Academic Evaluations

Organization by Causal Analysis

When using analysis to evaluate places, objects, events, or policies, writers often focus on causes or effects. The following is an example from Stephen Reid's The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers (4th ed.), showing how one writer organizes an evaluation of a Goya painting by discussing its effects on the viewer.

Criterion #1/Judgment: The iconography, or use of symbols, contributes to the powerful effect of this picture on the viewer.

Evidence: The church as a symbol of hopefulness contrasts with the cruelty of the execution. The spire on the church emphasizes for the viewer how powerless the Church is to save the victims.

Criterion #2/Judgment: The use of light contributes to the powerful effect of the picture on the viewer.

Evidence: The light casts an intense glow on the scene, and its glaring, lurid, and artificial qualities create the same effect on the viewer that modern art sometimes does.

Criterion #3/Judgment: The composition or use of formal devices contributes to the powerful effect of the picture on the viewer.

Evidence: The diagonal lines scissors the picture into spaces that give the viewer a claustrophobic feeling. The corpse is foreshortened, so that it looks as though the dead man is bidding the viewer welcome (Reid 340).

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Introduction