Review any arguments you have made in your paper. Check that all the parts of an argument are present and well developed.
Claims: Argumentative essays typically begin with a claim, usually in the form of a thesis statement. This claim should be something that is truly debatable, and a good portion of the essay should be organized around laying out the evidence in favour of the claim. Review to be sure that you provide evidence for every claim you make – for example, circle each claim you make in the draft; then for each claim, underline the evidence that you are presenting to support it. If necessary, add sentences to explain the reason why the evidence does actually support the claim.
Counterclaims: Your argument should anticipate the possible criticisms and counterclaims of others who disagree with your claim. Review to be sure that you discuss the counterclaims that others might make in response to your claims and evidence.
Rebuttals: Your argument should provide rebuttals pointing to the weaknesses of any potential counterclaims. Review to be sure that you provide rebuttals where appropriate.
Review the Essay Editing module for information on other types of essays that may not involve arguments.
Review your reading notes and any planning notes or outlines you made earlier in the process.
- Are there ideas in these notes that have yet to be included in the essay?
- Does the draft need any reorganization in order to include and develop them?
As you reread your draft, look for general patterns or themes in what you have written. Ask yourself if the direction your essay seems to be taking is consistent with the overall purpose you had in mind when you began.
If yes, terrific and carry on…
If no, then ask yourself if the themes you see and the direction you are taking are appropriate to the assignment. Do they indicate promising ways to revise your original purpose?
If yes, don’t hesitate to revise your original plan and proceed accordingly.
If no, use your original plan to consider how what you have written needs to be reshaped or reorganized to bring it closer to your original purpose.
Consider the audience for your paper:
- What do you want your audience to learn? Are you trying to persuade them towards a particular view or action? Is any reorganization necessary to guide your audience?
- What tone is most appropriate? What level of formality would your audience expect? Have you been consistent throughout the essay with respect to tone and formality?