Check-Off List Before Submitting Your Paper

Check-off list

Research Paper

This is the crucial time in the research process where you can really utilize the time remaining to benefit your research paper. Please read over the following items as a sort of “check-off list.” You don’t need to re-read your paper thoroughly for understanding each time there is an item to “check-off,” but simply look for the specific details the item is asking you to check. So far, we have gone through each step of the research paper process, but it is easy to forget, or pass over important items that make your paper strong. By checking each item listed below, you can help your paper be stronger.


__________ Heading on the first page (outline) and NO header. Heading should look like:

John Doe

Sophomore Research Paper

Period 1

Title of paper

14 October 2011

__________ Headers should follow on the remaining pages in the upper right-hand corner with your last name first, and then the page number, starting with page number 2.

__________ The paper should be typed in 12 pt font. You should use one of the default fonts such as: Times New Roman, Calibri, Helvetica, Century Schoolbook, Courier, and Arial

__________ Delete any extra spaces between paragraphs, Roman numerals, etc. so that everything is double-spaced . To do this in the new Word program, you need to select “paragraph,” click “double-space,” and then check the box that says, “don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.”

__________ Your outline should line up correctly. This means that your roman numerals should line up, your A’s and B’s should line up, and your 1’s and 2’s should line up. Your outline should be double-spaced as well, without extra spaces between items.


__________ Make sure that each source you have listed on your works cited page is cited somewhere in your paper at least once. You need a minimum of 4 sources in your paper.

__________ Your paper should be 3-5 pages in length (this is excluding the outline and works cited)

__________ Vary your sentence lengths and sentence beginnings. Be conscious of too many long sentences used together, as well as too many short, simple sentences used together.

__________ Transitional phrases and/or words should be used throughout the paper to move the reader from point to point, so make sure you have them!

__________ Citations should be varied as well. This means that you should try ALL of the following:

Hint: Look at the handout titled: “MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics” or go to:

1. paraphrase some of your information with a citation at the end

2. use a direct quote when information cannot be stated any other way, and use a formal citation at the end.

3. Introduce your source within the sentence you are paraphrasing or quoting so that you have cited the source without needing a formal citation at the end of the sentence.

__________ Use third person only. You should NOT use the words: I, you, me, us, we, your

__________ Take out any contractions in your paper, and write the words out.

Example: Change can’t to: cannot ~ Don’t: do not ~ Isn’t: is not

__________ Make sure that all of your major points prove your thesis, and are backed by support from the experts.

__________ Make sure that your paper has YOUR voice in it! It should not be a compilation of expert opinion, but your opinion, backed by their (expert) support and evidence.

Now go back through the paper carefully paying attention to the following specific issues circling the criteria that need improvement:

  • Introduction
    • Does the Attention-getting device effectively gain the reader’s attention?
    • Does the opening paragraph clearly set the context for what the paper is about?
    • Does it establish a thesis? Does it pose a “problem” that the writer will research? Is the problem too vague or general? Does it suggest “so what?” or some sense of the significance or relevance of this topic?
  • Voice
    • Is the voice appropriate for a research paper? The writer’s position can be clear, but the paper should not be emotional. The paper also should have a sense of the writer behind it; it should not just sound like sources strung together.
  • Argument
    • Are you persuaded by the argument?
    • Does the writer need more evidence? (Mark specific places where you feel more evidence is needed)
    • Is there enough analysis of the evidence?
  • Quotations
    • Are quotations used to support or illuminate arguments?
    • Are they too long?
    • Are there quotations in the paper that could be paraphrased instead of quoted?
    • Is it clear when the writer is paraphrasing or summarizing someone else and when s/he is using his/her own ideas?
    • Are quotations introduced/blended?
    • Has the writer explained/interpreted quotations where appropriate?
    • Has the writer provided sufficient documentation? (Parenthetical Citations)
  • Organization
    • Does the development of the argument flow smoothly?
    • Can you follow the logical transitions?
    • Are there places where you would change the order of ideas?
    • Does the writer’s outline reflect his/her paper?
  • Ideas & Development
    • In your opinion, are there pieces of the argument that are missing?
    • Are there aspects of information you would add to the paper or make more or less complex?
  • Conclusion
    • Does the writer tell us “so what?”
    • Does the writer suggest the implications of his/her argument?
    • Has the writer suggested solutions to the problem?

What do I need to turn in?

*You need to turn the following information in a manila envelope to me at the beginning of class:

1. Final sentence outline, paper, works cited

2. Rough Draft(s)

3. All note cards

4. All printed resources

~basically…everything! J


Now, take a big sigh of relief! You’re done! It wasn’t so bad, was it?