How to Write a Position Paper

Lindsay Kramer

In academia and the professional world, one of the most valuable writing skills to develop is the ability to clearly express and support a position in writing. When you write a position paper, this is the skill you’re strengthening.

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What is a position paper?

A position paper is a type of academic writing that supports the author’s position on a topic through statistics, facts, and other pieces of well-researched, relevant evidence.

The purpose of a position paper is to clearly and concisely communicate the author’s position on a topic. For example, a teaching assistant may write a position paper about students’ use of AI writing tools in academic assignments. In this example, the author acknowledges how certain AI tools can enable students to work more efficiently while also acknowledging the tools’ drawbacks, such as other AI tools allowing students to avoid doing the actual writing. The author clearly states and supports their position with credible sources, and readers come away understanding the author’s exact position on the topic.

Position papers aren’t always individuals’ positions. They can also communicate groups’ and organizations’ positions on topics. To go back to our previous example, a university writing department may publish a paper on its official position regarding AI writing tools. This paper, which would be approximately one page long, would then become a go-to resource for students and faculty with questions about the department’s position on such tools. These are a few areas where position papers are frequently published and used this way:

  • Government and organizational policy

How to write a position paper in 5 steps

1 choose a topic.

The first step in writing a position paper is choosing your topic. You may be assigned a topic, or you may need to develop a topic yourself. In either case, a good topic for a position paper is one that allows you to take a definable, defendable stance that you can back up with relevant data. This is why thoroughly researching your topic is critical to writing a strong position paper—which we’ll explore further in the next section.

2 Conduct research

Once you’ve determined your paper’s topic, the next step is to do a deep dive into it. At this stage, you may not have a clear position yet—that’s perfectly fine. You’ll determine your position by researching the subject.

Consult sources that support multiple positions on your topic. This way, you can find any logical fallacies , misunderstandings, and other shortcomings behind various positions one can take on the subject. Through your research, determine the most logical position to take in your paper. Remember, though, that a position paper isn’t based on opinions—although you’re taking the position that best reflects your understanding of the topic, you need to support that position with credible facts.

3 Write a thesis

Once you’ve determined the position you’ll take in your paper, write your thesis statement . Your paper’s thesis statement is the sentence that concisely states the position the rest of your paper will support.

4 Challenge your thesis

After you write a thesis statement, you need to challenge it. Arguing against your thesis statement in good faith demonstrates that you understand the topic from all angles and support your position from a place of logic and careful reasoning.

5 Collect supporting evidence

Including quotes from experts in your position paper can be beneficial, but be careful to avoid the appeal to authority fallacy . Their expertise must be directly relevant to your position, as do the quotes you include. An example of a relevant quote would be an excerpt from a pediatrician’s research on adolescent circadian rhythms in a position paper supporting later starting times for high schools. An irrelevant quote would be a parent’s anecdote that their teen often sleeps late and misses the bus. While this anecdote may be true, it’s not a researched or tested fact from an expert.

Position paper outline (with examples)


In the introduction, hook your reader with an engaging opening, then introduce your thesis statement. Then, briefly include your supporting argument.

Body paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you support your thesis statement. You can include as many paragraphs as you need, but remember that a position paper is typically a short piece of writing . Include one body paragraph per argument—including counterarguments. In each counterargument paragraph, demonstrate the flaws in the counterargument using relevant, credible facts and figures.

Be careful to strike a balance between paragraphs supporting your position and paragraphs discrediting counterarguments. Overall, your paper should do more supporting than discrediting because the focus is your position’s strength, not its opposition’s weakness.

In the final section, restate your position and summarize your argument. You don’t need to restate your thesis statement word for word, but you should reinforce it here with a summary of the points you made in your paper’s body paragraphs.

Tips for writing a position paper

Identify your audience.

Before you begin to write, determine who will read your position paper. This will help you choose the right tone to use and which details and sources to include. A position paper meant to be read by others in your industry, for example, can use a more technical tone and include more jargon and industry-specific knowledge than a position paper you plan to publish for a wider audience.

