Research essay self assessment checklist


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This is a list of the basic requirements that an APA (6th edition) formatted research paper should meet prior to submission for grading.  Note: Always check with your professor regarding which formatting style is required.

1. Essay title

  • is interesting and engages the reader
  • reflects the content of the essay
  • original (your own title)
  • appears as a “running head” on each page of essay (see APA style guide)

2. Title page

  • follows APA guidelines for a title page
  • contains first and last name of writer
  • instructor name                              
  • name of course

3. Formatting

  • double spaced
  • 1”/2.5 cm margins
  • 12 point font
  • standard font (e.g., Times, Helvetica)
  • stapled or paper clipped
  • all major words in titles of books and articles are capitalized within the body of the paper
  • pages are consecutively numbered starting with the title page, in Arabic numerals, in the upper right-hand corner

4. Introduction

  • general opening sentence linked to topic
  • roadmap or preview/summary of main points/themes to be developed
  • thesis gives a direct, argumentative focus
  • thesis is not predictable and formulaic (i.e., does not have a 3-point thesis)
  • thesis does one thing: tells the reader the main argument or purpose of essay

5. Body paragraphs

  • contain topic sentences
  • show evidence of linking words and transitions
  • provide evidence and examples to support claims
  • contain one main topic/theme per paragraph
  • make connections between ideas (cohesion)
  • indented at start of each paragraph
  • contain in-text citations where needed for reference materials
  • have a concluding sentence or phrases that signal end of paragraph

6. Conclusion paragraph

  • mirrors the introduction
  • summarizes /reviews main essay points
  • provides a new insight or emerging questions that arise from the essay
  • leaves reader with interesting final thought or suggestions for further consideration

7.  Citation/attribution

  • proper quotation marks are put around any material directly copied word for word from references/outside sources
  • the author, year, and page number is included in parentheses
  • properly paraphrased content with a page number (encouraged)
  • changes to key words (i.e., using synonyms)
  • changes to sentence structure from original text
  • summarizes / synthesizes original text without misrepresenting meaning
  • uses language of attribution to indicate source and to grammatically embed reference info into own writing
  • quotations over 40 words start on a new line, are indented about ½ an inch, and do not contain quotation marks

8. Language

  • spell checked
  • appropriate academic tone and word choices
  • proofread or edited for grammatical accuracy

9. End references

  • appear right after conclusion paragraph on a separate page
  • the word References appears at the top of reference list and is centered on the page
  • follow APA citation rules
  • only the first word of titles and subtitles (and words after a colon or dash) and proper nouns are capitalized
  • listed in alphabetical order
  • double spaced
  • must be used/appear in the body of the essay as in-text citations
  • proper indenting, italicizing where applicable

10. Academic integrity

Contributed by Anne Hales. Used with permission