A two-column script is an easy way to structure and plan for your documentary project. Even if you don't know what your interviewees will say or what footage you might shoot, writing a script predicting what you want your final film to look like is a great way to stay organized. Once you do shoot your documentary, you can update your two-column script to reflect what video and audio you actually have to work with.
In the left column of your script you will describe all the VIDEO your viewer will see (b-roll, a-roll, photos, diagrams, screen captures, etc.). In the right column, you will describe all the AUDIO the viewer will hear (interview bits, music, narration, sound effects, etc.). Think of each row as one scene in your documentary, with the audio playing over the video.
(photo from flickr by xlibberSome rights reserved)
Wait. Don’t tell me. You have to write an evaluation essay, don’t you? I bet you’re stumped for ideas, right?
No, I’m not psychic; it was just an educated guess. I thought you might be looking for topic ideas since you found your way to a blog post about evaluation essay topics.
I’ll make another educated guess and say your professor wants you to write about a unique subject, right? Are you thinking this is almost an impossible task?
It’s not. Before you panic and decide there’s nothing original left to write, take a deep breath and finish reading this post, as I’ve included 20 evaluation essay topics to spark your next paper.
Choosing an Evaluation Essay Topic
Writing an evaluation essay is a bit like writing a review: you need to describe both positive and negative aspects of your subject. An evaluation essay, however, is more specific than a review.
An evaluation essay requires you to develop and discuss specific criteria in order to properly evaluate the subject. (For more help with evaluation essays, read What Is an Evaluation Essay and Why Should You Care? and How to Use Critical Thinking in Your Essay and Write Smarter.)
When it comes to writing evaluation essays, some ideas are pretty standard, such as food, movies, places, and events. That’s not to say that you can’t write about these topics. You simply need to find a unique perspective.
How do you know which subject to choose?
Here are a few basic guidelines:
Pick a topic you know something about
Let’s say you decide to evaluate a restaurant. Don’t choose a trendy new French restaurant if you have no idea what French cuisine should taste like. Stick to something you know, whether it’s pizza and burgers, Indian food, or Mexican food.
Pick a topic you can revisit
Don’t evaluate a concert you went to a few years ago. You won’t remember all the details. Instead, pick a much more recent concert or pick a show you can see several times in order to evaluate it.
Pick a topic you care about
If you just watched a movie, and your initial reaction was “Eh, it’s ok” this is not the movie to choose as the subject of your evaluation essay. If you don’t care about the movie, you don’t care enough to write about it.
If you walked out of the theater saying “That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen,” you should seriously consider using the movie as the subject of your evaluation. Because you had such a strong reaction to the movie, you’ll have something to say in your evaluation.
Remember, an evaluation doesn’t have to always be positive. If you have strong feelings about a topic (either positive or negative), it’s likely a good candidate for an evaluation essay.
With these guidelines in mind, read these 20 evaluation essay topics to spark your next paper and pick a topic that sparks your interest!
20 Evaluation Essay Topics to Spark Your Next Paper
Don’t sit around waiting for a bolt of lightning to spark your interest. Use these topics to help you find the perfect idea.
5 Evaluation Essay Topics about Food
- A dining option on campus: Think about the variety of foods offered, the cost, and of course, the taste. You might consider how one dining establishment compares to a similar restaurant on campus.
- A local hangout: Perhaps the food is only part of the appeal to your favorite local hangout. You might also evaluate the atmosphere and who spends time there.
- Chinese takeout: Decide what it is you like or don’t like about the service, such as the speed of the delivery and whether or not the employees are friendly. Of course, taste, variety of menu items, and cost will likely be a part of your evaluation, too.
- A frozen meal: Value, appearance, and taste are certainly points to consider when evaluating any frozen food. Whether or not the meal is actually edible might be the biggest concern!
- A local deli: Consider the variety of lunch options offered, the quality of the food, and the size of the portions. Sometimes a cheap but mediocre sandwich that’s big enough to feed you and two friends (or you and one really hungry friend) beats a more expensive and better tasting meal.
5 Evaluation Essay Topics about Television and Movies
- A historical film: It’s common to review a film based on acting, directing, and storyline, but try a more original approach and evaluate a film on its historical accuracy and how it affects the film’s quality and viewers’ appreciation of the film. Does it matter if a battle scene is not historically accurate if it’s a riveting scene, or does it completely ruin the film?
- A recent movie remake: Of course you’ll have to watch both versions of the movie, but use this opportunity to evaluate whether or not the remake does justice to the original. Consider if the remake makes sweeping changes to the plot or updates the content in some way. Evaluate how this affects the movie.
- Popular music of another generation: Most of us listen to current popular music, but how does music from another era compare? Evaluate music from the 1980s (think big hair and heavy metal), the 1970s (disco anyone?), or even the 1960s (Beatlemania and protest songs) Consider the sounds, lyrics, and political commentary, and evaluate the music’s popularity and appeal.
- A reality TV show: The airwaves are full of reality TV, so pick one of your favorites (or one you can’t stand) and pay close attention to the production value and the actual realism of the show. How much of those shows is actual reality, and how much is clever production?
- A local news broadcast: Think about the quality of the programming and how it compares to national newscasts. Does the local broadcast have continued problems with cameras and microphones, or is the talent good enough to make it to the national market?
5 Evaluation Essay Topics about Technology
- Evaluate the latest smartphone or tablet: Consider the available features, cost, and how user-friendly it is.. Can your grandmother or your five-year-old brother figure out how to use it?
- A new or unique app: Perhaps you’re a fitness nut and want to evaluate the usefulness of a new fitness app. Maybe you’d like to evaluate the negative aspects of a health app that is simply a waste of your hard-earned money. Can you find a free app that’s more effective?
- A new gaming device: Does the new version blow the previous version away with its updated graphics? Are the supposed changes in the new system so small that it’s hardly worth spending any money on the device?
- Digital textbooks: Choose a digital textbook you’re using for a class and evaluate its effectiveness. You might focus on content, design and added features (such as links, videos, and interactive elements). You might also include the text’s cost as part of your evaluation. Are textbooks ever worth the cost?
- A website: Think about what it takes to make a good website. Color schemes, fonts sizes, and layout all affect usability. How easy it is to find information? If you can’t navigate the pages, and you find a number of broken links, it’s pretty easy to give the website a negative evaluation.
5 Evaluation Essay Topics about People
- Online relationships: Online-only relationships are very different from traditional, face-to-face relationships. Evaluate the quality of online relationships. Consider what role they play in people’s lives and how they compare to traditional relationships.
- A street performer: Does the performer have an original act that continually draws a large crowd? Consider the performer’s act, his or her talent, and the overall performance. What does the amount of tips the performer earns say about his or her talents and abilities?
- A coach: Evaluating wins and losses is a good place to start, but consider the coach’s demeanor and relationship with players, too. If most of the players don’t like the coach, yet the team wins games and championships, does this mean he or she is a good coach?
- A professor: I’m sure you have lots to say about your professors, so here’s your chance to evaluate one of them. Consider a professor’s effectiveness as a teacher, whether he or she is a difficult grader, and how much students enjoy the professor’s courses.
- A local politician: Think about the politician’s actions and how much he or she has actually accomplished while in office. Has he or she kept those campaign promises?
With all these great topics, I’m almost certain you’ve found one to spark your interest, so it’s time to make a decision and run with it.
One last piece of advice: Remember to keep a pen and paper (or tablet) handy to take notes about your subject! You don’t want to forget any important details!
Need some additional advice on choosing evaluation essay topics? Read this quick overview and this short article.
When you’re finished writing, make sure to have one of our Kibin editors evaluate and review your paper!
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