Professor Cynthia Freeland
Unit I Position Paper
Note: Paper Due date: Wednesday, September 20, 1995, in class. Late papers will be marked down one half grade per day late.
1. Be clear. Follow the usual rules for a good essay. State the issue or problem at the start, and offer a summary or overview of your position. Then provide more background and move on to your arguments for your position. Avoid extraneous issues or digressions; this paper is meant to be short and succinct (5-7 pages long). Finish with a strong conclusion. Remember that the assignment here is to write a position paper. Imagine that this is a proposal to be considered and perhaps adopted by some feminist organization, or perhaps an opinion piece in the Sunday newspaper. Later you will have assignments that ask for other types of (more experimental) writing.
2. Write well. Try to develop your own style. What will make your writing distinctive, readable, and memorable? (Why be boring when you could be interesting?) Work to have an intriguing opening sentence and a flourishing conclusion, or to sustain the readerıs attention (MINE!). Use proper spelling and grammar. Type the paper with wide margins and double-space it. You do not need formal footnotes or a bibliography for material from the text; simply cite it by listing the author and page number in parentheses. If you use outside sources (you donıt need to), provide footnotes with all the relevant information (author, title, publisher and date, and page numbers).
3. Reason effectively. Provide arguments for your position. When you state a view, do not simply assert it or assume that it is obvious. Provide reasons for adopting it. Then be dialectical: consider whether your reasons are good ones. Consider potential objections or criticisms and respond to them. Assume that the reader is literate and intelligent but not necessarily an expert on the topic of your essay.
4. Cite sources for depth and thoroughness. Use articles as reference materials for your own discussion. Refer to as many of the assigned readings as possible, and demonstrate that your own position has been informed by them even if you do not agree with them. Explain the authorsı views accurately. Do not take quotes out of context. Do not turn the view you are critiquing into a "straw man"-- a position that is so absurd that no one would really endorse it. Remember, do not plagiarize! If you are quoting or transcribing what someone says, make that clear, and cite your source.