Checklist for Thesis-Support Essay: Basic Expectations

Shape

Unity

  • Is there a main idea (thesis sentence) that focuses the information?
  • Does all of the information relate to and support that main idea?
  • Has the main idea been broken down into its parts (topic sentences), and are those parts indicated clearly in the essay?
  • Is the main idea actually a main idea and not just a topic? That is, is there a clear, assertive idea being presented about a topic?

Organization

  • Does the essay have a clear introduction-body-conclusion order?
  • Are the ideas in the body arranged in an order appropriate to their content (e.g., complexity, time, order of importance)?
  • Are the ideas in the body arranged in an order appropriate to the thesis, if the thesis indicates an order?
  • When moving from one main idea to the next in the essay's body, are the moves marked with transitions that show how the new idea relates to the preceding idea?

Content

Support

  • Are all of the examples and explanations relevant to the thesis and topic-sentence ideas?
  • Is there enough evidence--are there enough main ideas--to support the thesis fully?
  • Are there enough specifics and details to fully explain each main or topic-sentence idea?
  • Are the examples and explanations specific and concrete enough so that the reader can understand them and relate them to real-world experience?

Presentation

Language

  • Is the language grammatically correct; does it follow accepted grammatical conventions so that a reader can understand it?
  • Is the language appropriate in style for the writing's purpose, audience and context (e.g., not too formal, not too informal, nor too technical, or wordy)?
  • Is the essay written in the writer's own voice so that the language is "comfortable," clear and interesting to both the writer and the audience?

Format

  • In research essays, is the information documented as needed?
  • Is the documentation format standard (MLA, APA, or a designated format) and correct?  See here for more information (click on "Other Guides" tab).
  • Has the essay been proofread, and is it free of distracting typos and errors?

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