How to write a position paper and convince people easily

How to write a position paper: requirements and step-by-step guide

How to write a position paper? This question arises when you have a particular position and want to prove its importance. An essay is an opportunity to do so. In it, your opinion on a topic is supported by facts, statistics, evidence, etc. That is, it has a clear scientific basis. If the position paper is successful, the reader agrees with the information presented or at least thinks about it. This is a sign you followed the research paper guidelines

Expressing an opinion and initiating a discussion is important. That’s the first step towards positive change, even in your college. For example, you’re writing a position paper on why students need quality recreation areas. The administration won’t be able to resist proper argumentation and persistence. 

We’re here so you don’t get confused when the teacher assigns a position paper and expects quality work. It's time to learn everything about the meaning, position paper structure, features, etc. Plus, we’ll analyze the most common mistakes students make. 

Position papers definition and purpose

What is a position paper? It’s written material where the author expresses a particular position or point of view on a specific issue, problem, or situation. The goal of a position paper is to influence the audience. Ideally, the reader will have the same position or take some action afterward. 

First, a good position paper must be clear and precise. Much depends on the rationale. But despite this, position papers cannot be without emotions, albeit controlled ones. The reader should perceive your opinion as reasonable and well-founded but also sympathize with it. Only in combination do these components work wonders. 

The basis of a position paper is indeed the position itself, which needs to be clearly defined and articulated. In addition to this, the paper must include well-founded arguments that support this position. These arguments should be reinforced with evidence and sourced from credible references to build a strong case. It's also crucial to consider and address opposing views, presenting counterarguments to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the topic. This approach not only shows depth of analysis but also strengthens the position by critically evaluating potential criticisms. Lastly, the logical flow between points ensures that the paper is coherent and persuasive, guiding the reader through your reasoning process effectively. 

In addition to essays, there are other types of position papers:

  • Articles: Written for publication in magazines, newspapers, or online platforms.
  • Letters: They can be addressed to political officials, business leaders, or others to influence decision-making. They differ from other position papers by being smaller. 
  • Statements: Popular among organizations or groups to express their position on a particular situation, issue, or legislative initiative.
  • Memoranda: Internal documents are used in organizations for discussion and decision-making. 

There are others for every situation in life. However, these are the most common. 

Pre-writing preparation 

How to write a position paper? Let's start choosing position paper topics. Think about what you care about and what you’d like to change. Write it down and then analyze what will have the most credibility and sources for information. 

We’ll soon move to the research paper outline and its implementation, but first, we’re collecting information for your position paper. Search the following sources: 

  • Academic research: Someone has definitely raised the same topic before you; use these as position paper examples. 
  • Government reports and statistics: National statistical agencies often collect data on socio-economic indicators such as unemployment, GDP, inflation, etc.
  • International organizations: The WHO, IMF, EU, etc., also provide statistics and analyses in various areas. Conveniently, they are also regularly updated, so your work will be relevant. 
  • Mass media: Collect data from reputable publications for your position paper. 

Now, you have everything you need for a solid thesis statement in your position paper. Avoiding general or vague statements is half the battle. For example, “Sport is good for your health” is a general statement. Instead, try: “Regular exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves overall health.” Next, each argument should support the main idea, so check to ensure you haven't strayed from it. 

Your thesis statement can be nuanced, considering different aspects of the topic, not necessarily limited to just one. This creates a more complex argument when writing a position paper. Plus, show why it’s vital to the audience. For example, suppose you write a position essay on the benefits of technology in education. In that case, it might look like “The use of technology in education promotes active student engagement and improves academic success.”

Structuring and writing a position paper 

So, it's time to write a position paper, so here are our position paper guidelines. We have the following parts: 
  1. Introduction:
    - Get the reader interested and introduce the topic with slightly shocking information.
    - Clearly define the position or thesis you’ll develop further in your position paper.
    - State why the topic is essential and relevant.
    - Offer a brief overview of what will be discussed in the position paper.
  2. Body:
    - Develop your argument in several paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain only one main idea or opinion.
    - Evidence, examples, position paper data analysis, or expert opinion should support each argument.
    - Maintain a logical sequence between paragraphs. Each subsequent paragraph should logically follow from the previous one. This is the golden rule for all position papers.
    - Do not forget about counterarguments in your position paper.
    - Consider alternative points of view and refute them, showing the advantages of your position.
  3. Conclusion:
    - Summarize the main arguments and evidence you presented in the position paper.
    - Emphasize the importance of your position and its impact on the topic. It’s the answer to “what is a position paper.”
    - Offer prospects for further research or action that can be taken based on your essay.

To make it easier, create a position paper outline and allow enough time for research. When you have the knowledge, the text writes itself. Be objective and use arguments from both sides of the issue. Plus, carefully check your position paper for grammatical and stylistic errors before submitting it. No one will take you seriously if the text is full of them. Search for writing tips for position papers before starting. 

Common mistakes to avoid 

An unclear thesis statement significantly undermines the effectiveness of a position paper. To avoid this mistake, define the main idea right in the introduction. It should answer the questions “what” and “why” in the context of your opinion. If you can divide it into several sub-topics, ensure that each is addressed according to the relevant aspect of your argument. Repeat the thesis statement at the end of your introduction and position paper conclusion to emphasize its importance. 

Next, we move on to ignoring counterarguments. This immediately makes the position paper look one-sided and unprofessional, and the reader has doubts. Therefore, alternative points of view should be considered objectively, trying to understand their essence and motivation. Then, explain in detail why you disagree with them or why your position is more reasonable. 

A common mistake is presenting weak or insufficient evidence. While you are convinced of your position and thus motivated to write a position paper, others may not yet be persuaded. You need to try to win them over to your side. Base your evidence on authoritative sources and data. Confirm the accuracy and relevance of your information. Be sure to provide examples, statistics, and quotes. All of this should be logically connected without unnecessary emotion. This approach provides the answer to the question, “What is a position paper?” 


How long should a position paper be?

The length of a position paper usually depends on the specific requirements or context, but on average, it can be between 2 and 10 pages. However, in some cases, it can also be a single paragraph in which a person shows disagreement. The main thing is to present the main ideas and arguments of a position paper clearly and concisely. 

How do I choose a topic for a position paper?

Consider your interests and the topic’s relevance before you write a position paper. Choose a topic that interests you and about which you have sufficient data to analyze. If nothing comes to mind, read the latest news and determine what worries you the most. Move in that direction. 

Should I address counterarguments in my position paper?

Consider possible alternative points of view. Analyzing other positions qualitatively and showing their inferiority to yours is as convincing as the arguments in your favor. Count it in your position paper outline. 

How can I make my position paper more persuasive?

Use evidence, statistics, analysis, and logical arguments in your position paper writing. Also, consider the audience's needs and answer their questions and doubts.

Bottom line

So, like all essays, a position paper has its own structure and peculiarities. At the top is the evidence base on which everything rests. Only specific figures or situations will convince people in this case. Above, we’ve described how to achieve this and convince people on the other side of the screen. 

A position paper is important not only for students. You can use it at work or submit one to your local government, all to improve your quality of life. Above, we’ve considered all the essential aspects that will make the text convincing. Follow the rules, avoid mistakes, and stay on top of the game; you know how to write a position paper now.