In a sense, an evaluation essay is very similar to a persuasive essay – both express the writer’s opinion on the subject matter and support it with relevant evidence. However, there is significant difference as well. The primary goal of a persuasive essay is to sway the reader’s opinion – the author tries to convince the reader that his/her point of view is the most valid one and often takes time to disprove alternative opinions on the subject. An evaluation essay is more level in tone – it simply expresses the author’s opinion, without positioning it as the only viable viewpoint. A good example of this approach is a review – in a sense, any review is an evaluation essay. A review (at least a good review) does not try to persuade the reader that the book or movie in question is good or bad, and it is the only right way to think about it. It simply says that the writer likes or dislikes the book/movie and explains why it is so.
When dealing with business studies, you have to produce something along the same lines. Of course, the question is not exactly whether you like or dislike a particular business practice, but what you think about it: is it, in your opinion, effective and viable or not. When writing, you should not be judgmental or quick to react – you simply have to show your take on the subject matter and explain why you perceive it this way.
In this guide, you will find a detailed description of every step you have to take to successfully complete such an assignment.
How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Business Studies: Before You Start
1. Determine a Topic
This is probably the most important and one of the most troublesome steps of writing an essay, both in business studies and in other disciplines. How well you manage to choose it determines how the rest of your work will go on. If you make a good choice, the rest of the process will go easy, and you will achieve better results while applying less effort and time.
Start with an area of interest – try to think about something related to the general area you are supposed to write about that you can feel genuinely interested in. When you write about something that has your whole-hearted attention, the results tend to be superior to the essays written about things that do not matter much to you. After you have determined what you want to write about, look for available sources of information on the subject. After all, even if you have a burning passion for a subject, it will not do you much good unless there is an existing body of research to build upon. After that, you can start focusing on a specific area. Eventually, you should arrive at something like this:
- Evaluation of How Changing Economic Situation in Japan Influenced the Competitiveness of Mitsubishi over the Last 20 Years;
- Evaluation of Target’s Online Marketing Campaign in 2010s;
- An Effective New Course or the Beginning of the End: Facebook’s Policies Over the Last 5 Years;
- Outsourcing to East Asia: Advantages and Drawbacks of the Practice;
- 4-Day Workweek: Positive and Negative Consequences of Adopting It.
2. Prepare a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a one-sentence statement that contains the main idea of the essay. It is different from the title or the topic of the essay because it denotes not what you are going to write about, but specifically what your opinion on the subject is. In other words, from reading the thesis statement your audience should be able to understand how you evaluate your subject matter. A thesis statement should be:
- Short – one medium-length sentence long;
- Specific – dealing with a single point. If you find it impossible to do without two or more points, you should further clarify your statement;
- Straightforward – it should not leave any room for ambiguity. There should not be two ways to understand what you say.
Try to write something like this: ‘Outsourcing peripheral activities of a business to the countries with lower average wages can ensure short-term growth and development but can lead to problems in future’.
3. Prepare an Outline
An outline is a short yet relatively detailed plan of your essay. Here you write down all the parts of your essay and what you intend to mention in them: how you will start the introduction, what kind of background information you will give, how many points you will cover in the main part of the essay and which points these will be and so on. How much details to use depends on your preference, but it is worth writing at least a couple of sentences for each essay part. Usually the structure of an evaluation essay follows this pattern:
- The first sentence or ‘hook’ to catch the reader’s attention and lead up to the topic;
- Background information – what the audience has to know to understand your evaluation of the subject matter;
- Thesis statement – see above;
- The main part consists of a few body paragraphs (how many depends on the essay size and the amount of detail you can or want to dedicate to each of them. Usually there are three to five of them). Body paragraphs are dedicated to the evaluation criteria – i.e., the aspects of the subject matter that you evaluate separately from each other. In case of, e.g., a business practice these may be its efficiency, associated costs, risks etc. The choice of criteria is probably one of the most important pieces of work you carry out – try to select a set that will both allow you to evaluate the subject matter from multiple positions and limit your evaluation to its most crucial aspects;
- The conclusion more or less mirrors the introduction: you once again introduce the primary idea of your thesis statement, refer to certain claims you made throughout the essay and point out why your evaluation is a valid one.
