Formulating Your Own Arguments
Writing a Position Paper
A position paper presents an arguable opinion about an issue. The goal of a position paper is to convince the audience that your opinion is valid and worth listening to. It is very important to ensure that you are addressing all sides of the issue and presenting them in a manner that is accessible to your audience. In this next assignment, your job is to take one side of the argument and persuade your audience of a specific viewpoint. It is important to support your argument with evidence to ensure the validity of your claims, as well as to address the counterclaims to show that you are well informed about various sides of the issue. Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
▪ Have you chosen a controversial topic?
▪ Can you distinctly identify at least two positions on the issue? ▪ Are you personally interested in advocating one of these positions? ▪ Is the issue narrow enough to be addressed given time and word limitations? Analyzing an Issue and Developing an Argument
Once you have selected your topic, you should conduct research on the subject. While you may already have an opinion on your topic and an idea about which side of the argument you want to take, you need to ensure that your position is well supported. Supporting evidence includes the following:
• Factual Knowledge - Information that is verifiable and agreed upon by almost everyone. • Statistical Inferences - Interpretation and examples of an accumulation of facts. • Informed Opinion - Opinion developed through research and/or expertise of the claim. • Personal Testimony - Personal experience related by a knowledgeable party. State your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you'll make in the rest of your paper. ▪ What is a thesis statement of a position paper?
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