How to Write an Evaluation Essay

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An evaluation essay is a piece of work which is asking you to identify, through careful examination and consideration, whether a piece of work, or a topic has significance, and the creation of a judgement on how good or bad the ideas or paper can be considered to be. Evaluation essays can be titled using the terms “assess”, “rate”, “judge”, and “weigh up”, but in all cases, the aim is to provide an effective and crucially objective, assessment of the book, article, piece of research, framework, or hypothesis.

Objectivity is vital, although your work should come to a conclusion, or an evaluation argument at the end. Your aim is to present all your evidence to demonstrate that you have undertaken a fair and unbiased assessment of the topic to arrive at your conclusion. This means that an evaluation essay should incorporate pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, and assessment from a range of diverse, and potentially conflicting perspectives. Your work should be positive, but critical in its analysis, giving an equal weight to the information presented.

Key Tips for Evaluation

  • Identify and use a clear evaluation criterion. For example, if you are evaluating a product you need to assess ease of use, fitness for purpose and cost. In the context of a peer-reviewed article or hypothesis, evaluation criteria can include methodology design, focus of the research, sample population and analysis, and presentation of results.
  • With your criteria defined, you need to develop an evaluation argument (or thesis statement) which will tell your readers your own perspective on the work being evaluated. Remember: your perspective should be based on your analysis of the work, not just your initial opinion.
  • Ensure your arguments are backed up with credible, reliable academic sources, which should all be clearly cited and referenced at the end of your work.

Evaluation Essay Structure

The structure of an evaluation essay is much like any other – an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion. What is important in an evaluation essay is that you clearly define each section and how you arrived at the conclusion. Follow our steps and you will produce the perfect evaluation essay.

Introduction

Your introduction should be interesting, you want to engage your readers with a statement of intent that encourages them to read on. You should then give a short (2-3 sentences, no more) background to the work being evaluated; this ensures your readers recognise that you have knowledge in the area.

Once you have garnered their interest, you should paraphrase the essay question, for example, “this work aims to evaluate X through use of Y criteria and identification of strengths and weaknesses”. In this way you are able to demonstrate that you understand the question set.

Your introduction should end with an indication of what you believe your final evaluation will be, for example, “it is intended to demonstrate that…”. This thesis statement should incorporate a brief outline of what will be covered in the main body. Now you have got the interest of your readers and they are clear about the subject and direction of the work, you can move on to the body of the work.

Body of the Essay

The initial paragraph in the body of an evaluation essay should not launch straight into assessment. Firstly, an objective overview of the history and overall construct / paper being evaluated should be provided. Not only does this demonstrate knowledge of the area, but reaffirms that you understand what exactly is being evaluated (the paper, the theories, the conclusions drawn etc.).

Your subsequent paragraphs should be founded on your evaluation criteria. One paragraph for each point, with supporting evidence for or against the point. Start with a topic sentence for example, “Chomsky believes language is innate, a theory which has received mixed acceptance in the field of language acquisition.”.

You then move on to explain why the acceptance is mixed, using well researched and referenced sources. Continue this process for each element of your evaluation criteria, ensuring that you connect each one to the previous with phrases such as “in addition”, “moreover”, “furthermore”. This ensures that your essay has a cohesive and logical structure that your reader can follow. A key tip is to ensure each paragraph has a topic sentence, explanation and examples or supporting evidence.

Conclusion

Your conclusion should be focused on producing one, final argument which demonstrates how you have weighed up (evaluated!) all the evidence against your defined criteria. Importantly, the conclusion should never include new information but should be a summation of all that you have already written, in a coherent, effective way.

To achieve the perfect conclusion, you should refer back to the thesis statement and indicate whether it has been confirmed or rejected, which closes the circle of the essay and clearly indicates your final position.

A superb evaluation essay conclusion also indicates whether there is any body (or field) that should be concerned or interested in your judgement and any potential consequences of your evaluation. Evaluation essays that include consequences and interest show that your position is recognised as being based on the available information and that there may need to be further investigation of the issue in the future.

Key Phrases for Evaluation Essays

The author endeavours to prove…

…expresses a view that…to the effect that…

…seeks to criticise…

…having dismissed, the author then…

…provides excellent examples of…

Ultimately, for the author…

Appears to be saying that…

It could be argued that…

What is not considered is…

In general, I agree with this view, but also recognise…

From the evidence and evaluation, it does appear…

 

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