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FOUR STEPS TO WRITING A POSITION

PAPER YOU CAN BE PROUD OF


The position paper is literally your bible throughout
the conference.

Essentially, the paper forces you to write out you


countrys viewpoints in paragraph form. Its also the
first important mode of evaluation for the committee
chair; all papers must be submitted some weeks or
months in advance to the Conference Secretariat.

Naturally, given its significance to the MUN


experience, the position paper is something you want
to excel at, and to do this, several criteria must be met.

At the onset of this discussion on the position paper it


is particularly significant to stress that it must be written from your countrys perspective. Again, as
this document will be your guideline for action throughout the entire conference, its in your best
interests to give an accurate portrayal of your countrys stance on the issues at hand.

Simply put, the position paper is meant to give delegates an opportunity to organize their research
into an organized policy statement.

Before You Begin


Before you start writing, its important to look at the questions that were outlined in your
background research packet (the documents sent to you by the committee chair). Suggesting a
comprehensive course of action that answers these queries is the ultimate goal of your write-up. A
good position paper should make clear reference to these guidelines and demonstrate that the
students clearly comprehend the creative and compositional depth required for an MUN simulation.

If one were looking for some sort of rubric as to what the ideal position paper should consist of, there
would be a number of clearly identifiable elements. The position paper has a definite general
structure to it: three sections (totalling one page in length) each of which serves a clear purpose
within the general context of the paper.

With reference to Sample Position paper A (bottom of the post), we can analyze these different parts
and comment on the relative successes of specific techniques used to elucidate points.

1. Outline the Topic in General


The first section (labelled A) serves the purpose of outlining the topic in general and providing
insight into the root of the conflict.

As the subject of the paper is Free Trade, the write-up begins by first stating the areas of concern,
discussing some of the positive and negative aspects of globalization, as well as emphasizing the
controversial nature of the topic at hand. Your opening paragraph should, as this paper attests to, be
a brief summary of the current perception held towards the status quo. It should state the problem
and express why it is significant.

2. Identify and Describe Your Country How Has Your State


Been Affected?
The second section (labelled B) is where your background research on your country pays off.

Firstly, you should identify and describe your country. Be sure to state how your nation relates to the
topic for discussion, specifically citing how your state has been affected (B1). It is imperative to
emphasize the extent to which change has taken place. Hold off any normative judgments in this
section, the purpose of this paragraph is not to evaluate the institution or development in reference
to your country, but rather, to merely discuss how it has altered domestic dynamics.

3. Your Countrys Policies and Proposed Solutions


The third section (labelled C) is where you outline your countrys policies and what factors
contributed to those policies being established in the first place.

At this point, you are to address the relative benefits (if any) and detriments of the development,
specifically relating to your nation and the actions you have taken to maximize or minimize these
effects. You are to explain why your country has acted in a certain fashion historically (C1), and why
it will continue to follow this course of action.

Outline your states particular interest in the issue being discussed, and begin to discuss what needs
to be changed about the current interpretation of the situation. Cite the areas needing reform (C2)
and provide suggestions as to how this revision process should be accomplished. Following this, you
may want to focus on one area of particular concern for your country (C3). Depending on your topic
area, this could be anything from the affect of a war on a nations health care infrastructure to how
creating new national boundaries may affect resource deposits running along the potential borders.

In this particular paper, attention is brought to Regional Trade Alliances (C4) and their associated
problems, something that, as been noted, holds special significance to Oman.

By approaching a problematic scenario in greater detail, you are demonstrating to the chair and to
fellow delegates that you have the capacity to think critically and can identify the issues with which
your country has the greatest concern. This being said, choose this area carefully: given the issues
prominence in your position paper (and correspondingly the problems significance to your country
as a whole), you will have to stress its importance during committee session. Be sure to select an area
of concern that could potentially form the basis of a resolution, or at least one that can stimulate
prolonged debate.

4. Tie Together Loose Ends


Finally, a conclusion should be written to restate your countrys position and sum up what you hope
to achieve throughout the duration of the conference (D).

The position paper leaves the committee chair with a first impression of your delegation.
Naturally, its important to make that impression as strong as possible. The staff looks for original
and critical thinking, a true understanding of the nature of your nation and both a function and
applied knowledge of your topic.

Be sure to demonstrate this through presenting a concise yet effective paper. As expressed before, be
sure to dedicate equivalent energy to position papers for both topic areas. They are equally important
in the eyes of the committee and the directors (the people who will be evaluating your write-ups).

