Higher Order Concerns & Lower Order Concerns
Higher Order Concerns
Higher Order Concerns (HOC) should be the priority during the writing process because they have the greatest impact on successful communication.
Feedback focuses on if there are logical progression and transition between ideas. This HOC will address how the paper as a whole is organized.
Feedback focuses on how significant, arguable, and focused the thesis of your paper is. Additionally, how relevant your thesis is to the needs of the assignment/prompt. This HOC will address the thesis statement itself, how well it functions as a thesis statement, and how that thesis interacts with the rest of the paper.
Feedback focuses on how well the paper addresses the questions or parts of the assignment, making comparisons to the prompt/rubric if it is available. This HOC will address where/how/if the requirements of a prompt or assignment have been met.
Feedback focuses examination of topic, relevant research/evidence, and interpretations. This HOC will address ways to add to and improve the analysis of subject matter and sources within a paper.
Feedback focuses on how to expand a paper, suggesting areas for development and further explanation of research and evidence. This HOC will address ways to expand and strengthen the ideas within a paper.
Overall Argument and Supporting Points
Feedback focuses on examination of the topic, relevant research/evidence, and interpretations, specifically looking for multiple perspectives including counterarguments (if applicable). Feedback also focuses on how the supporting points address the main topic and how examples are used to support the main argument. This HOC will address whether there is a cohesive, main argument and if that argument is well supported
Feedback focuses on the strength of the conclusion, specifically looking at connections to the thesis/research question and discussions of future implications. This HOC will address how well the conclusion is working to conclude the paper.
Feedback focuses on how ideas are developed within paragraphs, specifically introducing and concluding ideas, strength of analysis/synthesis, and depth of explanations. This HOC will address the structure and organization of individual paragraphs.
Feedback focuses on how effectively the argument/discussion/analysis addresses expectations of target audience. This HOC will address how/if the writing is appropriate for the intended audience.
Integration (and Credibility) of Sources
Feedback focuses on reviewing sources relative to how well they are integrated within the text, including relevance to claim/thesis, introduction, and explanation. This HOC will address how sources and quotes are incorporated into the paper.
Feedback focuses on the use of different sources, research, or examples in combination with each other to build a larger argument, point, or state of knowledge. This HOC will address how well sources are woven into each other to create a main idea or argument.
Feedback focuses on how well the introduction creates interest, identifies the main point, provides necessary context/background info, and previews the essay. This HOC addresses how well the introduction of a paper is acting as an introduction.
Feedback focuses on how well the writing fits with expectations of the genre (e.g. rhetorical analysis, literature review, research proposal). This HOC will address the use of disciplinary language and conventions.
UWC Consultant Choice
Feedback focuses on the HOC in which the consultant deems the most necessary for development. A student can pick this choice should they not know where to develop further.
Consultant will not look at HOC; rather they will focus on the LOC picked below.
Lower Order Concerns
Lower Order Concerns (LOC) are focused on sentence and word level concerns and usually come later in the writing process.
Feedback focuses on the logical order and transitions between paragraphs.
Feedback focuses on how well the document conforms to a specified style (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.). This concern addresses components such as title page, header, and indentions.
In-text Citations and Reference/Works Cited
Feedback focuses on reviewing in-text citations and the works cited/references section for accuracy and formatting based on the publication/citation style being used (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.)
Feedback focuses on ensuring sentences follow clear organizational patterns and that component parts of speech (e.g. nouns, verbs) are effectively used. Feedback also reflects how sentence structure choices affect the clarity of the writing.
Feedback focuses on using the most efficient language choices, including pointing out unnecessary words/phrases and ineffective repetition.
Word Choice and Phrasing
Feedback focuses on examining word choice and phrasing to determine where ideas are confusing or ambiguous.
Feedback focuses on examining usage related to punctuation, such as commas, semicolons, parentheses, em dashes, etc.
Article Usage (a/an/the)
Feedback focuses on appropriate articles: a, an, and the.
Feedback focuses on effective use of prepositions and prepositional phrases within the context of individual sentences.
Feedback focuses on reviewing readability based on variety in sentence patterns in terms of length and construction.
Feedback focuses on the consistency and appropriateness of verb tenses (eg., past, present, etc.).
UWC Consultant Choice
Feedback focuses on the LOC in which the consultant deems the most necessary for development. A student can pick this choice should they not know where to develop further.
Consultant will not look at LOC; rather focusing the HOC picked above.
Conent adapted from the University Writing and Speaking Center at University of Nevada, Reno.