Writing Evaluative Essays

Tips and advice for Writing Evaluation Essays.

Evaluation is an important component of an advanced essay.

Evaluation is a difficult skill because it requires more than simple analysis and explanation. Evaluation requires the ability to look at facts, arguments and analysis, with a degree of critical distance. To explain the meaning of evaluation it is most helpful to give different examples of what evaluation can involve.

1. How Reliable is the Data?

For any essay, you will be using a variety of sources. For example, an essay on trades unions, may include information from the TUC. It is good to give data from a source like TUC. However, a valid evaluation technique is to question the reliability and independence of your source.

For example, it is quite likely that the TUC will choose statistics that are more advantageous to workers. Business organisations on the other hand, are likely to give alternative sets of date.

Therefore, examine the likelihood of bias in data and resources for the essay.

2. Short Run and Long Run?

The effects of a decision can be quite different in the long run. For example, suppose you had an essay, which examined the impact of an increase in tax on petrol. The obvious answer is to say: "very little, demand for petrol is inelastic"

However, it would be evaluative to say; "However, over time demand may become more elastic. After a couple of years people may find alternative ways of driving.

3. It depends on other factors.

When looking at the effect of one outcome, it is worth bearing in mind it is often difficult to isolate other factors. For example, if we were looking at the impact of a rise in interest rates. The effect would usually reduce consumer spending. However, there are many other factors that can affect consumer spending. If confidence was high, for example, consumer spending may not fall at all.

4. Look at both Points of View.

In subjects like economics, history and politics there are usually several different viewpoints. It is important to give them all consideration, even if we don't necessarily agree with them. For example, if we look at the impact of a rise in government spending, a Keynesian might say this will increase growth; a Monetarist, on the other hand, may argue higher spending merely causes crowding out. Therefore, there are 2 different possibilities.


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Perma Link | By: T Pettinger | Tuesday, May 15, 2007
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Anonymous Nina Crawford said...

Another great article! It is also a good idea, when judging the reliability of sources, to question the pulication date for the data given as this can effect accuracy of information. Other than that, I think you've pretty much covered it all!


June 1, 2008 5:11 PM  

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