THE HUNTER COLLEGE READING/WRITING CENTER
THE DOCUMENTED ESSAY/RESEARCH PAPER
Guides to Research: Checklists
Questions to consider before you begin your paper
- Will your paper be the kind your instructor asked for?
- Do you have enough material for a sound discussion?
- If the subject is controversial, have you been careful not to
ignore awkward facts that do not fit neatly with your ideas?
- If the subject is timely, is your material recent?
- Are your bibliography cards complete and accurate?
- Are you sure you have not unconsciously plagiarized or
misleadingly quoted material out of context on your note cards?
- Have you organized your notes in a logical order by content?
- Have you skimmed your notes again to refresh your memory on
what you have to work with?
- Does this rereading indicate that there are no gaps requiring
- Have you narrowed your focus so that you can discuss your
subject in convincing detail?
- Do you have a thesis which orders your material?
- Have you worked out the order in which the separate parts
should be presented to develop a thesis?
Questions to consider before doing the final draft
- Have you given enough evidence to support all generalities and
- Have you discussed the subject objectively?
- Does your discussion move forward smoothly?
- Does it come to a convincing conclusion?
- Is the diction (choice of words) appropriate?
- Are the transitions into and after quotations smooth?
- Have you worked out unnecessary wordiness and awkward phrases?
- Have you checked the mechanics?
- Have you proofread the paper carefully?
- Are they accurate?
- Are you sure you have not plagiarized or misleadingly quoted
material out of context?
- Have you used appropriate ellipses, insertions, and square
- Have you used the correct forms for short and long quotations?
*** If you are using footnote/endnote format
- Have you noted the author's name and page numbers in parentheses
after the quotations or facts they are documenting?
- Have you checked page numbers to be sure they are correct?
- Have you footnoted for all quotations, facts, and
ideas (even paraphrases) derived from your reading?
- Have you used the correct form: author's name in
normal order (first name first)? titles of articles
enclosed in quotation marks? titles of books and
periodicals underlined? required publication facts
- Are items alphabetized by author's last name?
- Is the name of the first author in each listing reversed, last
- Are the facts of publication complete?
- Have you used proper spacing, punctuation, underlining?
Title Page and Cover
- Do you have the title of the paper, the course number, the
professor's name, the date of submission on both?
Back to on-line resource file
- have no idea what to write
- read your course text
- checked references in the
bibliographies of those
- asked the reference
librarian for help?
- read basic reference
materials in the field (find
these by asking your
instructor, using computer
data bases, consulting
- have a subject area and a
general topic but no focus,
no point of view, no thesis
- read primary and secondary
material and noted your
- done any brainstorming?
- used a tape recorder to
record ideas as they occur
- asked probing questions
about the material?
- written some tentative
thesis statements which
express a response to the
- stated the topic as a
problem to be solved?
- have a topic with a focus
(a proposition) but can't
generate enough supporting
- honestly done all your
reading and research?
- made notes on note cards?
- probed key concepts by
evaluating, looking for
cause and effect, comparing,
- supported generalizations
with details: facts,
- have a proposition with a
lot of material that you
- written down supporting
ideas and grouped them into
- rejected all ideas which do
not relate to your thesis?
- tried making a simple point-
- typed a triple-spaced draft
and used scissors to cut it
up so that you can
manipulate the material,
- signed up for help at the
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