The underlying quality of thought and the argument you put forward in an essay matters. By the time you near completion of a paper or thesis, you should put aside some time to review a number of elements in your writing. As you perform your final revision, ask yourself the following questions:
Does the introduction properly set up your argument?
Are the stages of your argument clearly signaled with language or sections?
Does the concluding section show how the question has been answered?
Are you clear in your writing?
Are you succinct? Are there unnecessary passages that could be culled?
Have you spelled out the abbreviations you’ve used?
Have you removed colloquialisms?
Are your sentences expressed clearly, with no awkward phrasing?
Can you make any passages more concise?
Are your punctuation, spelling, and grammar correct?
Is the paper length within the prescribed limits?
Is there a clear layout?
Are the pages formatted correctly, with adequate margins, page numbers, and indented paragraphs?
Is your evidence identified and distinguished from interpretation or judgment?
Is your evidence documented with sources?
Was the best available evidence consulted?
Are your Internet sources reliable? Do they have an academic authority or useful primary source evidence?
Are all sources properly set out in quotations and cited? Is there any possibility of inadvertent plagiarism?
Are quotations aptly chosen?
Is each quotation (in-text or block) properly introduced?
Is all your evidence documented?
Are there any avoidable strings of Ibids?
Do your footnotes cite sources that you have actually read, not just seen cited elsewhere?
Is the citation format correct and properly followed?
Are exact page numbers included?
For websites, have you included full citations, not just URLs?
Have you included DOIs, if available?
Is the bibliography well-laid out and organized alphabetically by last name?
Is all the prescribed information in the right sequence, according to the citation format you used?
The final revision of your paper, with consideration to these questions, will help shape your efforts into quality scholarship.
What are additional questions you ask yourself as you revise?
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