Position Essays: 9 Examples and Writing Prompts for Students

Are you looking for a controversial topic for your research paper? These 18-position essays are easy to take a stand on! 

A position essay or research paper is a paper that requires you to take a position on a controversial subject or question. Your position on the topic because your topic sentence and the rest of the paper or essay back up your point with your research. A high-quality position essay will conclude with a final push toward getting your audience to believe your topic sentence based on the research you present.

To write a position paper that will persuade an audience to your point of view, you must have the right topic. These position essay topics will get you started on your research.

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1. The Death Penalty Has No Place in America by Anthony Langdon

“Racial bias is obvious throughout our prisons and police departments, so it tracks that capital punishment is afflicted, as well. Katherine Beckett and Heather Evans studied the role of race in Washington state’s capital sentencing from 1981 to 2014 and found that, controlling for all other legal factors, Black defendants were four and a half times more likely to be sentenced to death as non-Black defendants.”

Anthony Langdon

In this article, Langdon discusses his opinion that the death penalty should not be part of the American justice system. He cites problems with racial bias as a reason for this belief.

2. Video Games Aren’t to Blame for Violent Behavior by McKenna Bailey

“Despite there being millions of gamers across the world, recent mass shootings in America and the push from politicians to regulate video games have posed the possibility that video games could lead to violent behaviors. In reality, studies reveal that there is no concrete link between video games and violent behavior. Research that does show an increase in aggression from playing video games is so minuscule it can’t even be called an increase and is rather insufficient.”

McKenna Bailey

Teenagers love to play video games. Yet many video games are quite violent, and some parents are concerned that this hurts minors. In this position piece, Bailey discusses the facts and her opinion that violent behavior and violent video games aren’t necessarily connected.

3. Universal Healthcare Provides Americans the Security Needed in Uncertain Times by Jeremy C. Kourvelas

“Universal healthcare would free small business owners from having to provide coverage while simultaneously enhancing the freedom of the worker. Lifespans could be longer, people could be happier and healthier in systems that are simpler and more affordable.”

Jeremy C. Kourvelas

In this piece, Kourvelas discusses the benefits of universal healthcare for Americans and the economy. He uses these benefits to show how, in his opinion, universal healthcare is the right choice for the American people.

4. Should Sex Education Be Taught in Schools by Peter DeWitt

“Thinking about sex education conjures up all of those uncomfortable moments as an adolescent when we had to sit at our desks and listen to our health teachers talk about things that we joked about with friends but never wanted to have a conversation about with adults. But things have changed a lot since then.”

Peter DeWitt

As a former public school principal, DeWitt has a strong opinion on this topic. In this opinion piece, he looks at how middle school and high school students benefit from sex education in school and what people should consider when discussing this topic.

5. We Have a Final Opportunity to Respond to Climate Change by Kristalina Georgieva and Patrick Verkooijen

“It states we have less than a decade to stabilize the Earth’s climate and that this will require big and immediate cuts in carbon emissions. And given the planet is already 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times, the need to adapt to higher temperatures could not be clearer. This window for action is getting narrower by the day, but it is still open. We are being given one final opportunity to stave off catastrophic climate change, and we must seize it.”

Kristalina Georgieva and Patrick Verkooijen

IN this piece, Georgieva and Verkooijen take on the subject of global warming and give a strong warning to the reader about failing to take action before it’s too late. Global warming is a good argumentative essay topic because there are many varied opinions on the debate.

6. Do School Vouchers Make Public Schools Better or Worse? by Nick Lingerfelt and Isaac O. Weston

“So no, our own school system is not really serving the young people of this state, but taking money out of our public school system is not the solution. Education is a right every child should have access to. It is not fair to pour money into a private school system when the public school system needs the funds more.”

Nick Lingerfelt and Isaac O. Weston

In this piece, Weston and Lingerfelt share their opinion about the education system and how the public school voucher program might help or hurt it. Based on the article, they argue that the voucher program is not the solution to the public school crisis.

7. We are the Ones Failing Our Teens, Not Social Media by Emma McCarthy

“It’s no secret that social media is taking a toll on teenagers, especially girls. Filters and photo editing create the facade of a seemingly perfect life and put an emphasis on unrealistic beauty standards and constant comparison. This often leads to decreased self-esteem and to body image concerns.”

Emma McCarthy

There’s no denying that social media use by high school and college students is creating a mental health crisis. Still, in this article, McCarthy argues that the lack of parental and educator input into young people’s lives may have the biggest impact. She claims that a lack of education about how teens are using social media among adults is the biggest problem.

8. Animal Testing Should Be Banned by Avery Wang

“Cruel and torturous animal testing runs rampant in our world today. Animal testing refers to any scientific experiment or procedure performed on living animals for the purposes of research and observation. These experiments are usually for studying basic biology components and diseases, testing new medical products for humans, and researching environmental safety for consumers.”

