Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.
Categories of Topics Below:
Movies, Plays, and T.V.
- Evaluate the recent season of your favorite sports team. How did the team perform based upon expectations at the start of the season?
- Examine the difference between watching a game live vs. watching it on T.V.
- Evaluate the experience of watching a game in a sports bar vs. at home.
- Judge the experience of watching a game alone vs. watching it with a group of friends.
- How does tailgating before a football game enhance the experience of going to the game? Evaluate tailgating at a football game for your local team.
- Consider the fans at a sporting event. What type of fans are there? How do the fans' actions enhance or detract from the experience of the game?
- Evaluate the food at a local sporting venue. What is the best food to get? How does the food affect the experience of watching the game?
- Analyze the performance of a particular player on a sports team. Is this player over or undervalued?
- Evaluate the current star of basketball, football, baseball, or other sport. How does that star affect the fans, the performance of the team as a whole, or the money the team makes?
- Evaluate the rules and structure of the playoff system for a sport. Do these rules keep all teams competitive? Do they work to keep fans interested in their teams? Do they serve the interests of the sport as a whole?
- Evaluate a football team (high school, college, or professional) as a community event. How important is football in your community? How does football serve as a place of pride for parents, students, and other people in the community? How does football's status affect the lives of the players?
- Evaluate the way your local school football team is run. Does the coaching help or hurt the players in other parts of their lives? Are players encouraged to play when injured? Is the system for deciding who plays each game a good one?
- Evaluate the coaching of your favorite football or basketball team last year, or evaluate a team that has a new coach.
- Evaluate the sports available in your community for elementary-aged students or choose one sport to evaluate. What is the best sport for elementary school students to play?
- What is the best club sports team to join in your hometown? What makes it the best club team for players and families?
- Assess the soccer program for kids in your hometown.
- Evaluate one or more dance studios in your area or compare two programs. How well is the program run? Are the costs reasonable? Is the instruction age-appropriate? Are there opportunities for performing or joining competitions?
- Assess a gymnastics program or compare two different programs. What ages or skill levels are best served by this program? What skills are taught? How good is the equipment? How good is the instruction? Are there opportunities for competition? Are the costs reasonable?
- Evaluate the sport of swimming. How does it compare to a team sport? What are the advantages of swimming as a sport? How does it compare in terms of commitment and practice?
- Evaluate the experience of playing lacrosse or rugby in high school or college.
- Evaluate the experience of playing a sport vs. watching that same sport.
- Evaluate women's basketball: How is watching it different than watching men's basketball?
- Evaluate the experience of running in or preparing to run a marathon or other long race. Why have marathons become so popular?
- Evaluate a triathlon or Ironman race as a participant or watcher. What makes these races so fascinating? What makes people want to train to participate?
- Evaluate the experience of playing on an informal team like an intermural team vs. competitive playing of that same sport. What are the advantages and disadvantages of less competition?
- Evaluate playing a pick-up game at a gym (or at home) vs. playing a game in a more formal setting.
- Evaluate tennis as a sport, a recent tennis tournament, or the current top players.
- Evaluate the sport of golf. How does golf differ from other sports? Why do so many people like to watch it on television? What is the importance of stars like Tiger Woods to the game?
- Evaluate competitive cheerleading: How does it differ from sideline cheerleading?
- Evaluate the importance of scholarships to college athletics programs.
- Evaluate the way in which Title 9 has changed and continues to influence sports programs.
- Evaluate the difference between watching a team sport vs. watching an individual sport like golf, swimming, gymnastics, or ice skating.
- Evaluate surfing, snowboarding or skateboarding as a sport for either participants or viewers. Evaluate how these sports have evolved.
- Analyze the influence of ESPN on sports.
- Evaluate the coverage of the most recent Olympics.
Any Performance Can Be a Good Subject
Have you ever read the reviews for a movie and found them better than the movie itself? Evaluations of movies, T.V. shows, concerts, and theater productions can be serious or satiric. Reviewing a bad movie can make a great paper. The following topics are written mostly for movies but you can use the same ideas to write about any other performance. Don't forget that if you are in a performance, you can evaluate the experience of being a part of a group or production.
