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  • What is the author’s purpose in writing this article or book? To publish research? To attack another author’s position? To defend an embattled position?
  • Is the purpose clear throughout?
  • Does the author have more than one purpose? Is one less obvious than another? Are there clear-cut motives for the separate purposes?
  • Does the author analyze a central problem of the discipline? In your special area?
  • Does the author raise questions appropriate to your work? To the field in general?
  • Do you agree with the author’s conclusions?
  • Do you agree with the author’s premises?
  • Are the arguments supported by examples from research or “life”? Are key arguments stated and clearly supported? Are the examples appropriate to the arguments they support? Does the author use primary or secondary research to support the arguments? Are the authorities cited appropriate to the subject matter (i.e., are they standard or obscure, academic, or popular)? Are cited passages legitimate support for the argument or are they distorted by being quoted out of context? Are all statistics clear, accurate, and verifiable?
  • Do the arguments flow smoothly and logically from one to the next? Is any key point logically weak ?
  • Is the author’s methodology rigorous? Is the author aware of the implications that may arise through the methodology?
  • Is the author recognized as an authority? Is the article or book within the author’s area of expertise?
  • Is the article published in a reputable journal? Or is the book published by a reputable press?
  • Does the author or journal have any known editorial position?

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License.
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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