Checklist for Papers - Useful for a final check before handing in your paper

Basic Elements

___ Paper topic. State your chosen paper topic in full. Since some of the suggested paper topics overlap, I will not know which topic you have chosen unless you state the topic. It only takes a moment to copy the topic from the web page onto your paper. If you formulate a paper topic that differs from those given in the suggested topics, then be sure to have the topic approved by the instructor.

___ Title. Be sure there is a title to your paper!

___ Introductory/Thesis paragraph. Be sure to include an introductory paragraph or thesis statement. A thesis paragraph states what you are setting out to show in your paper and how you will do this. An introductory paragraph provides the reader with a clear understanding of what the paper is about. Be careful about the use of the first person voice, "I will show." It is not that you cannot use the first person voice, but overuse or inappropriate use can make your prose awkward. (See "Paper Writing Guidelines" for samples.)

___ Conclusion. The conclusion brings the ideas of your paper back into succinct focus. This may involve some summarizing but should also refocus ideas by reformulating some of your thesis/introductory ideas in a way not possible without having read the body of your paper.

___ Page numbers. Penciled in is fine if you don't have a page number function on your computer.

___ Format for References. Please follow the format given in the syllabus and the writing sample that I will make available on-line. You may use either footnotes or endnotes.

___ Block quotations. Use block quotations for citations four lines or longer. When using block quotations, do not use quotation marks at the beginning and end of the block.



___ Spelling. Run your paper through a spell-checker before you hand it in.

___ Run-on and incomplete sentences. Avoid sentences that are too long. Check to make sure that you do not have incomplete sentences.

___ Tenses. Be consistent in your use of tense, especially past and present.



___ Natural English. Use natural English; avoid overly technical language and obscure wording.

 ___ Conjunctions. Avoid using too many conjunctions and qualifiers, such as "however," "then," and "thus." Use your own good judgement as to when they are necessary. As a rule of thumb, use sparingly.

___ Gendered pronouns. It is now widely considered that the exclusive use of male pronouns to refer to both sexes is unacceptable. Use an appropriate strategy to avoid gender bias.


Common Errors

___ "Different from." Use "different from", not "different than."

___ "Complementary" versus "Complimentary." Be sure to know the difference between these two words. Yin and yang are complementary. Words of praise are complimentary.



___ Grading criteria. (Check to make sure you understand these criteria.) The basic criteria for evaluation is based upon the following: a) Represent the ideas you are exploring fairly and accurately, b) Explore these ideas through critical examination and questioning. c) Respond to the critical questions and issues that are raised (either on behalf of or against the text or author you are examining). d) Write clearly.

Name ________________________________________________

© 2002 Mark T. Unno

Additional Information contained in the "Paper Writing Guidelines"


Using Section Subheadings

Types of Papers-Thought, Research, and Creative

Deadlines-Grace days are allowed except for final paper

Writing as a freeing, creative process


© Mark T. Unno 2000