A Position Paper is a common type of academic argument writing assignment. Typically, a Position Paper is written after reading about and discussing a particular issue. Quite often, the readings cover more than one issue, and as a writer you must choose a particular area of focus. The central goal of writing a position paper is not only to state and defend your position on the issue but also to show how your stance relates to other positions. As we write the Position Paper, we will continue to practice skills such as articulating a thesis statement that contains an overall claim, developing an argument with reasons and evidence, and using transitions and reader cues for coherence. We will also introduce the following skills:
• identifying issues in a set of readings
• collecting information from readings on a particular issue
• positioning one’s claim in relation to other positions on the issue
• documenting sources using MLA in-text citations and works cited
• choosing an effective organizational strategy
• researching the library and Internet for sources
For your first paper, read at least the first chapter in Reclaiming Conversation (The Case for Conversation) and one other article of your choosing (5-page minimum) about communication in the Digital Age. Over the past few years, we have come to live a life of constant connection. We are always communicating, but something is wrong with conversation. In an essay, establish your perspective on 1) how technology fits into our daily communications with others, or 2) provide your perspective on why conversation is in trouble. You will use Reclaiming Conversation and the outside article as support. Decide which views from these sources seem most valid and which have deepened your own understanding of the topic. Explore how one reading shapes your understanding of the second reading. Be sure to discuss the rhetorical argument devices used in each text. In the end, you will argue your position on how technology shapes today’s discourse, showing how your position relates to those of the authors.
Some questions you might ask yourself include: Does one reading introduce ideas that help you understand what happens in the other reading? Does reading #1 lead you to question the claims or arguments (implicit or explicit) being made in reading #2? What does one text reveal about the other text?