How to write an evaluation essay

An evaluation essay is the piece of writing that offers value judgments about a certain subject in accordance with the set of criteria. It is a type of argument that gives evidence to justify an author’s opinion about something.

These kinds of papers establish certain criteria and after evaluate or judge the topic according to these criteria. In order to write an evaluation paper, you need to analyze two sides in all the details and define a disputable judgment. You need to study the topic in full and offer proofs to support the judgment.

Picking a topic

You can write about something you have experienced ones or many times. Your paper will be better if you:

  • Pick something you’ve recently experienced and that you can review before you start working on a paper
  • You have a strong opinion about something, whether it is positive or negative
  • You know a lot about the subject

Steps to follow to choose a topic

It is advisable to follow these steps to pick a good subject:

  • Find something that you can evaluate. Brainstorm various topics that are applicable for an evaluation by compiling a list. For instance, you can compile a list of books, films, or policies. Pick a subject and then brainstorm again providing more details on the subject.
  • Make a draft of the thesis statement. In the thesis, you let your readers know the object of your essay and set the direction for your argument. You have to argue the lack of value or the value of a certain topic according to the criteria that you will establish.
  • Determine your subject. Give background info about the topic before you start making any judgments. For instance, when you are judging a book, include a short summary of the port and the characters to establish the context of the judgement for the audience.
  • Select the necessary criteria. To pass a judgment or assess a subject, detail criteria, which you will use to evaluate the topic. For instance, if you’re judging the film, you can use criteria such as the action, plot, cinematography, visual effects, or realistic characters.
  • Criticize the criteria. When preparing evaluation papers, the body of the paper has to address ineffective or effective features of every block of criteria. Give examples to back up your evaluation of every criteria and dispute according to your thesis.

Finding Criteria

To transform your opinion into an evaluation, you will need to apply to criteria to judge your topic. Criteria are the parts of your subject that you will evaluate as bad or good, worse or better than something else.

Criteria can be the following:

  • Restaurant criteria. Atmosphere, service, value, food, price.
  • Movie criteria. Humor, plot, scenery, actors, directing, score.
  • Website criteria. Content, design, visuals, ease of navigation.

In order to know how to write an evaluation essay in an effective way, you need to define what kind of topic you are evaluating. If you’re writing about a movie then pay attention to the genre: romance, horror, drama, etc. Then give your opinion on what you think will make an excellent movie in that genre. For instance, you may say that there should be three things in a good romantic comedy like plot twists, humor, and good actors. After that evaluate the movie you have selected to see how well it matches the criteria you set. Provide examples of how it does or does not fulfill your expectations of being a good romantic comedy.

Working on an assay

In order to judge something, you need to contrast it with the best example of that certain thing. Thus, there are two significant questions you need to ask when choosing a topic that you can evaluate. They include:

  • What category does the thing belong to?
  • What is the perfect example of something in this category?

Organizing your paper


Using the criteria you set, you can create a plan for your work on a certain subject.

  • One of the ways to organize a paper is point by point. Describe one element of the topic and then evaluate it. Then evaluate the next element and so on.
  • Comparison. This is when you can evaluate something by comparing it to another item. This method is usually used for music and culinary reviews.
  • Chronologically. You can use this method to evaluate a certain event.
  • Sequence. If you want to describe how something works and evaluate the effectiveness of procedure, process, or a mechanism, you may want to use this method.
  • Spatial. When evaluating architecture or art use the spatial organization.

Other methods to organize a paper

There are also other methods that you can use to structure your paper. They include:

  • Frame. To frame a paper, you use a description of the topic. This way you’re getting right into the action. Stop halfway through to keep your audience in suspense. Offer your evaluation and then finish with the end of your frame.
  • Unfulfilled expectations. This option is very good for this type of essay. You can use it in the intro to talk about what you were anticipating before getting to the topic. Then describe how the topic was either worse or better than you expected.
  • Indicate the genre and contrast. Start with talking about typical expectations of the subject you have and then tell how your topic either deviates from the norm or an example of the genre. This method is good for a topic that deliberately tries to ruin normal expectations of the genre or for a satire.
  • Casual analysis. Using this method, you can measure the effect on the audience.
  • Analyzing by the criteria. Introduce the topic, explain why you are evaluating it, and how you collected your information. Then sequence your criteria spatially, in order of importance, or chronologically.
  • Focusing on the social context or the story. Take an image and analyze how it is effective for a certain point. Typically, the image is about an emotionally charged cultural or historical event or a controversial situation. In the analysis, you need to tell how the image either contributes to the emotion or debates the event. The image can also be misleading or ironic.
  • Focus on the visual. You can use this method to analyze pictures and works of art. Talk about arrangement, composition, background and foreground, cultural references, symbols, and main features that visual of the genre. Mention the tools the artist used like color, texture, shape, pattern, etc. Analyzing the details, you explain how they are related to the historical and cultural context of the work of art and then how they are connected to the general meaning of the piece. Make sure to evaluate whether the piece is effective or not.

Recommendations to write an effective paper

Other useful recommendation that you need to follow include:

  • Provide the right amount of detail. Make sure to explain to the reader what you are writing about and give enough information about the subject.
  • Try to make your readers agree with your judgment. One of the reasons people like reviews is because they help them decide whether they like the subject or not. Thus, giving more details to the reader is important in order for them to agree with you.
  • Provide a list of at least three criteria. For instance, if you’re writing a paper about a mystery play you can use the criteria such as setting, plot, costumes, the pace of the action, main and minor characters, and the unveiling of the mystery.
  • Argue for your evaluation. As you voice your evaluations, give reasons to support them. As evidence you can use quotes, compare similar subjects, describe the subject, etc. Sometimes it is effective to counter argue.

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