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Revision Checklist for Essay Writing


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The following was taken from a resource at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

1. Check content

Does the essay address a specific question?
Is the central argument or thesis of the essay stated clearly and concisely in the introduction? Is it clear what question the essay is addressing and what the essay's central argument is? Does the essay demonstrate a clear purpose (i.e. to demonstrate, to explain, to convince, to show, to discuss, to prove, etc)? Does the essay express the writer's opinion or position on the topic clearly and strongly?

Is the essay’s central argument supported strongly and logically?
Is all the material used directly relevant to the topic? Are the important arguments presented in the writer’s own words? Have relevant research, evidence and/or examples been used to support arguments? Are the arguments presented meaningful? Logical? Worth saying?

2.  Check Organisation

Does the essay have a clear and logical organisation or structure?
Is the reader given a general plan of the essay's structure in the introduction? Is this plan followed? Does each paragraph make one relevant point? Are the relevant points presented in a logical order? Does the conclusion tie the essay together and leave the reader with a sense of completion?

3.  Check for style and accuracy

Is the writing style appropriate and clear?
Can the reader follow the arguments? Is the writing concise? Is it interesting? Is the formality of the style appropriate to the task (i.e. neither too formal nor too casual and breezy)? Has the essay's audience been considered? Are all allusions, jargon and abbreviations fully explained or defined? Have clichés and colloquialisms been avoided? Is there any unnecessary repetition? Is the writing simple and clear (as opposed to wordy and confusing)? Are all sentences complete sentences (i.e., they have a subject (noun) and a verb (action word))?

Is the research presented accurately?
Are quotes indicated by quotation marks or indenting and referenced fully and accurately using in-text references or footnotes? Are quotes strictly word for word or, if not, are omissions indicated by use of ellipses (. . .)? Do quotes fit grammatically in sentences? Did the writer consider the context of the source in presenting quotes? Are paraphrases and borrowed ideas, facts, tables or illustrations credited with a full and accurate reference in-text or in footnotes? Is there a bibliography, correctly and consistently presented?

4. Check presentation

Is the essay typed, word-processed or printed neatly? Are there any spelling errors? Punctuation errors? Is there a title page? Are there sub-headings (not always essential, but very helpful both to the writer and the marker)? Is the essay double-spaced on one side of the paper only? Did the writer follow the departmental guidelines for essay writing?

Last modified: Thursday, 26-Jul-2001 12:58:00 MDT
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