A sufficiently described topic. You should describe your topic in some detail, in accordance with what you think your audience should know. You should provide enough information to let the audience accept your judgment. A judgment. You must assert yourself by making a strong claim of value. This claim of value will be your thesis sentence (and it should not be a proposal claim). All paragraphs should search to prove this thesis, even though you must provide a balanced appraisal by expecting objections. A persuasive argument. After stating your judgment, you should provide evidence that describes instances, statistics, data, and/or testimony of others. You may decide to make comparisons while writing your evaluation essay. Criteria. Ground your evaluation on the specific criteria you develop, and then demonstrate how your topic meets or fails to me that criteria. In order to defend a judgment, there must be a basis for evaluation, or MANY bases for evaluation. Writers are held up to a number of criteria or standards for a specific type of essay. Criteria establishes a level playing field for all writers and evaluators by keeping the evaluator on an objective rather than “personal taste” level.
The criteria do not measure what the reader personally “likes” in writing, but instead reflect the generally agreed upon principles that are necessary to evaluate the subject. Avoid Criteria that Don’t Work, such as “It’s Popular” or “It’s funny.” Popularity is not a standard by which the quality of a subject can be judged, so don’t use it as a premise in your evaluation. For instance, if you are evaluating the band Foo Fighters, and your main judgment is that they are one of the most influential rock bands of the late 90’s because of their popularity, you are not giving a reason to support the thesis. Their popularity is a fact, based on album sales and so forth, but it doesn’t indicate WHY they are influential, and nor does it indicate that they are necessarily good. Brittany Spears sells even more albums than Foo-Fighters, but does that popularity necessarily translate into quality or influence? Elvis Presley has sold more albums than any musician in the history of the world. Does that mean he’s a good musician or merely popular? Also avoid stating humor or entertainment value as premises to support a judgment. Why? In critically evaluating pop-culture subjects, entertainment is a given. We need say nothing more about that. Entertainment is pretty much the main purpose of pop-culture.
That’s how it gets us into the theater or makes us park in front of the tube for hours on end. We’re entertained. Choose Fair, Accurate Criteria: Judge by the Same Standards The key in establishing criteria is to choose the ones necessary to measure the quality of the subject and that can be fairly applied to all subjects in a given category, or genre. For instance, not all movies have the same evaluative criteria. Is American Beauty judged by the same standards as The Matrix? Is Little Children held to the same criteria as Spiderman III? Though the subject area is the same — movies — the category, or genres, differ — drama versus comedy, science fiction versus action/adventure — and should be judged by different sets of criteria, otherwise one genre movie may be unfairly judged. Here’s an analogy: are athletes expected to meet the same criteria if one plays football and another baseball? Are all baseball players expected to meet the same criteria? In baseball, what are the evaluative criteria for judging the worth of a second baseman? Are the criteria different for evaluating the worth of an outfielder? Some would say that a shortstop needs to field well and hit well, but those criteria are too broad and apply to all baseball players, which may not be fair to all baseball players. A more thorough set of criteria might be: Foot-speed/ Lateral quickness (move side to side fast).
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