Position Paper – Technology Debate

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Position Paper – Technology Debate

Position Paper: Taking a Stance in a Technology Debate

Length:    4-5 pages + Works Cited


Argumentative writing is assigned across disciplines and is common in personal, professional, and public contexts. The prevalence of argument in society makes it worth our while to become savvy producers and consumers of arguments. As Lunsford et al. state, “Because arguments are so central to our lives, it’s important to understand how they work—and to learn how to make effective arguments of [our] own” (274). This unit contributes to this learning through asking you to craft an argument for an academic writing situation.


You are enrolled in a general education course entitled “Emerging Issues in Technology.” This course has introduced you to a range of contemporary debates related to technology. For your final project, you have been asked to research a controversial technology-related topic not covered in class and write an argumentative paper on the subject.  You have been told to provide background information on the topic, take a stance, support your position with reasons and evidence, and address counterarguments that might be raised. Position Paper – Technology Debate

Your audience for the paper is the instructor of the course. Your purpose is to demonstrate that you can grapple with complex issues raised in a technology debate and take an informed, well-reasoned stance on the topic.

You have been given a list of possible topics for this assignment. Your options are as follows:

  • Drone Warfare
  • Digital Education
  • Smart Cities
  • Google’s Dominance


To write a successful academic argument in which you state what you think and why, consider the following moves:

  1. Define your issue, demonstrating your awareness that you are entering a conversation that contains  competing perspectives on the issue;
  2. Make a focused claim about your issue (i.e., state an arguable thesis that locates your stance among the competing perspectives);
  3. Provide reasons that support your thesis;
  4. Provide evidence for each of your reasons (e.g., your own reasoning plus research if necessary);
  5. Anticipate objections from people with other perspectives and, when necessary, provide refutations;
  6. Be aware of the unspoken/unwritten assumptions (values and beliefs) underlying both your  claims and reasons as well as the claims and reasons of competing perspectives


The organization of an argumentative essay frequently resembles Aristotle’s classical model of argumentation. The diagram below outlines the structure of an argumentative essay organized in this style.

Table excerpted from: Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings. By John Ramage, John Bean, and June Johnson. NY: Longman, 2010.

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