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Paper Priorities

After you have written a draft of your paper, think about each of the following questions, one at a time. If you are not sure about any of your answers, ask your professor, a friend, or a writing center consultant for help.

Does the paper respond appropriately to the ASSIGNMENT? Is it the proper form? Does it answer the question?

Does the paper have a specific focus or controlling idea? Is that focus expressed accurately and concisely in a THESIS STATEMENT? Does the thesis "fit" the paper? (Is it too broad, too narrow, or misleading?)

Is the paper WELL-ORGANIZED? Does it have an introduction, body, and conclusion? Do the paragraphs flow logically and smoothly?

Is the argument (or discussion, or story...) WELL-DEVELOPED? Are there sufficient examples, reasons, or details? Does it leave any relevant questions unanswered?

Does all the information RELATE TO THE THESIS? Is it all necessary? Are any of the examples or statements irrelevant or extraneous?

Is the TONE appropriate? Is it too informal for a research paper or too stuffy for a personal narrative? Is it bored, sarcastic, or offensive?

Does the paper have a sense of AUDIENCE? From its topic to its language, is the paper geared toward its probable readers?

If the paper uses sources, does it CITE them properly? Is it clear which words and ideas are from other sources, and which are your own? Do you follow the citation format assigned by your professor? (For example, the English Department uses MLA.)

Does the paper end with a sound CONCLUSION? Does it have any loose ends? Does it feel finished? Does the conclusion restate or somehow answer to the thesis?



Grammar, punctuation, and other sentence-level concerns are very important. Before you turn in your paper, be sure that you do not have any mechanical errors. However, DO NOT start worrying about sentence-level problems until you are sure you have covered all the "global" concerns described above.








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