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How to Write an Evaluation Essay

September 18, 2015 - Posted to How to: Essay writing tips
How to Write an Evaluation Essay

How to Write an Evaluation Essay

An evaluation essay is an analysis and/or critique of a subject. The subject can be a book, movie, meal, television series, poem, essay, or even a process. Essentially, if you can experience or participate in something and form an opinion on it, you can write an evaluation essay on that subject. However, writing an evaluation essay is not a matter of simply writing your opinion about something. Have you ever asked somebody for their opinion on something and received a frustratingly brief response such as, 'it was okay', or 'I liked it'.Then, when you pressed for further information, you received a shrug or an 'I dunno. I just did' as a response. The reason why the experience was frustrating and not at all enlightening is because the person could not or would not provide any insight.

Consume from an Analytical Point of View

It doesn't matter if you are reading, viewing, listening, eating, or participating. It is important that you approach your subject with an analytical point of view. Let's say, for example, that you will be writing your evaluation essay about a meal. You cannot simply decide whether or not you like each aspect of the food that is being served to you, you must also be able to identify the specific characteristics of the food that made it appealing or unappealing to you. You must also be able to explain how the service did or did not improve your experience, and finally you must be able to describe to your reader the flow of of the meal and whether or not it was an overall success. This means asking yourself questions during the process such as:

  • What specific things am I enjoying about this?
  • Why am I enjoying these things?
  • What elements are upsetting or frustrating me? Why?
  • What could have been done better?
  • Do the positives outweigh the negatives?
  • Could improvements have been made without the benefit of hindsight?

Set Some Standards

Writing fair, and useful evaluation essays requires measuring your subject according to fair standards. Continuing with the meal example, this would mean researching the cuisine, the restaurant, and the type of dining experience(casual, experimental, fine, chef's menu, etc.). If you were eating at a fine dining establishment, you might also research the various roles of the staff members (host, captain, food runners, bussers, servers, expediters), and the rules of service. You might even do some research on cooking methods. You do all of this work so that you can define the standards by which you will be doing your evaluation.

Eat Twice

To write an evaluation that is very fair, you may wish to visit the restaurant and eat the same meal for a second time. Obviously if the example was a book, you would read it a second time. This is something  you would do to determine whether or not there was anything important that you missed, and also to make sure that you weren't initially judging to harshly or too leniently.

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