How to Write an Evaluation Essay (2019 Guide)

evaluation essay
  • Published Date: March 7, 2018

The evaluation essay is written to assess the quality of an object.  This can be a work of art, a business plan, a scholarly essay, an experience, an advertisement or virtually anything else out there.

The aim of the evaluation is not to give your own personal opinion on the topic but rather to be as objective as possible in your judgment of the item at hand.  Identify its strengths and weaknesses, make a list of what it does well; or consider what one should expect from it, how it compares to others, or what effects it has on an audience.

How you approach your essay will depend on your topic.  And, as always, our writers are standing by to provide you with a customized model essay that you can use when you go to craft your own.

What is an Evaluation Essay?

An evaluation essay is an assessment.  Like any other essay, it should have a thesis—i.e., the main idea you will be conveying.  The thesis should focus on highlighting the key concepts that your evaluation will approach.  These concepts are the criteria that you choose to select.  The criteria should tell something definite about the topic.

For instance, if you are writing an evaluation essay about a movie, the criteria you might select to evaluate may be:  the film’s plot, framing, editing, acting, and so on.  If you are evaluating a website, your criteria might be:  the layout of the site, navigation options, how easy it is to use, whether it fulfills an objective, etc.  In the evaluation essay, you highlight the most important aspects of the object, and then compare it to the ideal.

For instance, say you are evaluating a political cartoon.  Political cartoons are meant to be satirical, sharp, critical and insightful.  You will judge the cartoon according to the standards of the political cartoon genre.  You will assess how well it achieves what is expected of it—and you will do so without giving your own personal opinion, instead relying on facts and careful observation and consideration.


The purpose of the evaluation essay is to give an objective critique of a subject by reviewing its qualities, style and characteristics and assessing its overall impact on an audience.  The point is to apply a value to the object with regard to how well it meets a set of criteria.

How to Write an Evaluation Essay

The first thing to do is to take a good, long look at your subject.  Don’t start writing until you have had time to immerse yourself in it.  Consider what is going on with your topic, how it is working, what it is designed to do, and how well it is actually achieving its objective.  In order to really determine its success, you have to be familiar with other similar objects that are like it.  If it’s a movie, you should know how other films of the same genre operate.  If it is a business, you should be aware of what other similar businesses are doing.

Start off the essay by identifying your subject and stating the criteria that you will use to evaluate it.  In your introduction, describe the expectations an audience would normally associate with the type of subject you are evaluating.  In your thesis statement, declare what it is you will do in your essay and how you will do it.

In the body of your essay, you will evaluate your subject according to the criteria identified in your introduction.  For a standard-size essay, focus on at least three standards, qualities or characteristics and designate a paragraph to each one.

In your conclusion, summarize your evaluation and give a final pronouncement on the value of your subject.  Let your audience know in no unspecific terms just how good or bad, based on the standards used in your essay, your subject truly is.


To format your evaluation essay, simply go with the basic five-paragraph model.  However, if you’re aiming to make your evaluation longer, consider dividing it into sections using headings and sub-headings—that way you’ll be able to devote more words to each of the qualities and characteristics you’ve selected for your criteria.

So for shorter evaluation essays, use the five-paragraph format:  an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.  For longer evaluation essays, go with the use of headings and subheadings.

Evaluation Argument Essay

Let’s say you need to argue a point in your evaluation essay.  No worries!  Use your thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph to state your argument.  For example, if you are evaluating the practice of vaping, you should first set your criteria (safety, cost, utility), and then state your argument in your thesis:

Vaping is safer, less expensive, and more practical than smoking cigarettes and for those reasons it is a recommended practice for traditional smokers trying to break an old habit.

The thesis lets the reader know what your paper will be about and what it will do.  Without a thesis, your essay can seem directionless and purposeless.  It is always a good idea to state your thesis explicitly when you are making an argument.

The thesis sets the stage for the rest of the paper.  It acts as the North Star for the essay.  It directs each succeeding paragraph, each of which should point back to the thesis in some way, shape or form.  So if, for instance, your thesis is that McDonald’s is a great fast food restaurant based on whatever criteria you’ve selected, the rest of your essay’s paragraphs should go to support that argument.

Evaluation Essay Outline

The outline is an important step in any paper—especially for an evaluation essay.  It helps to give you a map of where to take your essay, and it’s a great way to organize your thoughts as well.  Start off your outline with an introduction:  identify your topic, your criteria, and your thesis statement.  In the body of the outline, section out the main points that you will focus on to support your thesis.  Finally, wrap it up with a conclusion that reiterates the main idea and supplies the verdict.

Outline Example

I.  Introduction

a.  Vaping is the new alternative to smoking, so how does it rate?

b.  Some of the biggest issues with this product are: safety, cost and utility.

c.  This paper will evaluate vaping with respect to safety, cost and utility to show that it should be the preferred method to traditional smoking.

