Essay Critiques

Revision is the heart and soul of this class. On first drafts, you’ll receive ample comments from me as well as comments from classmates. Each essay will be revised, and second drafts will receive more concise comments. Keep these points in mind as you respond to your classmates' essays.

The Science of Everyday Life

Re-read your workshop partners’ essays. Write a two paragraph response to each workshop partner and post it on the class website. After workshopping a few essays and doing more reading, you may have new thoughts in addition to the ones when you first read the essay in class. That's good! Please be specific in your comments—point to specific places in the draft. In your response, please include:

  • What you enjoyed most about this essay.
  • Where the writer does a good job of engaging readers.
  • What you think is the strongest point (or image) in this essay.
  • Where the writer could do a better job describing or explaining; where the writing is too dense, too detailed, or missing a key element or step.
  • Anything else you want to comment on, or to ask the writer.

Profile Articles

Write 1–2 solid paragraphs of response to each of your profile article workshop partners and post on the class website. Comment on both macro scale issues and a couple of sentence level issues. You may make suggestions, of the “What if…?” or “You might want to…” kind. And you may ask questions, perhaps new questions that didn’t occur to you on a first reading. Here are some suggestions for issues you might address:

  • Can you “see” the person being profiled?
  • Is the significance of their work clear to you?
  • Is the work itself—the science or technology—clear?
  • Does the profile have a focus, or does it feel like random bits & pieces?
  • Could the parts of the profile be arranged more effectively?
  • Is there something you think would be a good addition to the profile?

Investigative Essays

Respond on the course website to your workshop group members’ drafts of their investigative essays. Please write three solid paragraphs: ask questions, make suggestions, note what isn’t clear, think about how the structure is serving the main idea/thesis. Is the human element strong in the draft? How might it be stronger? How are sources used—are key sources identified? Do the sources seem solid?