4. Do a Thorough Research
For your evaluation of the subject matter to be convincing, you have to carry out a thorough research of it. Depending on what you evaluate, this can be done either via field work or through the study of authoritative sources. The emphasis is on ‘authoritative’ – not all sources are equally valuable, especially those found on the Internet. When deciding whether to use a source or not, check it for:
- Authority (who the author is, whether he/she has relevant credentials, other published works on related topics, how often he/she is cited in peer-reviewed papers);
- Quality (how specific the information is, is it verifiable, are research methods well-explained);
- Objectivity (is the author biased?);
- Currency (is the source recent? It is especially important for business studies).
5. Write Down the Basics of Your Evaluation in an Easy-to-Perceive Form
Probably the easiest and most illustrative way to do it is a three-column table. Use the first column to list the criteria for evaluation you have chosen, the second one for the evidence relevant for each criterion, and the third to write down your boiled-down judgment on each criterion. This way you will be able to quickly refresh each point in your mind whenever you need.
How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Business Studies: Writing Tips
1. Give the Right Amount of Detail
Treat your audience as people who are well-educated in business studies in general but have only the most basic knowledge in the area under scrutiny. This will usually help you make the right decision as to how much and what detail you have to provide. Assume that you do not have to explain general terminology and principles used in the discipline, but go a bit deeper when you discuss your subject matter.
2. Remember the Nature of Your Essay
Although in an evaluation essay you are not expected to go out of your way to promote your point of view and disprove all the alternatives, remember that what you write is essentially a review, not a summary. You should not simply describe the subject under scrutiny, you are expected to evaluate it and give enough detail to justify your evaluation. Make sure your point of view is clear on every criterion.
3. Have a Strong Opinion
Perhaps business studies do not lend themselves very well for passionate expression of one’s opinions, but when writing an evaluation essay you should have a very clear and direct idea of whether you approve or disapprove of something. Do not hide behind half-hearted statements, take a strong stance and protect it.
4. Order Body Paragraphs in a Meaningful Way
There are many ways to make the arrangement of body paragraphs to work as a whole. You can start with the least important aspect and gradually move to the most important one, or vice versa. You may start with generalities and gradually move on to specifics. You may start with the most obvious criteria to judge and move on to something hidden from plain sight. You are free to choose any of these or other approaches, just make sure your arrangement is not random but follows an overarching pattern.
5. Provide Viable Proof
For each argument you make, you should provide relevant and viable proof. It may be a piece of statistics, a quotation from an authoritative source or something else along the same lines. Pay special attention to the issues on which you disagree with what most other people think – they will be under special scrutiny by those who read your essay.
How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Business Studies: Revising Your Text
1. Be Ready to Make Changes
Do not get too attached to the essay as it is. What you have written so far is but a first draft, and these often require vast alterations to bring them into shape. If something needs to be changed, do not try to get by with minor corrections. If it becomes obvious that you have to rewrite a part of the text for it to get better, do not hesitate to do it.
2. Set Your Essay Aside
Taking a break from the essay will help you look at it more objectively, preventing you from skipping over mistakes due to being too familiar with the text.
3. Get Feedback from Other People
What kind of feedback depends on whom you ask. If you know somebody who is exceptionally good at grammar, ask for input on this aspect. Ask others whether you managed to drive your point home effectively. As you already know what you are trying to say, it is pointless to judge how effective your own text is, so give it to somebody to read and ask whether your writing is persuasive, whether you cover all the important points and so on.
4. Try to Perceive Your Text in Its Entirety
Do you follow the line of reasoning introduced in the thesis statement? Do all your body paragraphs and criteria discussed in them promote this original point of view? Are individual parts of the essay properly connected to each other with transition words and phrases? Do the points follow each other in a logical and consistent way? Can they be better arranged otherwise?
5. Remove Redundancies and Irrelevancies
It is often said that you can shorten any first draft by half, and it will only benefit from it. So reread your essay carefully and ask yourself about every sentence and word: is it really necessary? Can you express the same idea in fewer words or sentences? Does this detail help you drive your point home? If you can do without something, remove it without pity, no matter how much you like your wording.
Although writing an evaluation essay in business studies is by no means an easy task, you can make your job significantly easier if you simply follow this guide. When you do not have to guess what your next step is, you can at least be sure you are not moving in the wrong direction.