ENGLISH 1100 – COMPOSITION i
WRITING PROJECT 2 – Evaluating a Text Using Criteria and Sources
Page length: 4 pages (750 words minimum) plus 1-page (250 words minimum) writer’s reflection
Grade value: 20%
Topic: For this writing project, you will select a restaurant or packaged food item to evaluate. Through your evaluation, you will be exploring and supporting a claim based on criteria. What are criteria? They are standards by which something can be judged.
When you go to a restaurant, it is likely that you evaluate it by common standards such as service, cleanliness, food quality, cost, location, and menu options. You may find that the food quality, menu options and cleanliness all exceed your expectations, but the cost is overly expensive and the location is not convenient to people living in the city. That evaluation then determines the likelihood you will return to the restaurant. You may claim that that restaurant is worth a trip to the suburbs to experience unique French cuisine. Or perhaps you may claim that given the high prices and long commute, the restaurant may not be priority destination for most city dwellers who can easily find other similar restaurants nearby.
When you buy your groceries, it is likely you evaluate each item by common standards such as taste, cost, ingredients, packaging, freshness, and brand. Choosing some of these criteria for your evaluation, you may claim that the Kroger brand milk is something you no longer buy as they now offer a Simple Truth organic milk that meets your desire for organic, affordable milk in a non-plastic container.
In addition to these typical criteria for evaluating restaurants or food items, this evaluation essay will require you to consider other criteria related to environmental sustainability.
• Where do the ingredients come from? (source)
• How and where were the ingredients grown/processed? Does that affect cost, quality, or sustainability in any way? (production)
• Do they use non-renewable resources and/or renewable resources?
• What amount of raw materials and/or energy are needed to produce food items?
• What is the restaurant’s or food item’s water use impact?
• How much pollution is produced during cultivation, production, transportation, serving, etc.?
• What is the cost to grow and cost to consumers?
• What purchasing policies does the restaurant/company have?
• Does the restaurant/company use disposable, recyclable, and/or reusable goods (including packaging)? Do they recycle?
• Are any bi-products or waste created?
• Does the restaurant/company have work practices that affect human health and/or environment?
Criteria Selection: You will select three to five criteria by which to evaluate your restaurant or food item. At least one of the criteria must be related to environmental sustainability in some way (either an item from the list above or a combination of items representing the topic of environmental sustainability). You may also evaluate your restaurant or food item solely based on criteria related to environmental sustainability, if you choose.
Criteria Judgments: You will determine what your judgment is for each of the criterion you are using for your evaluation. In most cases, you will include both positive and negative judgments.
Supporting Evidence: You will use detailed description, facts, examples, testimony, statistics, personal experience, and any other type of evidence as support for your criteria judgments and thesis. Much of this evidence will be gathered through your observations of the restaurant or food item. Some of this evidence will be gathered through the use of two secondary sources.
Research: To further support your observations of the restaurant/food item, you will find two sources that provide evidence supporting your judgments about the criteria you have used in your evaluation. Research sources might include restaurant/company websites, online reviews, personal interviews, articles or books related to your criteria topics, and many others.
Format: Type and double-space your essay with one-inch margins and save as a Word file. Include a title along with your name, the date, the course, and the assignment at the topic of the first page. Page numbers should be in MLA format in the upper right corner of the page (last name and page number). See p. 540 in your Norton Field Guide for a sample essay in MLA format. You should include a works cited page listing your two sources as the last page of your writing project. See p. 547 for format example and the blue MLA section in your Field Guide for reference information on what to include in these citations.
• Introduction – Create initial interest in your essay by developing an interesting introduction. You might ask a series of questions, provide an interesting quotation, use an anecdote, startle the readers with surprising remarks or facts, define an important concept, share a detailed description, etc. After you have accomplished getting the reader interested, then you can provide thesis.
• Supporting Material – an evaluation essay shares with your readers your text (the restaurant or food item you selected) and the criteria by which you evaluated it. Most writers will choose to organize their essays by criteria, with each section of the essay devoted to a particular criterion. Share with your audience the evidence you found through observations and secondary sources that led you to any judgments.
• Conclusions – the conclusion brings the essay to a natural end. Some options for concluding your essay include: rephrasing your thesis, summarizing your main points, calling your readers to action, looking to the future, asking a question, or quoting a source to make a strong impression. Leave your readers thinking about your claim and pondering its importance and relevance to them.
Prewriting: Use your prewriting methods to gather some ideas about what restaurant or food item you would like to evaluate and what criteria you would like to base that evaluation on.
Add your selected criteria to the left column of the chart that follows on the next page. (This chart will be submitted as your prewriting/outline for Writing Project 2.) Then identify your observations about each criteria in the “Evidence” column. This will likely require you to visit the restaurant or observe the food item carefully. Finally, based on your evidence, record your judgments for each set of evidence for each criteria. You may add additional rows for criteria and additional numbers for evidence.
Thesis Statement Development: Once you have completed your observations and research, recorded your evidence, and made your judgments, you are ready to create a thesis statement that identifies your overall claim about the restaurant or food item.
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