As you write your final essay for this course, it is important to keep the following checklist in mind in order to successfully structure your paper.
You will need to build your essay by using several drafts; as you polish your essay with each draft, make sure to review this checklist to create a strong essay to be submitted during Module 5. The list below will help you review your draft for both content and format.
- Introduction and Thesis Statement: You provide an initial paragraph that introduces your topic and provides your thesis statement. Your thesis statement makes an original, clearly defined claim and is consistent with current research on the subject selected.
- Main idea (what do you have to say): The main idea is developed through numerous body paragraphs. All paragraphs and all sentences in your paper directly relate to (and support) your thesis statement. Each body paragraph deals with one supporting point for your thesis statement.
- Support (what information do you have to back up your main idea): You support your initial claim with credible evidence you have gathered during your research. You have given full credit for any words or ideas that are not your own.
- Counter-Arguments (what are the problems with your claim): You present the strongest arguments against your claim, avoiding logical fallacies and faulty reasoning.
- Reply to counter-arguments (defending your claim in light of these possible problems): You evaluate each possible objection and reply fully and appropriately. Not all objections can be refuted but all must be addressed.
- Audience (who are you writing for): Your word choice and language level show an awareness of your audience. For this assignment, assume that your audience includes the academic and professional community that you are writing about.
- Vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation (the way you present the items listed above): You use appropriate language and avoid wordiness while giving the reader all necessary information in strict APA style. You have no spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, apostrophe, or homophone errors.
Paper Format: Components necessary for an APA-compliant paper
- Title page (announcing your project—the paper title, author, sponsoring agency or school): Your title page is double-spaced, as is the rest of the paper. You have a running head and page number. The title is in standard text, is not bolded or in italics, and should be centered on the page. Below the title, include your name and the name of your institution. Dates are not part of the cover for APA papers.
- Abstract (giving your audience an overview of your paper’s claim): Your abstract is titled “Abstract” and is in plain text, not bold or italics. It contains 120 words or less and is double-spaced. Your abstract will appear by itself on the second page of your paper.
- Parenthetical citations (letting your reader know which references page citation provided the information presented): You correctly cite every claim that is not your own or common knowledge and include all necessary information. If the item cited contains quotes, you use quotation marks and provide a page or paragraph number.
- Quotes (ethically using the words of others): You correctly quote and paraphrase using the criteria in your text. You include a page or paragraph number for every quote. If a quote is more than 40 words, you remove the quote marks, block indent five spaces from the left-hand margin, and include the parenthetical citation in the block. Any changes or commentaries you add are indicated by brackets or ellipses.
- Reference list (listing only the sources you actually used in your final version of your research paper): Your title (References) and text are in standard form, not bold, italics, or all caps, and your text is in hanging indent format. You have not used authors’ first names, only initials. You have correctly capitalized the titles of your reference works. You have included all needed information for each type of citation according to your text. Your resources are trustworthy and current. You have used the appropriate abbreviations as presented in your text.