1. Main idea or thesis statement
— Is the main idea clear and concise?
— Does the main idea narrow the topic sufficiently for a 500-word essay?
— Is the main idea on the well-worn and off-limits topics of abortion, gun control, or capital punishment?
— Is the main idea truly the thesis of an argumentation essay? Is it a debatable point?
— Can the writer readily find supporting evidence for this topic?
— Does the author take a stand on the issue?
2. Paragraph outlines
— Is it clear what the main idea of each paragraph will be?
— Does the outline include an introductory paragraph? A concluding paragraph?
— Does the outline include three or more supporting paragraphs?
— Does the main idea of each supporting paragraph actually support the main idea of the whole essay?
— Does the main idea of each paragraph appear to be supportable with evidence?
— Do you see obstacles to fleshing out any of the supporting paragraphs?
3. Supporting evidence
— Has the writer included any supporting evidence in the outline?
— If so, is supporting information from other sources clearly marked so as to avoid plagiarism?
— Is bibliographic information included for any supporting information?
— If he or she has not already found sources, what is the writer’s plan to find three good sources for supporting information?
— What precautions is the writer taking to avoid plagiarism?