Once you’ve determined your paper’s audience, figure out which sources make sense for that audience. If it’s an academic position paper, support your thesis statement with scholarly sources. If it’s a professional paper, support your thesis with industry-relevant statistics and insights from key leaders. And if you’re publishing your position paper as a blog post or opinion piece to be read by the general public, be sure to use sources that will resonate with them.

Include supporting research and data

Weave your sources into your paper. You can use direct quotes, paraphrasing, or both. Including credible sources, both in support of and against your position, demonstrates that you did your research and can back up any statement you make or refute others’ claims.

Choose a topic with two (or more) opposing sides

A strong position paper takes a clear position on a topic that people can disagree about. When there’s no disagreement about a topic, it’s difficult to write a compelling position paper.

For example, a position paper about why humans need to drink water wouldn’t be very compelling. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with your position that everyone needs to drink water every day. A better topic for a position paper would be whether it’s more harmful or beneficial for people to drink coffee every day because there is detailed research to support both positions.

Cite your sources

It’s not enough to include references; you need to cite your sources as well. In most cases, you’re required to include a bibliography that lists the sources you used to research your position paper. Even when this isn’t a requirement, citations show that you have credible sources to support your position.

As with any other type of writing, proofread your position paper before you send it to your professor, colleagues, or supervisor, or before you publish it on your LinkedIn profile or website. A spelling or grammatical mistake can undermine your position—and it takes only a second to fix.

Position paper vs. argumentative essay

A position paper states a position and supports it through references to credible sources. An argumentative essay is similar, but it generally presents its position as an argument or question rather than as a statement. Here are a few examples of titles for both:

Position paper: A Car-Free Campus Is Healthier for Everyone

Argumentative essay: Should Cars Be Banned From Campus?

Position paper: Legacy Status Is an Outdated Metric

Argumentative essay: Is It Time to Stop Considering Legacy Status?

In many ways, a position paper is similar to an argumentative essay , with the key difference being their goals. An argumentative essay’s goal is to sway the reader’s opinion on its topic by guiding them through a nuanced, balanced look at various positions, leading them to the position the author supports. A position paper is a shorter piece of writing that spends less time exploring opposing positions and instead simply presents the reasons the author holds their position.

Position paper FAQs

A position paper is a type of academic writing that supports an author’s or organization’s position on a topic through statistics, facts, and other pieces of well-researched, relevant evidence.

Which professions publish position papers?

Professional areas that use position papers include legal, research, healthcare, government, and organizational policy.

What’s the difference between a position paper and an argumentative essay?

A position paper states a position and supports it through evidence from credible sources. An argumentative essay has a broader scope and generally presents its position as a reasoned argument or question rather than as an evidence-driven position.

how to write the introduction of a position paper

5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper

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  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

In a position paper assignment, your charge is to choose a side on a particular topic, sometimes controversial, and build up a case for your opinion or position. You will use facts, opinion, statistics, and other forms of evidence to convince your reader that your position is the best one. To do this, you'll collect research for your position paper and craft an outline in order to create a well-constructed argument.

Select a Topic for Your Paper

Your position paper centers around a topic that is supported by research. Your topic and position have to hold up when challenged, so it's helpful to research a few topics and pick the one you can best argue, even if it may not reflect your personal beliefs. In many cases, the subject matter and your topic are not as important as your ability to make a strong case. Your topic can be simple or complex, but your argument must be sound and logical.

Conduct Preliminary Research

Preliminary research is necessary to determine whether sufficient evidence is available to back up your stance. You don’t want to get too attached to a topic that falls apart under a challenge.

Search a few reputable sites, like education (.edu) sites and government (.gov) sites, to find professional studies and statistics. If you come up with nothing after an hour of searching, or if you find that your position doesn’t stand up to the findings on reputable sites, choose another topic. This could save you from a lot of frustration later.

