With position papers due in less than 60 hours, it’s crunch time to those who are putting the finishing touches on their papers (and even worse for those who have yet to start!). Some may cry out, “Why do we even need position papers in the first place?” But it’s by far one of the best ways to help you in researching for your committees’ topics. Now, it shouldn’t be the only thing you do before coming to committee, but it’s a great way to lay the foundation and expose yourself to the particulars of each topic. Plus, it lets dais members know that you are knowledgeable of the issues in committee!
It’s important to understand that while positions have strict formats (our position paper format and more information can be found here), the content within it can be as general or as detailed as you make it out to be, and will reflect the level of research you have accomplished in committee. As we begin to count down on the deadline for delegates to turn in their papers in order to be eligible for a research award, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep it simple, clear, and to the point. On April 18th, you will be in a committee which will have anywhere from 30 to 40 delegates who have also written position papers and three dais members who will have to go through each and every one to score them. Even further, you are given only two pages to condense the scope of your research on a topic into a manageable dose delegates and chairs can understand. Keep the language appropriate to the paper!
- Be specific, but don’t get bogged down by all of the details. It’s very easy to fall into either extreme when writing papers: too general, and your paper could fit any number of countries and even topics; too specific, and chairs will be exhausted by the information dump you loaded into your essay. Be specific enough to carry out the points you are trying to make, and include statistics if it is pertinent, but be wary when your paper has more numbers than words.
- Quality over quantity. The position paper is short, whether you think so or not, and it’s easy to feel pressured in filling all two pages. However, that pressure often leads to a lot of fluff being put into a paper that would actually be stronger without it all! Reread your position papers and make sure you’re not simply trying to fill the blank spaces, and consider if the information is necessary and effective.
- Follow the format. (!!!) You would not believe how many delegates do not follow the format. Follow it! Chairs will not only be grateful, but they’re more open to reading your position papers.
- Consider your audience. The position papers are not only for you to help you gain insight into topics, but also for chairs, who will assess your depth and quality of research. Our chairs at IIMUN already know the topics and are well-versed in them, including the country policies of every member nation in their committees! With that in mind, extend your research past what our topic synopses give you and try not to rehash them. Unusual, unique, and thought-provoking information will certainly help your position paper stand out from the pack.
Position papers must be sent to their respective UN organs by Sunday, April 12th, 2015, before 11:59:59 PM. Get them done!