What does taking a stance or position really mean?
What does developing an essay thesis or taking a stance or position really mean?
When writing an academic essay, you are required to provide logical arguments to support your position or thesis for the essay topic.
Your position or thesis is not about your opinion or what you think about the essay question. Your thesis is about the various arguments or research evidence presented in the literature, that is, the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages or strengths and shortcomings of these arguments or research studies.
This means you have to balance up in a debating style the arguments and research results found in the body of literature on the topic, both for and against the essay question.
It also means indicating, in your view, which are the strongest or more plausible arguments or findings and the reasons for this view. This is where your opinion is important -to explain why you think particular arguments or positions are the strongest or more convincing.
So, essentially your thesis or position in an essay is based around what others argue, show or have found, not about your personal opinion on the essay question.