1. Introductory passage
Does it clearly state intention,
thesis, nature of investigation?
Is it direct and precise?
Does it establish no more and no less than the necessary context?
Does it specify limitations?
Does it arouse curiosity?
Does it suggest knowledge? Mastery of subject? Validity of project?
Does author win your confidence?
Does the body of the essay fulfill
the promise of the introduction?
Is the structure clear?
Are the main points arranged in logical sequence? Do they follow naturally from one to the next?
Do paragraphs and groups of paragraphs exhibit unity and coherence?
Are any passages digressive?
Do you have difficulty following the argument? Is the case made?
3. Thoroughness and Objectivity
Is the argument complete? If
it is fragmentary, is it properly related to a larger context?
Is it objective? Is there any evidence of preconception or bias?
Are alternate views acknowledged?
Have the obvious available sources been noted or used?
Are all main points properly supported?
Does the title properly and adequately represent the composition?
Is the essay up-to-date?
Does it break fresh ground? Does it use old material in a new way? Or is it merely repetitious?
Does the unifying concept follow current trends?
Is adequate and appropriate
Are quotations properly limited in number?
Are quotations and paraphrases properly integrated and credited? Avoid colons.
Are they effectively chosen to lend support to the basic argument?
Are all scholarly references precise and clear?
Is documentation consistently
accurate in form and detail?
Are facts accurately credited to original sources?
Do paraphrases correctly represent the original author’s intent? Or are the original ideas distorted either by selection or by removal from context?
Do the mechanics of expression conform to standard practice?
How active has he/she been in
the field? For how long?
Does the author seem to have won the respect of his/her colleagues?
Do other author’s cite this author’s work frequently?
Does the placement of this author’s essay’s reflect the quality of his/her work?
Where is it published—well known journals or not?