Chapter 3: page 18

Revision Strategy: High, Middle and Low Order Concerns—HOCs to LOCs

You may use this revision strategy in conjunction with the reverse outline or on its own. You also may use it as a peer review strategy. This strategy gives you the ability to prioritize the revisions you are going make in consideration of making changes that will have the greatest effect on your paper. These concerns are categorized into three parts—high, middle and low—with the first making the biggest difference in your paper. Also, often addressing a high order concern is reflected in a middle or low order concern. So aim high when you begin to revise. If you do not have a lot of time to revise, you can use this hierarchy to address the top concerns and move through middle and lower ones. And feel free to use this strategy to organize your feedback from peer review or your professor, or based on what you see in your reverse outline.

High Order Concerns

By focusing on high order concerns, you will spend more time reworking your writing since these concerns change the structure and content, organization and development your writing in your paper, all of which effect your audience’s understanding of your argument.

When you revise, start high and use your assignment’s task and expectations to move through the list below. Keep in mind, as Dan showed you with the Rhetorical Reading section, the point of writing is to deliver your message to your audience. Thus, if the thesis statement is not clear, the number of run-together-sentences in a paper is arbitrary. Also audiences tend to be forgiving of a cranky introduction if the thesis statement and body paragraphs are clear and developed.

These are High Order Concerns (HOCs)

  • Essay Focus—Thesis Statement: does your essay have a clear thesis statement that reflects the assignment’s task? Is your thesis statement sophisticated and clear?  
  • Paragraph Focus—Topic Sentences: do your topic sentences have one topic and your reason for holding this opinion? Do they relate to your thesis statement?
  • Purpose: Audience, Genre, Topic—Why are you writing this paper? Who is your intended audience? What genre are you using to engage them with your thoughts about the topic?
  • Evidence: Do you need to include more evidence to illustrate the topic in your topic sentence (usually three pieces is the magic number to establish a pattern)? Is each piece of evidence unique at illustrating the topic? Might you revise the evidence to make it succinct?
  • Analysis: Do you analyze each piece of evidence, explaining how and why it illustrates your opinion in our topic sentence? Do you need to develop these ideas more so your audience understands your perspective? Is your evidence and analysis balanced, so you have 30% evidence and 70% analysis?
  • Textual Evidence: Does your textual evidence follow the textual evidence sandwich format? Could you paraphrase or summarize the textual evidence or directly quote the source more concisely, so you use more of your words than the author’s?
  • Organization: Essay and Paragraph: Does your essay follow a logical order or do you need to address your points in a different order to make your argument flow and coherent for your audience? Do your paragraphs follow a logical order with one idea leading to and building upon the next one?
  • Framing: Introduction and Conclusion: Does your introduction situate your audience with the topic and purpose of your paper? Does your conclusion continue the discussion by leaving your audience with something to consider or do? Or does your conclusion bring your paper full circle making a connection between your conclusion and introduction?

Middle Order Concerns (MOCs)

After you have worked through the high order concerns, it is time to look at your sentences since the content of them will not change. This work brings your voice in your writing to life and shows your ability to use rhetoric to engage your audience by using language that is appropriate and establishing a constant tone throughout your paper. With this work, you are able to rework sentences, revising them from unfocused and/or passive to focused and active, making certain sentences flow logically from one to the next without abrupt changes by showing the logical relationships between your ideas.

Middle Order Concerns invite you to look at the following:

  • Sentence Focus: Are your sentences focused with a concrete subject and active verb? Do you have “there is/are” and “it is” constructions you can remove from your sentences to make them focus on the subject you write about?
  • Sentence Structure: Can you combine your sentences to show logical relationships between your ideas using coordination, subordination, verbal phrases, adjective clauses, noun phrase appositives?
  • Voice and Tone: How do you use language to engage and interact with your audience? Is your voice consistent based on your pronoun choice and audience awareness?
  • Word Choice: Do you use language that is clear and concise? Do you repeat words that you might change with others to reduce redundancy?

Lower Order Concerns (LOCs)

These are what most students have been taught is revision, yet in reality they are editing and proofreading. So read on to see how to address these.


Supplemental Reading #12:

Quick Reference: HOCs to LOCs developed by Jolie Goorjian

Revision Activity—

Revision Plan with HOCs to LOCs

Here you have a different manner to work with the feedback you have received, so you can put it to use. So, based on the feedback you received from your peers and professor on your essay, create a revision plan by organizing it following HOC to LOCs hierarchy by following these steps:


%d bloggers like this: