How to Write a Position Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write a Position Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Writing a great position paper can be challenging for many students. You need to do thorough research and choose a strong argument to defend. If you need help writing a good position paper, this blog will help you.

Writing a Position Paper

In this blog, I will cover:

  • What is a position paper? Definition.
  • Characteristics of a position paper.
  • The correct format for a position paper.
  • How to write an outline for a position paper.
  • 5 successful examples of position paper topics.

Now, let’s dive into the details of writing a successful position paper.

What is a position paper exactly?

A position paper is a written document where you express your opinion about a specific topic. It’s like taking a stand or a position on an issue and explaining why you believe your viewpoint is important and valid. Think of it as joining a larger conversation or debate about that topic. In a position paper, you’re not just stating your opinion; you’re also providing reasons and evidence to support it.

When you’re writing a position paper, one of the first things you need to do is choose a side on the topic you’re discussing. This means deciding whether you’re for or against something, or taking a specific stance on an issue. Once you’ve chosen your position, you then need to build a case to defend it. This involves using facts, statistics, examples, and other evidence to convince your readers that your position is the strongest and most valid one.

The goal of a position paper is not just to express your opinion, but also to persuade others to see things from your perspective. By presenting a well-reasoned argument supported by evidence, you can make a compelling case for why your position is the best one among all the possible options.

Persuasiveness: A strong position paper should aim to persuade its readers. This means presenting your argument compellingly and convincingly. You want to make your case in such a way that it encourages others to agree with your viewpoint.

Components of a position paper 

Here are the key components:


Your position paper should assert a clear and arguable claim. It should take a definite stance on the issue at hand, one that can be debated or disagreed with. Avoid vague or ambiguous statements, and instead, clearly articulate your position.


While your paper should advocate for your position, it’s also important to acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints. By presenting both sides of the argument or controversy, you demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topic and provide readers with a well-rounded perspective.


Any claims you make in your position paper should be supported by reasoning and evidence. This could include facts, statistics, examples, expert opinions, or research findings. Providing solid evidence strengthens your argument and lends credibility to your position.


Maintaining a reasonable and respectful tone is crucial in a position paper. Even if you feel passionately about your stance, it’s important to express your arguments calmly and rationally. Avoid using overly emotional or inflammatory language, as this can detract from the persuasiveness of your paper.

By ensuring that your position paper incorporates these key components, you can effectively communicate your viewpoint and engage readers in meaningful dialogue.

Correct Position paper format

Once you understand what a position paper is about, let’s look at how to set it up correctly. Your teacher might give you specific rules to follow, but if not, here’s a simple format you can use:

  • Font and Size: Use a font size of 12 for your text. Stick to the Times New Roman font style. This ensures that your paper looks professional and is easy to read.
  • Margins: Leave a one-inch margin on all sides of the page. This provides adequate white space around your text and makes your paper look neat and well-organized.
  • Spacing: Keep your entire paper single-spaced. This includes both the main body of the text and any headings or subheadings you may use. Single-spacing helps conserve space and keeps your paper concise.
  • Paragraphs: Write your paper in paragraph form rather than using bullet points or lists. This allows you to develop your arguments more fully and cohesively. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point or aspect of your argument.
  • Length: Aim to limit each topic or section of your position paper to no more than one page. This helps maintain focus and keeps your paper manageable and manageable. Be concise and to the point in your writing.
  • Visual Elements: Avoid including graphs, maps, pictures, or charts in your position paper. While these visual aids can be helpful in some contexts, they are generally not appropriate for position papers. However, you can incorporate relevant statistics into your paper if they support your arguments.

By following these formatting guidelines, you can ensure that your position paper looks professional, is easy to read, and effectively communicates your arguments and viewpoints.

How to Write a Position Paper Outline

Creating an outline for a position paper might seem challenging, but it is a critical step that can save you valuable time and effort. An outline helps you organize your thoughts, structure your arguments, and present your case clearly and logically. Here’s an in-depth guide to writing a comprehensive position paper outline:

Step 1: Pick a Topic

  • Choose a Controversial Topic: Your topic should have multiple sides and be open to debate. A good topic can generate strong arguments both for and against. Examples include issues like climate change policies, the effectiveness of standardized testing, or the benefits and drawbacks of universal healthcare.
  • Conduct Thorough Research: Before finalizing your topic, ensure that you have enough material to support your position. Research various aspects of the topic to understand the different perspectives and arguments. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and confident in defending.

