Evaluation essays are a great way to make sense of the many opinions and viewpoints we hold on a variety of issues. People pass judgment all the time. With an evaluation essay, students, consumers, and other critics are expected to go beyond mere opinions by presenting fair judgments alongside clear standards and evidential support.
In an evaluative essay
, judgements or decisions are made on a particular item, unit, entity or other object based on specific criteria or set standards. The judgments or opinions must be accompanied by clear evidence to support the final verdict and should aim to be as unbiased as possible.
How do you formulate an evaluation essay?
There is a simple process to creating this critical form of writing. After you select a topic and investigate it you will then develop a precise and clear set of criteria by which you can then evaluate your topic. The amount and complexity of your standards or criteria are dependent upon your audience and the standards of that particular topic or discipline.
If you chose to evaluate a car dealership in one paper and a hair dryer in the next, the expected standards of judgment for each item will differ considerably. When examining a car dealership you may look at what is typically required of any business and specifically businesses that supply high price goods. You may want to look at (a) customer service (b) quality and reliability of cars (c) business ethics and practices (d) and track history, such as unsatisfied customers and so on.
On the other hand, for a hair dryer you may look more directly at (a) performance and effectiveness (b) additional features and ease of use and (c) cost. Other more intricate categories might be added to both subjects as well such as the car dealership being affiliated or in support of initiatives to help people or the environment and the hair dryer being energy efficient to save on electric cost and be environmentally friendly at the same time.
After you determine the conditions or judgment criteria placed on your topic you will then begin to evaluate it based on those standards and provide your final decision after carefully preparing the evidential support.
What exactly is the evidence? The evidence is simply the proof that supports your claims. If in your final judgment you deem a product to be effective and valuable to consumers you must provide evidence of this claim such as test outcomes, results from a particular study, or in some instances, the quality of ingredients involved in making the product and their benefits etc.
Tips for writing your evaluation
A few things to make your paper comprehensive and sufficiently structured:
Thoroughly read and investigate your topic before attempting to evaluate it
This step may be taken for granted with small consumer items or topics that have been extensively covered in other evaluations or reports. Often times people will review things they know little about. Try to develop your own unique experience and opinions on the topic by testing or trying it out if its is a product or possibly utilizing the services if it is a business or organization.
For example, if you are evaluating a restaurant you need to visit the restaurant as a customer to properly get a feel for several aspects of the business; from the quality of food to the professionalism of the staff.
Create your thesis last
If you're doing a true evaluation where you are uncertain of what your final judgment will be you won't really be able to convey a complete main idea for your paper until you've actually written it. If you'd like to develop a working thesis to give yourself some direction you may do so by indicating the specific topic and subtopics you will be discussing and the criteria or guidelines you will follow in conducting your evaluation.
Use the already established evaluational procedures or standards for your particular discipline or category of product
Depending on your topic its likely that a professional has already developed standards for how that particular item, concept or entity is studied.
For example, if you were to evaluate a well-known educational institution, you know that there presently exist criteria to judge the quality or effectiveness of a school, college or university. Furthermore, if you were to evaluate something that's a little more open to interpretation like a particular concept, or phenomena (for example, the effect of the media or young girls), then you may have more room to identify and set your own unique criteria to judge by.
Coming up with a topic in general is difficult to accomplish but usually the more flexible your allowed to be with selecting a topic the better (though this isn't always the case, sometimes less options are better!). Thankfully evaluation essays, though strict when it comes to evidence and criteria, offer a lot of variety with topic selection. Since there are many systems, processes, organizations, businesses, entities, services and products to choose from the door is open to many different evaluations. The easiest way to approach this is to go with something you are familiar with, know extremely well, feel strongly about, or have a great interest in exploring. This will hopefully not only make your paper more interesting to write but will also increase the quality and proficiency of the criteria you set forth (i.e. for topics that you have experience with). Some suggested topics are as follows;
- Evaluate the quality of the McDonald (or any other restaurant) Corporation's meat processing methods
- Evaluate Walmart's (or any other store) adherence to human rights laws in the past 10 years
- Evaluate the effectiveness of New York's (or any other area) policies for the homeless
- Evaluate Canada's immigration test; more people are failing , is that good or bad?
- Evaluate the performance, quality and usability of the Kindle Fire by Amazon
- Evaluate the actual productivity of Blackberry applications such as "eOffice" and "eSpell"
The above examples show a variety of topics formulated by evaluating things already in place such as government policies, business practices, and popular consumer goods. Other things not included in this selection are things that are ordinarily reviewed such as books, essays, or papers. For these items, evaluations are much easier to complete because they are routinely reviewed for academic or literary purposes and their standards are well-known (for example, does the book have a structured plot, developing details, engaging voice etc.?). Finding an evaluation template for these things is a simple as a search on the Internet.
Lastly, the keys to creating a successful evaluation essay
are to (a) select something that you can easily identify a set of judgment criteria for (don't choose a topic that you have no idea how it can be evaluated) and (b) something that you have the means of properly evaluating first hand (for example, if it is a product, choose something you can buy or already own and if it is a policy or law ensure that you have access to all of the necessary documentation).