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CRITIQUES. Tips for Success. Resources. Chapters 4b-4d in your handbook. The comments you’ve received on previous BAs and your Lit Review (if you have it back yet). Your common sense and goodness as a human being. . KEEP IN MIND . . . Be Consistent .

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critiques

CRITIQUES

Tips for Success

resources
Resources
  • Chapters 4b-4d in your handbook.
  • The comments you’ve received on previous BAs and your Lit Review (if you have it back yet).
  • Your common sense and goodness as a human being.
be consistent
Be Consistent
  • You can approach this two ways. There are costs and benefits for each approach.
    • You can address the writer.
      • “You should do this.” “ You might try this.”
        • More personal and sympathetic
        • But, you might come off as condescending
    • You can address the grader.
      • “The writer should do this.” “The writer should try this.”
        • Less personal, but more professional.
        • You might come off as robotic or uncaring
    • Choose one style, and don’t deviate!
be g rammatically correct
Be Grammatically Correct
  • The writer/student = him/her or s/he, not THEY
  • A singular subject deserves a singular pronoun.
    • NO: While the writer has been specific in their thesis sentence, they need to revise for clarity.
    • YES: While the writer has been specific in his/her thesis sentence, s/he needs to revise for clarity.
be kind
Be Kind
  • Avoid sarcasm. It doesn’t translate on the page.
  • Avoid mechanical language. Don’t talk like a robot. Talk like you, but remain professional.
  • Tell the student what s/he did well.
  • You’ve been there. Sympathize.
    • I also have trouble with thesis statements, but I try to remember that ___________.
    • Focusing on the topic itself is an easy mistake, especially since we’ve been writing research papers and book reports our whole academic careers.
be helpful
Be Helpful
  • Offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Rewrite phrases and/or sentences that don’t make sense or use awkward sentence constructions.
  • Rewrite the thesis, if applicable, or ask pertinent questions to spur the writer toward revision.
    • Your thesis could be a bit more specific. You might include some of these “trends” that you mention. What changes have occurred over time in the research?
  • Show him/her what an effective topic sentence looks like.
    • Our instructor really emphasized that topic sentences should focus on relationships between scholars and/or research. You might try focusing on relationships here, rather than individual scholars.
be specific
Be Specific
  • Quote from the handbook, the textbook, or the student’s own work to support your claims.
    • Use proper quote format, but you don’t need to cite.
  • Give a mini-lesson, if applicable. But don’t be condescending!
    • Chapter 16 in our handbook was really helpful to me regarding MLA citations. I have trouble remembering that the citation goes before the period, but after the quotation marks. It seems you’re making the same mistake here.
  • If the draft lacks organization, show the student how to re-organize.
    • While you’re making some good points here, your draft seems a little unorganized. It might be helpful if you move the second paragraph up a bit and then, in your intro, set up the debate a little more clearly.
  • If the draft lacks clarify, rewrite the sentence for him/her or guess at what s/he is trying to say.
    • I think you’re trying to say that __________, bur your wording here is a little unclear. You might omit the words “______” to make the sentence more concise.
be organized
Be Organized
  • This is an essay. You need a thesis that:
      • points out what the student does well, then
      • identifies two or three main issues that need work.
  • Each paragraph should address one of these issues, plus anything applicable in the RW prompt. Make sure you work in your answers to each RW question.
overall
Overall . . .
  • Your goal is to be helpful, not to show how superior you are as a writer.
  • If you receive a truly terrible draft, remember that this is your opportunity to give the kind of comments you wish you’d received.
next week
Next Week:
  • Bring a body paragraph that needs work, not the intro or conclusion.
  • Print out your instructor comments.
  • Be ready to ask specific questions about how you can improve your draft.
  • Review chapters 10 & 11 in your textbook on global coherence and concision.