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Class 21 fall 2015

Page history last edited by Jane Asher 8 years, 8 months ago


Discuss "Why I Still Watch Lost"/Media Evaluations

Product Evaluation Contest and Thesis Statements

Read 2 documentary film evaluations (click on link and download)

1. Gary Garrison's Review of I am Chris Farley


2. Brian Tallerico's Review of Montage of Heck


Complete Film Evaluation Worksheet about articles




Product Evaluation Product Project: Contest and Thesis Statements


The results are in.


Best Product Evaluation Project Winner....







Congrats to Rick!


Why you voted for Rick:

strong appeal to ethos

good support for criteria/ethos

a lot of information


Another strength that I noticed during his presentation:

Organization (entire presentation was based on criteria)



Your Thesis Statements/Ballots

What are we looking for in a strong thesis statement?

Criteria for Evaluation:

  • direct statement of value
  • clear, specific, and applicable criteria
  • solid sentence that is well-written, parallel, and mechanically sound


Provided Sample:

Molly Milton's product evaluation of La Croix Sparkling Water was the most convincing project because she appealed to pathos by creatively presting a need for the product, she enthusiastically described the benefits of purchasing and drinking La Croix by comparing it to other popular sparkling water brands, and she designed her handout in an easy-to follow and appealing fashion. 


(notice it's one sentence, lists criteria in parallel format, and it is written in 3rd person)




A few of your thesis statements:


Ian Nicholas and Zachary Girardot product evaluation of the Nike Metcon was very convincing because they gave great criteria and support, they appealed to pathos, and they stayed organized.

quality of this thesis statement based on (above criteria)?

Parallelism of list




Kevin Baron's product evaluation was my favorite because it was the most original. While I'll probably never have a use for Discord, because he was knowledgeable, well-organized, funny, and creditable, I would be inclined to recommend this product to people in search of an app like this.

What about this one?

What was the purpose of the project?



The product evaluation of MyPlate by Desyrae and Deante Brown was the one project that caught my attention because throughout the presentation, Desyrae used Deante as a good example on how you can set up the app, enter what you eat, enter your health info, and how the app works. They do a good job as far as answering all problems, to all solutions, such as, when you don't have a lot of time to work, what you eat/drink, description of the features, etc. I personally feel like this project/product was very understandable, easy to follow, and very creative.

What about this one?

What about the phrase "I personally feel"?


Breaking it down: Understanding Parallelism:

The product evaluation of MyPlate by Desyrae and Deante Brown was the one project that caught my attention because throughout the presentation, Desyrae used Deante as a good example on how you can set up the app, enter what you eat, enter your health info, and how the app works.



Desyrae used Deante as  a good example of how

you can set up the app

(you can) enter what you eat

(you can) enter your health info

(you can) how the app works


They do a good job as far as answering all problems, to all solutions, such as, when you don't have a lot of time to work, what you eat/drink, description of the features, etc.



when you don't have a lot of time to workout

(when you) what you eat/drink

(when you) description of features


Possible Revision:

They did a good job of showing how the MyPlate app offers easy solutions to individuals who may not have a lot of time to workout, (who may not have a lot of time) to record all their food and drinks, or (who may not have a lot of time) to spend hours learning how to use the features.



Another sample:


Rick Castleman's product evaluation of the Xbox 1 was the best project because he appealed to a lot of people with good material, he showed ethos in a good light also because he is a Xbox and PS4 user not being bias to either system. He used logos in a good way by stating you will pay a lot, but get three consoles worth of fun in one.


Breaking it down:

Rick Castleman's product evaluation of the Xbox 1 was the best project because he appealed to a lot of people with good material


The phrase "with good material"  (misplaced modifier)




Finally, the winning thesis statement...







Congrats to Derek!



I think that Rick has the best Evaluation project because he uses ethos, showing us that he has used both the playstation 4 and Xbox one before, he describes each of his criteria to show why the Xbox one is a must have, and he lets us know important details such as price and features within his product.



-identifies 3 applicable criteria and specifies something about each of those criteria

-solid ideas


A few revisions:

"I think"


vary word choice

combining ideas/clarity in list


Easy fix to strengthen this thesis:


Rick has the best evaluation project because he appeals to ethos by discussing both the Xbox One and its competitor the PlayStation 4, he describes each of his criteria to support why the Xbox One is a must have, and he offers a thorough overview of all of the product's details such as its price and its many features.


Parallelism Review


Image result for parallelism in sentences


Parallelism means that similar ideas in a sentence are expressed in similar grammatical form. It means balancing words with words, phrases with phrases, and clauses with clauses. Use parallelism to make your sentences flow smoothly and your thoughts easy to follow.


In each of the following pairs of sentences, notice which sentence is easier to read:


The horse was large, had a bony frame, and it was friendly.

The horse was large, bony, and friendly.


Maria enjoys swimming and drag races cars.