Challenge Your Own Topic

You must know the opposite view as well as you know your own stance when you take a position. Take the time to determine all the possible challenges that you might face as you support your view. Your position paper must address the opposing view and chip away at it with counter-evidence. Consider having friends, colleagues, or family debate the topic with you to get alternative points of view that you might not have readily considered yourself. When you find arguments for the other side of your position, you can address them in a fair manner, and then state why they are not sound.

Another helpful exercise is to draw a line down the middle of a plain sheet of paper and list your points on one side and list opposing points on the other side. Which argument is really better? If it looks like your opposition might outnumber you with valid points, you should reconsider your topic or your stance on the topic.

Continue to Collect Supporting Evidence

Once you’ve determined that your position is supportable and the opposite position is (in your opinion) weaker than your own, you are ready to branch out with your research. Go to a library and conduct a search, or ask the reference librarian to help you find more sources. You can, of course, conduct online research as well, but it's important to know how to properly vet the validity of the sources you use. Ensure that your articles are written by reputable sources, and be wary of singular sources that differ from the norm, as these are often subjective rather than factual in nature.

Try to collect a variety of sources, and include both an expert’s opinion (doctor, lawyer, or professor, for example) and personal experience (from a friend or family member) that can add an emotional appeal to your topic. These statements should support your own position but should read differently than your own words. The point of these is to add depth to your argument or provide anecdotal support.

Create an Outline

A position paper can be arranged in the following format:

1. Introduce your topic with some basic background information. Build up to your thesis sentence , which asserts your position. Sample points:

  • For decades, the FDA has required that warning labels should be placed on certain products that pose a threat to public health.
  • Fast food restaurants are bad for our health.
  • Fast food packages should contain warning labels.

2. Introduce possible objections to your position. Sample points:

  • Such labels would affect the profits of major corporations.
  • Many people would see this as overreaching government control.
  • Whose job is it to determine which restaurants are bad? Who draws the line?
  • The program would be costly.

3. Support and acknowledge the opposing points. Just be sure you aren't discrediting your own views. Sample points:

  • It would be difficult and expensive for any entity to determine which restaurants should adhere to the policy.
  • Nobody wants to see the government overstepping its boundaries.
  • Funding would fall on the shoulders of taxpayers.

4. Explain that your position is still the best one, despite the strength of counter-arguments. This is where you can work to discredit some of the counter-arguments and support your own. Sample points:

  • The cost would be countered by the improvement of public health.
  • Restaurants might improve the standards of food if warning labels were put into place.
  • One role of the government is to keep citizens safe.
  • The government already does this with drugs and cigarettes.

5. Summarize your argument and restate your position. End your paper focusing on your argument and avoid the counter-arguments. You want your audience to walk away with your view on the topic being one that resonates with them.

When you write a position paper, write with confidence and state your opinion with authority. After all, your goal is to demonstrate that your position is the correct one.

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How to Write a Position Paper: Definition, Outline & Examples

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A position paper is a written statement that presents a particular perspective on any issue or topic. It typically argues a specific point of view and presents evidence to support that position. To write a position paper, you need to research and understand the topic, develop a supported argument, and address opposing viewpoints.

In this comprehensive guide, you will find all important information that will help you prepare this type of assignment. More specifically we will talk about:

  • What is a position paper?
  • How to write a position paper?
  • Position paper example you could use for inspiration.

As an experienced paper writer team, we always come to support fellow students by providing them with helpful information and tips. Our readers can find detailed definitions and high-quality supporting materials on this website – all of that available for free! 

What Is a Position Paper: Definition

First of all, let’s define it. Your position paper should clearly display and support your own view of a specific problem. Typically, position papers explore more or less controversial questions, which is why they must include argumentation supported by valid data. Providing evidence to the readers is the main distinctive feature of such an essay. Your work should demonstrate your ability to put up a strong case, not just describe your beliefs. Before you write a position paper, think it through and start with understanding your purpose. What do you try to tell your audience, and what is the best way to convey it? This helps with building good argumentation and structuring your essay.

