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Position Paper Format

Position Paper Format

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Published by nikko norman
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Published by: nikko norman on Dec 18, 2009
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ESSENTIALS OF A POSITION PAPER The papers MUST be TYPED and follow the format; 12 point font, double spaced, 1inch margins unless otherwise noted.All position papers must include a bibliography! If youhave more than one topic you must write a separate Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 for each topic!It should be written in a business memorandum format. A business memorandum makesits main points up front, in the summary, followed by details in the balance of the report. Italso is written in a tone that is succinct and confident. Position memorandums, in particular,should be written with a persuasive and confident tone (although you must always back upyour position(s) with research and facts). It should be typed, with one and one-half linespacing (e.g., in between single and double spacing). The detailed business memo format isas follows, including guidelines for length:1)executive summary (one - one & one-half pages)a.brief description of the issue and its importanceb.brief description of alternative positions on the issuec.brief description of writer’s position on the issue and reason(s)2)background (two – three pages)a.background information/details surrounding the issue3)alternatives (two – three pages)a.detailed discussion of alternative positionsb.detailed discussion of reason(s) for writer’s position4)summary (one page)a.restate the importance of the issueb.restate positionc.mention additional research/discovery needed from others that would behelpful to furthering knowledge on the issue5)works cited
What are the objectives of writing a position paper?
Formally inform others of your position or viewpoint in an issueas a foundation to build resolution to difficult problems.
Present a unique, though biased, solutionor a unique approach to solving a problem
Frame the discussion in order to define the "playing field." This can put you in an advantageous position with those who may not be so wellprepared as regards the issues behind their positions
Establish credibilityHere you are demonstrating that you have a command of the issues and the researchbehind them, and can present them clearly
Let your passion be demonstrated in the force of your argumentrather than in the use of emotional terms
Consistency is a key here“The better prepared you arethe more disadvantaged are your opponentsand more likely they will defer to you”
Develop supporting evidence for both sidesincluding factual knowledge, statistical evidence, authoritative testimony
Identify the issues and prejudices keeping in mind your audienceList these as appropriate and anticipate counterclaims
Assume familiarity with basic conceptsbut define unfamiliar terms/concepts or state meanings that define your point of departure
Refer to those who agree with your position to assist you in developing yourargument
Familiarize yourself with those who disagree with you to prepare your defense.Summarize their argument and evidence, then refute
Consider your audience:start with a topic sentence or two that attracts attention and summarizes the issueInform the reader of your point of view
Focus on three main points to developEach topic is developed with
a general statement of the position
an elaboration that references documents and source data
past experiences and authoritative testimony
conclusion restating the position
Establish flow from paragraph to paragraph
Keep your voice active
Quote sources to establish authority
Stay focused on your point of view throughout the essay
Focus on logical arguments
Don't lapse into summaryin the development--wait for the conclusion
Summarize, then conclude, your argument
Refer to the first paragraph/opening statements as well as the main points
does the conclusion restate the main ideas?
reflect the succession and importance of the arguments
logically conclude their development?*note: your position paper could be in an outline form or a full blown paragraph form.David MarkowitzAl FilreisEnglish 285December 4, 1995
Position paper on Graff's
Beyond the Culture Wars
Gerald Graff's suggestion that colleges make issues of academic controversy part of theclassroom dialogue, is for obvious reasons, attractive. However, his vision of a campuswhere political and academic confict is subsumed by-or at least symbiotic with-classroomlearning assumes that the culture war is being fought in good faith. I think believing that thisis a good faith dispute ignores what are the most contentious fronts in the culture war,within as well as outside the colleges.Of course, these issues are race, gender, and sexuality. Both sides in the culture war haveproven themselves unable to contain themselves and argue objectively. They haveattempted, in some cases, to obfuscate the issue by creating code words to euphemize theissue, but ultimately feel a passion that is too raw, too visceral for the classroom to contain.On the right, it is not simply a matter of the decay of the canon. Graff points out that severalpopular accounts mention the inclusion of marginal literature in syllabi, but I believe hedoesn't realize the significance of who their targets are. While broadly, they claim to bestanding against "barbarism" and "relativism," they're particular targets seem the same as aMcCarthyite's rogues gallery: feminists, blacks and other minorities, homosexuals--challengers to a canon, but also, as might be expected, the enemies of the reactionariescalling themselves "conservatives." It should be no surprise that popular spokesmen for theright embrace this, sometimes going to anti-intellectual extremes or plain lying. Theseconflicts when played out in colleges are genteel when compared with how they play out ina larger national discourse about affirmative action and equal opportunity, civil rights,personal liberties, and religious freedom.Graff rightly points out that the radical multi-culturalists have become the opposite side of the same absolutist, exclusivist coin. But Leonard Jefferies isn't as alone as Graff would haveus believe. For instance, the popularity of Nation of Islam speakers among black collegestudents indicates that Jefferies has a good deal of company. The stifling of "hate speech" isa more generalized indication that colleges are justifiably terrified of letting students at eachother to resolve ideological disputes. Incidents like the Cornell students who distributedmisogynist jokes or the Penn water buffalo case, should dramatize the fact that both sides of the culture war feel there is too much at stake in the culture war to permit opposingperspectives. Judith Rodin, in a letter to parents and alumni, discussed the Red & Blue'sracist article about Haiti as a success for rational student discourse, but conveniently forgotto mention the devisiveness it caused.Graff's argument often boils down to schematizing how to represent conflicts, but I believe itignores the larger, more rancorous, culture wars that revolve around the same issues. In thisregard, even though I feel his solution is elegant but unrealistic. It relies on passing absolutepositions off as relative, and thus ignores how deeply felt those absolute ideologies are.Since this flaw is in the very foundational assumptions on which his idea rests, I think he isnaive in suggesting that these arguments be contained and defused in a classroom.http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/graff-sample-paper.htmlhttp://www.studygs.net/wrtstr9.htmI. Introduction ___A. Introduce the topic ___B. Provide background on the topic ___C. Assert the thesis (your view of the issue)

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