and Evaluation Rubric for Analytic Papers
Feedback and Evaluation Rubric for Creative Writing Projects
A GOOD ACADEMIC PAPER: THE BASICS
I read and evaluate papers I am looking for a clear and controversial
thesis, and an insightful, well organized, strong argument that
considers counterarguments and is supported by sound evidence and
logic. I also look for well integrated apt quotes that are fully
analyzed, a range of sentence structures, precise language, and
good mechanics (see grading standards.)
guidelines will help you develop your idea into a strong paper.
Some (or many) of them you may already know, but they are worth
reviewing. Please refer to these guidelines (or other guides on
writing research papers) as you work on your first and final drafts.
Developing your thesis statement
a solid thesis statement is the first and most vital step in the
organization and development of a good research paper. It usually
grows out of your readings and informal writing (notes, reading
journals, response papers) you engage in. A thesis statement is
a proposition that must be proved, e.g. it is not self evident,
it is not a fact but presents one possible answer to an open, controversial
question. This being the case, you must come up with your
view as to why the phenomenon you have chosen
to discuss merits the attention you are about to give it. Your thesis
should be able to fit into the "Magic Thesis Sentence":
looking at _______________________, we see _________________________,
which most readers don't see; this is important because _______________________________.
can't paraphrase your thesis statement by using the MTS, take some
time to carefully consider why it does not work and to modify your
thesis accordingly. Note: You should NOT use the wording
of the MTS in your paper. Use your own language and logic of presentation
in your argument. The MTS is good for test of viability, a way of
checking that your thesis will carry you through the whole paper.
the reader's interest. This one is difficult to quantify,
but we all know a good introductory paragraph when we see it. Caution:
While a shocking or tasteless opening sentence may initially get
attention, it will hurt your credibility with the reader. You should
also refrain from broad-sweeping generalizations. Statements like:
"Since the beginning of time
." will automatically
knock your paper down a grade.
the stage. What issue are you exploring? Why? What is the
context for your thesis? If you discuss texts we read in class you
should assume a reader that is familiar with them, but does not
necessary know the specific issue you are tackling.
your thesis, the proposition that you want your reader to
accept after reading your argument. Present your question and indicate
the position you plan to take to answer it.
Body of the paper
background and context for the question(s) you are addressing,
Think about what your reader should know in order to understand
the arguments you are about to make, but don't overdo it.
your arguments in support of your thesis. Each paragraph
should be built around a unifying argument or point. Make a clear
point in every paragraph! Do not do plot summaries or dump assorted
information into a paragraph just because it seems to relate to
your thesis in some way.
several arguments to support your thesis. Outlines help
as a useful guide.
specific information. This includes not only paraphrasing
or quoting relevant passages from your reading, but also fully referencing
your sources in footnotes. Do not just plug in quotations from a
source without providing analysis. Each citation from a text should
be carefully chosen and should be accompanied by your own commentary.
You should be asserting your own point of view throughout your paper,
even when you cite others: Why is the particular passage you chose
important? How does this illustrate your point?
with a paragraph (or two) that briefly restates your thesis and
show how your conclusion is significant. You can suggest ways for
exploring the issue further. As in the introduction, do not succumb
to the temptation to end with a grandiose or broad-sweeping statement.
Assertions such as "children's books shape the development
of a child" are too general to be meaningful. Stick to the
point of your paper even if it is a small one. Remember this is
a short paper with a defined purpose and focus.
sure to give your paper a title that captures the main idea of the
paper. Usually titles for academic papers come in the form of a
question, a succinct summary of thesis or purpose, or a two-part
title with a colon.
is my audience?
is my question?
should people care?
is the evidence for my claim?
are potential counterarguments? How would I respond to them?
title best sums up my paper?
Resources: Individual tutoring is available in the Writing
Center for all students. Located in Bryan 341, the Center is open
Monday-Friday. It gets busy as the semester progresses, but you
can make an appointment by calling 924-6678.
from Margarita Nafpaktitis's guidelines for "Writing a Good