The Ultimate Guide to Writing A Position Essay

A position paper is similar to an argumentative paper in that it presents your stand on an issue and convinces the reader to agree with you through logical argumentation and credible supporting evidence.

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A position paper is an academic essay that presents an opinion on a polarizing issue. It bears a lot of similarity with argumentative essays in that they present the author’s opinion on a topic, with the goal of convincing the reader to agree with the author or support their opinion. However, this type of essay is not confined to the academe; it is often written by organizations and people in politics and law to justify their stand on law, resolution, decision, or social issue. Both students and professionals would, thus, benefit from mastering how to write a position paper. 

What Is a Position Paper?

A position paper is a type of essay that presents an opinion or point of view on a debatable topic, then substantiate it with logical argumentation and factual evidence. Its goal is to convince the reader that the author’s opinion is worth listening to and valid and therefore should be supported. In doing so, the paper also facilitates the reader’s deeper understanding of the topic or issue.

What is a position essay for? This document has uses in both academe, law, and politics. In the academe, professors and researchers may write about their stand on an emerging topic and present evidence to incite further discussion. In law and politics, position pieces are used to write about controversial issues with the goal of proposing solutions or inciting discussions toward a solution. Similarly, a position paper may be used to justify the author’s stand or decision regarding law or issue. 

Position Paper Format

You may have noticed from the explanation of what is a position paper that it is quite similar to argumentative and persuasive essays. However, one of the things that make this essay unique is its structure. A position paper structure inverts the format of an argumentative essay. This is better demonstrated. 

What you will notice with the position paper format is that it presents the counterarguments first before your arguments. You cannot modify this structure because point papers should demonstrate a deep understanding of the issue, and that includes understanding all sides of the issue. Before writing a position paper, you must be knowledgeable of all sides of the issue—it is not enough that you are able to present logical arguments supporting your opinion, but you should also have sufficient reason for not taking the other side. This type of essay requires rigor and passion, which is why it is commonly used by professionals. 

How to Write a Position Paper?

How to start a position paper? As with most writing, the writing process begins way before the actual writing. Follow these steps and tips for writing a compelling position piece.

1. Choosing a topic

Given its nature, there are some restrictions to choosing topics for position papers. You must choose a debatable topic—it should be a real issue, with plausible controversy. However, it is also helpful to choose a topic that is supported by research and, more importantly, one that you can argue on best. While it is commendable to choose a topic that you are passionate about, it is not necessary. Prioritize how well you can craft a logical argument and find factual evidence when choosing an issue for your paper.

Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Is there genuine controversy in the issue?

  • Are there two sides? What are they?

  • Are you interested in advocating for one of these sides?

  • Is the issue narrow enough for the length of your essay?

2. Conducting research

The next step to writing any academic essay is research. Even if you are familiar with the topic, you should still need to research to make sure that your stand is supported. Look for sources that will give you a holistic understanding of the topic—seek out sources from each side of the argument. These will help you analyze the issue and develop your own argument

At some point in your research, you will have an inkling as to which side you are taking, it is time to build your supporting evidence. Remember that you need to provide evidence for both your arguments and the counterarguments. Factual knowledge, statistics, and other facts proven by studies are always great evidence, however, you may also refer to informed opinion from experts and personal testimony from a knowledgeable individual to support your stand.

3. Developing your argument

Armed with your research, you now start strengthening your reasoning. Lay out both the arguments and counterarguments. Determine the challenges your arguments may face and make sure that they will be able to discredit the counterarguments.

Another way to strengthen your arguments is to enlist the help of a friend or colleague in thinking of other counterarguments or alternative perspectives on the issue.

4. Creating an outline

There is a reason why all students are required to learn how to make an effective outline—because it helps with the essay’s organization and coherence. For the position paper outline, simply follow the structure we discussed earlier.

5. Crafting the thesis statement

Your proposition paper should have a thesis statement. This is the focal point of your essay—it summarizes your opinion on the topic and the arguments you present in the piece. Need help writing a strong thesis statement? Check out our guide to writing good thesis statements.

Here is a position argument example thesis statement:

While it is true that the police have become problematic in the past years, defunding it would result in higher crime rates and worse problems for communities. Its funding, however, should be used to reform the force and renew policing practices.

How to write a position statement paper

A lot of preparation goes into the writing process, but that is only half the journey. You need to be able to communicate your opinion and arguments so that the reader understands them. Here are a few writing tips:

1. Follow the quintessential paragraph structure

  • Start with a topic sentence that signals what the paragraph will discuss. For a position essay, this may be one of your main arguments. You may add another sentence or two if you need to explain the main point further.
  • The next 3 to 4 sentences should be devoted to presenting evidence that support or justify your argument.
  • Conclude the main point of your paragraph and introduce a transition to the next paragraph.

2. Use transition words to express the logical relationship between your main points or each sentence.

3. Be straight to the point and avoid flowery language. Professors generally expect a clear and concise writing style for this type of essay. 

4, To avoid plagiarism:

  • Cite claims and facts that are not considered common knowledge.
  • Learn how to paraphrase properly. If an excerpt cannot be paraphrased, simply quote them directly.
  • Make sure you cite the correct authors to avoid misattribution. Here are other types of plagiarism you should avoid.

6. Edit and proofread your essay

To finalize your position piece, go through it once or twice to look for any loopholes in your argument, unclear or awkward sentences, and grammatical errors and typos. You may also want to check that you formatted the paper according to the prescribed citation style. Minimizing, if not eliminating, errors in your essay is the best way to make it appear professional. Follow our tips for editing any type of essay.

A great idea for effectively editing your essays is to ask a friend or your roommate to read your work. They will be able to give feedback based on the perspective of a reader. Be open to their feedback and find how you can improve your essay.

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Position Paper Example

So far, you have learned about the aspects that make up a position essay, and to make your life a little easier, here is a position paper example. For you to have a better understanding of these aspects, see how other writers write these parts and how they apply the tips we’ve shared. 

Position Paper Template

Some things are easier said than done. Follow this position paper template to help you get started on the right track. 

Introduction

Write a few sentences introducing the topic and the controversy:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Write your thesis statement:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Counter Argument

Introduce the main argument of those against your position, then briefly lay out 3 of their counterarguments:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Restate each counterargument followed by supporting information or evidence:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Briefly refute the counterclaims:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Briefly provide evidence for your argument: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Your Position

For argument 1:

State your opinion and rationale:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Provide supporting evidence for your argument:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Close the paragraph by relating this argument with the next argument:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For argument 2:

State your opinion and rationale:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Provide supporting evidence for your argument:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Close the paragraph by relating this argument with the next argument:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


For argument 3

State your opinion and rationale:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Provide supporting evidence for your argument:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Close the paragraph by relating this argument with the next argument:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Conclusion

Briefly restate your opinion, followed by the arguments:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Describe your proposed plan of action:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


With this template, you do not need to spend hours just thinking about how to start a position paper. Keep practicing and soon you will be able to write a compelling position essay on your own. For now, do not hesitate to use tools to improve your writing or seek help when needed.

Conclusion

The position paper is a rare assignment in the college, and it is one of the most intimidating. But students need not fear this essay because CustomEssayMeister is here to equip you with the tools to help you succeed. We will match you with a professional writer who will help you on any and every stage of the writing process—from topic proposal to outline creation to writing and editing. If you are really busy, our professional writers can also write the position paper for you. What topic are you writing about? Tell us here.