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10 Tips For Better Essays

Here are some guidelines for planning your essay and looking over your own drafts. They are most appropriate for argumentative essays (the kind most courses require). Although the format for a case analysis is quite different from that of an essay, these questions also can help you assess your case analyses.

  1. Does your essay fall within the terms of the assignment? Is it on topic? Does it answer the question? Have you correctly INTERPRETED THE ASSIGNMENT?
  2. Does your essay have a clear and explicitly stated THESIS, that is, a clearly stated central idea that the rest of the essay develops and supports?
  3. Is there a broad enough base of information? Is there evidence in the essay that you have done appropriate and sufficient RESEARCH?
  4. Is your essay argumentative? Is there a body of ARGUMENT presented in a way that supports the thesis? Have you given good reasons for your thesis?
  5. Are your arguments supported by appropriate and sufficient EVIDENCE?
  6. Does your writing show a reasonable sense of paragraph structure? Is the topic of each paragraph clear and is that topic clearly related to proving the thesis?
  7. Is it clear how the evidence supports the argument? Are quotations introduced in a way that make their function in the argument clear? Do you comment on quotations in a way which shows their relevance to the thesis? 
  8. Is the sentence level grammar correct? For example, do verbs agree with their subjects, are tense sequences correct, and do pronouns have antecedents?
  9. Is there coherence from sentence to sentence and a reasonable transition from paragraph to paragraph?
  10. Do you follow appropriate conventions of documentation, footnoting and bibliography?