II.  Body

a.  Safety

i.  Vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes according to the British government.

ii.  For that reason it is a much safer alternative to cigarettes.

iii.  Vaping also produces no harmful second-hand smoke

b.  Cost

i.  Vaping is inexpensive

ii.  A vape pen can be purchased for as low as $20.

iii.  E-juice and coils can be purchased for less than a carton of cigarettes and last twice as long

c.  Utility

i.  Vaping has more utility in today’s health-conscious environment

ii.  Cigarettes are being banned in many places, so vaping is a welcome alternative

iii.  People can vape indoors where cigarette smoking is illegal

III.  Conclusion

a.  Vaping is a quality alternative to smoking that should be embraced all people

b.  It is cost-efficient, safe, and practical

Grading Rubric

A helpful grading rubric for this type of essay should include the following:


  1. Introduction identifies the topic of the paper, lists the criteria, and includes a thesis statement.
  2. Each paragraph has a topic sentence.
  3. The body paragraphs support the main idea of the paper.
  4. The conclusion summarizes the main points and restates the thesis in different words.


  1. The paper is informative and factual and is supported by good sources
  2. The writer demonstrates a good knowledge of the subject
  3. The paper is unique and creative
  4. The evaluation is thorough

Language and Grammar

  1. The paper shows a strong command of the English language
  2. The writer uses varied sentence structure throughout
  3. The writer’s usage of grammar is correct
  4. The writer exhibits few errors in terms of syntax, punctuation, and spelling


  1. The essay is free of personal opinion
  2. All arguments are supported facts and/or sources that back up the statements
  3. The paper is fair and balanced in its evaluation
  4. The criteria selected appropriately and adequately represent the values, qualities and characteristics of the subject

Evaluation Essay Topics

  • Evaluate a play by William Shakespeare
    • Criteria: Plot, characters, humor, tension, resolution
  • Evaluate a film
    • Criteria: Themes, genre, music, editing, story, execution
  • Evaluate a sculpture by Michelangelo
    • Criteria: Symmetry, line, subject, style
  • Evaluate a business
    • Criteria: Strengths, weaknesses, market share, guidance
  • Evaluate a social trend
    • Criteria: Objective, staying power, influence, roots
  • Evaluate a car
    • Criteria: Horsepower, exterior design, interior design, safety, gas mileage
  • Evaluate a video game
    • Criteria: Engagement, easy to play, challenge, multi-player
  • Evaluate a home
    • Criteria: Foundation, roof, rooms, electric, plumbing, acreage
  • Evaluate a class
    • Criteria: Subject, teaching method used, assessments, degree of challenge
  • Evaluate a university
    • Criteria: Programs offered, reputation, percentage of graduates who obtain jobs in the workforce, professors, campus, whether online learning is offered
  • Evaluate a job
    • Criteria: Place of employment, perks, bosses, colleagues, nature of the work
  • Evaluate an artistic performance
    • Criteria: Audience, compelling subject matter, execution
  • Evaluate a restaurant
    • Criteria: Food, service, atmosphere, price, driving distance
  • Evaluate a hotel
    • Criteria: Comfort, ambiance, locale, cost, attractions
  • Evaluate an advertisement
    • Criteria: Engaging, effective, good use of materials, convincing
  • Evaluate a piece of political satire
    • Criteria: Subject, approach, style, execution
  • Evaluate a product
    • Criteria: How well it works, price, utility, how it compares to competition
  • Evaluate a painting
    • Criteria: Subject, style, tone, line, place in the art world
  • Evaluate a candidate for political office
    • Criteria: Stance on issues, past experience, reputation, following
  • Evaluate a work of scholarship
    • Criteria: References, perspective, uniqueness of approach
  • Evaluate a cell phone service
    • Criteria: Data plan, price, whether a contract is required
  • Evaluate a leader:
    • Criteria: Leadership style, demonstrations, achievements
  • Evaluate a speech:
    • Criteria: Purpose, how compelling it is, whether it stays on topic and addresses all the main points
  • Evaluate the reasons for the Iraq War:
    • Criteria: Necessity, threat level, national security
  • Evaluate a business model:
    • Criteria: Mission, vision, target market, product or service
  • Evaluate a stock:
    • Criteria: P/E, market cap, market share, debt levels, cash flow
  • Evaluate a piece of legislation:
    • Criteria: Purpose, importance, context, whether it addresses the issue sufficiently
  • Evaluate a hospital:
    • Criteria: Nurses, physicians, service, wait time, technology, accommodations
  • Evaluate a fashion line:
    • Criteria: Attractiveness, affordability, statement, concept
  • Evaluate a philosophy:
    • Criteria: Principles, purpose, application, effectiveness

Evaluation Essay Example


Evaluating the Practice of Vaping

There is a new alternative to smoking that has hit the industry in recent years:  vaping.  Unlike with traditional cigarettes, which require one to burn dried tobacco leaves along with tar and other chemicals that can harm one’s lungs and body, vaping simply requires a battery, a coil, and water-based e-juice, which has none of the tar or other toxic substances found in cigarettes.  E-juice can come with or without nicotine, to help people quit smoking.  And it has none of the second hand smoke associated with cigarettes, as all that is exhaled by a person who vapes is a cloud of water vapor.  The criteria of safety, cost, and utility will be used in this essay to evaluate the practice of vaping.  This essay will show how and why vaping is safer, less expensive, and more practical than smoking cigarettes, and why it is a recommended practice for those in need of a better alternative to smoking.

