You would want to downplay practical criteria like cost, especially if your roommate’s budget requires that he usually dine on Ramen noodles instead of sushi. Understand How Evaluation Arguments Work Evaluation arguments set out criteria and then judge something to be good or bad or best or worst according to those criteria. 000200010270568399_CH08_p196-241.pdf:000200010270568399_CH08_p196-241.pdf 11/5/10 3:22 PM Page 199
200 CHAPTER 8 EVALUATIONS Your readers may be unfamiliar with what you are evaluating. Give your readers a brief description. The importance of many criteria may not be evident to your readers. You may need to state explicitly each criterion you use and explain why it is relevant. Be honest about the strengths and weaknesses of what you are eval- uating. Rarely is anything perfectly good or absolutely bad. Your credibility will increase if you give a balanced view. Back up your claims with specific evidence. If you write that a restaurant serves inedible food, describe examples in detail. Criteria for visual evaluations may require additional work to define and explain. Keys to evaluations Describe briefly your subject Explain your criteria Be fair Support your judgments with evi- dence Define criteria for visual evaluations Who would disagree with me? What is the most engaging way to begin? What is the most effective way to end? Consider other views. Has anyone evaluated your subject before? What criteria did they use? For example, you might hate horror movies because they give you bad dreams, but many other people love them. You should consider why they have such a strong following. Start fast. You may have to give some background but get quickly to your subject. Finish strong. If you have not announced your stance, then you can make your summary evaluation. If your readers know where you stand, you might end with a compelling example. Components of evaluations 000200010270568399_CH08_p196-241.pdf:000200010270568399_CH08_p196-241 11/8/10 9:47 AM Page 200
201 WRITING TO EVALUATE Working Together • Look at a selection of short, amateur online reviews, such as customer book reviews at Amazon.com, consumer reviews on a site like Epinions.com, or user comments on a film at . • Select several examples of reviews that you think are persuasive and several that are not (see if you can find some persuasive reviews that you don’t necessarily agree with). Share these with the rest of your group. • As a group, discuss the following: What criteria do reviewers of similar products share? What types of criteria do the persuasive reviews use? What types do the less persuasive reviews use? Do you see any patterns that make reviews persuasive? In a group of three or four students What makes an effective review? 000200010270568399_CH08_p196-241.pdf:000200010270568399_CH08_p196-241.pdf 11/5/10 3:22 PM Page 201
202 CHAPTER 8 EVALUATIONS Explore Current Issues What makes a video game “smart”? Both fans and detractors of the “Grand Theft Auto” game series know it to be extremely violent; the goal of each game in the series is essentially to use any means necessary to rise to the top of the criminal underworld of a familiar, yet fictional futuristic city. Critics of the game
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