Position Paper

Keep in mind that unlike a persuasive essay , convincing your readers to accept your point isn’t your primary task. Your piece should mainly focus on information that makes an argument strong. That’s why you should use supportive evidence that backs up your viewpoints. 

Purpose of a Position Paper

Why do you need a position paper? First of all, it serves as great supporting material when talking about your viewpoint in front of an audience. Writing a position paper beforehand helps to organize your thoughts on the topic and set your defenses properly. Besides, you can use it when speaking to ensure you haven’t forgotten to mention something important. You might also be required to submit your paper before or after your speech. If it is your college or university assignment, this document will be your main output, which is why its structure and format are so important.

Position Paper Outline

One of the main first steps is preparing an outline for a position paper. After you’ve done some research and gathered enough data on your topic, spend additional time and create a concise draft. It should display your paper’s entire structure, including the key arguments, without going into much details. Your writing should follow a basic 5 paragraph essay outline . Once done with your plan, you can review it and easily spot major gaps or inconsistencies. Checking your work at this stage is typically much more productive than after writing the full text. Here is an example of position paper outline:

  • Hook the reader with stats, numbers or facts
  • Introduce the issue
  • Include a thesis statement presenting your central idea and stand on the problem
  • Present counterclaims
  • Offer evidence that backs up counterarguments
  • Refute the counter arguments using examples
  • Strong opinion
  • Supporting examples
  • Restate your main claim
  • Offer a course of action

Hopefully, this position paper template will speed up your progress with your own work. Check the attachments below – complete sample papers along with outlines are available there.

Position Paper Outline Example.png

Position Paper Structure

What exactly does the structure of a position paper include? This is quite easy: similarly to any other scholarly essay, your position paper should contain three main parts:


  • Main body part
  • Conclusion.

You’ll write a good position paper if you make it readable and concise in addition to preparing string argumentation backed by valid evidence. Otherwise, your poorly structured text won’t impress your readers. We’ve prepared more helpful information on how you should compose each of these sections. You can find it below, so please read it attentively. Also, check out the sample position papers available on this page. You can find more tips and ideas below.

Good introduction for a position paper should make your reader well familiar with the problem you are arguing about. This typically involves explaining why it is important for everyone or why you’ve decided to discuss it. Besides, the introduction must engage your audience so that they would be interested in hearing more about your position and evaluating its validity. This is how to start writing a position paper:

  • Clearly state your position, giving the thesis statement.
  • Give enough context about the problem and its background, explaining why you stand this ground.
  • ‘Hook’ your readers by making it sound interesting.

The latter can be achieved by making some hints about upcoming evidence, using some kind of wordplay, or just making a suitable joke.

Body of a position paper is where its argumentation should be placed. When you make a position paper, be sure to divide it into logically interconnected paragraphs – each one for one of your major arguments expressed in the topic sentence . Make proper transitions between them. Leave at least one paragraph for the counter argumentation you may have faced and for its rebuttal. The evidence you’ve collected to support your claim should also be presented in the main body, together with quotes and references (if any). Remember to use solid and relevant data and avoid unnecessary facts, as they don’t bring value and may just make the text less readable. Pay attention to the consistency and readability of this section. Its structure and contents show how well you’ve built your argumentation. And that is what makes position papers persuasive.

This is how to write a conclusion for a position paper that adds real value to it:

  • Properly summarize your argumentation, showing how it supports your take.
  • Make it sound strong; ensure that it is logical and well-readable.
  • Keep it brief, don’t repeat anything from the main part.

Remember that your proposition paper conclusion will be the last thing your audience reads, so making a strong and persuasive ending would help with leaving a good impression on it. You’ll find a conclusion template in one of the sections below.

