Checklist for Papers Mark Unno, Winter 1997-98
Check off each item to make sure that you have covered them in your paper. Attach this checklist to the front of your paper when you hand it in.
___ Paper topic. State your chosen paper topic in full. 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.
___ 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.")
___ 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. Although not necessary, you might raise further questions.
___ Title. Be sure there is a title to your paper!
___ Page numbers. Penciled in is fine if you don't have a page number function on your computer.
___ Foot/Endnotes. Please follow the style sheet that I will make available on-line.
___ 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.
___ Conjunctions. Avoid using too many conjunctions and qualifiers, such as "however," "then," and "given that."
___ "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.
___ Natural English. Use natural English, avoiding overly technical language and obscure wording.
___ Tenses. Be consistent in your use of tense, especially past and present.
___ Gender. 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.
___ Grading criteria. (Check to make sure you understand these criteria.) The basic rule is: If you can explain the basic idea concerning your chosen topic in a clear, organized, articulate manner with the appropriate use of references, then you show competent knowledge. This is a B paper. If you raise critical questions about the text or thinker and respond to these questions (either on behalf of or against the text/thinker/your thesis) on the basis of textual evidence and your own thinking, then you can achieve a higher level. The better your prose and your thinking, the higher your grade. You don't necessarily have to cover everything. Often, the deeper you probe, the more questions you uncover. This is fine. At times, you might conclude your paper by raising further questions as long as you have given a thorough account of your paper topic as possible.