How to write a position paper, outline and an example

A positional paper is an essay that you write to express your stance on a particular topic. These which may sound sometimes controversial. What you need is evidence base in support of your stance on the topic. Apart from that, your essay writing skills need to be at the top. I’m going to show just how to go about the task and in the end, guarantee some top marks which you must be much passionate about. 

It would be best if you prepared before you begin. But how do you prepare?

Your task in writing will express exactly why there is no dilemma from the point of knowledge. While your interest may be knowledge on how to write a position paper, there is a far much better skill which you acquire for free. It is the decisiveness in life where successful individuals have to make some choices, some difficult, to achieve their goals. Think for example you have to make a decision on your career inclination or simply which bank to open an account with etc. which profoundly define your life.

Preparing to write a position paper

Find a suitable topic

Choosing the topic to write on is one of the things you have to do. The topic must be backed by research and ensure you can defend the stance you take with sufficient points. It is better if you do some research and finds a topic you can argue best. I can advise you to choose a topic and stance that suits your beliefs because automatically you can argue it better.  However, the topic may be such that you have to argue against what you believe. NO problem. You can still go about it by finding a few points you can put across and backed them with some evidence. Remember the topic is not a major issue in the position paper. What you examiner wants to assess is your ability to argue your ideas well and in the required format. Furthermore, in cases, you will realize that your examiner provides the topic.

Acquire sufficient evidence

The second thing you need is to conduct preliminary research on the topic, ensuring that you gathered enough evidence in support of the stance you take. One tip is accessing reputable sites such as educational or government organizations that offer authoritative information on statistical trends etc. which you can use to argue your case.

If you realize you can’t find relevant information after searching for some time, you should consider changing the topic, or if the topic is given, you can try arguing the other way round.

Evaluate the opposing views

After gathering enough information, you can use to support your stance, also find the opposing views. The reason is to gather enough counter-evidence which you can use to your advantage by making the opposing views look “smaller” as your point come out a more significant manner.


While some people think public transport is expensive, they do not consider how private means of transport can be much more costly, especially in air transport where the cost of hiring a private jet is more than ten times that of flying on a passenger plane. The National Airways Board estimates the cost of travelling on a private jet at an average of $8000 per person per hour while that of a passenger plane is $1000 at the maximum.”

In the above example, you have provided sufficient explanation by making use of an opposing idea!

Conduct in-depth research on the topic

At this stage, you have decided your position on the topic, and now your focus is gathering supportive evidence. Visit the library and get assistance in finding relevant recent publications on the topic. If you cannot visit the library, you could use internet sources. Take note that you have to use authoritative sources. You could use the Google Scholar search engine or scan through databases of relevant peer-reviewed journals. Refine your search terms to ensure you find the most relevant links to authoritative sources.

To ensure you a compelling case consider finding out the expert opinion, personal experience and government statistics. However, in the presentation, ensure the impression you create to bring more sense than personal opinion because the writing is not merely about your opinion but the evidence in support of that opinion.

Ensure you read the remaining part to be acquainted with the format of the position paper. You don’t want to miss this.

Outline of position paper and example

The basic parts of a positional paper are the introduction-body-conclusion format which you must have realized in another genre of essay writing. Apart from adhering to this format, the writer is always expected to present his or her point clearly after clearly declaring his/her stance on the subject.


In the introductory section, provide background information on the topic and indicate your position on the subject matter unequivocally in the thesis statement.

  • The government has recently outlawed the use and trade in illicit brews.
  • There is a requirement for licensing of a few manufacturers of liquor to ensure consumption of safe and high-quality alcohol.
  • The move was detrimental to the livelihoods of many impoverished families.
  • You support the idea.


In the first paragraph of this section, address possible objections to your stance on the topic.

  • The families depending on brewing and trade in illicit brews are deemed to have some economic shocks.
  • Many people also see this are micromanagement by government.
  • There are faults with some manufactured alcohol as well.

Support and acknowledge these opposing ideas in the third paragraph.

  • The families depending on illicit brews will be undermined financially by the move since they stand to lose their jobs.
  • The role of the government should be favourable provision environment for business but not necessarily controlling small scales activities.
  • Who draws the line between legal and illegal alcohol, who but the alcoholic her/himself?

In the fourth paragraph present your supporting evidence and explain why you think your stance is still valid despite the opposing evidence. Here is where you present your most refined points while backing them up with some compelling evidence.

  • It is warranted because many lives lost to alcoholism. No gold is more precious than life. (give statistics of lives lost)
  • Many addicted youths can no longer dream of improving their lives but finding money to purchase illicit brews (provide evidence, how many are addicted).
  • There are increased cases of insecurity, including rape and intimate partner abuse (provide evidence linking alcoholism to rape and IPV).
  • Illicit brews are riskier (provide expert opinion)
  • The affected families have better  alternative business ideas they can venture instead of risking (Explain why you think the other business are better off)


In concluding your paper summarizes your argument and restates your position. Conclude the paper by focusing particularly on your supporting ideas and do not mention opposing arguments. You want your audience to walk away with your view on the topic being one that resonates with them. When you write a position paper, write with confidence and state your opinion with authority. After all, your goal is to demonstrate that your position is the correct one.

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