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?
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:
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.
Writing an evaluation essay is a great way to size up a particular object or idea. This type of critical writing sets precise criteria for evaluation, providing fair and solid supporting evidence so that readers can form their opinions about a subject.
Steps for Writing an Evaluation Essay
- Choose a topic you would like to write about. Since you will need to make a value judgment based on a set of criterion, you should know your subject well.
- Formulate your thesis statement. The thesis statement of an evaluation essay is its overall purpose and should be stated clearly, giving you the direction that will allow you to distinguish between criteria and select appropriate examples. It should state value, or the lack of it, in regard to what you are writing about.
- Think of the criteria you are going to use to make your judgment. It is difficult or even impossible to evaluate your subject immediately—choose several points of interest to make this process easier.
- Find supporting evidence to prove your point of view. Since you are making a judgment about an object and presume that your readers will take your viewpoint into consideration,
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