Checklist for argumentative essays

 

As you're working on your paper, consider the following questions, and then ask yourself "Have I done an excellent job here, a good job, a fair job, or a poor job?"

1. Introduction

  • Is my introduction clear and concise?
  • Have I stated the general topic of the paper?
  • Does the introduction contain a thesis statement--a statement of the general conclusion(s) of the paper?
  • Does the introduction contain a brief overview of the structure of the paper to follow?

2. Presentation of the argument or position to be considered

  • Is the argument or position to be considered presented clearly?
  • Are reasons given to support the position being defended (if applicable)?
  • Is the argument of good logical form (if applicable)?
  • Are reasons given to support the premises of the argument being considered (if applicable)?

3. Criticism

  • Are my own arguments given clearly?
  • Are my own arguments given clearly and in paragraphs that are separate from each other and from the argument or position being considered?
  • Are my own arguments valid (or strong, if I'm giving an inductive argument)?
  • Have I given reason to think the premises of my arguments are true?
  • Is the best possible reply to the criticism considered?

4. Conclusion

  • Have I summed things up briefly and clearly?

5. Overall structure and mechanics

  • Does the paper have a clear overall structure?
  • Is every word spelled correctly and used in its proper sense?
  • Does the paper consist entirely of complete sentences?
  • Are there any awkward sentences?
  • Are all ideas that aren't my own (including not only direct quotations, but also paraphrases) cited using a proper format?

Dennis Earl (email: dearl@coastal.edu)
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528-6054

Last Modified November 23, 2004
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