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Rubric for evaluation (out of 7 points)
1. Does the paper have an explicit why question? (1 out of 7)
Do you find the why question interesting, powerful, important, engaging? Explain why you find it interesting etc (or what you don’t find compelling and why). Do you think it is an appropriate why question for the subject being discussed? Is it too broad a question or too narrow a question? (or is it too general a question or too specific a question?)
[Comment on the appropriateness of the why question.]
2. Is there an answer to the why question? (1 out of 7)
Is the answer interesting, powerful, important, engaging? Does the answer fit with the question? (Is the answer too specific or too general?). Does the answer make sense?
[Comment on the answer to the why question.]
3. Does the paper (as is) give a persuasive sense of how your answer is a good/the best answer to the why question? (1 out of 7)
Is evidence presented in concrete, analytical ways? [The writer may need to provide some historical background to the issue, but is the body of the essay all historical background, with little or no concrete evidence?] Does the evidence support the argument? Does the evidence also support other arguments?
[Comment on the fit of the evidence and the argument.]
Is the evidence presented the best evidence to support the argument? (Does it present a “smoking gun”—conclusive evidence needed to make the author’s argument?)
[Comment generally on how well or how poorly the evidence and the answer to the why question go together.]
4. Is the paper four full pages, with specified margins and font? (1 out of 7)
The paper, with a minimum of four pages. The research question and argument must be laid out clearly and the draft should give a sense of how you will prove your argument. Is this real, potentially usable text or is the writer filling in space to get to four full pages?
[Comment on whether you think the writer is well along on the paper or whether the writer really has to get down to work.]
5. Does the paper show signs of using primary sources and secondary sources (has actual research been done)? (1 out of 7)
Does the writer actually mention or cite his/her sources?
[Comment on whether you think the writer has done enough research and if not enough, what you think the writer has to do.]
6. Realizing this is a draft, is the paper reasonably well organized and written? (1 out of 7; 14 out of 100)
Is it written in a reasonably logical way? Did the writer take care in writing—not too many typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors?
[Comment on clarity of expression, organization, style, and other presentational aspects of the draft/]
7. General comments on the draft. (1 out of 7)
Is this a good paper so far?
What needs to be done for the final version? Where does it need work?
What needs to be done to improve the paper?