Building Evaluative Criteria Into Assignments: Questions to Consider
Here are some questions you can use to help you think strategically about major components of most writing assignments to decide which ones to emphasize in your assignment.
What are the learning objectives for the assignment? How can those objectives best be met?
Who is the intended audience for the writing? The instructor? A disciplinary audience? A particular journal audience? An audience educated generally in the discipline? An audience new to the discipline?
What are the criteria for effectively developing the paper or supporting the focus/thesis? (Evidence from research sources? Lecture notes? Observations?)
Is development guided by genre or aim of discourse? (for example, argumentative writing often requires anticipating opposition, refutation, etc.)
What distinguishes exceptional development from minimal development?
What is the most effective organizational strategy, given the purpose and audience of the assignment?
How should the author achieve coherence? Through visual organizational strategies (lists, bulleted information, headings, etc.)? Through transitional words/phrases or topic sentences?
What stylistic choices (e.g., using "I" and "you"; relying on technical jargon; using long, passive sentences) are appropriate for the intended audience? What choices are inappropriate?
What stylistic conventions are common for the intended audience?
What conventions-disciplinary (e.g., documentation procedures), grammatical, or mechanical-are most important for this assignment?