How to Write a Position Paper in 9 Steps

Let’s get to the point – you must write a good position paper, and now you’re looking for some helpful tips on that. We’ve got your back! First and foremost, the best beginning is to set up a strong position. Otherwise, your essay will simply be uninteresting. Now make sure you can actually prove what it states. But that’s just the beginning: think about captivating headings, add some clever techniques and diligent work to that, keeping focus on your goal – and you’ll get an excellent paper. What should be added? Just keep reading. We’ve prepared an elaborate guide on how to write a position paper step by step. Let’s go and check it!

1. Choose a Topic

Creating position papers requires some hard work, but choosing a proper subject may save a lot of time and effort. If it is uninteresting or too narrow, that might result in an issue. Better to choose a topic that:

  • Is relevant and controversial: this will draw your readers’ interest.
  • Is understandable for you, so it would be easier for you to discuss some points about it.
  • Has received some coverage in news, books, or other sources, making it simpler to find enough evidence about it.

Before commencing the writing process, search among good topics for position papers and select one most suitable for taking a point around it.

2. Do Research Before Writing a Position Paper

Conducting preliminary research for position papers is a key step before starting with actual writing. This is where you can collect evidence about your subject:

  • Google it This is easier but remember to filter out results with low credibility.
  • Media If this is a recent and big event, it should be mentioned in the news; make sure to pick the most credible resources.
  • Check the sources used by books or articles written on the subject This way, you might find some ‘hidden gems’ that are difficult to google.

Don’t know if you’ll write a winning position paper? Follow the next steps closely. And don’t forget to explore the free samples available on this page, check their structure and style.

3. Draft a Position Paper Thesis

Thesis of a position paper is basically its foundation. Make it strong, and you’ll ensure your success. Don’t be too wordy. One sentence is enough to deliver your thesis and summarize your position on the topic. You can put it closer to the start or put it at the end of your introduction so that it summarizes the explanations you would give about the problem. Examples of a position paper thesis:

4. Create an Outline

Once you have decided about the direction you’re taking with your essay, proceed with the position essay outline. This step is often overlooked, but it will be much easier to find and correct mistakes and gaps at this early stage. So, writing a position paper outline actually saves you time. This is how to write a position paper outline:

  • Keep it brief, just one sentence per idea. No need to always use full sentences, just make them readable.
  • Include your thesis, mention the context, then write one sentence per each argument.
  • Briefly summarize it, one sentence will suffice as well.

Don’t forget to review your outline carefully.

5. Begin Writing Your Position Paper

Once you’ve ensured the outline of an essay doesn’t have any gaps or logical flaws, go ahead and complete the full-text version. If you wonder how to start a position paper at this stage, begin with the introduction. You already have its shortened draft, so just add necessary details and list explanations if needed. But don’t give particular arguments or refute opposing opinions yet, those should come in the main body part. See how to write an introductory paragraph for a position paper in the next section.

Position Paper Introduction Example

Looking for introduction position paper examples? We’ve got one for you. Here’s how you can start your essay:

Check our sample position paper for introduction examples. They are available for free download.

6. Include Evidence in Your Position Paper

As we’ve already explained, position papers must be backed by solid evidence. You have to prove your point, and that requires addressing it with data, not just stating it with confidence. When you write your position paper, there are two main requirements for backing your claim:

  • collect valid and relevant data;
  • present it in your text properly.

Here’s an example of evidence in a position paper:

7. Provide Counterarguments and Refute Them

Still learning how to write position paper? If it is your first one, consider an important fact: ignoring evident contradictions to your claim doesn’t add credibility. Instead, you must work with counter arguments which is similar to writing an argumentative essay . You may be aware of the opposite opinions or think and assume which objections your opponents would make. Better mention them in your essay and show how you counter these claims.  Here are some examples of counterarguments for position papers:

8. Summarize Your Position

When writing your position paper, it is important that you make it sound impressive in the end. Your position paper conclusion should properly summarize all arguments and rebuttal of counterarguments . Keep it brief, without repeating much, just highlight how all your findings support the claim. You can also add some extra notes, e.g., making additional assumptions, different predictions about this problem’s impact in the future, or hints about extra evidence you haven’t mentioned before to keep your text brief. This may help to make a lasting impression on your audience. Finally, review your conclusion once again, ensuring that it is logical and doesn’t contradict any claims, arguments, or assumptions provided above. Check the next section for an example of how to write a position paper conclusion.

