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How to Write a Position Paper

Position Papers are typical English 101 essays that takes a stance or attitude on a Position and then develop the idea. Custom position papers are Paper Masters specialty. This essay should reflect both sides of the issue. The student must come to a position based on information researched and professional experience. In order to receive an "A", the paper must be clear, engaging, and focused; ideas and content are richly developed with details and examples. Organization and form enhance the central idea and theme; ideas are presented coherently to move the reader through the text. The voice of the writer is compelling and conveys the writer's meaning through effective sentence structure and precise word choices. The students must successfully move the paper through academic constructs and experiential documentation to critical analysis. The position paper demonstrates a clear balance of these three components.

PositionA position paper is one in which you will take a stand on an issue related to public health. You will present your viewpoint and supporting arguments, the opposing points of view, and then draw a conclusion. The issue presented will involve some sort of an ethical dilemma, and frequently no single answer is right or wrong. Rather, the power of your argument and the presentation of your counter-argument are the strength of the paper. The arguments are presented to make the reader think and, possibly, persuade a skeptic to accept your position. Use epidemiologic studies and data sources to provide supporting evidence.

Outline for a Position Paper

  1. Introduction and background 
    1. Create a lead to your paper that is interesting and captivating. It should entice the reader to continue reading. Some examples include writing a case description, a news item, or a short series of reflective questions.
    2. Introduce the dilemma as it relates to public health.
    3. Provide background information, including historical perspective, political environment, economic implications, demographic and epidemiologic trends. This information should help to convince the reader that this is a subject worth investigating.
    4. The information should be obtained from reliable sources (e.g. – government websites, official databanks).
    5. Introduce the points of view and identify the communities that will be discussed in the paper.
  2. Author’s point of view
    1. Clearly state your point of view.
    2. Identify at least 3 communities advocating for this point of view.
    3. Discuss the implications of assumptions made by these communities.
    4. Describe the arguments presented by each community and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments.
    5. Discuss the quality of the evidence they present.
  3. Opposing point of view
    1. Clearly state the opposing point of view.
    2. Identify at least 3 communities advocating for this point of view.
    3. Discuss the implications of assumptions made by these communities.
    4. Describe the arguments presented by each community and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments.
    5. Discuss the quality of the evidence they present. 
  4. Conclusion
    1. Reiterate the 2 opposing points of view.
    2. Discuss the dynamic between the ‘pro-communities’ and the ‘con-communities’.
    3. Push for your position a final time. Try to convince the skeptic.

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