What Is a Position Paper

Position Paper

Many of us take courses in a university and might have to submit some written work at least in one of their courses. This article is intended to help you with this task. Here we will talk about how to write a position paper.

When you write a position paper mun, its requirements and structure will generally be the same, though the topics, in this case, will cover mostly global political issues. You will have to develop a strong position, representing your committee or organization, rather than, for example, writing a theoretical thesis in a history class. There are special tips on how to write a position paper mun, but here we will focus on the standard academic format essays. The article will cover such topics as:

  • Definition
  • Steps of writing
  • Format
  • Structure


General definition (in academia) is an essay usually of several pages length trying to prove a claim (a position, or a thesis), and consisting of an introduction, body of evidence (most often with quoted sources), and conclusion.

How To Compose a Position Paper

Where to start? First, choose the topic for your essay, and then develop a strong claim or thesis. For this do some research and collect sources which will be used as your proof or evidence. Then start writing. Here are the common steps in writing:

  • Choose your topic
  • Gather information about it
  • Formulate your thesis
  • Make an outline
  • Write
  • Edit it, include the title page, table of contents, insert citations, footnotes and (or) endnotes and bibliography.
  • Proofread before submission

Choosing a Topic

Choose the right topic, so that you can present a strong defense of your thesis. Narrow it down to two arguable opinions and develop your own position on it. In order to examine your claim, you need to gather evidence or proof of your position. An example of position paper topics:

  • Globalization (mun) – general, global, must be narrowed down to a situation in a country, for example
  • The USA in the 1920s – less political and more abstract, but also must be narrowed down, to, say, Jazz or women in the 1920s
  • Richelieu and the state building of France – more specific, can be used in a title, and already involves a bold thesis

Gathering Evidence

Collect all the necessary information about the topic. Books, journal articles, interviews, people, videos, etc. It may be factual knowledge, a quote, statistics or an authoritative testimony. Make sure to examine the issue from a different angle, develop possible counterarguments. The evidence you collect will be later used in your essay.

Formulating a Thesis

This is your position on the issue which you are writing about. Your opinion, your thesis, your point of view which you should be able to prove and develop throughout the whole argument of your essay. You must stay focused on it while you write your argument and develop your points in the body part of your essay. An example of a thesis:

“Richelieu was a strong leader and good politician who, despite his struggle with numerous enemies, and the use of Machiavellian methods and necessary cruelty, has laid a strong base to building a strong absolutist state in France.”

It has a strong controversial claim which can be argued from both sides.


Now you are ready to write. Before you start, write a position paper outline to guide you throughout the essay. This will help you to see what you will be writing about and how. You can do this in another file or in a regular notebook. Write your outline in a form of a bulleted list, for example. It will give you a concise picture of what you will be doing.

Position Paper Format

The format or style may depend on your institution. Check with your course instructor about the style and formatting of the assigned paper. MLA style may be a good one to use, but some institutions or organizations may prefer something different. However, there is some common structure which is used in all papers. The basic structure of a paper includes:

  • The introduction
  • The body
  • The conclusion


An introduction is a paragraph or a set of paragraphs which your paper is started with. An introduction is usually 2 – 3 sentences, in some cases several paragraphs, depending on the purposes and the length of your paper, which tell your reader what your paper is about.

Your thesis, or a claim, a position must be stated here. Your thesis should be controversial, arguable and provable by an evidence.


This is what makes the most of your paper. The body consists of several paragraphs where you make arguments and cite evidence to prove your position or thesis. Do not summarize anything in this part of the paper, leave the summary for the conclusion. Choose 3 -5 points which you will use to support your claim or thesis, and give supporting evidence for each.

When you use citations or quote a source, do not forget to use a quote format and cite your sources in some sort of a bibliography at the end of your paper. An example of a quote in MLA style: (Cherkavov 42). Otherwise, you may be charged with plagiarism. Avoid useless words, repetitions, and water in your paper.


This is a short concluding paragraph summing up your arguments. You can make a bold statement here, but do not introduce any new information and do not simply restate the thesis. Wrap up your arguments in a clear concluding way.

Editing and Proofreading

After you finish your essay, go over it again. Probably it needs some editing and revision. Rewrite something, check spelling and grammar, remove repetitive and useless words. When you feel that your essay looks good, you can submit it.

Now you have tips for you on how to write position paper. You can look up a sample position paper online to get an idea of how it works. If you still have trouble writing it, you can order an article from us.