A common writing assignment given to students is to write an evaluation essay. And while the subject matter can be anything from a business to a new movie, the point of writing the essay is to articulate an overall view about the particular subject. Additionally, it’s important to note that while your personal opinion will naturally come into play when you’re evaluating something, it’s key to know that the evaluation itself should not appear opinionated. You want to come across as objective and reasoned, not impartial or with an agenda.
Here’s how you can do this:
1) Make Sure Your Essay Contains The Three Essential Parts
- Your judgment – aka overall opinion
- The evaluations’ criteria – the reasons why you came to your opinion
- The evidence – how you support your conclusion
Simply put, when defending your position on something, saying things like ‘Because I’m the teacher,’ or ‘Because that’s what I think,’ don’t do anything to support your position and consequently will most likely lead to a lot frustration for whoever you’re talking to. People want substantive reasoning, not empty pronouncements and you’ll quickly lose your audience if you don’t come across as thoughtful and objective.
Thus, the point of the evaluation essay is to not only give your opinion, but to specifically list and explain your reasoning while also showing the evidence that validates your conclusions.
2) Find A Topic
A great way to come up with a subject to evaluate is to do some brainstorming and then write out all the potential topics that come into your head. Some examples could be writing out a list of favorite rock bands, books, internet routers, movies, American Presidents…you name it. and then from there, select the topic that sparks your interest the most and continue to brainstorm by making a list of specific details about the subject you’re going with. The key is to go with something that not provides compelling writing material, but is a topic that actually interests you. After all, with essay writing as challenging enough as it is, why not make it easier on yourself by writing about something you have natural curiosity in,
3) Create Your Thesis Statement
By explaining your general goal with the evaluation essay, the thesis statement lets the readers know the angle that you’re coming from. Additionally, your thesis should present your topic’s value (or lack thereof) that will be based on the set criteria you’ll detail later on.
4) Present a clear definition of the subject you’ve chosen.
Before you begin the evaluation, you want to offer any relevant background info regarding your chosen subject or topic to give your readers a foundation to understand what you’ll be evaluating. For example, if you’re doing an evaluation about a particular book, insert a short summary about the characters and plot in order to provide proper context of your analysis to your readers.
5) Set the Criteria.
Select your criteria. When providing an evaluation, you need to show the criteria that your opinion or judgement is based upon. Think of the criteria as being ‘the stuff you think matters’. So for example, if the evaluation is of a movie from the 1940s, your criteria could include acting, cinematography as compared to other movies of the time, whether the plot reflected the era, and how snappy the dialogue was.
6) Examine how effectively your subject meets the criteria.
Once you’ve reached the body portion of your essay, you want to evaluate how well or how poorly the criteria is met. Offer examples or evidence that can support you opinion and use them to argue the points you laid out in your thesis.
Writing a solid evaluation essay can take some practice. It might be a bit tricky at first to get the structure down and deliver your thoughts in an informative, analytical way that doesn’t come across like you’re throwing around your personal opinion. But practice makes perfect. So just stay relaxed and follow these steps. Oh, and as a bonus tip, by studying other people’s published essays you’ll be able to improve that much more quickly and before you know it, be creating work that not only impresses your instructor, but also anyone else lucky enough to read it.