Step 2: Conduct Research

  • Gather Background Information: Understand the history, context, and key points of your topic. Know why it is controversial and what the main arguments are on both sides.
  • Find Reliable Sources: Use credible sources such as academic journals, books, reputable websites (especially those with .edu and .gov domains), and expert opinions. Peer-reviewed journals are particularly valuable as they contain vetted and reliable information.
  • Evaluate the Availability of Evidence: Make sure there is sufficient evidence to support your position. If you find that the information is scarce or not compelling, you should reconsider your topic.

Step 3: Collect Supporting Evidence

  • Gather Data and Evidence: Collect facts, statistics, expert opinions, and examples that support your position. Look for evidence that not only backs up your argument but also addresses the opposing viewpoints.
  • Analyze Both Sides: It’s important to understand and acknowledge the arguments on both sides of the issue. This will help you build a stronger case for your position by demonstrating that you have considered all aspects of the topic.
  • Choose a Defensible Position: Based on the evidence you have gathered, decide which side of the argument you can most convincingly defend. Your chosen position should be supported by the strongest and most reliable evidence available.

Step 4: State Your Thesis

  • Craft the Thesis Statement: Your thesis statement is the central argument of your position paper. It should be clear, and concise, and reflect your stance on the topic. A good thesis statement might acknowledge the opposing viewpoint but clearly state why your position is preferable. For example, “Although school uniforms may be costly, they foster equality and reduce distractions, making them a beneficial policy for schools.”

Step 5: Develop the Outline

  • Introduction:
    1. Hook: Start with a compelling statement or question to grab the reader’s attention.
    2. Background Information: Provide a brief overview of the topic and why it is important.
    3. Thesis Statement: Clearly state your position and the main points you will discuss.
  • Body Paragraphs:
  • First Point:
      • Topic Sentence: Introduce the main idea of the paragraph.
      • Evidence: Present facts, statistics, and examples to support your point.
      • Analysis: Explain how this evidence supports your position.
      • Counterargument: Acknowledge a counterargument and refute it.
  • Second Point:
    • Topic Sentence: Introduce the main idea of the paragraph.
    • Evidence: Present facts, statistics, and examples to support your point.
    • Analysis: Explain how this evidence supports your position.
    • Counterargument: Acknowledge a counterargument and refute it.
  1. Third Point:
    • Topic Sentence: Introduce the main idea of the paragraph.
    • Evidence: Present facts, statistics, and examples to support your point.
    • Analysis: Explain how this evidence supports your position.
    • Counterargument: Acknowledge a counterargument and refute it.
  • Conclusion:
    1. Restate Thesis: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis differently.
    2. Implications: Discuss the broader implications of your argument.
    3. Call to Action: Suggest what steps should be taken or what further research is needed.

By following this detailed guide, you can create a robust outline for your position paper, ensuring that your arguments are well-organized and persuasive. This preparation will make the actual writing process more straightforward and help you present a compelling case to your readers.

How to Write a Position Thesis Statement

Writing a strong thesis statement for a position paper is crucial. Follow these steps for a better understanding:

Choose Your Topic

Topic: School Uniform

Arguably Viewpoints: For or Against School Uniform

Collect Supporting Reasons


  • For School Uniform:
      • Saves money
      • Ensures equality
  • Against School Uniform:
    • Expensive to buy
    • Eliminates free expression

Develop Clear Sentences for Each Viewpoint

For School Uniform:

“A uniform policy ensures true equality and saves money.”

Against School Uniform:

“A uniform policy can eliminate free expression and be too expensive.”

Write the Introduction

Start your introduction by informing your readers about your viewpoint. The introduction should:

  • Identify the issue.
  • State your assertion clearly.
  • Begin with a strong hook to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Write in the third person since this is a research-based paper.

Write the Body Paragraphs

The body of your position paper should have at least three paragraphs, each presenting a main argument supporting your position:

  • Include statistics and quotes to reinforce your arguments.
  • Explain why your viewpoint is valid.

Conclude Your Position Paper

Finish with a strong conclusion that:

  • Restate your position.
  • Emphasize the importance of your thesis.
  • Summarize your argument on a high note.

By following these steps, you can craft a clear and compelling position thesis statement and a well-structured position paper.

5 Great Position Paper Topics

Once you understand how to write a position paper, it’s time to choose a topic. Here are some winning topics:

  1. Gender and racial discrimination
  2. Border security
  3. Anti-smoking advertisements
  4. Media coverage of elections
  5. Recycling goods

These topics provide ample scope for argument and evidence.

If you have more ideas on what makes a great position paper, share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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