Creating a rough draft and seeking feedback on the draft should be seen as a necessary stage in the research process. In practice, academics often create numerous drafts of a paper or book manuscript, submitting them to colleagues informally and presenting them at conferences prior to publication.

Below is a brief guide as well as a downloadable version for criteria you may want to consider while evaluating your written work.

Editing Guide

Criteria Notes
The best thing about this paper is…  

–        Can you find it?  Does it make a clear argument?

–        Is the argument focused enough to be covered in the paper?

–        Does it accurately voice the main idea of the paper?

Follows General Instructions

–        Uses outside sources and sources from class readings

–        Uses concepts from the course

–        Topic is appropriate for class



–        Is the thesis supported in the body of the paper?  Is any evidence or support missing?  Is all of the textual evidence clearly related to the thesis?  If some information is not relevant, can it be cut?  Is there any information that contradicts the thesis?

–        includes counterarguments/alternative arguments

–        Is the paper interesting?  What are the most interesting points?  Can the writer expand on those to improve the paper?

–        creative and original ideas?

–        Coherence. Do any of the ideas seem vague?  What can the writer explain more thoroughly that would help the reader?  Is the purpose of the essay clear? 



–        Is the structure apparent and easy to follow?

–        Is there a logic to the structure?

–        Adequate introduction?

–        Are there adequate transitions to help connect ideas?

–        Adequate summary of findings and reasonable conclusion?



Style, Grammar & Spelling

–        Is the style appropriate (formal and academic in this case)?

–        Is the reader too tentative about their thoughts?  Does s/he rely too heavily on phrases like “I think” or “It seems…” or “approximately”

–        Does the paper engage the reader?

–        Are some sections better written than others?

–        Are sentences well formed? Appropriately varied in length and style? Used for different effects?

–        Do the paragraphs hold together?

–        Is the paper generally free of spelling, typographical, and grammatical errors?



Peer Editing Worksheet [docx] [pdf]