One of the skills every writer must have is the ability to argue convincingly whether something is good or bad, or to describe its pros and cons to make a recommendation about how readers should view it. This is done by establishing a set of generally accepted criteria and then making a case about whether what is being evaluated meets or does not meet the criteria.
Book and Film Reviews
Reviewers evaluate books and films using criteria like genre, production and publishing standards, comparisons to classic works, consistency of tone and stylistic distinctiveness. Differing genres, such as mysteries, thrillers, realistic dramas, comedies and nonfiction documentaries, require the reviewer to adopt different standards for judging the success of the work. Furthermore, each genre has its own "canon" or familiar examples of excellence, knowledge of which is essential for making an evaluation.
Evaluations of workplace procedures use criteria like efficiency, safety and product quality to judge the effectiveness of the procedure. Such evaluations might take into account the number of steps required to complete the process, the resources used during each step, the level of training required for workers, the number of injuries recorded during the period of evaluation and the quality of the product as rated by consumers and industry publications.
Editorialists and newspaper columnists have the job of evaluating public services and policies for effectiveness. Criteria like the use of taxpayer funds, compliance with laws, access for the public, fairness and impact on the community are used to judge the effectiveness of a particular service or program. This kind of article also makes recommendations about how readers should act or vote on a certain issue affecting the community that the newspaper serves.
Managers have the task of evaluating employees using criteria like productivity, personal conduct, appearance, attendance and compliance with workplace requirements. Such evaluations take into account the employee's performance with respect to a particular set of responsibilities along with other factors, such as attitude and ability to function as a member of a team.
Colby Phillips' writing interests include culture and politics. Phillips received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts in philosophy from Boston College.