A position paper presents one side of an arguable opinion about an issue. The goal of a position paper is to convince the audience that your opinion is valid and defensible. Your job is to take one side of the argument and persuade your audience that you have well-founded knowledge of the topic being presented. It is important to support your argument with evidence to ensure the validity of your claims.
To take a side on a subject, you should first establish the arguability of a topic that interests you. Ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you will be able to present a strong argument:
Stating Your Thesis
A thesis is a one-sentence statement about your topic. It’s an assertion about your topic, something you claim to be true. Notice that a topic alone makes no such claim; it merely defines an area to be covered. To make your topic into a thesis statement, you need to make a claim about it, and make it into a sentence.
The result should look something like this:
Original Subject: Choose an important issue in my college major
Focused Topic: Media technology education for communication majors
Thesis: Theories of media technology deserve a more important place in this University’s Communication program
Notice, though, that a sentence stating an obvious and indisputable truth won’t work as a thesis:
Bad Thesis: This University has a Communication major.
That’s a complete sentence, and it asserts something to be true, but as a thesis it’s a dead end. It’s a statement of fact, pure and simple, and requires little or nothing added. A good thesis asks to have more said about it. It demands some proof.
Better Thesis: This university has one of the best Communication majors available.
Deciding on a thesis does not come first. Before you can come up with an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the beneath-the-surface significance of these relationships. After this initial exploration of the question at hand, you can formulate a “working thesis,” an argument that you think will make sense of the evidence but that may need adjustment along the way.
___A. Introduce the topic
___B. Provide background on the topic to explain why it is important
___C. Make an assertion in your thesis (your view of the issue).
___A. Restate your argument
___B. Provide a plan of action but do not introduce new information
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