ENG 112 Checklist for Papers Using Sources

Taken from Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings, 8th ed. Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008, 299.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are all borrowed words and ideas credited, including those from Internet sources?
  • Are all summaries and paraphrases acknowledged as such?
  • Are quotations and summaries not too long?
  • Are quotations accurate? Are omissions of words indicated by three spaced periods? Are additions of words enclosed within square brackets?
  • Are quotations provided with helpful lead-ins?
  • Is documentation in proper form?

And of course, you will also ask yourself the questions that you would ask of a paper this did not use sources, such as:

  • Is the topic sufficiently narrowed?
  • Is the thesis (to be advanced or refuted) stated early and clearly, perhaps even in the title?
  • Is the audience kept in mind? Are opposing views stated fairly and as sympathetically as possible? Are controversial terms defined?
  • Are assumptions likely to be shared by readers? If not, are they argued rather than merely asserted?
  • Is the focus clear (evaluation, recommendation of policy)?
  • Is evidence (examples, testimony, statistics) adequate and sound?
  • Are inferences valid?
  • Is the organization clear (effective opening, coherent sequence of arguments, unpretentious ending)?
  • Is all worthy opposition faced?
  • Is the tone appropriate?
  • Has the paper been carefully proofread?
  • Is the title effective?
  • Is the opening paragraph effective?
  • Is the structure reader-friendly?
  • Is the closing paragraph effective?