The Waiting Game


After submitting your position paper to the conference secretariat, there usually is a two week to one
month stretch where you play the waiting game. As you will no doubt be busy with schoolwork,
dont worry excessively about preparation. On weekends, however, you may find it helpful to review
material and do more researching so as to keep up to date with the latest happenings. Other than
that, get ready for Showtime!

Sample Position Paper


Topic: Free Trade

Country: Oman

Committee: Economic and Financial (ECOFIN)

(A) The tumultuous conflict surrounding the issue of free trade and its variegated ramifications has
been a moot point ever since the creation of the modern state. While exponents of free trade argue
that comparative advantage and the development of economies of scale outweigh the associated
detriments of a free market economy, their adversaries purport that smaller, national economies that
are inundated with cheaper international goods from free trade begins to flounder and lose elf
sustainability. Those in opposition to free trade, also make reference to the exponentially rising
human rights and environmental violations that are a direct consequence of burgeoning global
market.
(B) Oman is perched in the putatively lofty position of an oilexporting nation. However, this
appraisal is a mere simulacrum of our actual situation. (B1) Oman relies on entities such as the
World Trade Organization to help facilitate the purchasing and exchange of good across the global
market, thus enabling essential goods to disseminate across our land. Prior to the admission of the
Sultanate of Oman into the WTO, the country was involved at an economic level with the nations of
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), although Oman was never a member. In
spite of this, Oman generally adheres to their collective mandate in order to Eix oil prices and protect
the special interests of this conglomerate.

(C) Oman joined the WTO in order to voice its support for the continuing liberalization of world
markets. (C1) Furthermore, Oman believes that this unique amalgamation acts as a vehicle for
increased prosperity by raising the amount of Foreign Direct Investment and domestic stimulation.
Oman, due to its new position in the WTO, has now broadened trade with Western nations, and
hopes for this trend to continue. (C2) However, Oman also recognizes that in order for the economic
infrastructure of not only Oman, but also other developing countries to remain stable, the steps of
tariff reduction, and all encompassing globalization must be gradual, lest there be recurrences of
strife, as initially seen in the Former Yugoslavia and the Russian Federation. The WTO must also
take further steps to impose a universal human rights and environmental standards operating code,
which must be enforced uniformly. With the need for international cooperation has come the desire
for regional association. This chain of motivation for many a nation has manifested itself in the
formation of Regional Trading Associations. (C3) Although this arrangement ostensibly
accommodates both desires, it actually results in alliances whose members are common enough in
geographic similarity to have some consensus, but diverse enough to yield almost unremitting
disapprobation from some of the parties on any given issue. Therefore, these theoretical constructs
when applied in reality are far from seamless and are not the definitive solutions to conflicting
national agenda.

(C4) In Omans specific scenario, the aforementioned generalization holds true. Consequently, Oman
is not a member of OPEC. In addition, not only do there exist the problems inherent to RTAs, but
also the members of OPEC lack significant economic diversity in various industrial and resource
sectors to make such a pact mutually pragmatic. Rather, this specific concern is ignored in light of
the prodigious matter of oil, which takes the forefront in any discussions of world trade. (D) Oman
believes that the benefits of comparative advantage, economies of scale, and specialization outweigh
the problems associated with a world abiding by principles of increasing economic globalization and
free trade. This being said, Oman pushes for the continued expansion of such policies while urging
organizations such as the WTO to refine specific clauses so that the exploitation of labour and the
environment does not go unchecked.

This article was written in high school by Al-Nawaz Jiwa St. Georges MUN Head Delegate and
World MUN Champion. Al-Nawaz received a masters in Political Science from Yale University.

What is an Appeal Court?


