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Evaluative Essay
Due: Friday February 1st at midnight
You’ve probably evaluated things informally plenty of times. You tell a friend that you like a
certain television show. Or you explain why you hated a recent movie you saw. This assignment
takes those informal evaluations a step further.
The key to writing an evaluation is that you don’t just say whether something is good or bad.
You also explain ​the criteria​ you used to evaluate the thing. For example, one factor in
evaluating a motion picture comedy might be the amount of hilarious quotable dialogue. For
example, you might remember Rob Burgundy’s exclamation: “Baxter, you know I don’t speak
Spanish!” That would be one ​criterion​ for evaluation.
For this assignment, you must evaluate one of the sources from your Annotated Bibliography.
You will determine whether or not the source is valuable and valid towards your final research
paper.
In this assignment your objectives are to:
● Introduce your topic and state your purpose.​ Your evaluation introduction should grab
your audience’s attention and make your purpose clear.
● Identify ​your author’s credibility. Are they an expert? Where did they attend school?
What is their authority? Where is the article published? Was it published in a reputable
peer reviewed journal? When was it published? Has it been cited by other authors in the
field? Cite where you find this information. Refer to the Authority and Currency slides on
the powerpoint for more help constructing this paragraph.
● Develop and Describe​ Your Criteria.​ Put some thought into this. Who is the source
written for? What is the purpose? To inform, persuade, entertain? How they accomplish
this? If they state their purpose in a thesis, you could include this in your paper and also
assess how well the article supports the thesis. For example, you might need to think
about what makes a research source in general as well as what makes a credible source
about the topic you’re investigating. There’s no exact minimum or maximum for criteria;
however, you will probably want to have several in order to demonstrate a complex
evaluation. What is the author’s argument? How does he support his claims? What is the
structure of the argument?
● Explain and evaluate ​the thing.​ Use your criteria to evaluate the thing you are looking
at. Also, think in terms of ​ethos​. Will you seem credible if your evaluation does not
include any weaknesses? What if your evaluation finds absolutely nothing of value? Is
their bias to consider? How do you know? How does this hurt/help the paper? Is the
paper objective? This assignment doesn’t require extensive research, but you can do
some investigating to develop and support your criteria or support your evaluation.
● Appraise​ ​the source. Do the author’s claims still stand? Is this still a relevant source? Is
this source accurate? How do you know? Is the author/writer successful in approaching
his argument and supporting his claims? Why or why not? Does this source meet the
criteria you have outlined for evaluating a source of this nature? You can make a broad
statement about the work’s value in the field if you wish.
● Conclusion ​paragraph. Wrap up your thoughts. Offer new insights into the research or
argument of the author/source. Refer to page 32 in your English 102 ​JAC ​workbook for
more tips on constructing an effective conclusion.
At this point in the semester, this is a credit/no credit assignment. To receive credit you must
address all of the items described above in roughly 900-1200 words, MLA format.
Criteria for the Evaluation project
Here’s what I’m looking for in your evaluations:
1. Title—​The title is engaging, appropriate and forecasts the content of the essay.
2. The Introduction—​The introduction grabs the reader’s interest, provides enough context to tell the reader
what he or she will be reading about, and frames a clear thesis that answers the primary question.
3. The Research—​Any research is integrated appropriately as evidence for your claims. All references are
credible and adhere to MLA standards for in-text citation.
4. Arrangement—​The essay is organized coherently with a natural progression that helps to reinforce the
thesis. Sub-headings are acceptable.
5. The Criteria—​The essay describes criteria for assessing the communication.
6. The Conclusion—​The conclusion employs one of the strategies from page 34 of Easy Writer: summarizes
the argument briefly, elaborates on the implications of your thesis, makes clear what you want readers to
think and do, or makes a strong ethical or emotional appeal in a memorable way.
7. Voice—​The tone of the essay strikes a balance between demonstrating your personality, avoiding stuffy
language, and conveying professionalism.
8. Form, Surface Features, and Proofreading—​The essay does not include errors in grammar or
punctuation. The essay is also formatted according to MLA standards including font, font size, and page
numbers.
9. Works Cited—​The essay includes a works cited page that is properly formatted using MLA guidelines.
10. Length—​The essay is three and a half to four pages long, not including the works cited (i.e. 900-1,200
words).

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