Chapter 29. EVALUATION
chapter has FIVE
web pages--be sure to also
in this chapter.
You may go to
them by clicking
on the links
or in the right
This introductory page of the
"Evaluation" chapter offers a simple, brief summary. For more, go to "Basics" and
to "Sample Papers"
by students. If
you understand this type of paper already or want to explore it in more depth, you might prefer to read "Advanced
Methods." All five web pages of this chapter are listed at the
top of this page--and also in the
right-hand column. Simply click on one of the five pages.
evaluation is a controlled judgment of something or someone
using a set of criteria--a set of standards or guidelines. An evaluation
of effectiveness, which is what this chapter covers, generally--in academic and
professional writing--answers questions about how effective a text of a reading,
or a person is.
An evaluation is not a disagreement or argument against the
content of something; rather, it is a discussion of the quality of a
writing--e.g., whether the argument (if there is one) is well or poorly
structured, supported, or detailed; whether the writing style is appropriate,
efficient, or well toned; whether the audience is appropriately addressed;
Examples of evaluations include legal arguments in courts,
instructors' evaluations of student work, business evaluations of proposals, and
professional evaluations of potential or current employees. The Constitution
of the United States, while not an evaluation in and of itself, is a set of
criteria or guidelines that were developed in order to effectively evaluate the
British rule of the American colonies and the type of government that would be
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The goal of writing an
evaluation is to choose
an argumentative reading or text, preferably one that you think could have been written,
organized, or argued better, and then evaluate its quality. If you need an online
text, go to links. If your instructor requests it, you may
have a brief first section, after the introduction, that summarizes the text. Then you should write the body of your evaluation by
judging several of your text's parts, methods, and/or structures: e.g., what is strong and/or weak,
what information is missing, biased, untrue, or falsely assumed, and the
emotions, affects, and effects created by the text. Do not give your
own opinions about the author's subject; rather, offer your opinions--using a
calm, logical, and balanced method and tone--about how well or poorly the author
presents his or her work.
Depending on what your
instructor expects, you may organize your paper in three to five topic sections
or as several point-by-point evaluations. In the beginning of each topic
section or point, first offer your own evaluative judgment briefly. Then support
your judgment in one or more paragraphs with quotations from your text/source and other details. Your other details may include one or
more of the following: personal-experience examples and stories; the experiences
of others you know; comparison/contrast with other texts that handle similar
situations alike or differently; and facts, details, and/or experiences from documented
sources. In your introduction
and conclusion, clearly indicate the type of paper you are writing--a evaluation
of a text's effectiveness--and the author's overall argument, your own overall
and an interesting quotation, story, and/or set of facts.
If you need an online text, go to the chapter in
"Section D" called "Resources & Readings." If your instructor requests it, you may
have a brief first section, after the introduction, that summarizes the
text. Then you should write the body of your evaluation by evaluating several of your text's points or ideas. Depending on what your
instructor expects, you may organize your paper in three or four topic sections
or as several point-by-point discussions. In the beginning of each topic
section or point, first offer a sentence summarizing the overall subject of the
entire section, and explain it briefly, if necessary. Then support your
evaluative statements with quotations from your text/source and other details.
Your other details may include one or more of the following, depending on the
assignment, the discipline, and/or the instructor: quotations and paraphrases;
personal-experience examples and stories; the experiences of others you know;
photos, graphs, or other visuals. Be sure to document anything and
everything from other sources, even if its simply from a friend, instructor, or
someone you interviewed. In your introduction and conclusion, clearly
indicate the type of paper you are writing (an evaluation), your overall
evaluative methods or types of evaluation you will use, and
often, at least once in the intro and once in the conclusion, an interesting quotation, story, and/or fact from the text of your reading itself.
If you are writing a research paper, each body
section must include quotations, paraphrases, and/or illustrations and other
visual materials from your required and optional sources. These source
materials should support your own points of discussion in your paper, should be
substantial in quality and quantity, and should come from authoritative sources.
Also attach a bibliography appropriate to your field, discipline, or profession.
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Here is a typical structure or organization for an
development of this structure is shown in the "Basics"
Organization of an Evaluation Paper
THE READING, OVERALL
and introductory details
Body Section 1: first
guideline and supporting details
Body Section 2: second
and supporting details
Body Section 3: third
and supporting details
Body Sections 4-5:
and supporting details)
THE READING, OVERALL
and concluding details
Jones, A.J. Book One, et al.
Smith, B.K. Book Two, et al.
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A "focus" in writing helps you at any given moment
to concentrate on writing. Here are several helpful, important focuses
people use to develop a disagreement.
[Below, substitute the proper info for the type of
paper for the stuff on analyses as given here:]
SUBJECT: If helpful, brainstorm a list of texts
you would like to use or, once you have one, a list of possible ways you
could evaluate it using the list
of questions in "Basics." Then choose carefully.
Will your evaluative questions and the points you wish to make using them
work well with what is actually in your text? Do you have enough
details or examples to support what you are saying, or can you find them
easily? Can you write about them objectively? What are some of
the main problems in the way the text presents its materials, and what
solutions will your own paper represent? Will your audience find
your evaluative points interesting?
& SECOND DRAFTS:
Start with one or two methods that work best for you, but develop the
others in later drafts.
critically: take your text apart so that you understand its
contents and structure thoroughly (see "How
to Read Critically").
Free-write: write as much as you
can quickly on what you know about your text or your viewpoint(s).
mark or type the quotations in your
text that best summarize the points or parts you wish to evaluate.
Write descriptions or a list of the proofs you have for your
evaluative points--facts, quotations, comparisons/contrasts, and/or
Write for your audience: visualize it. What details does it need to take seriously your
Organize: make an outline using the
above or whatever structure your instructor suggests.
if required, mix
your evaluative ideas with the above methods to develop a first draft during your
TONE, and WRITER'S ROLE:
Develop (in early or late drafts) an academic style and tone of calm,
reasoned, fair, balanced logic. In your role as a writer, you should
appear fair, just, and not at all interested in arguing for or against the
AUTHENTICITY: Be as real and
you can to your audience, your content, and yourself. First, respect
your audience: try as fully as you can to consider its own beliefs about
your text. Second, find the heart of the meaning
in both your reading and your examination of it, and write about them clearly
using high-quality supporting details. Third, make your analyses your own: develop them in a way as meaningful to you as possible.
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