EN101 Revision Checklist

Revision Checklist (EN101, Susan Mockler)

As you revise your own work, keep the following principles in mind:
• Revision may entail rethinking your thesis. Because clarity of vision is the result of experience, it is unreasonable to expect to come up with the best thesis possible before beginning a draft, or even during a first draft. The best theses evolve; they are the products of the kind of precise thinking that is only possible to achieve by writing. Successful revision involves bringing your thesis into focus—or, changing it altogether.

• Revision may entail making structural changes. Drafting is usually a process of discovering an idea or argument. Your argument will not become clearer if you only tinker with individual sentences. Successful revision involves bringing the strongest ideas to the front of the essay, reordering the main points, cutting irrelevant sections, adding implications. It also involves making the argument's structure visible by strengthening topic sentences and transitions.

• Revision takes time. Avoid shortcuts: the reward for sustained effort is a clearer, more persuasive, more sophisticated essay than a first draft can be.

Organization

• Is there a clear introduction, body, and conclusion?
• Does the introduction provide sufficient background for the reader? Are the "who," "where," "why," "what," and "how" questions addressed?
• Is there a thesis sentence? Is the purpose of the essay clear?
• Does the essay move from general to specific?
• Are there sufficient transitions between related ideas?
• Is the overall organization murky or clean? In other words, does the writer avoid introducing new material in the conclusion or switching subjects in the middle of a paragraph in the body?
• Does every paragraph address the subject matter of the thesis in some way?

Content and Style

• Does the essay show that the writer has knowledge of the audience?
• Is the length appropriate and adequate?
• Has the writer used sufficient examples and detail to make his or her points clearly?
• Has the assignment been addressed?
• Is the tone of the essay appropriate?
• Has the writer avoided insulting the reader?
• Is the tone of the essay professional and appropriate?
• Is the language convincing, clear, and concise?
• Has the writer used fresh language and a creative approach?

Editing

• Have the best sentence structures been used? Could sentences be simplified or combined?
• Could the writer make the point more clearly, more forcefully, in fewer words?
• Has the writer used consistent verb tense?
• Has the writer used consistent point of view?

Proofreading

• Has the writer checked grammar and punctuation?
• Has the writer spell checked the essay?
• Is the title capitalized correctly?

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