A Position Essay
A position essay helps you develop your position on an issue. Social media
Your position may call for action, a better resolution, or propose a different thought on the issue.
You will support your position with at least one or several reliable sources
You may also use real life experiences, recorded history, observations, and other studies. You will read an article about an issue, and you will thoughtfully consider the authors position, paying
attention to his/her reasons. You will use the article as a basis for formulating your thoughts on the issues.
You will write your position based on (or in response to) an opinion article. This will be your primary article.
You will research other evidence on the issue that supports
your view (even if your view aligns with the authors position)
You may even decide on your stance after reviewing other literature on the issue.
Make sure you have a clear position on the issue. This will serve as your thesis in your essay.
Your essay will follow MLA format (12 pt. Times New Roman or Arial, Double
Spaced, header, title, page #, 1 inch margins).
The word count requirement is at least 500 words.
You will have a Works Cited page for the sources you use.
Write in third person unless you have to refer to your own experiences (ex: In my experience ….)
2 Getting Started
Read the article (Is Social Media Becoming Too Toxic) by Kalev Leetaru and analyze it.
Annotate as your read. You will most likely need to read the article more than once.
O What is the authors point (main idea or ideas)?
O What evidence does the author offer?
O How does the author present the main idea and details?
O What rhetoric does he/she use to persuade the reader?
O What questions arise based on the evidence and the authors point? Annotate these questions as you read.
O Is there a bias?
O Does the author recognize the opposing view(s)?
Next … Decide, on your position on this issue?
Do you agree or disagree with the author?
Do you partially agree/disagree with the author?
Evaluate your position. Why do you feel this way? Are there possible solutions and/or suggest courses of action with your position?
Decide if you need to read up on this issue some more? You may make your position as narrow or broad as you want (i.e. focus on one aspect of the issue or several aspects of the issue).
Research other articles that support your point and refute your point. These may or may not be opinion articles. They can be news headlines, facts from studies or reputable websites, research journals etc.
A source is good if it contains valid information to support your position while refuting the opposing view.
Take clear notes of the source(s) you plan to use. You will need to reference it in your essay and the works cited page.
Brainstorm your position: Mentioned above.
Consider your rhetorical situation:
1. Who is your audience? What might they believe about your issue? What do you hope to persuade them to think or do?
2. What persuasive appeals could you use to convince your audience of your
3. What might they know about your issue? What background information will you
need to provide?
1. Why are you arguing this position? What has motivated you to take this position?
1. Ask yourself, what about the topic captured your interest? How has that led you to the position you will take?
2. Why do you think the topic matters?
3. What tone will you take forceful? Thoughtful? Angry? Neutral? Peaceful?
1. What are the various perspectives on this issue? What have others said about it?
2. What factors do you want to bring into your position?
Organize your research information and pre-writing notes.
Start by formulating a general thesis. This will help you stay focused and will guide your essay.
O Come up with an attention-grabbing hook.
O Provide some information on the issue both sides. This will be the general issue and not necessarily based on the primary article.
O State your clear position as the thesis statement. This should be the last sentence in your introduction.
Body A. Summarize the primary article: Be sure to state what the authors position is and the evidence/details given (at least two substantial details). Focus on the perspective that you want to base your position on. Therefore, you may not need to provide all the details the author has provided just the ones important to your
Note: a summary does NOT include your opinion. It states only what is
written in the article. Use direct quotes sparingly.
B. Next, state your position.
Briefly explain your position and reasons. Support your reasons with outside sources evidence, facts, experiences
O Explain how your position is similar or different from the article.
O Be sure to have only one idea per paragraph.
O Mention and refute the opposing side if it strengthens your point.
Note: Make sure to include persuasive appeals in your support, the
vocabulary you use, and in the tone of your essay.
O Sum up your point. Provide a question for thought or a take-away
O When concluding, enforce one of the persuasive appeals that you think will be most effective in convincing your audience.
Editing and Revising
We will have an in-class peer review session for your first draft.
You will edit and revise your first draft.