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Establishing Your Position: Writing a position paper

Position papers are formal statements of position on an issue of social importance. The preparation of a position paper is a very formal act and must be done with careful planning and research. Though closely related to an opinion paper, a position paper does not attempt to persuade others to the side of the writer to the extent that an opinion paper does. Through the position paper, you announce to the world your position on a particular issue or difficult problem as the foundation for proposing solutions to the issue or problem. The solution should be unique or present a unique approach to or understanding of the issue or problem.

Why are Position Papers Important

Position papers, when properly prepared, establish the framework of an issue, defining the boundaries of the issue and identifying the primary positions of those who advocate for one side or the other. It is important to organize your viewpoint in the issue or problem in order to frame the discussion, outline the paper, and to define the “playing field.” Being adequately prepared can position you advantageously and prepare you to face those who are less prepared in their position on the issue or problem. This helps to establish your credibility and status as an expert on the subject by demonstrating your command of the issue and knowledge of the associated research. The position paper allows your passion on the issue or problem to be demonstrated through the force of your argument instead of the use of emotional terms. This guides you into a consistency when presenting and maintaining your position in negotiations and debates on the issue or problem. Opponents often assume their opponent will invest only cursory effort into such arguments and will be at a severe disadvantage when they come face to face with you.

Guidelines for Preparing Your Paper

Formatting of the paper should be done in line with the guidelines established by the sponsoring organization, if there is one. If the paper is presenting the position of a group, organization or committee, the writer should be careful not to write in the first person.

The cover sheet should include the title, topic, date and purpose of the paper, as well as the name of the writer and group or individual whose position is being established. The paper itself should be limited to two pages following standard formatting established by previously successful position papers.

Researching the Position Paper

Begin by developing supporting evidence for both sides of the issue by including factual knowledge, statistical evidence, authoritative testimony, and, if appropriate, acknowledgement and summary of other empirical evidence. In this process, he must understand the familiarity of his audience with the issue in question and define unfamiliar terms and concepts. The writer must identify and clarify the issue, establish an understanding of the prejudicial views of the audience and prepare counterclaims and arguments against those views. He must also establish a familiarity with those who agree with him and use their agreement and arguments in developing his. He must also be familiar with those who disagree with him and prepare a suitable defense to their arguments.

The Introduction

This is where the consideration of the audience begins. Starting with a topic sentence or two, the writer must attract attention to his issue and summarize its basis. The writer must also make a basic statement informing the reader of the paper’s point of view.

Development of the Position

To effectively develop the position of the paper, focus on the three or four main points that support your position. This development should begin with a general statement of the position. Elaboration on the main points should include references to documents, Internet resources and other source data, building a basis for the position. Expansion of the main points can also include past events, experiences and authoritative testimony. Remember, during this process the writer must develop both sides of the issue, unlike opinion papers that focus on only one side.

While writing, the writer should keep his voice active and authoritative. Quotation of academic, scholarly, and professional sources to establish authority should be incorporated, but caution against excessive use is advised. The paper is to establish the writer’s position or that of his client. Focus on that position should be cautiously maintained throughout the paper, focusing primarily on logical arguments and empirical evidence. This presentation should be detailed and avoid unnecessary summarization. Summarization should be saved for the conclusion.

Drawing Your Final Conclusions

The conclusion of the paper should summarize the evidence presented and draw it together, forming the promised position. References to the introduction and main points of the argument should be included and reflect the succession and importance of the arguments then draw a logical conclusion to their development.

Once the Paper is Written

It is recommended that, once the writer has completed writing the paper, he should seek second opinions, not of the position itself, but of the quality of the paper and its arguments. As with any paper, revisions, spelling and grammar should be checked to ensure that minor efforts do not undermine the credibility of your argument and position.

Our Company Can Help

Our company employs scores of writers, each of whom possesses the experience and knowledge necessary to prepare your paper, regardless of your position. With their expertise in research and development of position and opinion papers, they can write your position paper to reflect any position you take. Our writers utilize state-of-the-art software that allows them to record, organize and track information used in the preparation of your document, allowing them to professionally cite all sources and protect you from accusations of plagiarism. As stated earlier, even one incident of plagiarism, even unintentional, can destroy your credibility in an instant.

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