Evaluation Essay

Focus: Evaluate a website using course criteria to determine whether or not it is a suitable research source, provide an alternate research source, and explain how the website might be incorporated in a literary analysis of a given poem.

Topic Guidelines: Choose from websites and corresponding poem choices listed in assignment guidelines.

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Word Count: 1200+

Format: MLA format (Include in-text citations and a Works Cited.)

Point of View: Third person point of view is required. (Avoid first and second person.)

Outside Research: Cite the website to be evaluated and your chosen alternate website. (The corresponding poem does not need to be cited.)

STEP 1
Choose one of the assigned websites (and corresponding poems) from the list below:

Greenpeace USA


Poem choices: “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and/or ” Nature Is What We See”.

American Solar Energy Society (https://www.ases.org/)
Poem choices: “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and/or ” Nature Is What We See”.

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

“Nature is What We See” by Emily Dickinson
“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

STEP 2
Write an evaluation of the website.

Assume you are considering using your chosen website in a research paper for a college course, evaluate the site’s usefulness as a research source.

discussion of each component should be written in at least one well-developed paragraph, using examples (such as summaries, paraphrases, and quotes) from the websites to support your evaluation as needed. (Do not use sentence fragments or bullet points.)

Remember, the evaluation should not merely identify information but should examine how the content of the website impacts each component, the audience, and its potential for use as a research source.

Feel free to insert screenshots if you feel they will be useful in your evaluation and explanation.

STEP 3
After evaluating your chosen website you will have decided whether or not the website is an appropriate source for a research paper.

If you have decided that the website IS an appropriate source for a college-level essay:

Locate one additional source (website or online article) that you feel would further strengthen your argument and would be another suitable research source for the paper. Briefly explain why the source would work well for the paper and how it might be incorporated.

If you have decided that the website IS NOT an appropriate source for a college-level essay:

Locate one additional source (website or online article) that you feel would be a more appropriate source to support the paper. Briefly explain why the source would be more appropriate than the assigned source and explain how it might be incorporated into the paper.

STEP 4
Read and analyze the corresponding poem choice for your chosen website.

Imagine you’re writing a literary analysis of the poem and that the paper will require outside research to help you discuss the poem’s historical context and the relevance of the poem and its theme to the present day.

In 1-2 paragraphs, explain how you might incorporate the assigned website into a literary analysis paper about the poem.

Whether you have determined that the assigned website is or is not credible will inevitably change the way you would incorporate the site into a paper, so consider how the website could be best used to analyze the poem, discuss its historical context, and its relevance to today.

The paragraph(s) you write in this section of the Evaluation Essay will:

Identify the poem’s theme, its historical context, and how it relates to current society.
Explain how the assigned website might be incorporated into a literary analysis essay.

HOW TO ORGANIZE THE ESSAY
Include the headings listed below in your paper. (Headings should be listed in caps at the left margin.)

INTRODUCTION
The introduction paragraph(s) should introduce the paper and briefly summarize the website. This summary should summarize the focus or goals of the website, not the design of the site. The introduction should also include a thesis to inform readers of the focus of the essay.

AUTHORITY
When you evaluate the authority of a website, you will examine whether or not the author or organization has the qualifications, credentials, or knowledge to write about the subject.

Look for:
The author. The author or organization responsible for the site should be listed.
Credentials. The website should list background, qualifications, other publications, etc. to demonstrate the person’s authority to write about the subject. Also check to see if the author is affiliated with any groups or organizations. Is the author, for example, a university professor, a journalist for well-known publication, a CEO, etc.?
Contact information. An email, phone number, or physical address should be listed. (Or, at the very least, you should be able to Google the author or organization to learn more.)

How does this information (or lack of information) affect the website, its readability, and/or its credibility?
How does this information affect the audience’s opinion of the site or the writer/organization?
How does this information impact a decision as to whether or not this is a credible research source?

PURPOSE
When you evaluate the purpose of a website, you should be able to easily understand the site’s purpose, such as whether they are attempting to inform, persuade, entertain, or provide an opinion.

