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PARTS & SECTIONS

Click on any  part or section below:

Part I. Basics/Process

  A. Chapters 1-6: Start

  B. Ch. 7-13: Organize

  C. Ch. 14-20: Revise/Edit

Part II. College Writing

   D. Ch. 21-23: What Is It?

   E. Ch. 24-30: Write on Rdgs.

   F. Ch.31-35: Arguments

  G. Ch. 36-42: Research

  H. Ch. 43-48: Literature

   I.  Ch. 49-58: Majors & Work

Part III. Grammar 

   www.OnlineGrammar.org
 
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 Study Questions
     

 

                                                     

Chapter 29. EVALUATION

    

Introduction   Basics   Advanced   Samples   Activities

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Introduction to Evaluating

Note: This chapter has FIVE web pages--be sure to also read "Basics," Advanced," and "Samples" in this chapter. You may go to them by clicking on the links directly above, or in the right column.

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Welcome!

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. 

        

Definition of an Evaluation

An 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, an action, 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; etc. 

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 more effective.

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Writer's Goal or Assignment

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 evaluative opinion, 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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Summary/Outline of the Visual Structure

Here is a typical structure or organization for an evaluation.  More development of this structure is shown in the "Basics" section.
    

Organization of an Evaluation Paper

Unique Title 

       

THE READING, OVERALL
 EVALUATIVE OPINION,
and introductory details

       

Body Section 1: first evaluative guideline and supporting details

Body Section 2: second evaluative guideline and supporting details

Body Section 3: third evaluative guideline and supporting details

(Optional Body Sections 4-5:
fourth-fifth evaluative
guidelines and supporting details)

       

THE READING, OVERALL
 EVALUATIVE CONCLUSION,
and concluding details

       

Bibliography

Jones, A.J. Book One, et al.

Smith, B.K. Book Two, et al.

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Focusing Methods

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?   

FIRST & SECOND DRAFTS: Start with one or two methods that work best for you, but develop the others in later drafts.

  1. Read critically: take your text apart so that you understand its contents and structure thoroughly (see "How to Read Critically"). 

  2. Free-write: write as much as you can quickly on what you know about your text or your viewpoint(s).

  3. Gather details: 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 experiences.

  4. Write for your audience: visualize it.  What details does it need to take seriously your thoughts?

  5. Organize: make an outline using the structure above or whatever structure your instructor suggests.

  6. Research: if required, mix research of your evaluative ideas with the above methods to develop a first draft during your research.

STYLE, 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 author's opinions.

AUTHENTICITY: Be as real and meaningful as 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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Section E.
Responding to Reading

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Chapter 29. Evaluation:

Introduction

Basics

Advanced

Samples

Activities
           

                    

Related Chapters/Pages:

Critical Thinking

Research Writing

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 Related Links in
OnlineGrammar.org:

  3. Thinking & Reading

12. Types of Papers

14. Online Readings

16. Research Writing

 In 16: "Evaluating Web Sites"

 

Updated 1 Aug. 2013

  

   

 

WritingforCollege.org also is at CollegeWriting.info and WforC.org

Natural URL: www.tc.umn.edu/~jewel001/CollegeWriting/home.htm
Previous editions: Writing for School & Work, 1984-1998; CollegeWriting.info, 1998-2012
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