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Section 4.3 Revising

When we revise, we deal with both Higher Order Concerns (HOCs) and Lower Order Concerns (LOCs). HOCs include things such as the thesis, organization, topic sentences, and the use of evidence. LOCs include things like grammar and syntax. At the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching (CWLT), we focus largely on HOCs. After addressing the HOCs covered in this chapter, see Chapter 7 for a more in-depth overview of LOCs.

A list titled "Things that are good for you." The list items are, "1. Revising 2. Eating broccoli 3. Revising again." The list is stylized with a cartoon head of broccoli and purple and green accents.

As you're revising, pay attention to these HOCs:


Is it argumentative? Does it indicate the sequence of your essay? Is it specific?

For instance, a statement such as “I dislike broccoli” does none of these things. But a statement more along the lines of “By recording and examining the verbal and non verbal reactions of college students to eating broccoli, I argue that broccoli provokes feelings of disgust from the majority of college students” encapsulates the argument, mentions the evidence to be examined, and hints at the progression of the essay.

Topic Sentences.

Do they articulate the main point of your paragraph?

Topic sentences should indicate the main point of the paragraphs that they head. For instance, a topic sentence such as “Scientists claim that broccoli is a good source of protein and Vitamin E” tells the reader that this paragraph will discuss some of the nutritional benefits of broccoli.


Do they signal the direction that the paragraphs take?

Transitional words such as “whereas,” “however,” “in addition,” and “although” can be helpful to elucidate the relation between the paragraph and the previous one (see Subsection 4.2.3).

For instance, a transitioned topic sentence such as “While dieticians expound the nutritional value of broccoli, college students insist on its inedibility” signals a shift from a paragraph on the nutritional benefit of broccoli to one recording college students’ disgust at broccoli.


In general, do you perform some type of (textual) analysis?

For instance, if one student said, “When I eat broccoli, my soul shrinks and my hands shake and my insides cleave to the sides of my stomach to avoid the broccoli as it plummets down my digestive tract,” I might analyze her statement by saying, “The student's hyperbolic and anaphoric description of her reaction to ingesting broccoli, indicated by her literalizing of otherwise figurative images, reveals the intensity of her reaction toward broccoli.”

Concluding Sentence.

Is the reader left with a sense of the paragraph's relevance to the thesis?

Include a statement linking the point made in the paragraph to the thesis. Where does it fit in the architecture of the paper?

For instance: “The qualitative strength of students’ verbal reactions to eating broccoli suggests their strong aversion to the vegetable.”


Does it encapsulate the argument of the paper in a new way? Is there a sense of broader significance or application?

For instance, the conclusion

“Recorded student reactions to eating broccoli indicate that broccoli is an unpopular food choice among college students. These findings suggest that broccoli should be excised from the SUB menu.”

suggests the practical removal of broccoli from the SUB menu.

This list is titled "Revision checklist." Parts of a paper are listed down the left side, along with check boxes. On the right are several points to consider for each part of the paper. For the thesis, it asks: Is it argumentative? Does it gesture at the sequence of your essay? Is it specific? For topic sentences, it asks: Does it articulate the main point of the paragraph? For transitions, it asks: Does it signal the direction that the paragraph takes in your essay? For evidence, it asks: In general, do you perform some type of (textual) analysis. For the concluding sentence, it asks: Is the reader left with a sense of the paragraph’s relevance to the thesis? For the conclusion, it asks: Does it encapsulate the argument of the paper in a new way? Is there a sense of broader significance?
Figure 4.3.1. Revision Checklist