The Secrets of Position Paper Writing

The Secrets of Position Paper Writing

The aim of communication is in interchanges of views and opinions. Even modern science cannot exist and develop without this process. Academia is represented by a great number of branches, and all of them have different directions and consensus groups. Therefore, to present a particular opinion concerning the issue, a special kind of academic writing is used – a position paper. Position papers are widely spread not only in academic publishing but also in politics and law. The aim of such papers is to express an opinion about a certain subject, problem, or issue, and give arguments to persuade the audience that this very opinion is right and worth believing. Moreover, it gives scholars an opportunity to make some conclusions based on others’ opinions, which will be tested further during a practical investigation. Consequently, it is necessary to meet many requirements to compose it in a proper way: these requirements relate to choosing a topic, selection of arguments, and organization of a paper.

Academic Position Papers Structure

Talking about academic writing, one should mention that scientific opinion concerning a particular subject or issue should fulfill two requirements: first, it should be substantial and reasonable; second, it should push the envelope. Certainly, each educated person knows that all texts should have the introduction, the main part, and the conclusion, and this type of paper is not an exception. Its structure can be described as follows:

  • The introduction. It is the very first part of your piece of text. Therefore, it serves to state your own reasons for writing the paper and opinion about the problem. Why are you doing it? What aim do you have? Further on, state the problem to which this work is devoted. What is the issue under discussion? Moreover, it is possible to pay the audience’s attention to the topicality of the question. Try to tell why this problem is still under exploration and suppose what new horizons can be opened by investigating it further. Describe your own opinion about this topic in several sentences. It will be enough for a good beginning.
  • Body paragraphs. The main part of your work should be devoted to the following points:
    1. History of the issue. It is also important to give a brief historical background of a certain problem. What ways were used to explore it and make already known conclusions? Which ways of investigation were effective and why? Try to summarize answers to all these questions to make your position look more substantial.
    2. Supporting arguments. It is necessary to find strong evidence to persuade the audience that your opinion is right and it will help to develop a particular branch of science most productively.
    3. Discussion of other sides of the problem. It is also possible to describe other investigations concerning the same problem in the main part of your text. However, try to avoid misunderstanding – highlight another approach to the question so that your position will look more advantageous.
  • The conclusion. The last part of your argumentative academic paper should consist of the possible plan of action logically derived from your voiced opinion, and possible solutions to the problem under investigation.

How to Find Strong Arguments to Include in Your Position Paper?

The main aim of this type of academic writing is not only to express your standpoint, but also to persuade the audience that the way suggested by you is the most appropriate in the discussed situation. However, the power of persuasion depends on the quality of used arguments, so it is better to build your line of argumentation with strong arguments only if possible. How to define strong arguments? A persuasive argument possesses the following features:

  • It is based on previous investigations of notable scholars, which are considered tried-and-true. This criterion can be not so important if you have proved results of practical research, but, all in all, it is much better to use the information from credible sources because science as a philosophical category moves from well-investigated things to unknown depths.
  • Statistical data. This variant of argumentation is also very substantial. In fact, statistical information has been proved already, and it is worth believing. So, try to find statistical figures from the most trusted sources if possible.
  • Good logic. Another sign of the strong argument is that it should be logical. Strong arguments are the ones that don’t have logical fallacies, e.g., oversimplification and subjectivity. Test the arguments of your own from this very point of view, choose those suitable for your line of argumentation, and don’t drive a wedge into it.

Hence, using these pieces of advice, you will be able to collect the strongest arguments for your future position paper. As a result, it will have a great power of persuasion.

Position Papers Topics

Here is the list of possible position paper topics relevant to different sciences from economics to psychology. Use these examples to make your own statements, and prove them further:

  1. Children should be protected from parental violence in terms of legislation.
  2. People who want children should take special classes for parents and pass tests after them.
  3. Gun control distribution is necessary.
  4. The legal drinking age should be raised up to 21 for all types of alcoholic drinks.
  5. Animals should not be used for scientific and medical research anymore.
  6. Illegal immigrants influence the economy of the country badly.
  7. Rich people should pay higher taxes.
  8. Gender does not influence cognitive capacity.
  9. Single-sex education has more advantages than the usual one.
  10. A uniform or a particular dress code should be used for teachers as well as for students.
  11. Drug tests should be passed by members and students of all educational institutions.
  12. Renewable energy technologies are the future of our planet.
  13. Euthanasia should be legalized by the decision of a court.
  14. Death penalties should be legalized all over the world.
  15. Drug addiction should be treated involuntarily.

All these topics are about various aspects of politics, law, economics, and psychology. However, it is possible to use this model to express your own opinion in each branch of science.

Political Position Papers

Position papers are also used for political purposes; the sphere of their application in politics is very wide – they can be used in political debates, for discussion of new draft bills, etc. Besides, this kind of writing is used even at international organizations’ meetings, for example, in the United Nations Organization.

Certainly, a piece of writing describing the position or state of a particular country must meet strict requirements concerning the format and the content itself.

Format of a Political Position Paper for the United Nations Organization

A position paper applied for the United Nations committee must meet the following requirements:

  • Size. It should be very short; one page is enough. One-and-a-half pages is the maximal length of the document.
  • Font. Times New Roman 10 should be used.
  • Spacing. Use single spacing between different paragraphs and subheadings.
  • Alignment. Use left-margin alignment in the document.
  • Obligatory information to include: country name, committee name, the topic of a paper, the name of the representative.

Content Requirements to UN Position Papers

The crucial point for each political position paper is its significance. To be more substantial, a political position paper represented at international events must obligatorily contain the following information:

  • A brief introduction of a particular country, and its history in connection with the problem under discussion of the committee.
  • What is the current influence of this very question on a particular country?
  • What are the measures taken by this country in connection with this problem?
  • What do the leaders of a country tell about the problem?
  • Statistic figures to define the position of a country concerning the issue.
  • What actions of the United Nations Organizations will be refused or supported by a country in particular conditions?
  • How do the positions of other countries influence the situation and the position of a certain country?

Although writing of a position paper seems a laborious task to do, especially if it touches upon some problems of national or international level, it should be mentioned that the main aim of such a document is to define your (or national) opinion about the concrete situation as clearly as possible. Certainly, different arguable points will be found out, and they will become the greatest points for open discussion. Therefore, it is necessary to present a truthful picture of a particular situation and call for the search of best solutions to the problem.

Open discussion is a key to success; all diplomats know this simple truth. Certainly, it is impossible to start such a discussion while positions of all participants are unclear. So, use the above-mentioned recommendations to compose a political position paper properly; they contain much valuable advice for making your position stronger and more convincing.