ENGL112 Week 5 Position Writing Lecture Notes

18. April 2016 School 0

Position Writing

Position Papers and Writing an Outline


At this point, it is time to choose your topic for your final paper. A position paper must contain an expressed point of view about a given topic that has at least two clear sides that are able to be supported. Please be sure to check with your professor if there is any question about the topic you choose to write about. Once you are sure you have an appropriate topic, you will write your outline. An outline is just a tool that helps you to stay on track when you are writing your paper.

Position Papers

This paper will follow the same format as your other papers. It will have an introduction that includes a thesis statement. The thesis will follow the blank, blank, and blank format. The body paragraphs will work to support the thesis. The conclusion will be rich and full and not repetitive of what has come before.

In your introduction, you will present the major points of view that differ on your topic. This will lead you into the point of view that you have chosen to defend in your thesis statement. Be sure to keep this position in your mind throughout your work on the paper.

It is important to acknowledge and put forth the opposite point of view of what you are defending. Once you refute this, it should make your argument stronger. Do not ignore information that disagrees with your idea. Continue your research so that you can disprove the opposite point of view. Accepting, working with, and eventually disproving an alternate position on a topic proves that your research has been thorough and that you have not ignored that which does not support your position.

Be sure to quote, paraphrase, or summarize from each of your sources that you are choosing to include on your references page, and cite all sources. This is APA style. It is not correct to have sources listed on your references page without directly referring to them in your position paper.

Your conclusion should teach what you have learned by researching and writing your position paper. By delving deeply into your topic, you should have a greater understanding of both sides of the topic and be able to fully express why your position is what it is.

Writing an Outline

The following example shows the most basic outline. As your papers grow longer and more involved in the future, you can always add more sub-points as necessary.

Topic: Social Networking

Thesis: Social networking is beneficial, despite its drawbacks, because it can provide emotional support, help create partnerships, and be used as a tool for the workplace.

Possible Introduction:  Social networking is increasingly becoming a popular way for people to stay in touch.  Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter allow users to connect with old friends, make new acquaintances, and even promote business or find jobs.  Still, along with progress comes danger, and many are worried about privacy and other issues that could come from the use of social networking.

Main point 1:   I. Emotional Support
Sub-point 1:   A. Share joy in order to increase it
Sub-point 2:   B. Share sorrow in order to decrease it
Main point 2:   II. Create partnerships
Sub-point 1:   A. Widen range of friends and acquaintances
Sub-point 2:   B. Strengthen ties with those who live far away
Main point 3:   III. Tools for the workplace
Sub-point 1:   A. Self-employed, exponential advertising
Sub-point 2:   B. Display information about new accomplishments

Possible conclusion: Though there are some drawbacks to social networking, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks if it is used properly. A whole world can open up, and interaction with people globally, as well as down the street, can be accomplished. It is best to be prudent and to remember that anything published on the internet remains out in cyberspace forever, somewhere. By keeping this in mind, and using social networking in a positive manner, it becomes a tool that can be most beneficial.


There are two main points discussed this week: position papers and writing outlines. Learning about and understanding both of these topics can be beneficial to you as a student and in the workplace as well. You will definitely be asked to write position papers in other classes. An outline can help keep you on target with any paper you write. These skills can also transfer to the workplace. Business reports are simply position papers backed up by data. The most important part of a business report is always going to be the writer’s ideas about the data contained. It is not enough just to gather information. The synthesis is complete when the research materials combine with ideas of the writer in order to espouse and prove a fresh and new idea.

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