What is an Evaluative Essay?
The success of your evaluative essay depends on how well you present your opinion and evidence to illustrate your point. The following writing tips will guide you through the process and help you familiarize yourself with all the crucial components of this type of essays.
It’s Saturday night, and you are meeting your best friend Bernadette to watch a movie together. They are showing Love, Specifically and The Mountains Have Ears tonight. Both seem to be interesting. You feel like having a good laugh but your fried is more of a thriller fan. Now, you cannot choose between a romantic comedy and a suspense thriller, so you decide to call a friend of yours, Lucy, who has recently seen both of them. She says that you’d better go see Love, Specifically. You are pleased with her answer but Bernadette insists on a thriller. When asked what’s so special about Love, Specifically, Lucy says something like “Have no idea, just loved it.”
Most probably, such a reply will be frustrating for you and your thriller-loving friend. Had Lucy learned the elements of a good evaluative essay, she would give a more informative and useful response. The thing is, writing an evaluative essay is similar to reviewing something. As you might have guessed from its name, an evaluative essay contains a value judgment. The basic components of an evaluative essay are:
The judgment, your general opinion about the subject;
The criteria, the justification of your opinion;
Evidence. This is a crucial component which is needed to support your claims.
Remember all those instances when you received a refusal of permission to do something without proper explanation? ‘Can I play with this dog?’ ‘No!’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because I’m your mother and I say so, that’s why!’ I hope you understand that ‘because I say so’ is not an argumentative reply. Neither is Lucy’s ‘just loved it.’ To make your argument strong, you have to provide good reasons and reliable evidence.
What Does Evaluative Essay Consist of?
Evaluative essay is still an essay, so it should also include of the basic parts of an academic essay: introduction, background information and criteria (the body of an essay), and conclusion.
Introduction plays a substantial role in your paper because it helps set the scene for the following discussion. This paragraph should contain a thesis statement, which is your basic claim, the reason for writing the paper at all. Without it, your evaluative essay will have no focus.
Next, provide background information about what you are discussing. The reader has to know the subject, so be sure to provide a brief summary, description, explanation, etc. The background information has twofold purpose:
- helps the readers understand what you are discussing;
- helps you explain your purpose.
If you think about it, you’ll understand that all movies have different purpose. While a thriller would be more appropriate for people who like to spend an hour or two on the edge of their seats, romantic comedies are a better choice for those in the mood for laughing. This does not mean one film is better than the other; it’s just that you have to keep their purposes in mind and choose different approaches when evaluating them.