Criteria for an essay

I am organising an essay writing contest, primarily to raise awareness of what Greens political parties stand for worldwide, but particularly in my country, Australia. Posting these criteria is part of the preparatory work.

Here is an excellent and amusing set of criteria for fiction, but some of them apply to any writing.

What is the purpose of the essay?

  • Advance an argument regarding some issue [to present a coherent argument in response to a stimulus or question, and to persuade the reader that your position is credible (i.e., believable and reasonable)].
  • Invite the reader to adopt a particular philosophy or point of view [The writer’s goal is to change the minds of the readers or at least to get the readers to question their position on a debate and consider the writer’s point of view].
  • Inform the reader regarding some set of facts or findings [The emphasis should be on working with other people’s ideas, rather than reproducing their words, but your own voice should show clearly].
  • Induce a desired emotional response from the reader.
  • There may be a combination of the above, as long as the essay is clear and logical.



Spelling, grammar, punctuation, correct word use.
Clear, easy-to-understand prose. Avoidance of overlong and convoluted sentences.
Logical break into paragraphs, and sections if used.
Score out of 10


Content of the essay should clearly relate in some sense to the theme of the “Four Pillars.”
score out of 5


No footnotes of formal referencing is required. However, any claims of fact should be supported with publicly available evidence.
Score out of 5


The essay should be logically consistent, with a powerful opening to hook the reader, logical progression within the body of the essay, with a satisfying conclusion.
Score out of 20

Emotional impact

The essay should be memorable, with a significant impact on the reader.
Score out of 20


This leads to a total score of 60.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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3 Responses to Criteria for an essay

  1. Dear Dr Bob Rich,

    Thank you for sharing another useful resource. You are on a roll here!

    I have hyperlinked your “Criteria for an essay” to “SoundEagle’s Writing Guidelines” page at

    Please kindly let me know what you think of the Guidelines by leaving a comment there, especially if you think that it could be improved or expanded in certain ways. Thank you in anticipation.


  2. Carolyn Howard-Johnson says:

    Maybe explain or link to something on the 4 pillars, Just to be sure you and your conscience entrance are working on the same page.


    Forgive typos, please. I dictate when using iPhone. Carolyn Howard-Johnson Author of the multi award-winning HowtoDoItFrugally Series of books for writers E-Mail: Free resources for writers: Retweet with me: @frugalbookpromo. Find me on Facebook: Follow my Amazon profile:



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