Peer-Review Checklist for Draft of Argument Essay
Read the essay through, quickly. Then read it again, with the following questions in mind. Please write extensive comments either on your workshop partner's draft where applicable or on this handout. If you need more room, continue writing on the back of this page.
- Does this draft respond to the assignment? (Argument of a debatable issue with Rogerian slant?)
- Looking at the essay as whole, what thesis (main point including writer's opinion) is advanced? Please underline the thesis on your workshop partner's draft. If it is implied only, jot down what you perceive to be the thesis here.
- Are the needs of the audience kept in mind? For instance, do some concepts or words need to be defined? Is the evidence (examples, testimony of authorities, personal observations) clear and effective? Get into the margins of the draft and comment.
- Is any obvious evidence (or counter-evidence) overlooked?
- Can you accept the writer's assumptions? If not, why not? Please be honest and specific.
- Looking at each paragraph separately:
- What is the basic point?
- How does each paragraph relate to the essay's main idea or the previous paragraph?
- Should some paragraphs be deleted? Be divided into two or more paragraphs? Be combined? Be put elsewhere? (If you outline the essay by jolting down the gist of each paragraph, you will get help in answering these questions.)
- Is each sentence clearly related to the sentence that precedes it and to the sentence that follows?
- Is each paragraph adequately developed? Are there sufficient details, perhaps brief quotations or paraphrases from credible sources?
- Are the introductory and concluding paragraphs effective?
- What are the paper's main strengths?
- Make at least one specific suggestion that you think will assist the author to improve the paper.
- Last but not least--mechanics. If time permits, point out errors in spelling or grammar that distract from the argument of this draft.
A Revision Checklist
Reread Your Introduction
Are you writing an argumentative research paper? If so, does your introduction position your argument as an ongoing conversation with the reader? That is, have you offered a good sense of what your essay will cover?
If you're not writing a research paper, does your paper make connections to the topic's context? Have you set the stage? Indicated your topic's context? Think of your introduction as the place where you make the rest of your paper possible: have you provided enough information to develop the rest of your paper around?
Does your introduction draw in the reader? The first sentence is often crucial to win a reader's interest until the end. Go over your opening sentence and make sure it packs a strong punch.
Strengthen Your Thesis
Does you thesis statement cover everything you want to say?
Have you approached your topic from a unique angle? For example: Not just gun control, but what specifically about gun control?
Is your goal clear? An audience should be able to gain an understanding of what you plan to cover in your paper based on your thesis statement.
In the end, does your paper cover what your thesis promises to deliver?
Fine Tune Your Structure
Similar to how you formed you paper, make a new outline once you finish a draft of your essay. Does this outline reveal everything you set out to accomplish from the beginning?
Is the information organized in the correct order? Are you making an adequate and relevant point? Are your points clearly related and presented in a reasonable order?
Does each paragraph begin with a topic sentence that clarifies the rest of the paragraph?
Are your transitions clear? Reread the first and last sentence of each paragraph: are you transitioning to the next paragraph correctly? If you rearrange all of the paragraphs in any order and the paper reads exactly the same way, you know transitions are not working. Everything has a specific order.
Do your paragraphs have a visual balance? Make sure you don't have too much information crammed into one paragraph. For example, one paragraph that is 8 - 10 sentences followed by a small paragraph that is 2 - 4 sentences creates an unbalanced paper. Exceptional essays have a balance that goes beyond content.
Logic and Argument
Make sure your paper clearly states an argument. If it reads like a collection of observations with no glue or main point holding them together, your argument needs revision.
Now that you've completed a draft, looking at your argument as a whole, is it convincing?
Do you provide enough evidence to support your argument?
Make sure your conclusion doesn't introduce a new idea or irrelevant information.
Good conclusions don't merely summarize your main point. Instead, they focus on reinforcing your main point in a fresh way. However, a conclusion should not stray into a new topic or supporting point. Work on restating the significance of you main point now that you have presented your evidence.
Remember that your conclusion is the last statement a reader will remember. Be sure to close with a strong sentence. Make sure the language or idea doesn't fall flat. Good conclusions will stay with readers long after the essay is finished.
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by: Tom Kunz