Who is the primary audience, and what publication venue has the author targeted?
Does the author follow the norms of this audience/venue as appropriate (and ignore them if necessary)?
Does the author make reasonable assumptions about that audience's knowledge of the subject? Is the content appropriate for the audience? Does the literature review reflect current debates in the field?
Does the paper have an abstract, if appropriate? Does the abstract reveal the findings as well as the question and methods?
Does the introduction clearly state the subject and purpose of the paper? Does it motivate interest in the problem? Does it briefly summarize the findings, if appropriate? Does it state the contribution of the paper? Does it provide a roadmap to the rest of the paper?
Is the literature review designed to lead to this paper's research question, rather than to show that the author has read all the literature?
Are the theoretical justifications for the paper laid out clearly and logically? Are the data and methods specified adequately?
Are the results explained in the text and supplemented by any tables or graphs (with references pointing from the text to the figures)?
Are discussion sections clearly labeled?
Does the conclusion restate the paper's contribution?
Is the paper formatted to make it easy for the audience to see the structure?
Style and Format
Are sentences clear and grammatically correct? Are they concise and active ("Who is kicking who?")
Are paragraphs clearly and directly organized, with internal cohesion? Are they appropriate in length? Are paragraph breaks clear visually?
Do the paragraphs in a section follow logically and clearly on one another? Do sections follow logically and clearly from one another? Are transitions adequate?