Writing in First-Year Seminars

Integrating Writing

Assigning Writing

Assigning Research

Peer Review

Responding to Writing


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Authors & Contributors

Freshman Composition Workshop

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Education Inquiry Paper

Writer's Name:
What concerns do you have about your paper?

Reader's Name:

Instructions to the reader: Before answering the questions below, read the essay once and do a "backwards outline" by marking next to each paragraph its main idea and primary purpose (appeal, opposing argument, etc.).

  1. Mark and label the writer's thesis in the draft. In the space below, "unpack" the thesis.
  2. Is the thesis clearly debatable? Suggest one way the thesis might be narrowed or focused, if necessary.
  3. Based on your reading, who do you think is the writer's target audience? Why? Do you think this is the best choice of audience for this thesis? Why or why not?
  4. Identify all appeals in the essay (next to them on the essay, write "R" for reason, "C" for character, or "E" for emotion"). Is each appeal effective, given the audience? Note any that you think might not work for this audience.
  5. Are all claims supported with detailed explanation and/or evidence? Make a note of any places in the essay where you feel the audience might need more evidence.
  6. Note on the essay where the writer refutes potential opposing arguments (mark with an "O"). Does the writer do an effective job of refuting the opposing arguments s/he mentions? What other possible opposing arguments did the writer neglect or ignore?
  7. Do you feel the order of points is effective? Suggest a reorganization that might make the essay stronger (because some point must logically come before another, because opposing arguments should be dealt with earlier, because the last argument is weak, etc.).
  8. Look at the introduction and conclusion. Does the introduction capture your interest and attention? If not, suggest an attention-getting lead-in. Does the paper conclude with a memorable thought or image, rather than strictly rehashing the argument?
  9. Overall, if you were a member of this paper's target audience, would you be convinced? Why or why not? What one element of this essay would you suggest as the most important area for the writer to focus on in revision?

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