Doyle Online Writing Lab

What Makes a Good Essay?

NOTE: This assignment is to be read along with a sample student essay.

Name of Reader_______________________

Read the sample paper once without worrying about these questions, and then answer the questions, referring to the paper and re-reading it as needed.

1. Mirroring: What is the main point of the paper? (Summarize in no more than three sentences)

2. Suggesting: Based on your experience as a writer, what suggestions might you give this author? This is the time to warn the author if the paper merely repeats class lecture, discussion, or articles we have read, or if the paper allows extended plot summary to displace development of argument. Is the thesis a hypothesis or a statement of fact? Are there any places where the argument seems to get off track? This is also a chance to suggest revision tactics, remark on the essay's style, proportions, etc.

3. Summarizing: Based on your experience as a reader of this essay and other works of prose, summarize about what you feel makes an essay effective and ineffective. What are the hallmarks of a "good essay"?