Domain. The URL will likely identify the site’s purpose. (For instance, a .com’s purpose is often to sell a product, while a .edu, is likely designed to inform and educate.)
Intended audience. The site may be geared towards students, kids, a specific profession, a general reader, or someone else. Examine the type of website (such as a blog, YouTube video, journal article, newspaper article, etc.); this will likely tell you something about the intended audience (and type of content included).
Resources/links. Outside links should be appropriate to the content and purpose of the website.

Does the purpose of the site or the intended audience of the site affect the content and how it is presented?
Does the purpose affect the tone, word choice, or the way in which readers view the information?
How does this information impact a decision as to whether or not this is a credible research source?

CURRENCY
When you evaluate the currency of a website, look for the publication date and/or the most recent update.

Original publication date
Date posted online
Most recent update
Currency of links. Make sure links are up-to-date and are not broken.

How does this impact the content and whether or not the audience trusts the information presented?
How does this information impact a decision as to whether or not this is a credible research source?

OBJECTIVITY
When you evaluate the objectivity of a website, examine the content for any bias (or potential bias).

Look for:
Bias in content. The website should present both sides of an issue equally. It should not present one side of an issue while ignoring the opposition.
Advertisements. In many cases, the fewer ads, the better. If the site is filled with ads, it may be attempting to sway readers.
The website’s goal. Sites designed to persuade or sell will likely include much more bias that informational and educational websites.

How does potential bias impact the reader’s view of the organization, topic, website, and/or writer?
How does potential bias impact the site’s credibility?
How does this information impact a decision as to whether or not this is a credible research source?

ACCURACY
When you evaluate a website for accuracy, attempt to verify if the information presented is accurate.

Look for:
Reliability. Check to see if the author has written other credible information about the subject and/or if the author or organization is connected to (or affiliated with) other respectable and reputable institutions.
References. The website should reference and link to credible sources (not just link to other pages of its own website).
Comparison to other information. Compare the website’s content to other sources of information about the same topic.
Grammar/style. The information should be well-written and free from grammar and spelling errors.

How does this information affect the credibility of the article, website, organization, or writer?
How does this information impact a decision as to whether or not this is a credible research source?

COVERAGE
When you evaluate the coverage of a website, consider its purpose and intended content focus.

Look for:
Depth of coverage. If a site is designed to cover a broad topic, evaluate whether or not it makes a reasonable attempt to do so. If the site is designed to focus on a narrow subject, evaluate the website to determine whether or not the coverage is detailed and specific.
Links to content. The website should link to other credible resources, not simply to other pages on the same website or other websites posted by the same person or organization.

Does limited information affect the reader’s understanding of the content?
Does the site present so much information that readers will become overwhelmed?
Does the site present adequate information given the purpose of the article or site?
How does this information impact a decision as to whether or not this is a credible research source?

FINAL EVALUATION
This brief paragraph should offer a final evaluation of the website and summarize your key points as to why the site is or is not an appropriate research source for an academic essay.
This section is not a personal opinion. It is a conclusion based on evidence; therefore, it should be written in the third person.

ALTERNATE SOURCE
This paragraph will identify one additional source that might be incorporated into a research essay and explain how it might be utilized. (See discussion above for content requirements.)

INCORPORATION INTO LITERARY ANALYSIS
This section (composed of 1-2 paragraphs) will explain how the assigned website might be incorporated into a literary analysis essay about the assigned corresponding poem. (See discussion above for content requirements.)

CONCLUSION
Wrap up the essay by discussing your evaluation and the usefulness of your chosen website as a research source. Consider highlighting why it should/should not be used as an academic research paper, a literary analysis paper, or other types of college writing and/or how best to use this type of website in research writing.

MLA 8 Format
Because you are referencing only one website in each section, in-text citations are only needed if you are citing additional sources or if citations are necessary to clarify content.
The corresponding poem does not need to be cited in-text or on the Works Cited.

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