Essay Critique Form
English 206

Read the essay in question and fill in the text boxes below with your responses. Be sure to type in the exact Email address of the person to whom you wish to send your comments.

Essay Writer Information

Essay Writer's Name:
Essay Writer's Email address:
Use lower-case letters without spaces; include the full address using the "@" sign.

Essay Critique

Your goal is to respond to the following questions in order to help the writer improve his or her essay. Answer the following questions about the essay thoughtfully and in as much detail as possible. As a minimum for each question, you should write enough to fill all of the space provided. You may write more, of course.
Responses will be sent via Email to the Essay writer and to the instructor. The Email subject header for critiques will be "ENGL 206 ESSAY CRITIQUE." The body of the message will be sent using a special "script" (or program) in which the responses will be presented in the same order as on this form; each response will follow a numbered label and equal sign (e.g., "01_Title=").

Content and Development:

What is the essay's title?

How appropriate is the title for the subject matter in the essay? Does it make you want to read the essay?

What is the essay about? For what audience does the essay seem intended? Has the writer set up a good rationale for the essay? Has the writer narrowed the essay's topic sufficiently? How well does the writer draw a connection to one or more of the authors on our syllabus? How meaningful and insightful is this essay about American literature?

What is the essay's main thesis, or claim? Is it stated explicitly, or is it implied? How clear and concise is it?

Summarize at least three ways the writer attempts to support this claim, and describe its effectiveness. What types of support does the writer use? How might each kind of support be improved?

What one point does the writer most need to develop further? How would you recommend the writer make it better?

Form and Structure:

Comment on the essay's introduction and conclusion. How well does the introduction set up the essay? Does it make you want to read further? How can the writer improve the introduction? How well does the conclusion end the essay? Does it avoid restating the obvious? Does it shed some concluding insight into the writer's thoughts on the subject?

How well structured is the essay? Does the essay proceed logically, presenting ideas in a clear progression of thought? Does the writer clearly indicate transitions between ideas (paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence)? Is the essay's structure sufficiently sophisticated? How might the writer change the order of presentation to improve the essay?

Point out any places in the essay where specific words or phrasing seemed lackluster, awkward, confusing, or otherwise ineffective. (Quote the offending phrases, and say why they are weak.)

How effectively does the writer introduce and incorporate sources? Are the sources important to the writer's argument, or do they seem tacked-on or unnecessary? Are there any quotations in which the writer does not name the source or explain who the source is (i.e., why the source is being quoted)? Are there any quotations that are not introduced? Is it clear when the writer's use of sources begins? Has the writer included a "Works Cited" page that indicates bibliographical information about the sources used?

Style and Mechanics:

Describe the writer's voice in this essay. How would you characterize the writer's attitude as presented in the essay? Will the writer's attitude offend the intended audience? Has the writer avoided "slanting" his or her language? Does the writer use clichés? Might any of the words used in the essays needlessly offend a significant portion of readers?

In which of the following areas is the essay particularly well done? (Check all that apply)
Excellent organization of material; ideas flow from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph smoothly and logically
Informative, vivid details; not a bunch of abstractions
Well-unified paragraphs
An excellent use of sources to back up the writer's ideas
Lively, vivid words and phrases
A logical, convincing argument
A good, narrow focus, with all pertinent points covered in the essay; did not oversimplify or needlessly convolute the issues

In which of the following areas does the essay need work? (Un-check all that do not apply.)
Sloppy, confusing, or hard to follow organization; sentences and paragraphs do not always flow logically or smoothly
Few vivid details; difficult to understand or to visualize the issues
Some paragraphs poorly unified; ideas do not seem to fit together
Sources are not used well; too much quoting, not enough summarizing or paraphrasing; paper seems like a series of quotes "strung together"
Dull or confusing language; words, phrases, and sentences sometimes don't make sense
Argument is not convincing; some relevant issues are not addressed in the essay; essay does not address opposition to the argument
Essay topic too broad; tries to cover too much

Overall Assessment:

After reading the essay, what single element in the essay most stands out in your memory? Why? Does it stand out because it helps or hurts the essay?

Write a personal note to the writer, summarizing your overall view of the essay and how well it works for the intended audience. Include any suggestions on how it could be improved.

What is your overall impression of this essay?
Good: the essay needs only minor changes to be considered excellent.
Above average: the essay has several good qualities, but still needs a good bit of revision to be a good essay.
Below average: the essay has major problems and needs drastic revision in several areas to be a good essay.
Poor: the essay fails in numerous areas and needs comprehensive revision and/or rewriting. The writer may need to put more thought into a topic.

Reviewer Information

What is your name?
What is your Email address?

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