Evaluation Essay

For your evaluation essay, you want to select a topic that is debatable, since your task is to persuade the reader that the criteria you select to argue your point of view are appropriate and convincing and, therefore, that your argument (or thesis) is correct.

Make sure you write on one of the following topics:

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Evaluate the effectiveness of a policy.
Evaluate the quality of a consumer product.
Evaluate the benefits of pursuing a specific hobby.
Evaluate the merits of a specific film or book.

It is important to remember the length of this assignment when choosing a topic. Large, sweeping topics will be difficult to write about; you simply cannot cover all aspects of (for instance) abortion in an essay of this caliber. You will have a much easier time with a narrowed topic—one that you wouldn’t mind learning more about. Consider exploring the ins-and-outs of a smaller local debate or an issue that affects you personally. Either way, begin with a clear research question. Explore as many sides and answers to that question as you can. Here are some ideas:

What is the best cell phone on the market today? Why is it the best?
What is the most reliable car on the road today? Why is it the most reliable?
What is the best baby monitor available to parents? What makes this model the best?
What is the most effective grading policy for elementary (or secondary) students? Why is this policy most effective?
Is requiring a dress code at work a good policy? Discuss the reasons why or why not.
Should service (military and/or community) be mandatory for all U.S. citizens? Why or why not?
Is requiring that all passengers wear seat belts in cars a good policy? Why or why not?
Choose a hobby or activity (such as yoga, knitting, swimming, stamp collecting, gardening, etc.) and give reasons the reader should take up this hobby or activity. For example: Why should the reader take up gardening? What makes yoga a good hobby?
Choose a favorite book or film. What characteristics make it a good book or film? (Remember: do not summarize the plot but explain 2-4 reasons why it is good. For example, you can examine things like character development, special effects or casting, or exciting plot twists.)
Introduction, topics, and thesis
In the introduction to your evaluation essay, you will explain the significance of the problem or issue that you will be evaluating. The sample evaluation essay on the next page demonstrates how the author uses the introduction to provide some contextual information about the policy that will be evaluated in the essay. The introduction ends with your thesis statement.

Make sure you choose only one specific hobby, product, film, book, or policy to write on. Give background information or context to lead the reader to your specific thesis. End the introduction with the one-sentence thesis:

[Your topic here] is effective/ineffective/beneficial/not beneficial/fun/etc. because X, Y, and Z.

Body paragraphs
The body of the essay should detail all the points of the thesis and use those to back up your claim about this hobby, book, product, or policy. Each point should be one section of the body of the essay; the first point from the thesis is the first section of the body, the second point from the thesis is the second section of the body, and the third point from the thesis is the third section of the body, etc.

Begin the first body paragraph with a topic sentence based on point X from your thesis. Give information to back up and support this topic sentence/main point. Give examples/evidence to support this point and explain how the examples/evidence support the points with details. Discuss how/why this information is important and relevant to your thesis. Body paragraphs should be roughly half a page long. Repeat this format with the following points (Y and Z) from the thesis.

In the body paragraphs, you will not only discuss the three supporting reasons mentioned in your thesis in more detail, but you will also use outside research whenever possible to support your ideas. You will support your argument with at least one outside source. Cite the source in the essay using APA in-text citations. For help with APA, see Appendix B.

In the conclusion, you should include your thesis statement and a 1-2 sentence summary of each of the points discussed in the paper. Do not provide any new information in the conclusion. Once again, the sample evaluation essay provides a good example of an effective conclusion.

Reference page
At least one source should be cited here. The sources here should have at least one in-text citation in the body that matches those sources listed here. For help with APA, see Appendix B.

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