Academic Evaluations

Pattern of Classical Oration for Evaluations

Robert K. Miller and Suzanne S. Webb, in their book, Motives for Writing (2nd ed.) discuss what they call "the pattern of classical oration for evaluations," which incorporates opposing evaluations as well as supporting reasons and judgments. This pattern is as follows:

Present your subject. (This discussion includes any background information, description, acknowledgement of weaknesses, and so forth.)

State your criteria. (If your criteria are controversial, be sure to justify them.)

Make your judgment. (State it as clearly and emphatically as possible.)

Give your reasons. (Be sure to present good evidence for each reason.)

Refute opposing evaluations. (Let your reader know you have given thoughtful consideration to opposing views, since such views exist.)

State your conclusion. (You may restate or summarize your judgment.) (Miller and Webb 286-7)

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