Maria enjoys swimming and drag racing.




The second sentence in each pair is balanced grammatically. Large, bony, and friendly are all adjectives.Swimming and drag racing are both nouns ending in -ing. This parallelism makes the second sentence in each pair sound better than the first.


How to find errors


Nouns in a series should be parallel.


A thesis statement that is clear, strong supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion that should be interesting are all elements of a well-written essay.

(The nouns statement, paragraphs, and conclusion are not parallel in this sentence because the modifiersused to describe them are not grammatically balanced.)

How can we revise this sentence to make it parallel?


Adjectives in a series should be parallel.


The concertgoers were rowdy and making a great deal of noise.

(The noun concertgoers is modified in this sentence with one adjective, rowdy, and one adjective phrase,making a great deal of noise.)



Verbs in a series should be parallel.


The sports fans jumped and were applauding.

(The verbs jumped and were applauding are in different tenses.)




Phrases and clauses within a sentence should be parallel.

The parents who supervised the new playground were pleased about the preschoolers playing together and that everyone enjoyed the sandbox.

(About the preschoolers’ playing together and that everyone enjoyed the sandbox are not parallel; the first is a phrase and the second is a clause.)


Items being compared should be parallel.


It is usually better to study for an exam over a period of time than cramming the night before.

(The words better…than show that two items are being compared. The forms to study and cramming are not parallel.)




How to correct errors

  1. If nouns in a series are not parallel, rewrite the sentence so that the nouns in the series are grammatically balanced.

    Aclearthesis statement that is clear, strong supporting paragraphs, and an interestinga conclusion that should be interesting are all elements of a well-written essay.

  2. If adjectives in a series are not parallel, change the sentence as needed so that all themodifiers are the same type.

    The concertgoers were rowdy andnoisy.making a great deal of noise.

  3. If verbs in a series are not parallel, make sure that all of them are in the same tense.

    The sports fans jumped and applauded were applauding.

  4. If phrases and clauses within a sentence are not parallel, rewrite the sentence using grammatically balanced phrases or clauses.

    The parents who supervised the new playground were pleased that about the preschoolers playingplayedtogether and that everyone enjoyed the sandbox.

  5. If items being compared are not parallel, rewrite the sentence to make them parallel.

    It is usually better to study for an exam over a period of time thanto cramcramming the night before.








Chapter 9 Recap


Evaluation Arguments through Product Evaluation



"Start Your Engines: Remote Possibilities" (page 266)

Much like what you are doing in your projects, this first evaluation sample essay has a simple purpose--to convince readers of something's value.


Using practical criteria, Campbell creates a positive, straightforward evaluation of remote starters. His purpose is to convince his readers of the use-value of this product.



"Why I Still Watch Lost" by Bao Phi is another evaluation argument essay; however, it is much different than Campbell's essay and purpose.

How so?





Understanding Different Kinds of Evaluation Arguments




The standards that we use to evaluate something is very often based on genre of that something. In other words, we do not typically use the same mode of judgment to determine the quality of a TV drama series and a product for our cars. TV dramas are evaluated against the benchmarks of other TV dramas--and those standards are dictated by social, economic, cultural, and aesthetic ideas about what makes "good" TV drama. More so, a dramatic television series is usually not evaluated by the same standards we would use to evaluate a sitcom series or a comedy show.


As I'm sure many of you are well aware, today Americans want more than just entertainment from a TV drama series, and when publishing reviews about such series, reviewers move far beyond the topic of a show's entertainment value and instead delve into many complex layers and meanings in order to evaluate the quality of that show.


This is why we often here the phrase "Critically-Acclaimed" in front of a TV series or film. This means that it has undergone a much more in-depth analysis--what we refer to as a Critical Evaluation.



"Critical Evaluation" is interchangeable with "Review," but more specific to the rhetorical purpose of the review. An “evaluation” is meant to determine or set the value of something, and being “critical” means “to find fault or to judge with severity.”


The terms overlap. The job of a critical evaluator is to defend a judgment about the value, or worth, of something. Some examples of critical evaluations are movie reviews, book reviews, political candidates, employees, musicians, agencies and organizations, laws and policies, concepts and theories.



Some judgments can be positive and some negative, but rarely is a true critical judgment either all positive or all negative. If a subject is examined carefully, even the most beloved work of art has faults, and even the worst has positive attributes. The key is to examine the art closely, understand the criterion, and to avoid adding personal taste or emotion into the evaluation.




The Difference Between Taste and Judgment


A judgment is a statement of value, of approval or disapproval, and people judge all the time. The term is often viewed negatively, especially when individuals judge other individuals. “You worry too much about your lawn, Bob” is a judgment that may be offensive, whether true or not. (It's true. Bob does worry about his lawn too much).


