Adolescents should NOT make health care decisions

As its name suggests, a position paper is an essay in which the author takes and supports a position on an issue. The same values and practices that apply to oral debate (e.g., logical reasoning, appropriate evidence, and collegial tone) also apply to position papers. The point is not to attack others; the point is to lay out thoughtful, compelling reasons for a course of action.

You must stay with the same bioethical issue that your group orally debated, but you do not need to argue on the same side that you were assigned for that debate. In fact, it can be fun and enlightening to argue the opposite side.


  • Approximately 3-4 pages; double-spaced; 12-point Times New Roman font
  • A clear organizational structure (position statement; preview of key arguments; 2-3 supporting points; summary and conclusion) with paragraph structures, topic sentences, and transitions that guide the reader along
  • Each supporting point is backed by at least one piece of evidence, including published research, government databases (like, or credible web resources
  • Supporting evidence is properly cited in text and in listed in a References section at the end of the paper (use Vancouver citation format)