Media and Performance Evaluations
- Evaluate how a recent romantic movie portrays modern romance.
- Evaluate a classic romantic movie and what it says about the roles of men and women during that time.
- Compare a recent romantic movie with a classic and evaluate which is best.
- Evaluate an action adventure film and explain why it works for the audience.
- Evaluate a war movie and talk about whether it helps answer current concerns about war and peace.
- Evaluate a historical film for how it teaches history through drama, setting, and costume.
- Evaluate how a film based on real events compares with the actual history.
- Examine a classic musical. Explain why it was popular or unpopular.
- Evaluate a drama and tell how it effectively or ineffectively portrays that dramatic situation.
- Evaluate how well a movie which is based on a book is true to that book. Which is better (book or movie)?
- Evaluate a sequel. Does the second or third film just replay the first, or does it add something fresh and new?
- Evaluate a foreign film and discuss what that film says about the culture of that country.
- Evaluate the work of a composer for movies. How does that composer adapt to different films?
- Compare an animated version of a movie with a real life version of the same story. Evaluate which medium is more effective for telling that type of story.
- Evaluate a remake of a classic or foreign film. Evaluate how the story changes in the second version and whether it really improves the original.
- Evaluate an actor or actress in several films. Talk about how she/he adapts to different roles and discuss what sort of role that person does best.
- Examine several works by the same director and the vision that director brings to a project. What is the director trying to say with their work?
- Evaluate the special effects in several recent movies. What makes them effective or ineffective? Do some use special effects just for show and not to move the plot? Is that a problem or not?
- Evaluate a children's film for what it teaches children. Does the film have a positive influence? Is that important?
- Evaluate a film that is rated G or PG for how it tries to appeal to both adults and children. How effectively does it engage both audiences?
- Compare a recent concert you've attended to others by that same artist, or to that person's recorded work.
- Did you go to a small intimate concert recently? Compare that experience to a big concert. In this paper, you can talk more about the experience of going rather than the actual artist's work.
- Compare two versions of a play or musical work. Often you can find different versions of a play, concert, dance or other production online.
- Watch a ballet or an orchestra performance either live or online. How well was the piece executed? This is especially interesting to write about if you have performed the piece yourself.
- Are you in a production? You can evaluate your own group's performance or evaluate the experience of being in a concert, a play, a band, a choir or an orchestra.
Movie Evaluation Example
How to Write a Movie Evaluation
When you evaluate a movie, T.V. series, or theatrical show, you need to first figure out:
- What genre is it? (Drama, comedy, romantic comedy, action adventure, documentary, historical fiction, or musical?)
- What are the features of that sort of production?
- What is the best example of this kind of movie, T.V. show, or theater production, in your opinion?
- How does this one compare to the best?
Find criteria to evaluate: Criteria are the parts or aspects of the production that you are going to talk about in your evaluation. You generally need to find at least 3-4 criteria to evaluate, such as:
- Characters, acting, choice of actors, and the chemistry between actors.
- The setting, props, and animation.
- The story, dialogue, and action.
- Special effects, sound, lighting, camera angles, and music.
- Is this movie a sequel? How does it fit in with the other movies in the sequence?
- Did this director make other movies like this? How does this one compare?
- Are the actors in roles similar to what they've played before?
Eating out is an American passion. Restaurant evaluation papers are straightforward and easy to write. Generally, your criteria will be:
- The atmosphere and how the restaurant makes you feel.
- The menu and the taste of the food.
- The service quality and timeliness.
- The price and value.
- The experience or entertainment.
- The decorations, colors and design.
- How long you have to wait.
Restaurant Evaluation Topics
- Evaluate your favorite hamburger restaurant or compare two popular fast food burger joints.
- Evaluate a steakhouse for how they make the customer feel after they've had a special dinner.
- Compare the "home-cooked" meal at a diner like Denny's to a meal at a fast food restaurant.
- Go to a pizza place for take out or order delivery and evaluate the taste as well as the service and how hot the pizza is when it arrives.
