Evaluating writing

What is the value of this? How is this important?

In evaluating writing you have to make some sort of a judgement, often about what other writers are saying. This is different from the kind of judgement you might make in daily life, for example, 'That was a good film'. You have to evaluate different positions, perspectives or points of view. You have to do more than say, for example, 'This is a false argument' or 'This is wrong'; you have to give reasons for your judgement.

Evaluating may involve writing about how different positions suggest certain attitudes or omit some crucial information, weighing up one against the other. It is important to remember that in order to evaluate in university writing you have to be analytical. As with all these different kinds of writing, what you actually have to do varies between courses and subject areas, as we elaborated in Chapter 3.

Here is an example of analysis and evaluation from an essay on the 'concept of the family unit' as it is applied to problems of old age:

There are several disadvantages to using 'the family' as the focus of an explanation for the problems of old age. Firstly, not everyone lives in a family. Secondly, there are now many different forms of families, so generalizations made about the traditional nuclear family are not applicable to all. The consequence of this is that families are expected to behave in ways that do not match reality and they may be blamed for problems connected with old age that they cannot control.

This writer uses analysis in order to evaluate accounts of the problems of old age that are based on the concept of the family unit. You will notice that the analysis is not centrally about the problems of old age but about how these problems are addressed from a particular perspective and position specifically related to the idea of the family unit.

0 0

Post a comment