Essay Four: Justifying an Evaluation
The purpose of an evaluation essay is to present an opinion or viewpoint on a subject or body of work. Possible topics for this paper include but are not limited to: a film, a season/episode of a particular TV series, a video game, a music video, a book, a smart phone app, or a restaurant. The evaluation should be based upon specific criteria (points/areas of evaluation) that are carefully selected. Your paper should first provide a summary of the topic in question, then using a thorough, well structured argument the writer presents an evaluation using examples and evidence. By nature this essay bears many similarities to the argumentative essay, only is designed to display a more balanced argument.
The first step in writing an evaluation essay is to provide a judgment asserted through a clear thesis. A good thesis statement determines exactly the focus of your essay and aids the reader in understanding what the essay is all about. Furthermore, it presents the point-of-view you are taking and hereafter each paragraph should work towards asserting this point-of-view to the reader. Consider the examples below, it is obvious which one provides the clearest definition of what the essay is about, and the argument it will present:
A: Abbey Road is an album by the Beatles.
B: Through the balance of classic song writing, experimentalism and the harnessing of musical technology, The Beatles created the masterpiece that is Abbey Road.
It is clear that B is the most successful in summarizing the subject matter evaluated in the essay, while also displaying the writer’s opinion and the stance the essay will take throughout the main body.
Writing an evaluation essay
For your evaluation essay to be successful in putting your point across, you need a convincing argument. It is important to thoroughly research the subject matter or have comprehensively read and digested the body of work in question. For your essay to sound convincing it is essential that you know what you are clear and confident in the subject matter you are covering.
If the evaluation essay is to be successful you must back up your viewpoints using evidence. For example, if you are evaluating the faults of a text you must back up your observations with facts and quote from the source material to verify your statements. To further demonstrate your point you may also wish to compare your subject matter to a separate body of work to compare or contrast where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
An evaluation essay should show impartiality and therefore present a balanced argument. If a writer appears biased towards a subject then the argument is ultimately less convincing. As a result the essay will fail to persuade or convince the reader to agree with the ideas or views the writer is working to establish.
The evaluation essay will require a conclusion which summarizes the points made during the main body. It is important that your argument has been logically structured throughout; that each point made leads fluently on to the next and seamlessly through to the conclusion.
You should provide concrete and secure closure to your argument by ultimately leaving the reader absolutely convinced by your evaluation and each point should have in turn worked towards proving the viewpoints of your thesis justified and correct, through a fair and unbiased analysis.
Getting started: The guidelines for this essay can be found in Chapter 8 of your textbook, particularly page 365. Please note: this essay must make use of a minimum of three relevant, credible sources; please follow all MLA guidelines for formatting and mechanics (link: OWL at Purdue (Links to an external site.)). Also, include a properly formatted “Works Cited” page.
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