- Many supermarkets now offer a selection of pre-cooked items. Go to see what is available and then try a meal. Is the supermarket a good alternative to a fast food restaurant? Look at the ingredients. Is it healthier? What about the price?
- Evaluate the price of a typical fast food meal at several locations near campus. Which restaurant offers the best deal for a poor college student?
- Are you planning a special date? Visit a high-end restaurant, at least for dessert. Was the experience worth it?
- Have you worked in a restaurant? Evaluate the experience of working there compared to eating there.
- Do you love Starbucks (or another local coffee house)? Visit one and evaluate why these places have become so popular.
- What makes a great Mexican meal? Evaluate your favorite Mexican restaurant and tell what makes this dining experience unique.
- Whether it is lightning in the rainforest or waiters that insult the customers, some restaurants seek to get your business by providing a unique experience along with the food. Evaluate one of these "experience" restaurants and explain why it does or doesn't work.
- Is there a unique, local joint that serves cheap, great food? Visit that "hole-in-the-wall" and explain why it gets so much business. Or if there are several in your town, you can compare two or three and recommend the best.
- Most restaurant reviews occur when a new restaurant opens. If there is a new place in your town, visit it for a meal and decide what you think. Does this place offer something new and unique?
- Do you have a particular favorite food? Maybe you love fries, fried chicken, chocolate cake, pancakes, or tacos. Go to several restaurants that serve that item and see which is best.
- Like donuts? Which is the best donut shop in town? Evaluate why and compare with other donut shops or donuts from a grocery store.
- Evaluate whether a smartwatch is really worth it?
- Evaluate Apple Air Buds or your other favorite headphone. What makes a really great product?
- Evaluate the latest version of your favorite smartphone. How is it better than the previous version? What changes make the most difference?
- Evaluate several similar apps, such as several photo editing or dieting program apps. Which one is the best? Which features are the most helpful? Which is easiest to use?
- Judge the latest tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Which features would make this a good purchase for students?
- Evaluate the different ways to transfer data from a camera or phone to a computer. Which way is the easiest and best for most people?
- Compare different phone plans available in your area. Which company offers the best plan for students?
- Evaluate a social media site which interests you. It might be one you participate in now or one that people have told you about. Who uses it? Why does it appeal to them? What are the advantages of this site over others?
- Assess the way social media sites have impacted social relationships at your school.
- Evaluate the way in which social media has affected families. Has social media made families stronger or not?
- Evaluate the recent trend in 3D movies. Has this type of filmmaking enhanced the moviegoing experience?
- Evaluate the difference between watching a movie in the theater, at home, on T.V., or on a phone or tablet.
- Evaluate the experience of gaming on different devices. Which is the best gaming experience?
- Analyze the importance of gaming in high school or college. Does gaming help or hurt students?
- Evaluate the way different generations are using technology.
- Examine the use of technology in the classroom at your high school or college or evaluate the way in which technology is being used in elementary schools in your hometown.
- Evaluate digital textbooks and compare the experience of using them with using a traditional paper textbook.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of using media and technology in teaching. Do video clips, Twitter, blogs, PowerPoint presentations, and other media really improve learning?
- Evaluate the current laws about using cell phones while driving. Which laws are most effective for preventing accidents?
- Evaluate your own use of technology during the day, or that of other students you know. Does technology make your life better or not?
- Evaluate the way that social manners have changed because of cell phones and other technology. What has changed? Is this good or not?
- Evaluate the way that changes in technology have affected music listening or producing.
- Evaluate a charter, military, boarding, private, Christian, or Classical school. Compare the learning that happens there with that in public schools.
- Evaluate the SAT vs. the ACT tests.
- Consider the effectiveness of year-round schools.
- Evaluate the way in which your school handles bullying.
- Assess the fine arts program at a high school (or one aspect of that program).
- Examine the effectiveness of statewide testing programs.
- Examine software that teaches something to children and evaluate how effective it is in comparison to learning with a textbook.
- Consider the effectiveness of programs that try to teach students to practice safe sex, avoid drinking and driving, and stay away from drugs. Is there a program or approach that works better than others?
