Guide to Writing

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Exploratory Essay

Peer Review

Posing the Problem

  1. In the introduction, how has the writer tried to show that the problem is interesting, significant, and problematic? How could the writer engage you more full with the initial problem?

  1. How does the writer provide cues that his/her purpose is to explore a question rather than argue a thesis? How might the opening section of the draft be improved?

Narrating the Exploration

  1. Is the body of the paper organized chronologically so that you can see the development of the writer’s thinking? Where does the writer provide chronological transitions?

  1. Part of an exploratory essay involves summarizing the argument of each new research source. Where in this draft is a summary of a source particularly clear and well developed? Where are summary passages either underdeveloped or unclear or too long? How could these passages be improved?

  1. Another part of an exploratory paper involves the writer’s strong response to each source. Where in this draft is there evidence of the writer’s own critical thinking and questioning? Where are the writer’s own ideas underdeveloped, unclear, or weak?

  1. Has the writer done enough research to explore the problem? How would you describe the range and variety of sources that the writer has consulted? Where does the writer acknowledge how the kinds of sources shape his or her perspective on the subject? What additional ideas or perspectives do you think the writer should consider?

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