Example of a Position Paper Conclusion

Need an actual conclusion for a position essay example? It can be something like this:

You can also find the conclusion of a position paper essay example if you check the free samples that are available on this page.

9. Proofread Your Position Paper

After your position essay is complete, you absolutely should spend some extra time and review it again. Try adopting a critical view, putting yourself in your potential opponent’s shoes. Are there any logical gaps or grammar mistakes left? Paper position is not clear enough? Wrong source mentioned? Nearly every text has some issues to correct. Sometimes even evident typos are left overlooked when writing. It is best to have someone else review a position paper since its writer may be biased toward their own text. Another way is reading it aloud to yourself prior to submission. Some flaws may be uncovered this way too.

Position Paper Format

Your position papers format is another element that shouldn’t be overlooked. Proper headline and paragraph styles make your text more readable. Also, there might be specific requirements for making citations. All your evidence must be presented correctly so that it doesn’t get mixed with your own opinions. Format depends on the discipline. You might need to use one of the popular styles: MLA, APA, or Chicago. If you don’t see which one of them is required, better ask your tutor. You can find some position paper format sample in our free attachments, available below.

Position Paper Examples

Need an example of a position paper so that you could learn how all these recommendations can be implemented? We’ve got some for you! Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll find sample of position papers available for free download. Each position paper example essay has been written by professional research writers and can be used for inspiration or as a reference. Just don’t copy any of those materials in your own text, as you should only submit 100% original works. Position paper example 1 


Position paper example 2

Position paper example 3

Position Paper Sample 4

Tips for Writing a Position Paper

Finally, some extra tips on writing a position paper that is really persuasive:

  • Choose topics that are interesting for you. This will motivate you to discuss them.
  • Plan ahead and consider your deadlines. Don’t spend too much time conducting the preliminary research or perfecting your argumentation if it is already valid.
  • Pay attention to your sources. Some books or research might be considered dubious by your opponents or might have some obvious gaps.
  • Review your position papers as many times as possible. Ideally, ask a person with an opposite side on this issue to read and refute it.
  • Keep it professional. Maintain a confident tone but stay logical and correct, avoid emotional or derogatory remarks.

More examples of position papers are available here – you can check them below.

Final Thoughts on How to Write a Position Paper

So, in order to write a position paper, you need to choose an appropriate topic and elaborate on your position regarding the specific problem. Then you should defend it using logic, facts, and confidence. Still not clear what are position papers and how one should write them? Check out this sample position paper for students available below, and you’ll find all our tips illustrated there. Follow its structure and style, just don’t copy anything to avoid plagiarizing.


If you are stuck in any stage of the writing process, don’t hesitate to use professional academic writing services. StudyCrumb is always here for you to solve any academic challenge you may have. Let us know your task, and we will match you with the most fitting expert who can write an excellent position paper for you. 

FAQ About a Position Paper

1. how long should a position paper be.

The length of a position paper is usually limited to one page and a half (up to 350 words). Don’t make it too long, stick to the facts and brief statements. When given with confidence, concise claims are more persuasive. At the same time better include all necessary evidence, not rely just on confidence. So don’t make it less than one page.

2. What are the kinds of support in a position paper?

You can use these support types in your position paper:

  • Factual knowledge: either well-known facts (e.g., historical or biological) or data retrieved from credible sources;
  • Statistical trends: always helpful for making assumptions but also need to be backed by sources;
  • Informed opinion: citations from renowned specialists in fields related to your topic.

