What Did I Forget? - Fifteen Questions To Ask Yourself Before
You Submit a Paper
- Does your paper fulfill the writing task assigned (or are
you writing, for example, a summary when analysis was assigned)?
Are you using the terms and/or the sources required?
- Does your paper begin with an interesting title and a compelling
introduction in order to attract a reader's attention?
- Does your paper clearly state its thesis on page one or, for
a longer paper, by the middle of page two?
- Does your paper provide sufficient support for the thesis?
What kinds of evidence are and are not accepted in this discipline?
- In a research essay, do you support your thesis by synthesizing
various sources rather than by summarizing one source per paragraph?
- Has your paper been organized in a logical manner? Have you
checked the organization by outlining the paragraphs of the
draft to be submitted? Have you created smooth transitions between
- Have you developed the main ideas fully? Have you emphasized
the main ideas of your outline?
- Have you considered a reader's needs? In a persuasive paper,
have you tried to anticipate and address a reader's concerns
- Does your paper need to present multiple perspectives on the
subject? Does your paper need to examine the strengths and weaknesses
of each perspective?
- Have you included short quotations within your own sentences
and cited them properly using MLA, APA, or Chicago styles? Have
you presented longer quotation as indented blocks?
- Have you cited all paraphrased information to avoid plagiarism?
- Have you proofread for common errors like "there/their,"
"it's/its," and "then/than" and vague words,
such as "you"-who? and "this"-what?
- Does the paper reach a convincing and lively conclusion?
- In a research essay, have you presented all sources used (and
no others) in the works cited list or on the references page
if using APA style? Does the works cited include a variety of
- Have you formatted your paper as the professor expects? Are
there standard one-inch margins, 12 point type, double-spacing,
and numbered as well as stapled pages? Do you need to include
a title page or a particular heading?
Of course, you can't consider these questions if you are printing
a last-minute draft at 2am, so honor the complex process of writing
by starting early!