Criteria To Evaluate Essays

In order to evaluate something, you need to compare it with the best example of that particular thing. So, to help you develop your topic into an essay, there are two important questions to ask when you are choosing your topic to evaluate:

  • First question: What category of a thing is it?
  • Second question: What is the ideal example of something in that category?

Example: McDonald's

What category is it?For the best evaluation essay, you want to compare your topic with things that are very similar, so try to narrow the category as much as possible. To get there, you want to keep on asking the question, "What kind is it?" What category does McDonald's fit into?

Answer to first question: Restaurant. (What kind of restaurant?) Fast food restaurant. (Better, but what kind of fast food?) Hamburger-serving fast food restaurant. (This is what you want!)

So if you were evaluating McDonald's, you would want to compare it to other fast food restaurants that mostly serve hamburgers.

Now the second question: What is the ideal example of something in that category? What makes that example better than others? Thinking about what you consider to be the very best example of something in the category of what you are reviewing can help you decide what criteria you will use, and also what judgement you can make. For example, here is a list of criteria my students have come up with for an ideal burger fast food restaurant:

  • looks clean
  • serves food fast
  • makes it easy to order
  • has great fries
  • has options on the menu
  • offers large drinks with free refills
  • serves juicy burgers with lots of grease
  • doesn't cost a lot of money

No two people will come up with exactly the same list, but most restaurant reviews look at the following criteria:

  1. service
  2. atmosphere
  3. food
  4. value

Answer to second question: A great fast food burger joint offers great service, atmosphere, and food at a fair cost.

Now you know what your paper is going to be about how close McDonald's comes to this ideal.

Like any other academic essay, the Evaluation Essay requires a great deal of organization to be a success and earn the student a high grade. And an outline most always helps accomplish this goal.

 

But first a little background on an Evaluation Essay. And here is an free sample of an evaluation essay.

 

When faced with an Evaluation Essay writing assignment, the student-writer has to quite literally evaluate a subject – a work of literature, like a play, for example – based on a set of criteria, while also offering their judgment about this subject.

 

In writing this essay, the student-writer objectively analyzes all sides, aspects and elements of that subject in order to share an arguable, fair evaluation. Ultimately, they are to fully explore the subject and provide points and evidence to illustrate and support their judgment, their evaluation.

 

Evaluation Essays are written in a format similar to the five-paragraph essay, with an introduction paragraph that has a Thesis Statement (in this case, the student-writer’s evaluation of the subject, followed by the criteria they’re using to make their evaluation); it should have several body paragraphs for illustrating the Thesis (how the writer came up with their evaluation, as well as their criterion they used to come to this conclusion), and lastly a conclusion paragraph tying it all together, indicating the essay is concluding.

 

While evaluation involves subjectivity and, therefore, opinion, an Evaluation Essay is done properly, effectively and academically when it does not come off as an opinionated piece but rather a reasonable and objective evaluation. The key to producing this kind of essay that earns a high grade is simple: establishing (and then sharing with the reader) clear and fair criteria, judgments and evidence.

 

 


 

See also:

 

     Evaluation Essay Writing

     Evaluation Essay Topics

     Evaluation Essay Sample

 

 


 

Outline for an Evaluation Essay

 

I. Introduction Paragraph

 

A. Topic Sentence – organizes the essay’s first paragraph and introduces the essay’s Thesis, acting as a signpost for the essay’s overall argument. 

 

B. Thesis Statement – the paper’s premise that is to be argued or maintained in the essay, generally a sentence or two explaining the meaning of a certain subject, text, etc., which then leads to them listing the criteria (see C.) they are using to evaluate and defend it.

 

C. The list of the set of criteria the student will use to evaluate the subject.

 

Body Paragraphs

 

The Evaluation Essay’s Body Paragraphs directly follow the Introduction Paragraph and defend the Thesis Statement.

 

For this particular essay, each of the three main points – the criteria in which something is being evaluated – that will defend the essay’s argument are illustrated in each body paragraph one at a time; each body paragraph addresses the various criteria that the student-writer will utilize to logically evidence their case for evaluating the subject.

 

Each body paragraph should begin with a Transitional Phrase (Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, Lastly, Next, Subsequently, Furthermore, In conclusion, Finally, etc.) indicating to the reader that a new point is being examined or put forth. Examples are appropriately demonstrated below.

 

Also, before each body paragraph expounds on the criteria, the student must remember to restate their Evaluation Essay’s Thesis – but not verbatim as it was stated originally in the Introduction Paragraph – in order to keep the reader focused and reminded of the essay’s original argument.

 

II. Body Paragraph No. 2

 

A. Transitional Phrase – First of all, Firstly, To start off with, To begin with

 

B. Restate Thesis

 

C. First bit of criteria (The first reason why the student’s Thesis is true)

 

 

III. Body Paragraph No. 3

 

A. Transitional Phrase – Secondly, Next, Then, Furthermore, Also, Moreover

 

B. Restate Thesis

 

C. Second bit of criteria (The second reason why the student’s Thesis is true)

 

IV. Body Paragraph No. 4

 

A. Transitional Phrase – Next, Then, Furthermore, Also, Moreover, Thirdly, Lastly

 

B. Restate Thesis

 

C. Third and last bit of criteria (The third and final reason why the student’s Thesis is true)

 

(More paragraphs can be added to the Body-Paragraph section if another point needs or warrants further illustrating.)

 

V. Conclusion Paragraph – which ties the essay together to better the reader’s understanding of its argument.

 

A. Transitional Phrase – Lastly, In conclusion, To sum it up, Ultimately, Finally

 

B. A Summary of the Essay, from the original Thesis Statement to its three main points of support (the criteria) that are illustrated in the body paragraphs.

 

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