Anappeal court is the system in the United States that is responsible for re-evaluating
previous decisions that were formally rendered by a lower court system. When a verdict
(decision rendered by a judge or jury of a trial) is regarded as unfavorable, the United
States Constitution states that an individual has the ability to appeal the decision, in
hopes of ultimately overturning the decision.
The availability of an appeal and the subsequent types of appeals heard will depend on
a case by case circumstance. An individual typically does not have the right to appeal a
previous decision because he or she is simply unhappy with the outcome of their trial;
an appeal is only administered if an egregious violation of the judicial process was
present during the hearing.
An appeal court does not re-evaluate the evidence or testimonials that were available in
the previous court matter, but instead inspects the process revolving around the
decision; if an error was made in regards to the judicial process, aappeal court will be
awarded to the defendant. The appeal court will effectively eliminate the case and any
punishments attached to the previous charge.
In the majority of jurisdictions in the United States, there is a regional court of appeal as
well as a national appeal system. The classification system of the appeal court is critical
understanding, for many jurisdictions and the general matters which revolve around the
case will yield a distinct process for the appeal court. For example, in the United States
of America, a common jurisdiction will have a state court of appeals, which is
responsible for reviewing cases made in the states lower court system.
A federal appeal court, in contrast, will handle cases heard in the lower federal court
systems. The federal courts act as intermediaries between trial courts and the highest
judicial systems in the land. The court of appeal thus must decide the availability of the
appeal on the merits of the request; as a result of this qualification process, the highest
court in the system may decline to review the case.
Types of Appeals:
There are a number of appeal actions that an individual can initiate; the differences
between these types of appeals are important to understand before an individual takes
part in such a process. The three types of appeals in the United States appellate system
are: an appeal to which the defendant possesses an undeniable right to pursuit an
appeal, the writ of certiorari and a writ of habeas corpus.
The types of appeals where the defendant maintains a right, which cannot be abridged
by the court system, is designated as a basic liberty in the United States Constitution of
the United States. These types of appeals state that an egregious error has been in
trial, which did not adhere to the basic legal principles of the United States; such an
egregious violation of protocol will necessitate an appeal.
A writ of certiorari or certs, are types of appeals where an order by a higher court is
directed to a lower court to send a particular case for reviewthese types of appeals
are the next logical step in a post-trial procedure.
Lastly, a writ of habeas corpus is the final opportunity and types of appeals for the
defendant to initiate. These types of appeals, when enacted, may enable an individual
to find relief against a guilty conviction. Habeas corpus may be pursued if the individual
is unsatisfied with the outcome of his or her appeal and has been refused a writ of cert,
at which point the individual may petition one of several court systems for a writ of
habeas corpus.
Establishing your Reasons to Write a Position Paper

1.

1
Share your opinions on a topic with other people. A position paper allows you to tell readers
what you think of an issue, and why you feel that way.
2.

2
Publish your formal viewpoint. Candidates who run for office often write position papers that
outline their proposals and express their support or disavowal of laws, ideas and plans.
3.

3
Offer a solution to a problem. Policymakers, elected officials, students and other interested
parties often write position papers when a problem needs to be solved or an issue resolved.
4.

4
Assert your expertise. If you seek to establish yourself as an expert on an issue or in a field,
writing a position paper is a good way to do it. For example, a tax lawyer might write a position
paper on proposed changes to the tax code.

Method 2

Choosing a Position
Edit
1.

1
Research the subject of your position paper. This will allow you to make an articulate,
informed case to support your position.

o Visit libraries and conduct research online. Check books, journals, newspapers,
blogs and websites for recent news on the topic and relevant studies that support and oppose
different positions.
o Take advantage of primary sources as well as scholarly articles, news reports
and statistics. An example of a primary source is a constitutional lawyer if you are writing about
the death penalty or a professional football player if you are writing about head injuries in
athletes.

2
Think about your own viewpoint. Most people write position papers based on their own views,
but you may be a student assigned to a specific position, or you may want to explore all sides of
the issue in your paper.

3
Consider your audience. They might be expecting a particular position in your paper. If your
audience is doctors, for example, they might be surprised to read a colleague's position paper
on preventative medicine being unnecessary.

o Remember that you do not need to change your own position to suit your
audience. You should choose your own position or viewpoint, just keep in mind the way your
audience things or reasons as you being to write the paper.

4
Gather all the proof or documentation you will need to support the position you choose.

Method3

Developing your Arguments


Edit
1.

1
Introduce your topic and provide background information on the issue.

o Include the history of the topic as well as any current developments. For example,
if you are writing about gay marriage in 2013, you could reference the federal Defense of
Marriage Act enacted in 1996 as well as the states that recently passed laws allowing or
prohibiting gay marriage.

2
State your thesis or point of view. This outlines the position you are taking in your paper.

3
Provide the points you wish to make in defense or support of your argument. These
should be informed and educated points, with documented facts to back them up.

o Reference at least one source to back up each point you make in your argument.

4
Present the opposing viewpoint. Provide background on any other positions pertaining to the
issue your paper describes.

o Rebut these opposing arguments, using evidence and sources.


5
Conclude your position paper by re-stating your position and briefly summarizing why
you took that point of view.

4
Method

Writing with Style and Clarity


Edit
1.

1
Edit and proofread your position paper to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical
errors. Your credibility will be compromised if there are.
2.

2
Write clearly and concisely. Overstating your opinion will only diminish it. Present your position
as well as the facts and keep it pithy.

o Resist the temptation to use big words, fancy jargon or other techniques that will
make your position paper hard to read. Just write clearly and remember your audience.

