How to Write Evaluation Essays With Criteria

The task for the writer of an evaluation essay is to think critically and analytically about the topic, form a judgment or point of view based on criteria developed through critical and analytical thinking, and clearly present this evaluation to the reader with criteria and supporting evidence. The tone of the essay should be authoritative. Therefore, having a thorough understanding of the topic being evaluated is critical. While each writer goes about the mechanics of conveying his message in a different way, there are some general guidelines to follow and features to include in evaluation essays.

Identify your topic and form an opinion or judgment about it. The judgment will be your thesis statement, and all research evidence that you use should support this statement. You should be able to write your thesis in a single concise sentence.

Perform research and develop criteria on which to evaluate the subject. Each evaluative criterion developed should directly support and lend credibility to your thesis. While this research should be impartial and factual, it is OK for it to be selective. Do not, however, avoid facts that tend to disprove your evaluation. If this occurs, you probably need to refine your thesis statement, or you may even have to alter or discard your thesis.

Write an opening paragraph. This should lay out the topic and establish your authority and expertise. It should also help a reader better understand your point of view and subsequent evaluation.

Write a thesis statement. The thesis statement is usually included in the opening paragraph, after the topic has been presented. It will often start with a phrase such as "based on observations," "according to research," "considering the following facts," followed by the thesis statement itself, which should provide a clear presentation of the issue being evaluated.

Write the body of the evaluation essay. Each of the criteria that you developed from research to support your evaluation should have its own paragraph or section. Different essays require different lengths and numbers of criteria, but you should have a minimum of three good supporting paragraphs for each aspect of your evaluation.

Write a conclusion. This should reaffirm the thesis statement without repeating it verbatim. In addition, it should serve as a summary of the main points and a reinforcement of the validity of your judgment by demonstrating how the evidence presented in the essay supports your thesis.

Proofread and edit the essay. If possible, try not to do this immediately after writing it. Wait a day so you can be somewhat distanced from your initial effort and thus more objective about it.

Things You'll Need

  • Research materials
  • Pen and paper
  • Computer with word processing software
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