Look closely at how the argument is organized:
Is the claim adequately focused--narrow within manageable/defensible limits? Why or why not?
Do you feel the writer needs to add any qualifiers or exceptions to avoid over-generalizing the claim? If yes, explain.
Could the writer have presented the claim more clearly in a different part of the essay? How so?
How has the writer presented appropriate background information or accounted for bias on the part of the reader?
Would you rearrange any parts of the argument? Why?
Has the writer used headings to indicate major chunks of the paper? How would headings improve the reader's ease in following the logic or flow of the paper?
Does the conclusion of the paper provide closure for the reader? Are you left dangling? Or are you offended by reading a summary of a short paper that you can clearly remember?
Look closely at the evidence and logic the writer uses to support and develop the argument:
What are the writer's main supporting arguments and what evidence develops each supporting argument?
What counter-arguments does the writer refute and what evidence or logical analysis does the writer use in refutation?
Can you think of any additional refutations the writer could add?
Where has the writer used effective evidence or detail? Where might the writer include more evidence?
What appeals does the writer use? Which ones are most effective? Which are least effective?
Are the writer's reasons sound in logic, and do they follow logically from the claim? Why or why not?
Has the writer cited appropriate and unbiased sources of information? Are quotations integrated into the text? Are the citations clear? Do you see any places where the writer needs to cite a source but doesn't? Analyze the writer's use of supporting references.
Look closely at sentence structure, word choice, overall style:
Has the writer relied too often on short or simple sentences? Do you, as a reader, perceive adequate sentence variety?
Has the writer included any very long sentences that might confuse readers? What is the effect of these sentences?
Has the writer used precise language throughout the paper? In other words, has the writer chosen exactly the right word to convey his or her meaning?
Does the writer use any language that reflects a bias? Why is this effective or ineffective?
Does the writer use any metaphors, analogies, or other figurative language? Why is this effective or ineffective?
How does the writer use personal pronouns (I, you, we, they, etc.)? Is the effect on the reader positive or negative?
What is the overall effect of the language choices (style) the author makes?