The main purpose of writing an evaluation essay is to present an overall view of the quality of a particular item, service, or business. It is natural for this type of essay to feature some element of the writer’s opinion, but when done correctly an it should not come across as opinionated.
When learning how to write this type of paper one of the most important skills to master is producing an evaluation that is unbiased and reasoned. Let’s look at some of the steps to complete the task.
Steps for Writing an Evaluation Essay
We’ve put together a brief outline of some of the most important steps to help with producing a well-structured paper.
- Choose your topic. As with any essay, this is one of the first steps . It may be the case that you are allocated a topic by your professor, but if not then we would advise choosing a subject that you are already familiar with. You are going to need to take an in depth look at the subject in order to make a judgement on its value, so it makes sense to choose something you already have some knowledge about.
- Write a thesis statement. This is a key element of your essay as it sets out the overall purpose of the evaluation. In the thesis you should state the criteria being used to judge the item and state the value of the item . As with any essay, your statement must be apparent and to the point. You may find that you need to revise it slightly along the way as your essay takes shape.
- Determine the criteria used to assess the product. Choose several different benchmarks in order to make your writing interesting. The criteria you choose will vary depending on what you are evaluating. For example, a software program would be judged using very different benchmarks than a clothing brand.
- Look for supporting evidence. It is important to remember that an essay is not just your opinion. You will need to look for supporting clues from credible sources for each judgement that you make.
- Draft your essay. Produce a first draft of your essay. At this stage the best course of action is to just write. Once you have something down on paper it is much easier to restructure it and flesh out areas that are not as strong as others.
- Review, revise & rewrite. Once you have completed a first draft you must read over your work and make any necessary changes. You should be prepared to rewrite your essay a couple of times to get it just right.
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A Closer Look at Criteria, Judgements & Evidence
At the core of every evaluation essay there are three important elements – criteria, judgements and evidence. Let’s explore these elements in more detail.
The criteria that you choose should establish what the ideal is for the product, service or brand that you are evaluating. They will help to demonstrate what should be expected as an ideal example of what should be expected. Think about the best possible example of a product of service of the same type. What would be their best characteristics? For example, for a hotel you would expect great accomodations, cleanliness, value for money and excellent service. Once you have those benckmarks in place they can be used to evaluate any hotel.
The judgement aspect is where you establish whether or not the benchmarks have been met. Sticking with our hotel example, you might start with judging whether or not the hotel meets the benchmark of having great accomodations. Does it meet, or exceed the quality you expect? Or does it fall short? You can then proceed with the other criteria.
Remember that you must provide clues to advocate your judgements. In our hotel example, if you make the judgement that the quality of food does not meet expectations, then you should be prepared to provide evidence to support why this conclusion has been drawn.
When structuring your essay, it is usual for each paragraph to deal with a different criterion. In that paragraph you should fully explain the criterion, make the relevant judgements and offer supporting proofs.
Evaluation Essay VS Review
One of the most common mistakes that students make with the mentioned type of paper is that they assume an evaluation is the same as writing a review. Although the two types of paper do have some similarities, there are also a number of differences that set them apart. The table below highlights some of those differences.
Tips for Writing a Great Evaluation Essay
Here are a few additional tips that will help you to produce a great evaluation essay that people will enjoy reading:
- Give the Right Amount of Detail – Give plenty of detail regarding how you came to the conclusions that you did. Use supporting proofs and relevant examples to illustrate points if appropriate.
- Make Sure What You are Evaluating is Precise – An effective introduction should clearly lay out what you are going to be evaluating and the criteria you are using to do so.
- Help Readers to Agree with Your Opinion – If your evaluation is not prejudiced, then readers should agree with your conclusions and judgements. Offer enough information and evidence to make this easier for them.