Editing for Higher-Order Concerns
Higher-order concerns are those which deal with macro-level or "big picture" issues. Revising and editing for higher-order concerns involves identifying and correcting substantive problems such as poor format and design, unclear organization of information, and inadequate development of ideas. A complete description of such higher-order concerns is provided below in the form of questions one should answer when revising/editing.
1. Does the document fulfill the assignment in content and form?
- Inform versus Persuade
- Parameters (document length, style, format)
- Specific objectives
2. Does the document have a clearly stated purpose, and content which fulfills this objective?
- Specific, clear, focused statement of purpose
- Appropriate organization of information
- Adequately developed and focused content
3. Does the document contain a clear, consistent pattern of organization (outlined by descriptive headings)?
- Three principles of organization
- Appropriate pattern(s) of organization
- Descriptive primary and secondary headings
4. Does the content of the paragraphs fulfill the "promise" of their respective topic sentences (and headings)?
- Specific, focused topic sentences
- Unity & coherence of ideas
- Adequate paragraph development
5. Does the document include all of the required and/or appropriate components?
- Appropriate front matter (title page, abstract/executive summary, table of contents)
- Appropriate back matter (bibliography, tables)
6. Does the document contain connecting devices which enhance document clarity, unity and coherence?
- Transitions between main ideas and sections
- Signposts to distinguish ideas in a sequence
- Preview in the introduction
- Internal summaries/previews between major sections
7. Is the document visually appealing and functional?
- Appropriate use of space (margins, white space)
- Appropriate paragraph length
- Font type/size
- Dangling headings and/or words
- Appropriate document design
- Appropriate formatting (bold, italics, all-caps, indentations)
8. Is the content of the document adequately developed?
- Thorough explanation of claims ("how" and "why" a statement is true)
- Adequate evidence/support (examples, analogies, expert testimony)
- Address unanswered questions
- Eliminate unnecessary or irrelevant information