While many evaluative essays are based primarily on the opinion of the person writing the evaluation, it’s important for an author to find ways to bolster his/her authority or ethos in the paper. Remember, one of the ways to increase an author’s credibility is to use quotes or examples from credible sources. In addition, including facts and statistics can be a great way to support some arguments using a logical appeal.
Remember that each reason should be supported by solid evidence. Quantitative evidence is evidence that can be measured, like the fuel economy of a car. Qualitative evidence is based on values, beliefs, and emotions—like buying a car because it is better for the environment. In any case, you must be specific. Simply saying that a car has great fuel economy is not enough. You must give the exact miles per gallon to show your audience that your claim is supported.
The following video explains the difference between quantitative and qualitative data and explains how a restaurant might use both kinds of data for improving their restaurant:
Clearly, gathering supporting evidence isn’t just for writing essays–it’s a skill you might need throughout your life. Evidence can not only strengthen the argument section of your paper, but it can also help to support your background and counterarguments sections. Finding a source that can do all three is a great way to economize your time.
So, what is the best place to search for a source for your Evaluative essay?
If you are writing about a restaurant or a business, their website could be a treasure trove of information that can help you provide support for many parts of your essay. For example, a restaurant’s website might include the restaurant’s location, menu, and history, which can help inform your background paragraph, as well as provide evidence throughout your paper. If a restaurant doesn’t have a website, try looking for a social media site. Often a site like Facebook will contain a plethora of information, as well.
For a product, it may be possible to find a website. If you can’t find a website for the specific product, perhaps you can find the website for the brand. (ie Apple vs iPhone) If not, consumer review sites can be a great source of information. Edwards or Kelley Blue Book, for example, provide details about different vehicles.
Expert & Customer Reviews
As the video demonstrates, people depend on customer reviews to help them make decisions about purchasing products and services. Pulling in additional opinions can help you provide evidence for your points, as well as strengthen your credibility as a reviewer.
Quoting from a well-known expert, for example, shows your audience that your opinions are supported by others who are experts. Likewise, including quotes from other customer reviewers from a site like Yelp might also help to make your argument more authoritative by showing that other customers agree with your perspective.
Content created by Dr. Karen Palmer and licensed under CC BY NC.