16 Position Paper Topics That Pick a Side

I’m proud of you! You’ve done your homework. You’ve read up on how to write a position paper. You’ve thought about how you’ll write the outline. You’ve even brushed up on proper essay format.

The next major hurdle: what to write about?

Finding an original topic can sometimes throw you way off schedule, taking up more time than you can spare.

If you’re running short on time and need some ideas to spark your creativity, check out these 16 position paper topics that pick a side.

16 Position Paper Topics That Pick a Side

position paper topics

The topics I’ve included below allow you to take a position (either for or against a subject). I’ve divided them into categories for easy reference and have also included links to several sample essays.

Here are 16 position paper topics that pick a side.

Position Paper Topics About the Workplace

1. Submitting electronic or paper resumes

Old-school thought mandates paper resumes because of their formality. But others hold the position that electronic resumes are more appropriate for today’s more modern (and green) workforce.

2. Racial and gender discrimination in the workforce

A position paper about racial or gender discrimination might examine discrimination in a specific field (such as law enforcement, medicine, or engineering). This type of paper might also focus on current laws and/or changing laws in order to help reduce discrimination.

3. Sexual harassment

If you’re not sure what direction a position paper might take about sexual harassment in the workplace, ask yourself a few questions about the topic. For instance, what laws should be in place to protect workers from sexual harassment? Are laws clear and specific enough to protect workers? How should sexual harassment be defined?

4. Insurance and birth control

Some businesses feel they should not have to pay for employee birth control due to religious reasons. Others feel that companies should not be allowed to opt out of the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Position Paper Topics About Government, Law, and War

position paper topics

5. Use of torture during war

Some people believe that using torture to elicit information from prisoners is cruel and inhumane. The opposition states that torture of prisoners of war is necessary in order to protect citizens. This type of paper might focus on the US view on torture or might focus on the views of another country.

6. Government surveillance

How much surveillance is too much? Should government be allowed to monitor phone calls, emails, or other conversations? Is this surveillance a matter of national security, or is it an invasion of personal privacy? A position paper about this topic might include a discussion of the Patriot Act and its effect on security.

7. Border security

A position paper about border security might discuss building a wall on US borders or increased security at border checkpoints. A paper about border security might also take the opposite position and discuss why a wall should not be built or why border security is adequate.

8. Punishment for sex offenders

When discussing punishment for sex offenders, your position might focus on a current law and whether it’s effective–or not effective. Or you might suggest that a new law be enacted to appropriately punish sex offenders.

Position Paper Topics About Health and Medicine

9. Vaccinating children

Many people argue that vaccinating newborns and children can be dangerous and leads to additional complications. However, others believe that vaccinations are necessary. They see vaccines as protecting not only individual children but also the general population.

10. Anti-smoking advertisements

position paper topics
“Anti-smoking ad” by Stellapark025, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

You’ve probably seen anti-smoking ads (like the one pictured above). The question is, do these ads help reduce the number of people who start smoking? Do they convince people to stop smoking? Or do the ads have no effect at all?

11. Medical Marijuana

A position paper about medical marijuana might take a stand on the medicinal benefits of marijuana. You could also take a stand on whether the drug is harmful to users.

This topic might also move into a legal discussion and take a position on whether medical marijuana should be legal.

12.  Cost of prescription drugs

Many people argue that the cost of prescription drugs is too high, and the burden of such expensive medications is often felt most by the poorest members of society. A paper about this topic might discuss the need for lowering costs or discuss the necessity of helping those most affected.

This paper might also examine the topic from the point of view of drug manufacturers and attempt to justify the cost of prescription drugs.

Position Paper Topics About Sports

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13. Cheerleading as a sport

Many believe cheerleading is a sport because cheerleaders must be physically fit and athletic. On the opposite side, others argue that, since it’s not a form of competition, cheerleading is not a sport.

14. Treatment of athletes

This topic might be developed in several ways. You might consider the idea that people believe athletes receive preferential treatment, yet others feel the treatment is justified.

You might also examine how athletes are treated by coaches who seem to care only for winning. These types of coaches do not care about the well-being of their athletes and may abuse them.

15.  Pressure imposed on high school athletes

While high school sports can teach teamwork and build self-esteem, they can also be too demanding, increase stress, and cause additional health problems.

16. Sponsorships and athletics

position paper topics
“The NASCAR Nationwide Series car of Ryan Reed at the Gardner Denver 200 at Road America” by Royalbroil, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It seems that every professional athlete endorses something. Some athletes can make more money endorsing products than playing their sports. Has sponsorship taken over athletics? Should sports arenas, athletes, and athletic equipment be branded with company logos?

None of those 16 topics interest you? Explore potential topics on the ProCon.org website. There’s plenty of topics there with a whole lot of debate around each one.

Final Reminders

At this point, I’m positive you’re prepared to write an awesome position paper. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you couldn’t use a little more help.

As you research your topic and plan out your position paper, you might find these additional resources helpful:

And don’t forget about proper citation along the way as you incorporate your research:

Kibin editors are here to help too. Have us review your paper to make sure you’re on the right track.

Happy writing!

Stuck on Your Argumentative Essay?
Check Out These Example Arguments

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