Your Personal Packet contains all the content that will serve as the foundation of your Position Paper. Now that you have the content organized, you are ready to build your Position Paper and move it through some key steps in the writing process. As always, your instructor will provide specific information and directions.

A solid outline prepares you to construct and submit a successful paper. Begin by reviewing the structure and sequencing of your outline to confirm that you selected the best evidence and claims and listed them in the best order. Our basic framework is a good place to start:

  • Position statement
  • Three major points of background context
  • Claim and evidence
  • Claim and evidence
  • Claim and evidence
  • Opposition and refutation

The assignment calls for 750-1250 words. At approximately 250 words a page, that gives us about 4-5 pages, which at about 3 paragraphs a page, is roughly 10-15 paragraphs. Our outline already has us prepared for an introduction, context, three claims with evidence for each, a refutation, and a conclusion.

Position Paper

Position Paper

Different writers approach developing an outline differently. One way to start is with the context and develop it before moving into the claims and evidence. Because the context can be expanded or condensed to fit the assignment length as needed, some writers prefer to start with a claim and expand each claim and its evidence individually and equally before moving to the refutation and then the context. Finalizing the conclusion and introduction last is pretty standard.

The Position Paper requires inclusion and integration of five sources, which should be defined in the outline already. The goal of our paper is to present a convincing argument, and while integrating source material is an important element of argumentative writing, the source material being cited should not simply be dropped in and connected with topic and transition sentences. Transitioning between claims is very important because it creates the connection that builds the larger argument. The absence of transitions can leave the reader confused and make the paper read like a disconnected annotated bibliography or outline instead of a unified argument connected by reasoning into a whole text. As we know, the reasoning that links the evidence to the claims and the claims to the position is a very important part of the overall argument and needs to be clear.

Writing for clarity is always a useful goal; clarity includes both accessible language and well-organized ideas. Remembering that your goal is to communicate clearly encourages you to keep your audience in mind and reminds you that using big words is not necessary. If your writing is so dense that your audience can’t understand it, you have not succeeded in communicating with your audience. The evidence and reasoning should be presented clearly, so to bring them together only requires explaining the connection.

The goal of your writing is to showcase your thinking and your ability to construct an argument for an audience by connecting claims to a position and supporting them with evidence. The writing shouldn’t get in the way and should contribute to the task, but the thinking is the intellectual skill being demonstrated, and the outline serves the role of solidifying the thinking before delivering it through writing.

Starting with a carefully constructed outline and developing it intentionally one section at a time will also allow the revision process to focus on advancing and polishing a solid submission into a spectacular submission. Outlining can also help you avoid extensive revision and last-minute efforts to modify the paper so that it fulfills the assignment. Once you have built the basic elements and know that you have included all the specific required directions from your Instructor, you can work to elevate your submission with innovative, creative elements that demonstrate your ability to construct an exceptional submission. One way to do that is to add touches that are tailored to your audience.

One approach is to review your Position Paper with ethos, pathos, and logos in mind, and consider how you can apply these rhetorical appeals to tailor your assignment to your Instructor, who is your main audience. Consider the feedback you received from your Instructor on the Group Presentation and how it can be used to tailor the Position Paper. Also think of what you learned about visual design. Do you include visual elements as part of your evidence? If not, can and should you? Knowing that your submission is solid gives you room to play by adding bits of humor or other rhetorical moves to appeal to your audience.

Finally, give yourself enough time to take breaks and revisit your writing with fresh eyes and a rested mind. Because you have outlined, you don’t have to worry about getting lost and not being able to find your way back to where you left off. Short sessions of concentrated writing can be more effective than extended sessions when you are tired, anxious, or distracted. You can even plan to build out a section at a time to avoid the potential pain of a marathon writing session, especially at the last minute.

With the content from your presentation, the feedback you received from your peers and Instructor, and a solid Personal Packet, populating your outline and finalizing your paper should be a relatively painless process. Executing a planned writing process should allow you to highlight your advanced thinking and writing skills in a product you are proud to submit.

If you have any questions about this reading or the linked assignments, you may post them below.

Requirements: 1250 words