You’ve just been assigned a project to evaluate a restaurant. An evaluation essay is like an opinion piece, so you should express your opinion, right? Not exactly. Opinion pieces are biased. Evaluation pieces, ideally, are not.
“Though an evaluation essay encourages injecting some opinion, it should not be opinionated! A good evaluation essay is aimed at discussing the quality of the product or service, remaining unbiased and reasoned”, says EssayShark in the book, Essay Becomes Easy Part I Analysis * Persuasive * Classification * Evaluation Reflective * Narrative * Compare and Contrast Essays.
Let’s look at EssayShark’s ten steps to writing an A-class evaluation paper:
Step 1: Brainstorm.
“Brainstorm subjects to write about. Choose a topic that is close to your experiences, interests, and values. It will help you to establish evaluation criteria and develop an opinion about the topic” (Essayshark, 2017)
Try brainstorming your ideas on whiteboards or cue cards or sticky notes. Plus, generate even more ideas by researching book indexes, Wikipedia, and Google. The more ideas you generate from the get-go, the more power you’ll have when narrowing your focus.
But what topic should you evaluate?
If you get assigned a topic, you won’t need to worry about choosing one, although you might need to narrow it down.
But if you’ve got freedom, then check out the following choices of topic:
- “Performances: play, concert, movie, fashion show, sporting event, advertising campaign
- Experiences: store, restaurant, club, event, vacation, studying program
- Products: website, album, book, technological device, clothing brand, luxury item
- Places: park, museum, zoo, unique building, concert venue, sports stadium” (ibid).
One of these topics may work well as your evaluation essay focus.
Step 2: “Establish criteria for evaluation”
In other words, consider what makes for an awesome movie, restaurant, music concert, etcetera. But try not to be opinionated in your evaluation.
For instance, you could evaluate a movie or restaurant by using these criteria:
- “Movie: plot, scenery, cast, directing, score, humor, actors’ professionalism, etc.
- Restaurant: atmosphere, service quality, food, price, value, and taste” (ibid).
Predetermine what makes for perfect service, price, and taste, and compare that with the reality.
Step 3: “Judge the subject”
“Judgment is the detection of places where the criterion is not met” (ibid)
To judge a burger restaurant, ask yourself, do the burgers taste delightful, or do they lead to tummy aches? You’ll need to be careful in your evaluation. To be clear, a friend of mine craves fast-food burgers. Burgers go down like cake for her. But for me, fast-food burgers give me serious heartburn. They even can cause me fatigue and nausea. To avoid bias, my friend might want to mention this flipside.
Step 4: “Look for supporting evidence”
“Look for supporting evidence. Support your judgment with relevant facts, materials, and the results of your own investigation. It will back up your opinion and make your position stronger. For instance, if you indicate that the analyzed restaurant does not provide a high-quality service, you will need to find and use many representative examples to show how this judgment was formed” (ibid).
You could suggest the burgers are unhealthy. You could support this by saying they contain 50% trans fat, and trans fat, according to a health website, boosts the risk of heart disease. You could also say the mayonnaise topping contributes to poor health, too, citing a medical report. You could also cite health issues caused by high sodium intake.
But you don’t just want stats. You could also sample your family’s views on after effects, such as heartburn or increased energy.
But before you craft your evaluation essay, ask your prof how many citations he or she wants. It could be the case that your prof wants no citations, just your experiences. Or it could be the case your prof wants lots of citations. I’d suggest a balance, but it’s best to always hedge.
Step 5: “Transform it all into an essay”
“Write down the most important ideas found in the result of your evaluation” (ibid)
When evaluating the restaurant, unearth as many arguments as you can find. That way, you can readily find clusters that make up themes. Try not to discard ideas; Ideas you may have deemed insignificant can end up serving a larger role.
Writing the evaluation essay tops up the fun.
Step 6: “Create an informative introduction”
“In an evaluation essay, the introduction paragraph should grab readers’ attention and provide background to the topic. For instance, if you evaluate the restaurant, you may dedicate the introduction to its history, founders, customer satisfaction rates, and overall popularity of the place” (ibid).
You can often find this information on the company website. If not, you could always contact the owner, senior manager, or head office. Many companies are willing to lend a hand, especially if you let them read your completed evaluation essay. It’s free marketing research for them.
The intro holds the insider view.
Step 7: “Come up with an effective thesis sentence”
Your thesis statement should pack the punch.
“A powerful thesis sentence should present the opinion and list several arguments to support it. Example: McDonald’s has the reputation of a high-quality time-saving fast food restaurant: prices are respective to value, the atmosphere is fun and friendly, food is tasty and original, and the quality of the service is consistently high” (ibid).
But you don’t have to be all gung-ho either. You could highlight the strengths plus the weaknesses. For instance, your thesis could say something like “Burger Boos has varied flavors, reasonable prices, personalized service, and a family-friendly ambiance, but loses ground when it comes to short- and long-term health impacts.”
Step 8: “Develop supporting arguments in the main body”
“Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence …. An example of the topic sentence: McDonald’s does not offer the lowest price, but it provides a high value for its price spectrum” (ibid).
Once you write your topic sentence, support it with evidence.
Quotes, facts, statistics, comparisons, impressions, and so much more could help substantiate your arguments. Try to mix more than one type of supporting evidence within each body paragraph. This diversity of support will make your argument appear more credible. Argue your point-of-view with solid support.
Step 9: “Sum it all up in a conclusion”
“Restate your thesis statement once again and make your readers feel that they have visited the restaurant with you. Encourage them to agree with the results of your evaluation and briefly summarize the main ideas highlighted in the body paragraphs” (ibid).
Always remember your audience. I often get sidetracked, thinking my audience is me. But the more I speak to you, loving you as my dearest friend, the better my writing becomes.
Somehow, in evaluation papers, we need to persuade the range of people reading our writing: namely, our professors. Absurd as it may seem, it might help to hang by our desk-sides a picture of our professor, along with a short description. The picture and description comprise what is called a persona. Marketers use personas to better focus on customer needs. Similarly, personas help us focus on our professor’s needs.
Conclude like you’re saying goodbye to an intellectual and proper best friend.
Step 10: “Proofread and edit the paper”
“Focus on the tone, writing style, order of developing arguments, overall persuasiveness and reliability of the paper. Identify potential grammatical and spelling mistakes and correct them. Check your paper for plagiarism and omit any accusations of academic misconduct” (ibid).
A+ papers generally have no spelling errors and no grammatical issues. So, set aside a week or more to edit your completed draft. Let two to three days pass in between each edit. That way, you keep the information fresh.
That wraps up the ten steps to writing an evaluation essay. So, what do you think of fast-food burger restaurants? And how can you support you’re A+ views?