Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms
“College writing assignments,” notes Robert P. Yagelski, “routinely require students to evaluate texts, spectacles, or exhibits to deepen students’ understanding of the concepts or information they are learning and to share insights about the subject matter” (Writing: Ten Core Concepts. 2014). (alubalish/Getty Pics)
Updated December 13, 2016
An evaluation essay is a composition that offers value judgments about a particular subject according to a set of criteria. Also called evaluative writing. evaluative essay or report. and critical evaluation essay .
An evaluation essay or report is a type of argument that provides evidence to justify a writer's opinions about a subject.
"Any kind of review is essentially a lump of evaluative writing," says Allen S.
Goose. "This type of writing calls for the critical thinking abilities of analysis. synthesis, and evaluation" (8 Kinds of Writing. 2001).
See Examples and Observations below. Also see:
Examples of Evaluation Essays
- "Without good reasons for liking or disliking certain things, students can never get beyond being passive receivers of marketing, fickle consumers without a basis for their opinions. Writing evaluation papers asks them to question why they feel the way they do."
(Allison D. Smith, et al. Instructing in the Pop Culture Zone: Using Popular Culture in the Composition Classroom. Wadsworth, 2009)
"If you are evaluating a chunk of writing, then you are going to need to meticulously read the work. While you read the work, keep in mind the criteria you are using to evaluate. The evaluative aspects may be: grammar. sentence structure. spelling. content, usage of sources. style. or many other things. Other things to consider when evaluating a chunk of writing is whether the writing appealed to its target audience. Was there an emotional appeal. Did the author engage the audience, or was the chunk lacking something.
"If you are evaluating anything else, use your head. You need to attempt, use, or test whatever thing you are evaluating. That means you should not evaluate a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette unless you have the $45,000 (or more) to buy one, or the money to rent one. You also need the know-how of driving a car of that power and a base of skill of other cars that you have tested to compare it to."
(Joe Torres, Rhetoric and Composition Probe Guide. Global Media, 2007)
"Make a list of prominent, widely recognized standards for judging your subject. If you do not know the standards usually used to evaluate your subject, you could do some research. For example, if you are reviewing a film, you could read a few latest film reviews online or in the library, noting the standards that reviewers typically use and the reasons that they assert for liking or disliking a film. If you are evaluating a soccer team or one winning (or losing) game, you could read a book on coaching soccer or talk to an experienced soccer coach to learn about what makes an excellent soccer team or winning game."
(Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper, Axelrod & Cooper's Concise Guide to Writing. 4th ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006)
"One way to organize an evaluation essay is point-by-point: describe one element of the subject and then evaluate it; present the next element and evaluate it; and so on. Comparison/contrast could be an organizing structure as well, in which you evaluate something by comparing (or contrasting) it to a known item. Culinary and music reviews often use this strategy. Chronological organization can be used for evaluating an event (either current or historical). Sequential organization can be used when describing how something works and evaluating the effectiveness of the process, procedure, or mechanism. Spatial organization can be used for evaluating art or architecture in which you describe and evaluate one element of the artifact and then stir spatially to the next major element to be described and evaluated."
(David S. Hogsette, Writing That Makes Sense: Critical Thinking in College Composition. Wipf and Stock, 2009)