102203 Contemporary Social Issues and Professional Practice
Q&A discussion board to ask any questions and see what your peers are saying about this assignment. Assignment overview This assignment is a mandatory submission, which means that in order to pass this unit of study, you must submit this assignment. This assignment consists of two parts.
Position paper You will be writing a position paper. Position papers are used in a wide variety of contexts and for different purposes in academic and non-academic workplaces. Governments, political parties, non-government organisations and the business/corporate sector alike use position papers to communicate their approach to issues, outline and ground discussions, contribute to policy debates on a specific issue and advocate for the positions of various stakeholders/organisations. In an applied debate context, a position paper presents one side of an argument about a particular issue.
A position paper describes a position on an issue and the rationale for that position. It is based on evidence that provides a solid foundation for your argument. Its purpose is to generate support on/for an issue and convince the audience/reader that your position (on the issue) is valid and defensible. More specifically, the goal is to present a compelling case justifying your position and the merits of the course of action you propose for solving the problem (where appropriate). This assignment supports unit learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5.
Assignment details Part 1:
Position paper Step 1:
Choose an issue/topic from the following list, or approach your OLA with a topic of your choice.
Should governments be focused on ‘eradicating’ sex work, or is sex work a necessary form of labour?
Should comprehensive and inclusive sex education be compulsory from kindergarten onward in Australian public schools?
Are we living in a post-feminist period in which gender is no longer a major barrier to equity?
Is Australia a successful example of multiculturalism in action?
Should there be greater censorship of the internet?
Are the forms and expressions of identities freer in cyberspace than they are in everyday life?
Is the global economy re-configuring the workplace such that employees and employers benefit equally?
Is the fundamental source of conflict in the 21st century primarily cultural?
A topic of your choice. You may write the position paper on a topic of your choice. You are also encouraged to consider writing position papers on a topic closely related to the one that you will present on for Assignment 2. All topics of choice need to be approved by your OLA. Feel free to approach your OLA and discuss your choice of topic.
Examine your opinion of the issue critically. Prior to writing your position paper, define and limit your issue carefully. Social issues are complex with multiple solutions and you may need to narrow the topic/issue of your position paper to something that is manageable. Research your issue thoroughly, consulting the literature (and where appropriate, experts in the field) and obtaining primary documents. It is a good idea to take notes from your research to help you: use evidence to support your position, such as statistical evidence or dates and eventsvalidate your position with authoritative references or primary source quotationsexamine the strengths and weaknesses of your positionevaluate possible solutions and suggest courses of action. Consider feasibility, cost-effectiveness and political/social climate when evaluating possible solutions and courses of action.
Plan and write your paper. The following structure is typical of a position paper: An introduction—identification of the issue (background information) and statement of your position (main thesis statement).The body—a discussion of both sides of the issue (summary and limitations), reasons why your position is stronger, with supporting evidence or facts.A conclusion—suggested courses of action and possible solutions. The following breakdown of this structure is important: The introduction has a dual purpose: to indicate both the topic or issue and your approach to it (your position or thesis statement) and to catch the reader’s attention. A position or thesis statement is a short statement or assertion about your topic—something you claim to be true.
A topic alone does not assert anything: it merely defines an area to be covered (such as a lecture topic). A thesis statement should be concise, clear and focused, clearly stating your position on the issue in one or two sentences. Before you can come up with your position on any topic, you have to collect and organise evidence, including research and theoretical perspectives (this means doing a literature search), look for possible relationships between the available data and reflect on the beneath-the-surface significance of these relationships. You are then in a position to develop a 'working thesis' or argument that you think will make sense of the evidence.
The body of the position paper may contain several paragraphs. Each paragraph should present an idea or main concept that clarifies a portion of the position statement and is supported by evidence or facts. Evidence can be primary source quotations, statistical data, interviews with experts (where appropriate), and indisputable dates or events. Evidence should lead, through inductive reasoning, to the main concept or idea presented in the paragraph.
The body may begin with some background information and should incorporate a discussion of both sides of the issue.The conclusion should summarise the main concepts and ideas and reinforce, without repeating, the introduction or body of the paper. It could include suggested courses of action and possible solutions (where appropriate). An effective position paper is persuasive, evidence-based, balanced and measured, well structured, and coherent and understandable. It is not simply a diatribe for or against something.