3. What is forbidden in a position paper?

When writing a position paper, avoid the following:

  •  Taking opinions for facts.
  • Using threats or derogatory language as a means of persuasion.
  • Comparing unrelated situations and making some conclusions from that.
  • Copying other works without citing them.


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Position Paper Diagram

Elements of the position paper, writing & tutoring help at bowie.

An author who writes a position paper is making an argument which has to be built upon evidence.  The structure used to do this is very similar to that used when writing a critical essay.

Image taken from James Cook University Study Skills Online.  "Essay Structure." 17 August, 2012.  Retrieved from

The purpose of a position paper is to generate support on an issue. It describes the author’s position on an issue and the rational for that position and, in the same way that a research paper incorporates supportive evidence, is based on facts that provide a solid foundation for the author’s argument.  It is a critical examination of a position using facts and inductive reasoning, which addresses both strengths and weaknesses of the author’s opinion.  

The classic position paper contains three main elements:

An Introduction , which identifies the issue that will be discussed and states the author’s position on that issue.

The Body of the paper, which contains the central argument and can be further broken up into three unique sections:

     Background information

     Evidence supporting the author’s position

     A discussion of both sides of the issue, which addresses and   refutes arguments that contradict the author’s position 

A Conclusion , restating the key points and, where applicable, suggesting resolutions to the issue.             

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How to Write a Position Paper

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 224,749 times.

Just like an argument paper, a position paper supports one side of an issue, similar to in a debate. Your goal will be to provide convincing evidence to the reader that your position is the correct stance to take on an issue. You can write a great position paper by choosing your position carefully, developing your argument, drafting your paper, and revising and editing your work.

Position Paper Outline and Example

how to write the introduction of a position paper

Choosing Your Position

Step 1 Make sure your topic is arguable.

  • For example, you wouldn’t want to write a paper arguing that children need proper care, as no one would disagree with that stance.
  • A better topic may be taking a stance on what should be done if children are not receiving proper care.

Step 2 Research your topic and the alternative sides.

  • Visit your local library to find books, journals, and newspapers.
  • Access online databases, credible websites, and news sources.
  • To decide if a source is credible , look for peer-reviewed journals, check the credentials of the author, locate the information in two separate sources, and check the date to make sure the information is the most recent available. You should also avoid self-published sources.

Step 3 Make a pros and cons list for at least 2 positions on your topic.

  • Looking at both sides not only helps you pick the best position, it will also help you choose a good counterargument. [3] X Research source
  • For example, if you are writing a paper about whether or not your community should invest in new park equipment, your two sides would be either in favor of the new park equipment or against it. A pro of buying new equipment might be purchasing safer equipment, while a con would be the expense of the purchase.

Step 4 Think about your views on the issue.

  • In some cases, it’s easier to argue a position if you don’t have strong opinions either way. This is because you can focus on the evidence, not on your personal views.

Step 5 Consider your audience's views on the topic.

  • While you don’t have to change your position to fit your audience, you may want to adjust your reasons behind the position or the counter-argument you choose.

Building Your Argument

Step 1 Establish your claim.

  • If possible, look for supporting reasons that are shown through 2 or more different pieces of evidence, as this will make your argument stronger.
  • Use your assignment sheet or the parameters of your paper to determine how many supporting reasons you should include. For many academic papers, you will use 2 to 3 reasons.

Step 3 Compile your supporting evidence.

  • Use an organizing strategy that works for you.
  • Compiling your evidence now will help you more easily write your paper.
  • Keep in mind that it is important to cite your sources. If you use a direct quote from a source, then put it into quotation marks and identify the author when you use it. If you paraphrase or summarize something from a source, give credit to the author for the ideas.
  • Don’t go overboard on including evidence! Remember that most of the ideas in the paper should be your own. It’s good to quote sources, but avoid quoting entire paragraphs from other sources. Keep your quotes to a sentence or two and try to avoid including more than one quote per paragraph.

Step 4 Identify a counter-argument that you can easily dismiss.

