A Handy Guide to How to Write a Position Paper

What is a position paper?

Before you get to writing a position paper, it is good to understand vividly how to define a position paper.  Many individuals confuse a position paper for being just a report like any other whereas it is clear that a position paper entails the writer lying on one side of the issue under discussion.

While writing a position paper, you need to give your position on the issue at hand. A position paper can be written in different incidents such as in a discussion of international challenges affecting different nations and formulation of policies to curb the issues.

In the case of the formulation of international policies, you can even be required by the members of the conference to forward your paper even before the meeting so that the direction of the debate can be determined and set at an early stage. A position paper can also be written in the case of institutions’ meetings while addressing different issues affecting the organization.

How to write a position paper

After getting the meaning of a position paper, we can now proceed on how to go about in writing a position paper.

Below are some of the guide before writing your paper:

  • Understanding the topic given- in most cases you will be given the topic that you are supposed to discuss, and it is your responsibility as a participant to understand the topic first before you take a position on the matter. When you fail to understand the topic well, you may end up giving points that do not display your position. In the understanding of the topic, you can go ahead and conduct some research on the topic just to be certain of the points that you will come up with.
  • Ensure your topic can easily be arguable- in some incidents, you may be asked to pick on a topic to write on for your position paper. Many topics can be used for argument purposes especially current trends and issues affecting the society today. You should be able to go for a topic that has points and can bring contradiction to arise argument. When you go for a common topic where most people would lie on one side of your stand then that is not a good topic, a good topic should have almost similar points on both sides of the argument to bring a healthy conversation of the parties involved.
  • List the advantages and disadvantages for both sides of the argument- when you list the advantages and disadvantages of two different sides of the argument you will be able to pick the best position that you can confidently argue.
  • Pick your position and formulate your points- in a position paper you have to take a position in the argument. Ensure that you have sufficient points to support your position.
  • Understand your audience position on the matter- it is also good to understand where your audience is placed in the argument so that you can design your arguments to satisfy them on the points you try to bring out.

To make your paper outstand you should:

  • Design an official look for your paper- in being official you only need to be realistic in your arguments so that the readers can easily be convinced with your points without much questioning.
  • Make it as simple as possible- in a presentation of your claims you should ensure that you are direct to the point and avoid unclear explanations because it makes your work tiresome to read. Be clear by using simple, understandable language, avoid too much use of vocabulary in your work.
  • Be organized in the presentation of your points- you should be able to know which point comes first and ensure each idea is placed in its paragraph. This will also help your paper have an official look.
  • Put references for your points- citing your sources is very key as it gives your points a higher hand over the rest given that it can be refereed hence valid.
  • Go through your paper after completing- it is good to proofread your work as it will enable you to see some common mistakes made and you can also change the flow of points to be persuasive to your audience.

Position paper writing format – which one is correct?

  • The thesis

The first thing that you should major on in your paper is the thesis. The thesis statement is the one that will dictate the direction of your paper. In the thesis statement bring the issue at hand in the limelight and let the reader know your direction on the argument.

  • The introduction

After the thesis, you proceed to the introduction. The introduction is also a very important part of your paper because it will either attract the reader to your paper or dismiss them if it does not look appealing. You should take your time in coming up with a good introduction to attract the reader to the body.

To achieve this, you can apply suspense that will make the reader want to explore more in the body. The suspense will act as a hook for your reader, if you fail to get the reader’s attention well in the introductory part, then he or she may fail to read the important points outlined in your body, and the paper would be boring. You should climax your intro with the thesis.

  • The body

In the body, you should be able to give both sides of the argument but center more points on the position that you are interested in as a writer. You can give a few points concerning the counter argument then finish up with ample points and support for your desired position in the argument.

This will act well for the reader because they will see that you are not biased but at the end, you will have convinced them towards your direction. Include enough evidence in the body as a support for your points. The more you have the support statements, the more you are convincing your audience and hence, the success of the paper.


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You should be able to understand your position formula. Get to know how you will let the reader know that you are for a certain stand and against the other creatively. You can even achieve this by giving the pros and cons in favor of your position I the argument.

In designing of the body, you should start your paragraphs with good topic sentences – the topic sentence is a small sentence that introduces an idea to be discussed in that paragraph. Since you will have given each paragraph its idea, then the topic sentences should be unique for each paragraph.

In designing your paragraph, start with the idea then back it up with evidence. The evidence is key as it helps the reader understand your points. After every claim, you should accompany evidence and make them as many as you can because they give strength to your ideas. At this point that you can refer to different statistics and quotes just to validate your ideas and be persuasive.

Also, do not use outline your evidence without explaining it, will be as good as not mentioning it, ensure you explain your evidence to the satisfaction of your reader.

  • The conclusion

In conclusion, you are supposed to summarize all your points and give your view on the argument. At the start of the conclusion, restate your thesis just to remind the reader of what your intentions were in the paper then support your thesis with a summary of the points in the body paragraphs.

You should clearly state your position in the concluding paragraph. You can also go on and dismiss the opposing points in brief as a wrap up of your paper. End your paper with a call for implementation. Let the reader see the need for your paper by what you are calling for address.

  • Cite your references

After the conclusion, you should list the reference material used in your research just in case the reader needs to confirm something from your points.

  • Proofread your work

It is good to go through your work after writing just to ensure that you have written everything correctly and you haven’t left anything behind. You can easily identify simple grammar and spelling mistakes when you go through your paper after writing.

Position paper examples

For you to perfect your writing skills of a position paper, you need to be exposed to different position paper samples. There are different position papers written addressing different scenarios, it can be either on state affairs or of a specific organization, and each takes a different flow and structure. When you get exposed to these examples, you will be able to dictate the right structure and outline for your given paper.