Making A Position Paper Outline: College Guidlines

Writing can be tough at times, especially when you have to express your opinion on a controversial issue, especially if such opinion is an unconventional one. Such a piece of writing is called a position paper. It may seem that to speak your opinion out loud is a lot harder than to do the same but in writing. The reality is that even when you prepare a speech for some debates, you have to write it down first.

Moreover, it gets easier as you speak, as no one requires you to say precisely what you've written down; but when it comes to writing, readers only get to know what you’ve put down, and nothing more. Nothing can be changed as soon as you submit your work. So, let’s breakdown a universal position paper outline you could use for pretty much any topic.

What Is Position Paper?

In simple terms, a position paper is a kind of essay, in which you express your opinion/position regarding a particular matter. It is widely spread in business and politics, though when you deal with real-life situations, such paper takes a form of a report that can also state your plans regarding the matter at hand. Some of the common topics include: “Should EU-newcomers have benefits they are having now?” “How human trafficking can be stopped?” “Should people be paid depending on how effective they work?” etc.

If you are well aware of how to write a good college paper, then you probably know that your piece of writing should be backed up with reliable data like statistics and studies. For readers to have no doubt about what you are saying, you should make the flow of your thoughts as convincing as possible. Thus, avoid the use of unsupported claims. To do that, you should conduct preliminary research. That is gathering enough data to work with and build your paper upon it.

If you are free to choose a topic, then there is a small trick you could use. If you cannot find anything trustworthy that could back up your opinion in an hour or two, then simply change the topic! Easy as that. It will not save your time but also your nerves. Now, let’s outline a position paper.

Position Paper Outline Example

Every good position paper outline should start with writing a title for research paper. Having done that, you can proceed with the outline. Notably, this kind of paper resembles an opinion essay, though, in the latter, you had to present two opposing opinions without necessarily sharing one of them. In the position paper, you need to counter an idea with that one of your own. So, a simple position paper outline example would look as follows:

  • Introduction

Present your topic. Say why it is worth discussing, its history. Dwell on its controversies. Make a thesis statement that would express your opinion in one sentence.

  • Body

2.1. Present a prevailing opinion on the issue, main arguments, what they are based on.

2.2. Counter the arguments with your own opinion, backed up by reliable data you've found during the preliminary research. Keep in mind that you should present as many counter-arguments as there are pro-arguments. So, if you have 3 statements that support an idea you disagree with, you should provide three opposing statements and prove why they are worth considering.

  • Conclusion

Restate both opinions. Give a summary of what you argue for. Provide a strategy that would help resolve the issue.

As you see, this position paper sample outline can be applied to pretty much any topic.

How To Write Position Paper According To Your Outline

First things first. Having chosen a topic, make an eye-catching title. For example, “Gun Control: Is Second Amendment Relevant Today?” Given that you use a position paper outline sample, think of thesis statement, as your paper will depend on it greatly. Make sure that you express your opinion in just one sentence so that the reader would want to go and get acquainted with your arguments. Proceed with the introduction. Don't make it long or overwhelmed with details, be as concise as possible.  

Think of the arguments that your opponents have. Do research. Choose those that you think you'd be able to counter and thus persuade the reader to agree with you. Do not forget to find relevant data to back up your own ideas either. You should sound as confident as possible. Finally, proceed to the conclusion. Restate the whole matter in a couple of sentences and summarize your position on the topic. A great idea would be to provide a step-by-step plan on how to deal with the issue at hand. If you don't seem to manage that alone, you can always account for research paper help whose professionals are willing to give you a helping hand.

Making an outline for a position paper is not hard if you know what you are dealing with. Position papers are not hard in their essence, though the preparation process might get time-consuming, as you need to conduct thorough research before arguing. Still, with the position paper outline presented above, you may be sure that your thought will be structured. Use other tips from the article to account for even a better grade.


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Prof Miriam holds a Master’s Degree in Education Arts from Stanford University. She is a competent writer with five years experience in online academic writing. Over the years, she has gained enough expertise in fields such as Business, Medicine, Psychology, Engineering, Communication, and Philosophy, among other areas of specialization.


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