  • For example, if you are writing a position paper arguing that your community should purchase new playground equipment, your counter-argument could be that the purchase will be too expensive. To strengthen your argument, you would cite this possible point against you but show why it's not a valid reason to dismiss your position. A good way to do that would be to show that the equipment is worth the expense or that there is outside funding to pay for it.
  • You will also want a piece of evidence that supports your counter-argument. This evidence, which should be easy to dismiss, will be included in your paper.

Drafting Your Paper

Step 1 Develop your thesis.

  • One easy way to set up your argument in your thesis is to include both your counter-argument and claim, preceded by the word “although.” For example, “Although installing new playground equipment in the park will be expensive, new playground equipment would provide a safe play area for children and offer options for special needs children.”
  • If you’re an expert writer, you may not need to include supporting reasons in your thesis. For example, “As parents learn the benefits and dangers of outside play, communities across the nation are turning their eyes toward their parks, making safe, accessible equipment a public necessity.” [11] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 2 Write your introduction.

  • Start with a hook that introduces your topic. For example, you could provide a statistic of how many children are injured on old playground equipment every year.
  • Include a few sentences that provide more information on your topic, narrowing down toward your stance.
  • End your introduction with your thesis.

Step 3 Include at least 2 body paragraphs.

  • Follow the requirements for your paper, which may state how many paragraphs you should include.

Step 4 Use topic sentences that link back to your thesis.

  • For example, you could write: “Installing new playground equipment would make the park more inclusive for special needs children because updated designs are accessible to those who are differently abled.”

Step 5 Provide evidence to support your position.

  • Documented stories

Step 6 Provide commentary to explain your evidence.

  • Without commentary, there is no link between your evidence and your position, leaving your argument weak.

Step 7 Conclude your essay by reasserting your position.

  • Restate your thesis. For example, "While new playground equipment is expensive, it's worth the investment because it serves the best interests of the community by providing children with a safe area to play and making the park more accessible for special needs children."
  • Sum up your argument.
  • End on a high note with a call to action. For example, "Children need a safe, accessible place to play, so the only choice is to install new park equipment in Quimby Park."

Step 8 Cite your sources...

  • If you don’t cite your sources, then you will be guilty of plagiarism. You could lose credit or face harsher penalties if you are caught stealing someone else’s words or ideas.

Revising and Editing Your Paper

Step 1 Use your spell check tool.

  • Before you change a word, re-read the sentence to make sure that the new suggestion fits. The spell checker may think that you mean one thing, while you really mean something else.

Step 2 Take a break from your paper.

  • Waiting at least a day is best. If you are short on time, wait at least 30 minutes before reviewing what you’ve written.

Step 3 Re-read your paper with fresh eyes.

  • If possible, have a friend or mentor read your paper and suggest edits or revisions.

Step 4 Revise your paper.

  • Combine short, choppy sentences, and break up long sentences.
  • Fix sentence fragments and run-ons.

Step 5 Proofread your paper to make final edits.

  • If possible, ask a friend or mentor to proofread your final draft. They may be able to spot errors that you don’t see.

Step 6 Prepare your works...

  • If you are presenting or turning in a printed paper, check to see if you should place it in a presentation folder.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Avoid using the words “I” and “you” in your thesis. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure that you stay focused on your claim throughout your paper and that all of the evidence you present in the paper is supporting your claim. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

how to write the introduction of a position paper

  • Give credit when you use someone else's opinion, statistics, facts or quotations. Avoid plagiarism by referencing and citing your sources. Thanks Helpful 10 Not Helpful 3

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About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

If you need to write a position paper, choose a topic that has at least 2 clear sides, then pick one of those sides as your position. Gather research from books, newspapers, academic journals, online databases, and other credible sources, making sure to cover your own position and at least one opposing side. Open your paper by stating your claim, or the position you have taken, then offer at least 2 pieces of evidence to support that stance. Identify and dismiss a counter-argument to your position as well. For tips on how to use topic sentences to link your paragraphs to your thesis, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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