Avery Wang

In this piece, Wang discusses the problems with animal testing. She strongly believes that it should not be allowed and uses good resources to prove her point.

9. Cell Phones Have No Place at School by Liz

“I’ll get right to the point: I don’t think kids should be allowed to use their cell phones during the school day. In fact, I’m strongly against it and to be honest I’m kind of shocked that it’s even a thing.”

Liz

In this opening topic sentence, author Liz holds nothing back. She makes her stance on the use of cell phones by school students quite clear. She uses the rest of the article to prove her point with research and opinion.

Essay Prompts For Position Essay Topics

After looking at these example essays, you are ready to write your own. Here are nine essay topics that can get you started writing a good position essay.

1. Is Cloning Humans to Help with Medical Procedures Ethical?

Position Essays: Is cloning humans to help with medical procedures ethical?

The ability to cline humans still hasn’t quite made it to reality, but the question is there. Would it be ethical to clone humans for help with medical procedures, such as organ transplants? This question brings up a few concerns, including the ethics of experimenting on a newly created clone and the general ethics of cloning a replica of another person.

Discuss this important question in your argumentative essay. Back your choice with facts found in your research. For this topic, you don’t have to research the science behind cloning, just its ethics, so you can do the piece even if you don’t fully understand its science.

2. Should COVID-19 Vaccinations Be Mandatory?

As we near the end of the pandemic, many people wonder whether or not COVID-19 vaccinations should be required by law. Some claim that vaccination is for the greater good and is something everyone should do, while others state that it should be a personal choice.

If you decide to argue for mandated vaccines, consider whether or not there should be exceptions to this rule. If you decide to argue against it, be prepared to show other measures society can take to slow or stop the spread of the virus.

3. Is Cheerleading a Sport?

Ask any cheerleader, and you will get an emphatic “yes” to this question. Cheerleading is physically demanding and often requires careful diets and exercise routines to find success.

Yet others will argue that cheerleading is not a sport because it is not a competition in the way that basketball or soccer are. You can argue either way based on your opinion after doing the research.

4. Should the Minimum Wage Be Raised?

Federal labor laws have the minimum wage set at $12 an hour. Yet, this is not enough to live off a full-time income in many parts of the country. You could argue whether or not the minimum wage should increase to accommodate inflation.

Here’s the problem with that argument, which you should also consider. If you raise the minimum wage, you will have increased inflation to accommodate the higher labor costs. This can backfire, preventing you from enjoying the benefits of higher base pay.

5. Should Test Scores Matter for College Athletes?

To play sports for the NCAA, an athlete must have decent test scores on the ACT or SAT. Yet some would argue that test scores are not an indicator of intelligence or academic aptitude, particularly if a student does not take tests well. This should not be a requirement to get into college with an athletic scholarship.

Decide your thoughts on this topic, and build your essay around it. If you feel that test scores are not fair measurements of student ability, you should consider a good way to measure this.

6. Should the Electoral College Be Banned?

The electoral college was built into the American Constitution to give every state a fair amount of representation in presidential elections, even if the state has a small population. Yet on rare occasions, the electoral college vote can mean that the president who sits in the White House is not the president who won the popular vote.

Consider the way the electoral college works today, and then decide if it is still something needed for our current government structure. You will need to decide what makes an election fair, which is an ethical and opinion-based question to answer this question.

7. Is Cyberbullying More Dangerous than Face-to-Face Bullying?

Position Essays: Is cyberbullying more dangerous than face-to-face bullying?

According to statistics, nearly half of all young people have received threatening or mean messages online. You can look into cyberbullying to determine if it is a more pressing concern than bullying in a face-to-face environment.

To consider this question, you can research statistics to see which type of bullying is more common. You can also look at suicide rates and determine if there is a correlation between these dangerous actions and the bullying a person faces.

8. Are the Arts Important in Education?

Arts education includes music, drama, and visual art. While this is a part of education that many people enjoy, it remains less emphasized in many schools than in traditional academics and athletics. When budget cuts happen, the arts are the first things to go.

Discuss the value of art education, and then take a position on whether or not it remains an important part of the modern classroom. If you argue against the arts, discuss why you feel it is justified to cut these programs at the first sign of financial trouble for a school or district.

9. Did World War I Cause World War II?

World War I and World War II were just 21 years apart, and these two global conflicts had many of the same players. Some historians argue that the First World War caused the second. You could argue otherwise as well, depending on your research.

If you need to write a research paper on a historical subject and need to take a position, this one will give you quite a bit of room. You will find many possible topics within this larger one, and the research is readily available when you are writing about the World Wars.

Tip: If writing an essay sounds like a lot of work, simplify it. Write a simple 5 paragraph essay instead.

If you’d like to learn more, in this guide our writer explains how to write an argumentative essay.

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