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What is Evaluative Writing?

13.3 Structure of the Evaluative Essay

13.3.1 Introduction

In the introduction of your evaluative essay, you should clearly state the following: – what you are evaluating (the subject – like Citizen Kane or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) – the purpose of your evaluation – what criteria you are evaluating your subject on (plot, characterization, cinematography etc.) For example, you should not just write that you are judging the acting in the film. You should explain that you are judging the individual performances of actor, the plot of the screenplay, and cinematography. Give the reader background on the subject including the “who, what, when, where, and why” elements of the subject.

13.3.2 Body

Be sure to be very descriptive and thorough when evaluating your subject. The more you leave out of the essay, the more unanswered questions your readers are left with. Your goal should be to cover all aspects of the subject and to tell the audience how good or bad it is. Consider, for example, not only what quality the subject possesses, but what is missing. Good evaluations measure the quality or value of a subject by considering what it has and what it lacks.


13.3.3 Conclusion

The conclusion for an evaluative essay is pretty straightforward. Simply go over the main points from the body of your essay. After that, make an overall evaluation of the subject. Tell the audience if they should buy it, eat it, use it, wear it, etc. and why. After that is done, your essay is finished.

The conclusion of a review is also an opportunity for some flourish. Think about how you can sum up the best or worst of the experience to send your audience marching toward or away from the subject of your evaluation. Good job!


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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