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What could help in writing an evaluation essay? Useful sources, websites, and tools
Help writing an evaluation essay

What could help in writing an evaluation essay? Useful sources, websites, and tools

Feb 06, 2013
Evaluations of all types are very common in our society. Whether its a book or product review, a scholarly critic, or a dissertation literature review - evaluations come in many forms and are used to serve several purposes and appease many audiences. Despite the different methods used to present an evaluation-the objective is the same-to make a claim, statement or judgment on a particular point or issue, or in many cases, several points and issues. Likewise, the statement or claim that is made is also backed up or supported by appropriate evidences. With this in mind it should be easy to think of other common evaluations such as the argumentative essay, critical essay, and even the research paper. In one way or the other, all of these writings work to argue and support a point through evaluation.
So exactly how do you go about writing an evaluation?
The exact process of writing an evaluation essay will depend heavily upon the form of evaluation you have in mind. Though in general most evaluation essays can be crafted according to the following steps:
  1. Define the topic
  2. Craft a preliminary thesis statement
  3. Gather information
  4. Set a basis or criteria for judgment
  5. Analyze and interpret
  6. Evaluate

Sources of information

In most cases when crafting an evaluation essay your main reference of information should be the item that you are evaluating. So obviously if its a book than the book would be your main source. Likewise other critiques or reviews written about the same book that you'd like to include or mention in an evaluation would also fall under the category of main sources.
Other sources, after what is being evaluated, may include supportive evidences and information such as statistics, newspaper clippings, reviews in scholarly journals, or physical items (for ex. artifacts). Regardless of the medium, the most decisive factor of your sourcing, as with your topic, will be the type of evaluation your are conducting. Some will only require one or two sources as in the case of a book review while others may require much more.

So to recap, the main sources for evaluations are;

  1. The item itself that is being evaluated (book, article, individual, appliance, restaurant, theory, concept, idea).
  2. Supportive documents (statistics, articles, other reviews, manuals, company policies)

Helpful websites

After you've identified the sources you need to consult to gather your information, you may still be in need of a bit of assistance for the writing and drafting portion. Thankfully there are many useful websites to help you with formulating evaluations. Though these do not cover all the types of essays you can generate, they offer a wealth of information that may be valuable for multiple evaluation essay types.

Tips & Tools for writing an evaluation

Use paragraph structure acronyms

You may have learnt some of these in middle or high school-they are primarily used to improve the flow and organizations of paragraphs, and likewise improve the overall quality of a paper. Some acronyms used are PEEL (Point Explain Evaluate Link) or TRI (Topic Sentence Restate Illustrate).
The first one is a simple formula that is beneficial for evaluation essays the most as it explicitly details where you would incorporate the evaluation portion for each paragraph. The TRI is also useful (possibly for expository writings in most cases) but also can be used to help you write a transition paragraph in research papers for example.

Use synonyms to further detail and explain points

This a commonly used and obvious tactic to improve your writing skills. In many cases thorough explanations often involve several synonyms in one sentence. The English language is a vast one and there are many ways to say the same and similar things to really clarify each point. This little tip may really work to improve your writing overall; in a way that many people will notice.

Clearly state your point and objective

One major fault of many poorly received evaluation essays is unclear or vague objectives. If criticising someone elses work, entity, concept or idea, you have to be sure that you yourself are not subject to criticism for poor articulation of your main ideas. Clarity in this respect can be one of the most valuable attributes of a well-crafted evaluation essay.

Use a T-style chart to organize information

In many cases when evaluating something you will have a set criteria or guideline for making judgments of each aspect or element being discussed. Sometimes to allow you to better organize your essay its best to first organize your information using graphic organizers.
For instance, if you are writing a book review, you may decide to create a pros and cons list to carefully review the good and bad things about the book. You would simply create a two column table with 'pros' written on one side and 'cons' written on the other. Sometimes little tips such as this go a long way in helping to create a well-supported paper.

Incorporate parallelism to drive your point home

Parallelism is a handy technique that adds a bit of rhythm and style to your writing. It involves repetition in grammatical structure, usually with verbal constructions. For instance 'The dialogue here is not only moving; its convincing, it's heart-wrenching, it's reality'. With this example you can see the resemblance in form of all the phrases after the semicolon.
With parallelism, some writers may use it alot while some try to use it more sparingly. For persuasive pieces for instance they fare very well, but can also be easily infused in most types of writing, including evaluation.

Additional information on writing tools

In addition to the above writing techniques some writers also may benefit from online interactive tools as well. For most, this usually involves word processing programs, review and critique forums, and blogging tools. Though when it comes to tools specific to teaching and learning about essay formation, most are geared towards elementary, middle and high school students.
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