For Essay 4, choose a product, business, service, or policy and evaluate your subject
according to whether or not it meets certain criteria. The purpose of an evaluation essay is to
demonstrate the overall quality (or lack thereof) of a particular product, business, service or
program. While all evaluation involves the presentation of some form of opinion, if an evaluation
is done properly it should not come across as opinionated. Instead, the evaluation should seem
reasoned and unbiased.
The key to a successful evaluation essay is establishing clear and reasonable criteria, judgments,
Criteria (the plural form of criterion) are standards for judgment that will establish what the ideal
for the product, place or service should be. It means demonstrating what one should expect as
the ideal outcome, Clear criteria will keep an evaluation from sounding too much like an opinion.
For example, if you are evaluating a restaurant, you want to establish the criteria (quality of food,
service, price, cleanliness, for example) that any good restaurant will adhere to; these criteria can
then be applied to the specific restaurant you are evaluating. Make sure that your criteria are
reasonable. For example, quality ingredients, fast delivery, and affordability are reasonable criteria
for evaluating pizza because most consumers would agree with them. ‘No pineapple,’ ‘must have
anchovies,’ or ‘cannot include meats’ are all unreasonable criteria. (Yes, even ‘no pineapple.’
Apparently, passions run high on both sides for that particular ingredient.)
The judgment is the establishment of whether or not the criteria are met. Using the example
from above, if the first criterion for evaluating a restaurant is the quality of the food, the
judgment will state whether or not the particular restaurant offers food that meets or exceeds this
The evidence is the details offered to support the judgment. If your judgment is that a particular
restaurant does not consistently offer quality food, you need to support this with evidence to
show how the judgment was reached.
Generally, each body paragraph of an evaluation essay should focus on one specific criterion,
which should be fully explained, followed by the judgment and a variety of evidence offered as
support. Because of this, it is important that any evaluation contains several different criteria,
judgments and evidence. I suggest that you choose three to four criteria.
An overall thesis should also be offered. For an evaluation essay, this thesis is the overall
evaluation of whatever is being evaluated. Once again, if the criteria, judgments and evidence are
clear, the overall thesis should be, as well. For example, if the restaurant meets most of the
criteria laid out in the essay, the overall evaluation should be mostly positive, whereas if the most
of the criteria are not met, the evaluation will be mostly negative.
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