Expectations for Effective Academic Writing

Effective academic writing at Hope College should be characterized by eleven key qualities, regardless of paper type (whether lab report, reader response, personal reflection, memo, term paper, research paper, analysis or critique).

Unless your professor suggests otherwise, ask yourself these key questions when preparing to write:

  1. Does your paper showcase your originality and use your own voice as appropriate?
  2. What is the situation or purpose for writing, and have you addressed it?
  3. Is your audience for the paper an actual audience (such as your professor or classmates), an implied audience (such as educated people concerned with your subject who are not in your class) or both?
  4. Does your paper put forth an interesting, unique thesis statement (sometimes as an answer to a thought-provoking question)?
  5. Have you used appropriate, contextualized evidence, as well as considering alternative views or counter arguments?
  6. Does your paper have a logical organizational structure?
  7. Are your body paragraphs focused, and do they support your thesis?
  8. Have you used appropriate, discipline-specific format and citation methods?
  9. Have you gone through several stages of the writing process, including revising and editing?
  10. Have you received feedback from a competent reader (such as a more experienced student or a writing assistant at the Klooster Center)?
  11. Is your paper as error-free as possible?