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Position Papers

Position papers for philosophy, religion, political science, and other fields conform in general to this basic formula.


  1. A statement that establishes the problem or controversial issue that your paper will examine
  2. A summary of the issues
  3. Definitions of key terminology
  4. Quotation and paraphrase of sources to build the controversial nature of the subject, properly documented
  5. Background to establish a past/present relationship
  6. A thesis to assert your position


  1. Arguments in defense of your position
  2. Analysis of the issues, both pro and con
  3. Evidence from your reading, including paraphrases and quotations as appropriate, properly documented


Reestablishment of your thesis to make clear your position, which should be one that grows logically from your analysis and discussion of the issues

Analysis of Historical Events

Writing a historical or political science paper that analyzes events and their causes and consequences should conform in general to the following plan.


  1. Identification of the event
  2. Background leading up to the event
  3. Quotations and paraphrases form experts, properly documented
  4. A thesis sentence


  1. Thorough analysis of the background events leading up to the event
  2. Tracing from one historic episode to another
  3. A chronological sequence that explains how one event relates directly to the next
  4. Citation of authorities who have also investigated this piece of history, properly documented


  1. The consequences of this event on the course of history
  2. Reaffirmation of your thesis and, if possible, an explanation of how the course of history was altered by this event

Last revision: August 4, 2003