3
Pay attention to any instructions or style specifications you have been given. If you are a
student writing an academic position paper, your professor will require you to follow a specific
format.

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http://www.sfu.ca/cmns/130d1/WritingaPositionPaper.htm

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Categories: Essays

In other languages:

Portugus: Escrever um Documento de Posicionamento, Espaol: hacer un informe de


posicin, Deutsch: Eine schriftliche Stellungnahme schreiben, Italiano: Scrivere una
Memoria Ufficiale

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Writing assignment series

Writing Position Papers


Write a position paper to

Organize and outline your viewpoint on an issue


Formally inform others of your position
as a foundation to build resolution to difficult problems
Present a unique, though biased, solution
or 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
well prepared as regards the issues behind their positions
Establish your credibility
Here you are demonstrating that you have a command of the issues and the
research behind them, and can present them clearly
Let your passion be demonstrated in the force of your argument
rather than in the use of emotional terms
Guide you in being consistent in maintaining your position in negotiation

The better prepared you are


the more disadvantaged are your opponents and more likely they will defer to you

Guidelines:
Format should be consistent with guidelines determined by the sponsoring
organization or committee
Include topic, date, purpose, etc., and should readily identify you as the
author
If the paper represents a group, organization, committee, do not write in the
first person (not I, my, mine, etc. but rather we, our, etc.)
Limit yourself to two pages following the format established by previous
successful position papers

Research:

Develop supporting evidence for both sides


including factual knowledge, statistical evidence, authoritative testimony
Identify the issues and prejudices keeping in mind your audience
List these as appropriate and anticipate counterclaims
Assume familiarity with basic concepts
but 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 your
argument
Familiarize yourself with those who disagree with you to prepare your
defense.
Summarize their argument and evidence, then refute

Introduction:

Consider your audience:


start with a topic sentence or two that attracts attention and summarizes the issue
Inform the reader of your point of view

Development:

Focus on three main points to develop


Each 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 summary
in the development--wait for the conclusion

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?

Share a draft with others


to better develop the paper and ensure that your argument is clear

Revise, spell-check, and succeed in building your case.

Writing assignments
Writing for the "Web" | The five-paragraph essay | Essays for a literature
class |
Expository essays | Persuasive essays | Position papers | Open book
exams |
Essay Exams | White papers | Lab reports/scientific papers |
Research proposals | Elements of a Research Paper
Seven stages of writing assignments | "Lessons learned"

In general, there are three types of appeals in arguments (popularized by the Greek
philosopher Aristotle). These three types of appeals are logos (appeal to
reason), pathos (appeal to emotion), and ethos (appeal to character).

Logos, from which we get the English word "logic," refers to appeals of reason,
common sense, general knowledge, and scientific research. Any of the expository
modes (definition, cause/effect, comparison/contrast, and so on) can be used for
rational appeals. Appeals to reason are considered the most important of all the means
of persuasion. However, by themselves, appeals to reason often fail to be effective
(Who in America doesn't know that smoking is unhealthy, and yet, despite that
knowledge--and cigarette warning labels--many people not only continue to smoke, but
new people continue to join the ranks of smokers).

Pathos (our English word "pathos," which means a feeling of pity or compassion, is
derived from this Greek word), refers to various emotional appeals. The abuse of
appeals to emotion has been so common that the term "rhetoric," which means "the art
and science of speaking or writing effectively," is often used to mean "insincere speech
or writing." Emotional appeals can be very powerful, but they work best in concert with
rational appeals, and, in general, should follow rather than precede rational appeals.
Emotional appeals can be especially effective in a conclusion. Because narration and
description are expressive modes, these are often used to develop emotional appeals.
The person who may not be convinced by a listing of the medical consequences of
smoking may be convinced by a first person account from a victim suffering from lung or
throat cancer as a consequence of smoking.

Ethos, from which we get the English word "ethic," refers to appeals of value or
character. Ethical appeals are also often abused. One useful way of understanding
ethical appeals is to see them, not as arguments a writer makes, but as arguments a
writer is. In other words, arguing that a particular approach to a problem is the "right" or
"ethical" thing to do, or is the "Christian" thing to do (which is both an appeal to ethics
and an appeal to authority) is often ineffective. Writers have high ethical appeal when
they show evidence of character: a sense of fairness, willingness to hear both sides of
an issue, evidence of extensive research into all sides of the topic, command of
language, and honesty. Bias, closed-mindedness, superficial understanding, poor
grammar and spelling, lying, and plagiarism all indicate low or weak character, and
detract from the arguments being presented.

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