The first thing to know about vaping is that when you vape, you aren’t really inhaling vapors.  Vapors are gas fumes, and inhaling them can destroy one’s lungs rather quickly.  Instead, when one vapes, one atomizes a liquid substance that is then inhaled in place of the burning tobacco and tar found in traditional cigarettes.  For this reason, researchers have shown that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes (Public Health England, 2015).  The ingredients in e-juice, which is what is vaporized in a vape pen, are:  propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin—and both are recognized by the FDA as generally safe ingredients for consumers (On Vaping, 2018).  Then there are flavors that are added to make the water-based e-juice more palatable and these are non-toxic—unlike the chemicals and tar that are found in most cigarettes.  Nicotine can be added to e-juice to help wean smokers off cigarettes—but you can also buy e-juice without it.  Nonetheless, while nicotine can constrict blood vessels, it has not been found to have a long-term negative effect on health—so even if one chooses to opt for a nicotine-infused e-juice, this alone won’t cause any permanent harm.  Additionally, because there is no tobacco used in vaping, there is no second-hand smoke—so it can’t harm the lungs of those around the person vaping.

Vaping is also inexpensive.  For roughly $20-$30, one can buy a starter kit that includes a vape pen, coils, charger and e-juice.  These kits can be purchased locally from brick and mortar retailers in one’s neighborhood, or they can be purchased online from e-commerce retailers.  There are many varieties of kits and vaporizers, and people can upgrade or downgrade as they see fit.  In effect, it is all about finding a vape pen that accommodates one’s lifestyle.  If one is going to vape a lot, a larger vaporizer or atomizer would be the thing to get.  If one is only going to vape a little, a smaller pen will work just fine.  Over time, the only things that need to be replenished are the coils and juice and these can be obtained for roughly the cost of a couple packs of cigarettes—and they will last longer, too.  Plus, as one does not have to rely upon tobacco when vaping, one can be a DIY-er (do-it-yourself) and make one’s own e-juice right at home.  This can even save additional costs.  Vaping is thus a good way to save some money but still enjoy the comforts associated with the process of inhaling and exhaling deeply.

Finally, vaping has more utility in today’s health conscious environment.  Unlike cigarettes, vape pens are much more acceptable in many bars and pubs where traditional smoking has been banned by law.  Vaping is an accepted practice in many establishments where smoking is prohibited because vaping doesn’t cause clothes to stink or negatively affect others’ health.  Vaping is thus a much more practical way to socialize and recreate responsibly.  It is more socially accepted among one’s peers; a vape pen can easily be carried in one’s pocket, and it can be used in board rooms, meeting places, restaurants, bars, malls and any other indoors facility where smoking is illegal.  Vaping can help people calm their nerves without having to go outside and endure the elements—the cold, the wind, the rain—with smokers who have yet to quit traditional tobacco cigarettes.  Vaping is the utilitarian solution to the problem of smoking.

In conclusion, vaping is a new form of “smoking” that actually does not involve smoking at all.  Nor does it really involve vapors or any gas.  The byproduct is a vape cloud—i.e., a water-based mist that has no harmful chemicals in it.  Vaping itself is safe, cheap and practical. People who used to smoke can vape to find the answer they need to their smoking habit.  Vaping is a quality alternative to smoking that should be embraced all people, as it costs less than cigarettes.  For people who have been smoking all their lives, the practice of vaping presents itself as a practical solution:  it carries none of the risks associated with smoking and is much more accepted by society than the practice of smoking cigarettes.  Vape pens are not very expensive and can be purchased virtually anywhere—from brick and mortar stores to online retailers.


On Vaping.  (2018).  E-juice and you.  Retrieved from

Public Health England.  (2015).  E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review.  Retrieved from


The evaluation essay is a chance to take a look at something and state why it works or why it doesn’t.  Whether you are evaluating a business or novel, a film or a speech, your evaluation should be objective and based on an appropriate set of criteria that can be used to assess the quality and worth of your subject.

If you would like some assistance developing your evaluation essay, give our custom essay service a try.  Our writers specialize in developing 100% original model essays that students can use to guide their own work.  Model essays are terrific ways for students to learn how to craft a great paper.

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4 Tips to Remember:

  1. Identify your subject
  2. List your criteria
  3. State your thesis (what you will argue)
  4. Support your evaluation with facts and objective observations—not your opinion
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