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Writing an Evaluation

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. That would be one criterion for its evaluation. “Milk was a bad choice.”

For this assignment, you must evaluate something (your instructor may provide a focus). For example, you might evaluate a documentary, a song, a music video, a public service announcement, or a website. There may even be something else out there that could work. You are welcome to propose new ideas.

In this assignment your objectives are to:

  • Introduce your topic and state your purpose. Your evaluation’s introduction should describe grab your audience’s attention and make your purpose clear.
  • Develop and Describe Your Criteria. Put some thought into this. For example, you might need to think about what makes a good rock song in general as well as what makes a good rock song about social justice. There’s no exact minimum or maximum for criteria; however, you will probably want to have several in order to demonstrate a complex evaluation.
  • Evaluate the thing. Use your criteria to evaluate the thing your 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?
  • Conduct Some Research. This assignment doesn’t require extensive research, but you can do some investigating to develop and support your criteria or support your evaluation. For example, how might a small survey provide evidence for your evaluation?

To receive credit you must address all of the items described above in roughly 750-1200 words, MLA format.

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