ARGUMENTATIVE-PERSUASIVE RESEARCH PAPER
Directions: Carefully read and reread the essay you are evaluating, noting what is good about it and what needs improvement. Please make comments and mark on the student’s essay as you go along, and fill out this sheet. Remember, you are doing no one any favors by being nice and withholding criticism; be honest, but respectful. If parts of the essay are not good, you need to tell the writer and offer suggestions for improvement. If you are unable to determine whether the writer has fulfilled a particular requirement, or if you are uncomfortable evaluating certain criteria, say so. When you are finished, give this sheet to the writer and discuss your evaluation with him or her to clarify your comments and to ensure that you are both on the right page. (No pun intended.)
1. Has the writer typed 10+ pages, no more or less? If not, how can the writer add length without adding fluff? If the writer exceeded the page length, how can the writer cut parts without losing detail or impact?
2. Has the writer formatted his or her essay correctly: Times New Roman, 12-point font; double-spacing, one-inch margins, MLA-style heading?
3. Has the writer chosen an interesting, original, and relevant title? If not, offer an alternate title.
4. Does the writer write an effective, attention-grabbing introduction that provides necessary background information and establishes the controversy surrounding the issue? Is the introduction adequate in length (no more than ½ page)?
5. Does the writer have a specific and explicit thesis statement that does not announce his or her purpose and is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph? Does the thesis state the issue and the writer’s position?
6. Does the writer address both sides of the issue and use the same reasons to argue both sides of the issue?
7. Does the writer unify his or her essay by beginning every body paragraph with a topic
sentence that discusses a reason for or against the issue? If not, state which paragraph lacks a topic sentence.
8. Does the writer avoid using quotations, paraphrases, and summaries in his or her topic sentences? If not, indicate where these need to be eliminated.
9. Does the writer develop every body paragraph with sufficient supporting evidence, such as facts, statistics, examples, and expert opinions, from sources? If not, indicate which paragraph needs more support.
10. Does the writer include only evidence that is relevant, accurate, and representative? Mark any pieces of evidence that are not.
11. Does the writer appeal to the reader’s needs and values to make his or her position more persuasive? What needs and values does he or she appeal to?
12. Does the writer alternate—in emphatic order—his or her body paragraphs between the opposition and his or her position?
13. Does the writer achieve coherence by using appropriate transitions every time he or she switches between the opposition and his or her position, discusses another reason for or against the issue, or adds another piece of supporting evidence? If not, indicate where.
14. Does the writer use 6 acceptable sources? Acceptable sources are limited to the following: magazine, newspaper, or journal articles that are found in print, in an electronic database from a library subscription service, or online; books or e-books; specialized reference works; and 1 professional website (.org). If not, indicate which sources are not acceptable.
15. Does the writer integrate all quotations, paraphrases, and summaries by noting the author and his or her credentials or the title of the source?
16. In your estimation, does the writer quote, paraphrase, and summarize correctly and accurately? Does the writer include too many long quotations?
17. Does the writer include an in-text citation after every quotation, paraphrase, or summary? If not, indicate where one is needed. Does the correct information seem to be in each in-text citation?
18. Does the writer maintain a nice blend between his or her ideas and those from sources, or does he or she rely too much on quotations and paraphrases?
19. Does the writer use appropriate language for an academic setting? Has he or she eliminated any contractions, slang, or other informal language?
20. Does the writer use a balanced and unbiased tone?
21. Does the writer avoid faulty logic and reasoning? If not, indicate where.
22. Does the writer write in an appropriate and consistent person? If he or she uses “you,” is he or she addressing the reader?
23. Does the writer write in an appropriate and consistent verb tense?
24. Is the writer concise and to the point? If the writer is wordy, repetitious, and redundant, indicate where. Has the writer avoided using unnecessary statements such as “I think,” “I believe,” and “I feel”?
25. Has the writer clearly explained all of his or her ideas? Is anything, including pronouns, vague or confusing? If so, indicate where and explain in the margins how it is confusing.
26. To your knowledge, has the writer made any obvious typos, made any spelling errors, or used any words incorrectly? If so, indicate where.
27. To your knowledge, has the writer made any obvious grammatical errors like fragments, comma splices, run-ons? If so, indicate where.
28. Does the writer seem to have punctuated his or her essay correctly? If not, circle any areas of concern.
29. Does the writer adhere to the rules of capitalization? If not, indicate what needs to be uppercased or lowercased.
30. Does the writer follow MLA guidelines for treatment of titles by using quotation marks and underlining correctly?
31. Does the writer conclude his or her essay effectively by emphasizing the importance of the issue and by urging the reader to do something? Is the conclusion merely a summary of the writer’s main points? Is it adequate in length?
32. Does the writer include a works cited page at the end of the research paper? Does the writer adhere to the guidelines of an MLA works cited page?
33. Has the writer written a compare and contrast essay, or has he or she merely written an informative work?
Writers, keep this sheet! Use it to help you revise your draft.