Research Essay Review & Checklists

Grade 9 Students @ ACS
Mrs. AbiSamra

·         What’s your point/argument?

·         What evidence do you have?

·         Why do you think your evidence supports your claim?

·         Do you anticipate objections or counter-arguments?

You need to ask these questions on your reader's behalf & answer them appropriately.

“…any good essay should show us a mind developing a thesis, supporting that thesis with evidence, deftly anticipating objections or counter-arguments, and maintaining the momentum of discovery.”

A Good Argument should offer:

·         a claim (it states what you want readers to believe)

·         evidence or grounds that support it (the reason readers should believe your claim)

·         a warrant (a general principle that explains why evidence is relevant to your claim)

·         qualifications that make your claim and evidence more precise.

The more your argument asks readers to change their minds, the more significant it will seem to them.

Making strong claims

·         a claim must be substantive (firmly constructed- important)

·         a claim must be contestable (it should lead the reader to think)

·         a claim must be specific/explicit

A claim is significant to the extent that it changes how people believe

Offering reliable evidence

Evidence should be accurate, precise, sufficient, representative, authoritative (cite the most authoritative/current sources), perspicuous (clear as evidence, and readers need to see that), relevant and appropriate

Does the Final Draft include

1.      Title page (header, page number, running head, Title + Illustration, Name, Name of school, Name of teacher, Subject, Class, Date)
Check the following page for more info:

2.      Statement of Purpose (The aim/purpose of this study is to...)

3.      Detailed Outline (following the provided format)

4.      Title (again) + Research Question (that you have to refer back to throughout your essay)

5.      The 500 Word Essay + Word count

6.      References (APA style)-- at least 4 different references!

7.      Appendix (hard copies of your references + additional pictures if any)


For in-text citation format go to these pages:

Be CREATIVE & make it interesting, logical, and coherent!


Statement of Purpose
Why did you choose this topic? What do you expect to learn? How do you think it will benefit your classmates/reader/audience? (You NEED to sound extremely enthusiastic!)

Does the introduction include:

An indication of why the topic chosen is interesting, important or worthy of study.

Some background information and an attempt to place the topic in appropriate context.

An indication of whether the topic has been narrowed to a focus of more manageable proportions.

A clearly and precisely stated research question.

A clear concluding statement of the thesis and argument, i.e. the response to the research question that will subsequently be developed in the body of the essay.

The essential feature of the body is a convincing answer to the research question. The structure and approach will depend on the subject in which the essay is being undertaken. Some subjects may require sub-headings for major sections within the main body. Scientific investigations will usually have separate sections for method and results. In other subjects, sub-headings should be avoided because they disrupt the flow and unity of an essay.

The requirements of a conclusion are that it:

Is clearly stated

Is relevant to the research question being investigated

Is substantiated by the evidence presented

Indicates issues, unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged from the research.

Does the conclusion follow these requirements?

The direct or indirect use of the words of another person, written, oral, or electronic, must be acknowledged appropriately as must visual material in the essay, derived from another source. Failure to do this will be viewed as plagiarism.
The references should only include those works, such as books and journals, that you have consulted and used.

Presentation and overall neatness are important, and it is essential that illustrative material, if included, is well set out and used effectively. Graphs, diagrams, tables and maps are effective only if they are well labeled and can be easily read. This must be directly related to the text and acknowledged where appropriate. The use of photographs and postcards is acceptable only if they are captioned and/or annotated and are used to illustrate a specific point made in the essay.

General Review:

A Research Question & Thesis
The research question (or specific issue to be investigated) is clearly and precisely stated and is sharply focused and is therefore susceptible to effective treatment within the word limit. The thesis refers back to the research question.

B Data Information
The data gathered/generated and/or background information selected is directly relevant to the research.

C Analysis/Evaluation
The data/information derived have been systematically and competently analyzed using appropriate and correctly applied techniques. Where an evaluation is appropriate, a range of interpretations have been considered and their merit appraised.

D Discussion/Argument
The discussion/argument is consistently relevant to the research question (or specific issue being investigated) and is well organized and therefore easy to follow.

E Conclusion
The conclusion is clearly stated, is relevant to the research question and fully substantiated by the evidence presented. If appropriate, the conclusion clearly indicates unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged from the research.

F Overall Presentation
Running head- header- double space- font 12- page numbers- titles for major parts- purpose-...

G Language and mechanics
Sentence structure, grammar, spelling, coherence, cohesion, punctuation ...

Presentation/Essay Checklist
Judge the essay against these criteria:

1.      Is the essay a reasoned argument in which the writer endeavors to persuade a skeptical reader of the justifiability of the line of argument adopted?

2.      Is there an argument? Is each part of it clear? Is it easy to understand and does it make sense? (The argument should be clear from the beginning and not tacked on the end)

3.      Does the essay develop logically through a series of arguments or points?

4.      What evidence is used to support arguments (too little, too much, inappropriate)?

5.      Does the essay show evidence of the imaginative use of a variety of sources (precising one or more source is not adequate)?

6.      Is the essay clear and readable? (Pay attention to grammar and spelling)

7.      Does the essay contain repetitive or irrelevant material?

8.      Has a bibliography of all materials consulted been included? Does it follow the APA style?

9.      Are all quotations properly cited?

10.  Is the essay within limits?

11.  Presentation: Has the essay been word processed, allowing double space between lines and a 12-point Times New Roman font? Have all pages been numbered?

This page was adapted by Nada AbiSamra from:

Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams: The Craft of Research
(Handout given to me by Mr. William T. Livingston, English coordinator @ ACS).

Extended Essay Guidelines

The university of Liverpool- Guidelines for extended essay

Official home page of the International Baccalaureate Organization 

Oral/Written Presentations Guidelines and Expectations

Written Presentation Evaluation Sheet

Name ______________________________________________________________________

Title _______________________________________________________________________

Research Question ____________________________________________________________


Letter Grade given ____________________________

Comments ___________________________________________________________________




What needs to be improved/added _______________________________________________




Name of evaluator _____________________________

Evaluator's Signature

Date ___________________________________

Teacher Grade: _________________________

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