To the Writer: Briefly describe your target audience and purpose. Include your audience’s position and their key interests and concerns in relation to your focus issue. Also, indicate what you want your workshop readers to focus on as they read and comment on your draft.
To the Reader/Responder: Respond to the following questions once you’re familiar with the writer’s context for his/her argument.
1. Underline the thesis/overall claim (or the lines/passages that most clearly signal the thesis) on the draft. Is the thesis the writer wants to argue for clear? Is it debatable? Is it clearly stated or implied? Make suggestions for improvement.
2. Is the thesis adequately focused—narrowed and/or qualified—so that it is defensible and takes into consideration legitimate opposing arguments or objections readers may have? How could the writer qualify or include exceptions in order to avoid generalizations?
3. Look at how the writer has structured the argument. Do you have a clear sense of where the argument is going? Where do you get confused? Outline the writer’s structure. Is the structure/approach coherent with the writer’s audience and purpose. Where might the writer need to revise the structure or provide more transitions? Explain.
4. Where and how does the paper address opposing arguments that contrast the writer’s thesis or position? Mark OA in the margin of the draft for each opposing argument. How successfully do you feel the paper responds to key opposing arguments?
5. Consider the writer’s evidence. How well does the evidence offered support the reasons? Where is more evidence needed? What kind of evidence is needed to help strengthen the argument? Mark (MORE) on the draft where you would recommend more evidence or explanation.
6. Given the writer’s context (including the defined audience and purpose), how effectively does the paper integrate a range of appeals (logical, ethical/character, emotion) to convince the readers? Is there an appropriate “balance” of appeals? Where would you like to see more or less appeal to logic/reason, emotion, or the writer’s credibility?
7. What are one or two areas that you feel the writer should address first in revising this draft? What suggestions can you offer for accomplishing those revisions or improvements?