The purpose of this type of essay is to form a judgment on ideas, plans, media, places, services, etc. that is
based on criteria. An informed opinion is crucial to the development of this essay; therefore, organize,
establish and develop criteria that will present a substantial analysis and evaluation of your viewpoint.
Remember to provide background information on the medium that is being evaluated. Do not assume
everyone will know about your subject. Make sure that the thesis statement is clear and that the main
points, developed throughout the body paragraphs in the essay, support your judgment with reasons and
examples. Use facts, statistics, and authoritative resources to support the judgment you are making.
Things to Consider for Establishing Criteria:
Purpose: What is the purpose of the medium you are evaluating? Does it achieve its intended purpose or
does the manner in which it is being presented detract from its intended goal? Is there a different purpose
other than the one originally intended? Some mediums do not hide their purposes, while others conceal an
Intended audience: Who is the product, advertisement, or idea trying to appeal to? What characteristics do
these people share that make them specific targets for the medium you are evaluating? Do the mediums
reflect their intended audience? Various kinds of media are often used to target an audience that shares
common tastes, beliefs or preferences.
Look for biased opinions: Whom does the point of view belong to? Are all sides of the issue being
presented? Is the medium reflecting its subject(s) appropriately? Are there stereotypes or generalizations?
Is the medium based on authoritative and reliable information? Often products or various media are
presented in a way that will make a person believe there is only “one side of the story.” A reliable source is
one that allows its audience to view various aspects, issues, and sides to what is being presented.
Techniques: How is the medium presented? What techniques are being used to influence people’s
opinions? Are emotional appeals (“jumping on the bandwagon”- everyone else is doing it, why not you?;
loaded language- excessive use of negative or positive words used for persuasion; snob appeal- celebrity
endorsed mediums, etc.) being used?
Examples of Possible Topics:
Print Media: newspapers, books, magazines, posters, photographs, art
Broadcast and Film: television programs, commercials, movies, documentaries, radio programs, songs
Live Performances: theater productions, concerts, lectures, stand up comedy
Electronic Media: government websites, search engines, personal homepages, travel search engines, chain
restaurant website, on-line magazines
Services: restaurant, salon, department stores, bookstores, medical services
Politics: democracy, socialism, communism, capitalism, globalization, treaties, free-trade agreements
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