Being very similar to a persuasive essay, a position essay allows you to address both sides of an issue and then defend one of the positions. Often times a position essay is written in response to an article or a real life event.
One of the things that sets a position essay a part from other essays is that it blends well researched facts with the well defended position of you. The main goal of writing a position essay is to convince the reader that your point of view is more valid and better supported than other positions. This will be done through detail oriented research and fluid writing. Keep subjectivity out of the essay and ensure that each point in a position essay is supported by evidence.
How to Write a Position Essay
The first step in writing a position essay is to select a topic that has clearly defined differing opinions. If this essay is for a class, often the topic will be given to you. Steer away from vague topics, however, as these topics will not interest the reader. After the topic is picked, you (even if he or her position is already known) must research both sides of the issue. When representing the opposite opinion, make sure that it is the basic common opinion that is being represented.
Once the research is done, you need to come up with a strong thesis and outline the rest of the essay. Make sure that points are arguments are clearly laid out and have a logical progression. You are encouraged to both take a side and argue it through writing.
Another element of a position essay that needs attention in the writing is how to present the opposing argument. Avoid undercutting the opposing argument in its presentation. The point is to argue for your position. Do not destroy your credibility by being unnecessarily negative about the opposing view.
- Provide background on the topic
- Present strong thesis that supports one side of the issue
- Argue points that support position and thesis
- Fairly present opposing viewpoints
- Recap thesis
- Focus on key points
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Science does not take place in a vacuum. When I speak of science as not being done in a vacuum, however, I am referring not to society but to the scientist’s own character. For when it comes to a momentous issue such as human embryonic stem cell research, reading of the literature reveals that far too many scientists and bioethicists think that all the stem cell researcher should be doing is getting on with his research while leaving it to society somehow to solidify the ethical problems the research leaves in its wake. For some researchers, the view seems to be that their duty is to try—in the name of scientific freedom—to get away with as much as they can unless and until society, or the law, puts a stop to their attempts. Most, however, take a more cautious position, namely that they should keep their head down and get on the job of pushing forward the frontiers of discovery in a way that does not cause any fright. For them, the task is not to get too far out of step with what society can tolerate, but to inch forward with their research in the hope that others will do the necessary work of negotiating the conflicting views surrounding that research and nudging the community toward a moral consensus that will gain for the scientist as much freedom as possible.