Checklist for Writing and Critical Thinking

Grateful acknowledgments to Wes Chapman for this checklist

A: required in formal assignment(s)

B: Not required in formal assignment(s) but covered in class discussion or required in informal assignment(s)

C: Addressed indirectly in paper comments, conferences, discussion questions

Critical Thinking & Logic

A

B

C

formulating a claim or hypothesis

     

supporting a claim with evidence

     

rebutting counterarguments

     

avoiding logical fallacies

     

cohesion between logical subpoints or premises

     

description skills

     

definition skills

     

comparing and contrasting ideas/concepts/arguments

     

identifying implicit assumptions

     

making connections between ideas across writers & texts

     

analyzing: breaking down a topic

     

placing ideas in broader (e.g., social, historical, economic) contexts

     

drawing generalizations from particulars

     

balancing generalization and specific application/example

     

applying a theory or generalization to a specific circumstance

     

identifying cause and effect

     

other:

     
       
       
       
       

Working with Sources

     

Identifying main thesis of a text

     

Identifying secondary claims and supporting premises

     

Active reading: taking notes, responding to text, marking text

     

quoting and paraphrasing

     

summarizing

     

synthesizing multiple sources

     

reading sympathetically & reading skeptically

     

identifying assumptions

     

locating the scholarly context of a resource

     

other:

     
       

Writing

A

B

C

understanding the needs and knowledge of an audience

     

having a clear sense of the writer’s role/standpoint

     

knowing genre, discipline, format, occasion contexts and conventions

     

finding an appropriate voice and tone

     

crafting a clear, specific, significant, contestable thesis

     

coordinating thesis and structure

     

creating a coherent, logically connected structure

     

using effective logical and syntactical transitions

     

integrating supporting material into prose

     

using supporting material to buttress claims

     

writing effective introductions and conclusions

     

presenting a consistent, lucid style appropriate to writing context

     

avoiding grammar, punctuation, and mechanics errors

     

mastering invention, global-revision, and local-revision strategies

     

other:

     
       
       
       

Research and Scholarly Skills

     

knowing how to use indexes, databases, bibliographies

     

preparing a bibliography

     

annotating a bibliography

     

evaluating the relevance of sources

     

identifying and evaluating the reliability/credentials of sources

     

knowing primary vs. secondary sources

     

mastering a documentation style (MLA, APA, CMS, etc.)

     

knowing and avoiding plagiarism

     

controlling quotation, paraphrase, and summary in the paper

     

appropriate collaboration with others during the writing process

     

appropriate discussion/communication styles

     

respecting diversity of opinion

     

avoiding relativism (all opinions are equally valid); demanding evidence

     

analyzing pedagogy

     

other: