Structure and argument - Reviewing and editing your work

Success in Academic Writing - Trevor Day 2018

Structure and argument
Reviewing and editing your work

Consider the following:

1Does your account have a well-balanced and signposted beginning, middle and end? If sections and subsections are required, or would be appropriate, are they present?

2If front matter (title page, abstract, table of contents, and so on) and end matter (references, appendices) are required, are they in place or in the process of being created?

3Is your argument logical and does it move forward in small, incremental steps? Are there any gaps in the logical flow? Have you used transitional words or phrases to signpost to the reader the nature of the argument at that point?

4Is there sufficient evidence and reasoning at all stages in your argument? Are any generalisations justified?

5Is everything in your account relevant? Have you included some material simply because you have researched it and found it interesting, but which is a distraction from your argument overall?

6Is your account balanced or biased? If you are employing a thesis statement, and are arguing for a particular position, have you nevertheless acknowledged and effectively countered alternative arguments and explanations?

7Have you helped the reader through long, involved trains of thought by periodically reminding them where they are in the journey, and where they are heading?

8Does your introduction to the assignment appropriately set up what is to follow in the body of the assignment? Does the conclusion satisfactorily bring your account to a close?

9Have you checked your facts? Does the evidence and reasoning come from good sources, or is it your own?

10Have you clearly distinguished what is your own contribution to the overall argument, and what is that of others? Have you summarised, paraphrased or quoted the work of others and given due credit by citing appropriately?

Having considered such wider-scale issues, now let us drop down to a smaller scale, to consider matters at the level of the paragraph and sentence.