A lot of judgments are based on taste, which means, “I like something because I like it.” No reasons necessary. A taste-decision doesn’t demand sound reasons to support it. When someone says, “I hate country music,” they are offering a taste-based judgment, when they may not have a solid understanding of the conventions and criteria used to evaluate country music in a fair manner. It’s simply a matter of personal preference, an unsupported opinion. It's a matter of taste.


On the other hand, a critical evaluation moves beyond a judgement based on solely on "personal taste"; it offers sound and complex reasons to support a personal preference. It does more than argue “What I like is good because what I like is good.” A critical evaluation tells the reader “why” your judgment is correct by offering strong support by analysis of the subject itself. Personal taste has no place in a critical evaluation.


Judgments are supported, first, by establishing a base of “Evaluative Criteria," which are sets of standards used to fairly judge the merits of a particular subject.




Determining Evaluative Criteria: Setting the Standards


In order to defend a judgment, there must be a basis for evaluation, or MANY bases for evaluation.


Avoid Criteria that Don't Work, such as "It's Popular" or "It's funny."


Popularity is not a standard by which the quality of a subject can be judged, so don't use it as a premise in your criticial evaluation. For instance, if you are evaluating the band Foo Fighters, and your main judgment is that they are one of the most influential rock bands of the late 90's because of their popularity, you are not giving a reason to support the thesis. Their popularity is a fact, based on album sales and so forth, but it doesn't indicate WHY they are influential, and nor does it indicate that they are necessarily good. Brittany Spears sells even more albums than Foo-Fighters, but does that popularity necessarily translate into quality or influence?


Elvis Presley has sold more albums than any musician in the history of the world. Does that mean he's a good musician or merely popular?


Also avoid stating humor or entertainment value as premises to support a judgment. Why? In critically evaluating pop-culture subjects, entertainment is a given. We need say nothing more about that. Entertainment is pretty much the main purpose of pop-culture. That's how it gets us into the theater or makes us park in front of the tube for hours on end. We're entertained.


The same goes with humor. Say for instance a student critically evaluates the show Seinfeld and makes a main judgment/thesis that it's the most important sitcom of the late 20th century and the writer's first reason to support the thesis is, "It's the funniest show ever."


First off, to support this, Seinfeld would have to be compared/contrasted with every sit-com in the history of TV, including Alph, but most importantly, we know it's funny already. It's a given. Even if a reader or two doesn't find it funny, so what? It's a comedy show.


If humor is a criterion, and it can be, especially for sitcoms or funny movies, it's up to the writer to explain in specific detail why certain scenes are funny.



Choose Fair, Accurate Criteria: Judge by the Same Standards


The key in establishing criteria is to choose the ones necessary to measure the quality of the subject and that can be fairly applied to all subjects in a given category, or genre. For instance, not all movies have the same evaluative criteria. Is American Beauty judged by the same standards as The Matrix? Is Little Children held to the same criteria as Spiderman III? Though the subject area is the same -- movies -- the category, or genres, differ -- drama versus comedy, science fiction versus action/adventure -- and should be judged by different sets of criteria, otherwise one genre movie may be unfairly judged. Other movie genres, for example: family, independent, horror, classics, thrillers, dark comedies, romances, etc. And you can even break down the categories further: British comedies, cult comedies, romance comedies, etc.





This is what Bao Phi does in his Critical Evaluation of the television series Lost.



Lost is an American adventure television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 episodes. Lost is a drama series primarily based on character development, and containing elements of science fiction and the supernatural. It follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet, flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline on the island, along with a secondary storyline from another point in a character's life.



Short Summary

After a somewhat mysterious sequence of events, an oceanic flight from Sydney to LA crashes on what appears to be a deserted island. The chance of being found and rescued is fairly small, so the survivors have to cope with a set of challenges. They have to learn to survive on the island, a mysterious place with enough dangers on its own. Also, they have to learn to live with each other if any success is to be expected. And finally, they have to live with themselves and their pasts. Interwoven with the events on the islands are flashbacks to the pasts of 14 main characters. Step by step, we learn a little more about their diverse and unexpected pasts as the group's quest to survive takes shape.


Phi offers an overall positive evaluation of Lost, but his essay moves well beyond the "It's a good series because I like it or because it's entertaining" approach. Additionally, he acknowledges how true critical judgment is rarely never all positive or all negative. If a subject is examined carefully, even the most beloved work of art has faults, and even the worst has positive attributes.


Phi evaluates how well Lost represents or depicts Asian Americans. He does more than give it the thumbs up or thumbs down.  By including a discussion about diversity in television, Phi contextualizes his critical evaluation in a larger conversation (the rhetorical conversation).


Reflect on the Reading Questions (page 299)



page 298:

The final criteria for evaluation--moving beyond the issues of diversity and the representation of Asian Americans. Lost is also valuable on a larger scale--it captures the human element:





Consider Your Viewpoint (page 299)

1 and 2


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