Do you understand the assignment? Have you thoroughly analyzed the primary texts? Do you have a clear, argumentative thesis? Have you mapped out strong primary, secondary, and tertiary support for your thesis?
Form means shaping the ideas to lead the reader through a logical progression toward acceptance of the thesis.
Form Do you have an outline or organizational plan? Does your draft follow that plan? Can you find the thesis or main claim? Can you identify the primary support or main reasons?
Form Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that states or develops a supporting idea? Are all reasons backed by sufficient evidence from the text? Is all source material correctly cited, paraphrased, or quoted?
Form Are all direct quotations smoothly introduced and integrated into the text of the paragraph? Do any paragraphs have only material from sources? Do any paragraphs have only unsupported ideas?
Form Are there any l-o-n-g paragraphs that contain more than one focus? Are there any “spaghetti” paragraphs that lack development? Does the introduction engage the readers’ interest and set the stage for the argument to follow?
Form Does the conclusion summarize the foregoing discussion and present a strong closing statement? Is the paper correctly formatted according to Modern Language Association (MLA) style, especially the in-text citations and Works Cited page?
Correctness means careful attention to both editing and proofreading.
Editing is a multi-step, proactive process of seeking out unclear, awkward, or incorrect passages.
Try to edit in a minimum of three stages: 1.Read ALOUD. 2.Read for trouble. 3.Read backwards, one sentence at a time.
Proofreading is checking for typographical errors, spell check mistakes, omitted words, and dropped word endings.
Twelve steps to more effective revision: Without looking at the paper, try to create a rough outline of your draft. Read through the paper, underlining the thesis and each paragraph’s topic sentence. Find the primary support for each topic sentence.
Find secondary support from the text for each main idea. Compare your analysis of the draft to your “idea” outline prepared in step 1. Do they match? If not, have you deviated from your plan for a well-thought-out reason? Rework the draft as necessary to ensure clear organization. Examine each paragraph. Are all ideas clearly and fully developed by a topic sentence, primary support, and secondary support?
Analyze your use of sources. Are your ideas controlling the paragraph? Or have your sources taken over? Are all sources cited correctly, paraphrased honestly, and integrated smoothly? Consider your word choice and tone. Are all words used clearly and effectively? Is the tone appropriate to the audience, topic, and purpose of the paper? Re-read the beginning and the end. Try writing a new opening paragraph. Then try writing a new concluding statement.
Check style conventions. Remember that spacing, punctuation, and abbreviation style are specified by MLA. Edit carefully. After all organization and development revisions are complete, be sure to read aloud, read for trouble, and read backwards. Proofread thoroughly. After all editing is complete, let the paper rest for a few hours or overnight. Then, re-read to check for final polish.