How to Write a Position Paper
Okay, I know what you’re all thinking. “Ugh, …another position paper. What does writing even have to do with debate?” Position papers might not make you smile, but they are imperative to becoming a stellar delegate. Position papers help you learn about your topic extensively, which leads to a better debate performance. Here is a quick guide to making the writing process less grueling.
Step 1: Read your background guide (look under committees). Take notes, ask questions, and highlight important information. If you don’t know your background guide inside and out, it will only be harder for you to write a good paper. Knowledge of the topic will also help you tremendously in debate.
Step 2: Do additional research. Sift through articles, photographs, and books. Keep track of where you are getting information from because you will have to list them in your paper.
Step 3: Start thinking about how your position ties into the committee topic and what you could do to solve the issues presented. How are you going to help, or, if needed, save the world? Write down your ideas and compare them to notes from your background guide to see how you can put your ideas into action.
Step 4: Start composing your paper. It should be formatted to Times New Roman font, size 12, double spaced, and a maximum of two pages. Then, include your sources in a separate bibliography page using Chicago format. (For more information on Chicago format, you can check out easybib.com.)
Below is a sample layout of how we at TUSMUNC suggest position papers should be written.
Paragraph 1: Introduction to the topic. Here, you can show off your knowledge of the issue at hand. Give a summary of the issue and address key facts. Talk about when the issue started and any actions taken (by anyone) to resolve it; include resolution developments. Do not just summarize the background guide and avoid making this paragraph too bulky (5-8 sentences is fine).
Paragraph 2: Your country’s stance on the topic. Discuss your delegation's position on the topic, any actions they have taken toward resolving it, and any policies which are relevant to the issue.
Paragraph 3: Possible resolutions - get creative! Use your knowledge of the issue and your delegation's position to come up with innovative, efficient solutions that will help the situation. Don’t be afraid to make this paragraph the “meat” of the paper. Remember… this paragraph will help you get “suited up” for committee and come into debate with a priority.