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Guidelines on How to Write a Position Paper

Guidelines on How to Write a Position Paper

Getting a proper academic education or a scientific degree opens great opportunities in life. However, it’s far not as easy as many may think. Besides lots of tests, annual exams and daily lectures combined with tons of tasks and projects, there are often writing assignments that take a lot of time.

If your aim is a good academic record and positive reputation among your teachers and group mates, you shall find a way to cope with all those things successfully. While many students understand that learning new information and passing exams is a must, the situation with writing assignments is not the same clear.

Writing another essay takes a lot of time. You need to spend days if not weeks practicing your writing skills and making your texts sound interesting. Moreover, even the smallest mistake or a misprint may reduce your final mark.

That’s why we decided to create a useful guide for college students that helps to get some useful writing skills and to understand how to write a position paper in the best possible way.

What is a Position Paper?

It would be impossible to write an excellent position paper without a clear understanding of its main functions and a concept. A position paper is very close by its structure and definition to many types of writing assignments. It’s quite easy to confuse between a position paper and a report, an informative essay or other similar types of papers.

That’s why writing a position paper, it’s always important to remember about its special features:

  • A Defined Position. A position paper reveals your clear and precise idea about the topic. It’s wise to choose some controversial issues that can cause different ideas and emotions. In this case, you can choose that point of view that looks most rational and attractive to you and explain your choice to a reader.Unlike a report or an informative article, there’s no need to speak about several possible points of view, letting a reader choose which one is the most correct or practical. You shall study all possible versions and make a decision on your own, proving a reader why your chosen position is the right one.
  • Clear Statements. While your personal experience and preferences can partly influence the choice of your position, your statements shall also be based on proven and official information.Think that the topic you picked up for your paper may be very controversial. There will be readers who may have an opinion different from yours. Make your statements clear and solid enough to prove your idea against others.It’s nice to use facts, quotes, and references that prove your own words and conclusions. You can also compare your ideas to alternative ones, however, you shall concentrate on grounding your position not on denying all others.
  • A Personal Attitude. Unlike many other types of papers, writing a position paper you don’t need to be 100% objective. It’s ok to rely on your own experience and life philosophy.You can start your sentences with phrases like “I think” or “I believe”. However, it’s important to show that you have enough knowledge on the subject to make a valuable conclusion. It’s also nice to include facts and pieces of evidence to support your ideas.

Steps Before Writing a Position Paper

Ready to start writing your position paper? Put your pen aside and prepare to make some important steps:

Choose a Topic

Choice of a topic is the most important step of the preparation. Avoid choosing a topic that is based on your personal feelings only. Give a preference to something trending and interesting to a wider range of people.

The main difficulty is to choose a theme that is popular enough to attract the attention of your audience and, at the same time, is not a banal and too common one. It’s also important to choose a topic that you can find enough information about.

Analyze a Target Audience

If you are asked to present or read your final text in front of a group of people, you shall clearly understand who your listeners or readers are. If you are supposed to write an academic paper, your target audience can be your teachers or a group of students. Understanding who you will present your paper to influence the style of writing, information, and examples you shall use.

For example, if you present your paper in front of teachers, you can omit some common explanations and include more professional terms and more detailed research. Your teachers are supposed to be acquainted with the topic, so listening some well-known facts will only make them feel bored. If your audience consists of students mostly, you shall make your test simpler and include some additional explanations.

Collect Information

You should not start writing your paper if you don’t have enough knowledge about the topic. Your preparation should include a very accurate and detailed research.

Be sure you note all important information down. Even if you feel you remember everything well, it’s better to save the information writing notes.

Make a Plan

A detailed plan a the key to making your writing work logical and well-structured. A plan also allows including all necessary information in the correct place.

Moreover, a plan will help you to come back to the same point where you stopped your writing easily in a case you need to make a break. Any plan for a position paper shall include the main lines: a thesis, an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Position Paper Writing Format (Structure)

Structuring your text is a must if you want to make it sound logical and clear. However, it’s twice a must if you a writing an academic paper.

Before starting to write your academic paper itself, you shall first start by writing a plan and thinking carefully about your position paper format and each component of its plan.

Thesis

What is a thesis? It’s just a short part of your position paper that plays a very great role. It consists of one or two sentences. However, this sentences shall reveal the concept and reflect the topic of your position paper to attract your reader and to make it understandable what the whole writing work is about.

A thesis may include some shocking facts, figures or even popular or interesting quotes. Such elements make a thesis hooking and stimulate a reader’s desire to continue reading the paper.

Introduction

This part serves for introducing your reader to a topic. Here you can give some concepts and facts that may help readers to understand the whole text. It would also be nice to explain why discussing the topic may be important.

This part shall be informative, however, it shall not reveal the main information and conclusions that can be made after reading your position paper.

Body Paragraph

This paragraph is the main and the most important, as well as the most valuable and interesting part of your writing. Here you shall include all the facts and statements that prove your idea.

It’s always great to use some illustrative examples, quotes, simple but exciting explanations. You can use sub-paragraphs that will make your text more structured and easier to read and to understand. It’s also nice to use lists and illustrations if it’s allowed.

Conclusion

Many students think that conclusion is a short and very concise rewriting of the body paragraph. However, this is not really right. A conclusion may include some key facts mentioned above in your work, but its main aim is revealing and showing the solution to the problem.

Think about a conclusion that can be made after reading the whole work, about problems it may solve and how it can be used. Many writing experts advise to write a conclusion as an answer to those issues or questions that are shown in a thesis.

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