The purpose of an evaluation essay is to present an opinion or viewpoint on a subject or body of work. It should firstly provide a summary of the article in question, then using a thorough, well structured argument the writer presents a point-of-view supported with examples and evidence. By nature this essay bears many similarities to the persuasive essay, only is designed to display a more balanced argument
The first step in writing an evaluation essay is to provide a judgment asserted through a clear thesis. A good thesis statement determines exactly the focus of your essay and aids the reader in understanding what the essay is all about. Furthermore, it presents the point-of-view you are taking and hereafter each paragraph should work towards asserting this point-of-view to the reader. Consider the examples below, it is obvious which one provides the clearest definition of what the essay is about, and the argument it will present:
A: Abbey Road is an album by the Beatles.
B: Through the balance of classic song writing, experimentalism and the harnessing of musical technology, The Beatles created the masterpiece that is Abbey Road.
It is clear that B is the most successful in summarizing the subject matter evaluated in the essay, whilst also displaying the writer’s opinion and the stance the essay will take throughout the main body.
Writing an evaluation essay
For your evaluation essay to be successful in putting your point across you need a convincing argument. It is important to thoroughly research the subject matter or have comprehensively read and digested the body of work in question. For your essay to sound convincing it is essential that you know what you are clear and confident in the subject matter you are covering.
If the evaluation essay is to be successful you must back up your viewpoints using evidence. For example, if you are evaluating the faults of a text you must back up your observations with facts and quote from the source material to verify your statements. To further demonstrate your point you may also wish to compare your subject matter to a separate body of work to compare or contrast where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
An evaluation essay should show impartiality and therefore present a balanced argument. If a writer appears biased towards a subject then the argument is ultimately less convincing. As a result the essay will fail to persuade or convince the reader to agree with the ideas or views the writer is working to establish.
The evaluation essay will require a conclusion which summarizes the points made during the main body. It is important that your argument has been logically structured throughout; that each point made leads fluently on to the next and seamlessly through to the conclusion.
You should provide concrete and secure closure to your argument by ultimately leaving the reader absolutely convinced by your evaluation and each point should have in turn worked towards proving the viewpoints of your thesis justified and correct, through a fair and unbiased analysis.
Gender differences and biases have been a part of the normal lives of humans ever since anyone can remember. Anthropological evidence has revealed that even the humans and the hominids of ancient times had separate roles for men and women in their societies, and this relates tot the concepts of epistemology. There were certain things that women were forbidden to do and similarly men could not partake in some of the activities that were traditionally reserved for women. This has given birth to the gender role stereotypes that we find today. These differences have been passed on to our current times; although many differences occur now that have caused a lot of debate amongst the people as to their appropriateness and have made it possible for us to have a stereotyping threat by which we sometimes assign certain qualities to certain people without thinking. For example, many men are blamed for undermining women and stereotyping them for traditional roles, and this could be said to be the same for men; men are also stereotyped in many of their roles. This leads to social constructionism since the reality is not always depicted by what we see by our eyes. These ideas have also carried on in the world of advertising and the differences shown between the males and the females are apparent in many advertisements we see today. This can have some serious impacts on the society as people begin to stereotype the gender roles in reality.
There has been a lot of attention given to the portrayal of gender in advertising by both practitioners as well as academics and much of this has been done regarding the portrayal of women in advertising (Ferguson, Kreshel, & Tinkham 40-51; Bellizzi & Milner 71-79). This has led many to believe that most of the advertisements and their contents are sexist in nature. It has been noted by viewing various ads that women are shown as being more concerned about their beauty and figure rather than being shown as authority figures in the ads; they are usually shown as the product users. Also, there is a tendency in many countries, including the United States, to portray women as being subordinate to men, as alluring sex objects, or as decorative objects. This is not right as it portrays women as the weaker sex, being only good as objects.
At the same time, many of the ads do not show gender biases in the pictures or the graphics, but some bias does turn up in the language of the ad. “Within language, bias is more evident in songs and dialogue than in formal speech or when popular culture is involved. For example, bias sneaks in through the use of idiomatic expressions (man's best friend) and when the language refer to characters that depict traditional sex roles. One's normative interpretation of these results depends on one's ideological perspective and tolerance for the pace of change. It is encouraging that the limited study of language in advertising indicates that the use of gender-neutrality is commonplace. Advertisers can still reduce the stereotyping in ad pictures, and increase the amount of female speech relative to male speech, even though progress is evidenced. To the extent that advertisers prefer to speak to people in their own language, the bias present in popular culture will likely continue to be reflected in advertisements” (Artz et al 20).
Advertisements are greatly responsible for eliciting such views for the people of our society. The children also see these pictures and they are also the ones who create stereotypes in their minds about the different roles of men and women. All these facts combine to give result to the different public opinion that becomes fact for many of the members of the society. Their opinion and views are based more on the interpretation they conclude from the images that are projected in the media than by their observations of the males and females in real life. This continues in a vicious circle as the media tries to pick up and project what the society thinks and the people in the society make their opinions based upon the images shown by the media. People, therefore, should not base too much importance about how the media is trying to portray the members of the society; rather they should base their opinions on their own observation of how people interact together in the real world.
Artz, N., Munger, J., and Purdy, W., “Gender Issues in Advertising Language”, Women and Language, 22, (2), 1999.
Bellizzi, J. A., & Milner, L. “Gender positioning of a traditionally male-dominant product”, Journal of Advertising Research, 31(3), 1991.
Ferguson, J. H., Kreshel, P. J., & Tinkham, S. F. “In the pages of Ms.: Sex role portrayals of women in advertising”, Journal of Advertising, 19 (1), 1990.
- Identify the author's thesis and purpose
- Analyze the structure of the passage by identifying all main ideas
- Consult a dictionary or encyclopedia to understand material that is unfamiliar to you
- Make an outline of the work or write a description of it
- Write a summary of the work
- Determine the purpose which could be
- To inform with factual material
- To persuade with appeal to reason or emotions
- To entertain (to affect people's emotions)
- If the purpose is to inform, has the material been presented clearly, accurately, with order and coherence?
- If the purpose is to persuade, look for evidence, logical reasoning, contrary evidence
- If the purpose was to entertain, determine how emotions are affected: does it make you laugh, cry, angry? Why did it affect you?
SAMPLE OUTLINE FOR CRITICAL ESSAY
After the passage under analysis has been carefully studied, the critique can be drafted using this sample outline.
- I. Background information to help your readers understand the nature of the work
- A. Information about the work
- 1. Title
- 2. Author
- 3. Publication information
- 4. Statement of topic and purpose
- B. Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work
- II. Summary or description of the work
- III. Interpretation and/or evaluation
- A. Discussion of the work's organization
- B. Discussion of the work's style
- C. Effectiveness
- D. Discussion of the topic's treatment
- E. Discussion of appeal to a particular audience
Avoid introducing your ideas by stating "I think" or "in my opinion." Keep the focus on the subject of your analysis, not on yourself. Identifying your opinions weakens them.
Always introduce the work. Do not assume that because your reader knows what you are writing about, you do not need to mention the work's title.
Other questions to consider: Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns?
What about the subject matter is of current interest?
What is the overall value of the passage?
What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Support your thesis with detailed evidence from the text examined. Do not forget to document quotes and paraphrases.
Remember that the purpose of a critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty, or goodness of something.
Even though as a writer you set the standards, you should be open-minded, well informed, and fair. You can express your opinions, but you should also back them up with evidence.
Your review should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work, therefore requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.