Evaluation Essay: Thesis, Format, & Examples

Juliann Urban, Kelly Roach
  • Author
    Juliann Urban

    Juliann Urban has taught high school English for five years and has previously held the positions of English tutor for at-risk high school students and lead teacher at a private K-12 tutoring center. She holds a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in secondary education from Governors State University, an associate in arts degree from Moraine Valley Community College, and a professional educator license with senior high and middle school language arts endorsements.

  • Instructor
    Kelly Roach

    Kelly earned her Master of Mass Communication from Arizona State and has taught consumer behavior and communication courses at the undergraduate level.

Learn about the evaluation essay and how it's written with an evaluative essay example. Review an evaluative thesis and other parts of the evaluation essay. Updated: 12/28/2021

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What is an Evaluation Essay?

"To evaluate" means to judge the quality of something, but what is an evaluation essay? An evaluation essay, or evaluation argument essay, offers an opinion or a review of something.

There are many possible topics for an evaluation essay. Here are some possibilities:

  • A movie or other performance (concert, play, dance, etc.)
  • A restaurant or other place (store, museum, park, etc.)
  • A book or other product (car, phone, guitar, etc.)
  • A vacation or other experience (festival, tour, cooking class, etc.)

An evaluation essay is like an in-depth customer review.

review

Judgement, Criteria, and Evidence

Evaluative writing has three key elements: judgment, criteria, and evidence.

  • The judgment is the writer's opinion on the topic.
  • The criteria are the reasons for the writer's judgment.
  • The evidence is proof or information that provides support for the criteria.

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  • 1:15 Judgement, Criteria & Evidence
  • 1:56 Intro & Background
  • 4:15 Criteria
  • 5:14 Tools for Effective Evidence
  • 6:00 Conclusion
  • 6:33 Lesson Summary
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Parts of the Evaluation Essay

There are three main parts to an evaluation essay: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The three key elements (judgment, criteria, evidence) each appear within the parts of the essay.

Background

The first paragraph of an essay is called the introduction. An introduction typically introduces the reader to the essay's topic. An important component of the introduction in evaluative writing is background information. Background helps to establish the purpose of the essay by giving a brief summary of the essay's topic. For instance, if a book is being evaluated in the essay, providing a brief summary of the book would be helpful to the reader. The background information should be provided in the beginning of the introduction, before the essay's thesis.

Evaluative Thesis

The introduction also contains the essay's thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main idea or the main argument of the essay.

In an evaluation essay, the evaluative thesis statement contains the first key element: the overall judgment. One may recall that the judgment is the writer's overall opinion of the topic being evaluated in the essay. The thesis should state the writer's overall judgment of the essay's topic.

The thesis should also preview the second key element, the criteria; one may recall that the criteria are the reasons for the judgment.

Providing the overall judgment and criteria in the essay's thesis statement helps to define the focus of the essay.

Criteria

As previously stated, the criteria are the reasons for the writer's overall judgment. The criteria should be briefly mentioned in the thesis statement, but these reasons will be expanded upon in the body, or main part, of the essay. One good method of organization is to cover one criterion per body paragraph. Therefore, a five paragraph essay would contain an introduction, three criterion discussed in three separate body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

An important thing to keep in mind is that each body paragraph should also contain the three elements: judgment, criteria, and evidence. To compose each body paragraph, the writer would begin by introducing one of the criteria. The next step would be to give a judgment or opinion on this criterion that caused the writer to arrive at the overall judgment. Lastly, the writer should provide evidence to support the judgment.

Tools for Effective Evidence

One method of providing supporting evidence in an evaluation argument essay is through comparing or contrasting the criterion to other examples. For instance, if one of the criterion is the limited menu at a particular restaurant, the writer could contrast the restaurant's menu with another restaurant's menu that provides more options. This would be effective evidence to support the judgment that the restaurant being evaluated does not provide enough menu choices.

Another method for incorporating supporting evidence is presenting counterarguments. Counterarguments are arguments that are against or opposed to one's argument. Providing counterarguments can be helpful in situations in which the essay presents a controversial viewpoint. By presenting a known counterargument, the writer can acknowledge that the counterargument exists and then use evidence to dismantle it or explain why it is invalid. This is a powerful persuasive technique.

Conclusion

The conclusion is the last paragraph of an essay. The conclusion should drive home the main points of the essay. This is done by restating the essay's overall judgment and reviewing the criteria for the overall judgment.

Evaluation Essay Example

Below is an example of the parts of an evaluation essay. One should note how the three key elements are incorporated into the three main parts of the essay.

Indianapolis hosts many amazing restaurants serving a variety of cuisine for a variety of palettes. Big Catch, located in the center of downtown, is Indy's newest seafood restaurant. The restaurant's grand opening this past August was surrounded with much excitement from locals. Unfortunately, Big Catch does not live up to the hype. Big Catch's menu, decor, and service designate it as a second-rate establishment.

  • This introduction to an evaluative essay contains the required elements. First, it begins by giving the reader background information on the restaurant so that even a reader who is not familiar with the restaurant can follow the essay. Second, the introduction ends with a thesis statement. The evaluative thesis in this example provides the writer's overall judgment that the restaurant is second-rate. Finally, the thesis previews the main points, or criteria, that will be evaluated in the body of the essay: menu, decor, and service.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an evaluative essay?

An evaluative or evaluation essay offers an opinion or gives a review of something. It is similar to the review of a new movie in a newspaper or a new car in a magazine.

How do you write an evaluation essay?

An evaluation essay is written by first making an overall judgment about the topic in the introduction and previewing the main points. The body of the essay lists the criteria that led to the overall judgment and provides evidence to support the writer's opinion. The conclusion restates the overall opinion and reviews the main points.

What is a good topic for an evaluation essay?

Good topics for evaluation essays are those about which the writer cares and already knows something. Some possible topics are a movie, play, restaurant, museum, book, car, vacation, or festival.

Can you use "I" in an evaluation essay?

Whether or not words like "I," "me," and "you" can be used in an evaluation essay may differ across assignments. Typically, pronouns such as these should not be used in a essay in order to maintain a formal, objective tone.

What is an example of an evaluative thesis?

An evaluative thesis should make an overall judgment about the topic and preview the criteria or main points of the essay. Here is an example: The Washington Park Zoo is a wonderful attraction to visit because of its affordability, close proximity the the beach, and easy accessibility.

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