- Evaluate the student leadership of a school organization you were a part of. How can students best be trained to be leaders?
- Evaluate a tutoring program for how well it helps students or evaluate a peer mentoring program for how well it works.
Questions & Answers
Question: Would an review of the new Samsung Galaxy S9+ smartphone make a good essay topic?
Answer: An evaluation of a product makes a good paper. Be sure that you think about all of the parts of the product which someone wanting to buy it would want to know about. Be sure to compare the new version to the old version as well.
Question: Can you give me some suggestions for the essay topic, "Are LifeGems good?"
Answer: Evaluating questions work better if they are not just about "good or bad." Lifegems are when you take the ashes of a loved one and have them made into jewelry. With that in mind, some better ways to phrase the question are:
Is making a lifegem a good way to remember someone?
or Are lifegems worth the price?
Question: Would evaluating a hair salon be an acceptable essay?
Answer: I always suggest that students ask their instructors if they will accept a topic, but I think that evaluating a hair salon would be an interesting paper. You would want to use criteria like:
3. Waiting time
4. Expertise in cutting hair and other services
Question: If I am writing an evaluation essay on local libraries, what would be some criteria to use?
Answer: I would use library environment, access to books, whether the library has a good collection of books and other resources, whether the librarians are helpful, what kinds of programs the library offers, and whether the library has good hours.
Question: Can I write an evaluation paper on Education Reform?
Answer: You can evaluate an Educational Reform plan that has been proposed or is already put into effect. However, that topic sounds a lot more like a "propose a solution" essay where you would propose how to do educational reform to improve student learning.
Question: Can you give me some suggestions about evaluation topics on education?
Answer: Here are some evaluation essay questions on education:
1. How effective is standardized testing at helping the students at the bottom 25%?
2. Evaluate the effectiveness of flexible furniture at helping students learn.
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of a "flipped classroom" in teaching math?
4. How effective is homework at helping children learn more?
5. How effective are student teachers?
6. Teach for American puts high achieving students in inner-city classrooms. Does Teach for America work?
Question: Can you give me some suggestions about evaluation topics on ''Air Pollution?''
Answer: Evaluate the health impacts and costs of air pollution in a city.
Which provides better indoor air quality, open windows or a good climate control system?
What is the best way to increase air quality and reduce pollution in an area with high air pollution?
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 17, 2019:
Generallly evaluation essays on businesses do not require research. However, if yours does, you might try to look for "best practices for hair salons" or research on hair salon service. You can try Google Scholar.
Karla Ortiz on December 16, 2019:
Hello! I have an evaluation essay to do. I'm thinking about doing it on a hair salon service or a tomahawk steak. I don't know how or where to find a credible source. I know for scholarly subjects we need to find a .edu or .gov but I don't know for a subject like this....
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 31, 2018:
Hi Amrith--in simple terms, an Evaluation essay tells whether something is good or bad. You can use an evaluation essay to explain your opinion about a movie, a product, or an event. For more information, see my articles which explain how to write this kind of essay.
Amrith on December 31, 2018:
I am confused regarding the definition of Evaluation. Can you please explain in easy words? When should we use this Evaluation tool in our life? or Why should we use evaluation at all? What is a way or strategy to devise a evaluative question?
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 11, 2018:
O--You certainly can evaluate a charity. In fact, I have several articles to help you in researching and evaluating non-profits.
O on October 10, 2018:
Can I evaluate a charity ?
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 31, 2014:
Z--That is actually an excellent comment. I always suggest that students pick an audience that would not necessarily be easily convinced and to am your paper towards convincing them. However, I think that in an evaluation essay bias is not necessarily a bad thing because the whole point of an evaluation is to tell your opinion. Yet, if you are too enthusiastic, you may tend to just gush over with feelings rather than supporting your opinion with good evidence and example. Thanks for your contribution!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 18, 2013:
If you scroll down, ahnonzhamous, you will find that there are topics on restaurants, movies, schooling and technology too.
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 28, 2013:
Thanks for the great resource! This is wonderful information for both students and teachers.