Evaluation Argument paper

  • Length: 600-750 words/2-3 pages double-spaced (not including Works Cited) in MLA format, 12-point font, research required
  • Source limit: One (1) source minimum
  • Evaluation arguments rate their subjects on a scale from positive to negative. They make a claim about the quality of something. We can think them as answering the question “How good or bad is it?”
  • You must include a “Works Cited” page and use correct MLA format for in-text (parenthetical) citations.



  1. Evaluative claims argue that something is GOOD (or BAD) because it meets certain criteria.
  2. Use aesthetic, moral, and practical criteria for deciding how good or bad a text, a place, an artifact, or a policy is
  3. Evaluation arguments focus on what we value:
  • If your criteria do not appeal to the values of your audience, your readers will not feel that your evaluation is accurate.
  • Depending on your audience, you might use all three kinds of criteria, or you might focus more on one or two kinds.
  • Aesthetic, moral, practical (3 types of criteria)
  1. Criteria to consider when evaluating a short story
  • Setting:
  • Setting is a description of where and when the story takes place. In a short story there are fewer settings compared to a novel. The time is more limited. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • How is the setting created? Consider geography, weather, time of day, social conditions, etc.
  • What role does setting play in the story? Is it an important part of the plot or theme? Or is it just a backdrop against which the action takes place?


  • Characterization: dialogue, relatability, how human are they?
  • Well-Structured Plot: The main character should undergo some kind of change.
  • Conflict/Tension
  • Theme/Lesson/Message
  • Style








  1. Your thesis statement will look something like this:
  • – Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”/ Edwidge Danticat’s “New York Day Women” is a good/bad story because of X, Y, and Z.
  • X, Y, and Z are the criteria you will use to evaluate the story. Make sure you are as specific as possible