Content. (MOST IMPORTANT)
Does the paper:
a clearly defined thesis?
the thesis throughout the paper by providing evidence, examples,
a good deal of textual work?
and respond to possible objections to the thesis?
rigorous argument, discussion, and engagement with the text(s)?
Does the paper
thesis statement in the opening paragraph?
formal introduction or introductory paragraph which tells the
reader exactly what the
of the paper will be? In other words:
the reader use the formal introduction as an outline for the
each and every paragraph of the body of the paper under some
part of the
formal introduction? (except for the conclusion, which is
not the same as the body
of the paper)
conceptual divisions that correspond to what you have promised
to do in the formal introduction?
(Recommendation: make this clear to the reader and yourself
by using subheadings in the paper to convey the divisions)
conclusion which sums up what you have done and then ties it together
in some way that
goes beyond the overview of the introduction?
Process, Communication, and Polish.
the final draft have you:
the first draft of the paper with reference to my comments? You
should always address the problems I raise though you may choose
to disregard the specific methods I recommend.
each paragraph to make sure it is actually doing work in the paper?
should contribute to the clear conceptual division it falls
under (see previous checkpoint).
any sentences which are confusing or redundant? Ask yourself,
when in doubt, "what
is this sentence doing here?" Does it: explain, clarify, illustrate,
help to provide an example,
the paper for grammar, spelling, diction, and general clarity?
Remember, what you want to say must be communicated--grammar,
spelling, etc. are necessary parts of such communication.
length of the paper is limited to 8 pages? (9 is the absolute
max.) If the paper exceeds the
absolute maximum, cut it down--you will find sentences (perhaps
even paragraphs) that
are unnecessary. If you cannot, consult me.
Logistics. (The LS reader has some excellent material on this in
the paper in have you made sure that:
uses of an author's ideas, whether in his/her own words or in
yours, are properly acknowledged
in the text? (For example, "Descartes points out" "Locke
states" "Kant discusses"
quotations and uses of an author's ideas are properly cited
have a proper Works Cited page? These would be the readings you
have used in the paper;
see the Skidmore Guide to Writing or any other manual of
style for this.
is used throughout?
pages are numbered?
paper is stapled? (It must be STAPLED, not bound in some
first draft is attached to the paper?
paper has a title and your name is on the front