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A Position Paper Outline: How to Cope with It?

Position paper outline – a guideline on writing with examples

Outlining is a helpful technique for writing any academic paper or any text at all. It is the “preview” of your piece. With a proper outline, you can build the structure, collect all elements, put them in order, and even work the transitions out.

It is especially useful is you have to prepare for making a statement on some issue and express your position. It is one of the skills that you will undoubtedly need in life. And one of the sufficient means to train these skills is writing a position paper. However, before you compose it, you’ll need to create a position paper outline. This article will help you with this task.

The essence and purpose of a position paper

In this paper, you have to express your position on some issues. That issue should be controversial and allow at least two valid interpretations. Your goal is to prove that your point is right with evidence, reasoning, and appealing to your audience’s emotions. o

Position papers are not just college assignments. You will meet them in business and – very often – in politics. They mostly deal with the burning issues of modern life.

Writing a position paper is nothing different from the rest of college essays:

  1. Select a topic that is interesting for you. It is important to feel for it, as there you can develop your opinion and know why it is such. There should not be vague intuitive associations – you have to expose your point of view and support it actively.
  2. Make a research on the topic to collect reliable data in favor of your position. Just note that other people’s opinions on this matter might not be the best choice of arguments. People can be biased. It is much better to refer to the statistics data.
  3. Sort the information, pick the evidence, and compose the position paper. At this stage, you will need a position paper outline for sure.

How to build a helpful position paper outline

It is more than ever essential to polish the structure of this paper, ensure an undeniable logic, and pick the most persuasive arguments. Remember that the position paper does not only demand that you present your opinion. You have to defend it and convince the audience. You will face opponents, and it means that you need to learn about the counterarguments and disprove them as well.

The position paper outline you compose will help you to build your essay. Also, it helps to test it thoroughly before the writing starts.

By default, any essay consists of three parts: the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion. The Introduction and the Conclusion together take approximately 20-25% of the entire text, and the Body takes the rest.

All of these parts are significant. In the opening, you attract the audience’s attention and motivate them to listen to your position. In the central section, you explain your opinion and provide arguments in its favor. There you deal with the opposing points of view, as well. The conclusion has to restate your attitude and appeal to the audience. Your goal is to encourage them to share your opinion on the issue.

This structure is a base of the position paper outline.

The size in the number of words of this paper can be different. In college, you will get this information from the assignment description. As for the paragraphs’ scheme, a position paper mostly consists of five or six sections.

A template of the position paper outline suitable for all cases


  1. Name your topic.
  2. Explain the importance of the topic.
  3. Present the thesis statement that will be a brief description of your position on the matter.


  1. Present your point of view on the issue.
  2. Support your opinion with arguments.
  3. Mention the main counterarguments and disprove them. Note that the number of arguments and counterarguments should be equal in your essay.


  1. Refer to the thesis again and restate it. Summarize your arguments.
  2. Express the call to action – invite the audience to support you.

When you make the elements’ list, check their inner connections. Ensure that each paragraph relates to the thesis and works in favor of your position.

You can make this position paper outline more robust by adding details. For instance, if you have an apt phrase that you want to use – you can find the best place for it. It is also an excellent means to plan your references and note where you will put them.

A position paper outline is a great tool, by all means. When you have it worked out, the essay writing itself will be just a matter of time.

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