical errors, or unclear sentences. Reading aloud also allows you to hear how your paper flows and if your arguments are logical and well-structured.

3. Check for Coherence and Clarity

Make sure your position paper is coherent and clear. Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence and support your thesis statement. Check that your arguments and evidence are well-developed and that there is a logical flow between paragraphs and sections.

4. Check for Grammar and Spelling Mistakes

Proofread your position paper for grammar and spelling mistakes. Use spell-check tools or ask someone else to proofread your paper for you. Pay attention to common errors such as verb agreement, punctuation, and sentence structure.

5. Review Your Citations and References

If you’ve cited sources or included references in your position paper, make sure they are properly formatted and cited. Check for consistency in citation style, such as APA or MLA. Double-check that all your sources are accurately cited and that your references list is complete.

6. Get Feedback

Consider seeking feedback from others. Ask a classmate, friend, or professor to read your position paper and provide constructive criticism. Another person’s perspective can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your arguments.

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Remember, proofreading and editing are not just about fixing errors; it’s also an opportunity to strengthen your position and improve your writing. By carefully reviewing your paper and making necessary changes, you can ensure that your position paper is well-crafted and effectively communicates your ideas to your audience.

FAQ

What is a position paper?

A position paper is a written document that presents an individual’s stance on a particular issue or topic. It outlines the individual’s viewpoint and supporting arguments for that viewpoint.

How long should a position paper be?

The length of a position paper can vary, but it is typically around two to three pages. However, it is important to check the requirements of the specific organization or conference for which the position paper is being written, as they may have specific guidelines on length.

What is the structure of a position paper?

A position paper typically consists of an introduction, where the issue or topic is introduced; a statement of the position, which clearly states the individual’s viewpoint; supporting arguments, which provide evidence and reasoning to support the position; and a conclusion, which summarizes the main points and restates the position.

How do I choose a position for my position paper?

When choosing a position for your position paper, it is important to consider your own beliefs and values, as well as the available evidence and arguments for each side of the issue. You should also consider the audience and purpose of the position paper, and choose a position that is both logical and persuasive.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.