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Critical Evaluation Essay Outline

This is the structure most typical. Read various reviews and articles and evaluations
found through research to determine the structure that best fits your own subject. All of
the points here need to be addressed, but there are variations in order.
Present the Subject. Write a paragraph introducing the subject to the reader by 1)
ver!viewing the "big!picture# of your subject, its influence on people, why it$s
important to evaluate, and %) &stablish the evaluative criteria you will be using to
prove your thesis.
Thesis: Your Judgment on the Subject. Write your complete thesis statement,
which includes your judgment and reasons for support. The reasons are your
judgments on the evaluative criteria you have identified to evaluate your subject.
'se the word "because# to connect your judgment to your reasons.
&(ample) The films of *evin +mith, from ,ler-s through .ay and +ilent /ob
+tri-e /ac-, should be avoided because the humor is sophomoric, the language
offensive, and the dialogue crowded with unintelligible pop!culture references.
Body o !rgument
"eason One
#irst Criteria. +tate, as a topic sentence, your judgment on the first evaluative
criteria, and use appropriate transition words0phrases to move from thesis to first
reason. Also, restate the wording of the first reason so it doesn$t simply copy the
reason as you stated it in the complete thesis. &(ample) "The first reason to avoid
*evin +mith$s movies is the low!brow humor.#
Su$$ort or "eason One: Te(tual support, 1uotations, e(amples, e(pert
authorities, cases, statistics, comparisons to similar subjects, analogies
2comparisons to somewhat related subjects).
!ddress objection% and reute&
Arguments are always strengthened when the writer addresses opposing reasons
to his0her own through fair and thorough paraphrase, summary and 1uotation,
including the e(act reasoning the opponent intended. 3t shows confidence.
"eason T'o
1. Second Criteria. +tate, as a topic sentence, your judgment on the second
evaluative criteria, and use appropriate transition words0phrases to move from
thesis to first reason. Also, restate the wording of the first reason so it doesn$t
simply copy the reason as you stated it in the complete thesis. &(ample) "Another
reason to avoid *evin +mith$s movies is not only the low!brow humor, but also
the offensive language used to "be funny#.
Su$$ort: Te(tual support, 1uotations, e(amples, e(pert authorities, statistics,
analogies 2comparisons to related subjects).
!ddress objection% and reute&
"eason Three& Repeat above.
"estate thesis and $remises4 alter the wording so that this is not merely a copy
of the complete thesis in the introduction. 5a-e a recommendation6
How to analyse a case study
Step 1: Get a general impression
Which organisations and industries/sectors does it relate to?
Is the organisation doing well or badly and how has it performed in the past? Is it an
organisation that has an unbroken record of success or has it fallen on hard times?
Look at the development of the organisation over time. What strategies has it
pursued? Which have succeeded and which have failed? How successful has the
organisation been and on what bases do you know?
What are your initial impressions of the main issues and choices confronting the
organisation? Is it in an epanding industry/sector! or a maturing one? "re customer
needs changing? #oes the organisation confront a variety of opportunities? $r is there
a particular strategic issue which the case is oriented towards?
What information is there in the case as tables and annees?
Step 2: Start to analyse seriously
First! with regard to its environment%
o Which are the types of environment where it has been able to succeed! and in
which types has it had problems?
o What have been and are likely to be the key drivers in the macro environment
that may give rise to changes that could provide opportunities or give rise to
o What is the nature of the competitive environment?
Second! get insights about the organisation itself%
o What kind of strategic resources does the organisation have and which does
it lack?
o &hink about which of these have provided advantage over competitors' or
could provide competitive advantage.
o #raw these analyses together by considering in what ways the organisation
has strengths or weaknesses greater than competition.
(o you will have built up a picture of the relative strengths! weaknesses! opportunities and
threats )(W$&* for the organisation.
Third! look at issues about the organisation+s stakeholders. What are their
epectations? "re they similar or in conflict? Who has more or less power and
influence over the organisation+s strategy?
"nd consider the organisation+s culture. How has this influenced past strategies and is
it likely to influence future strategy or constrain attempts to change strategy?
,eware of regarding different frameworks of analysis as distinct and separate' they
relate to each other. -or instance! the results of a value chain analysis could be put in
the contet of data from a ./(&/L and 01-orces analysis and are likely to provide
more insight if they are.
.ull together your analyses and ask% 2What are the ma3or issues that future strategy
needs to address?4
In all of this consider what information is there in all the tables! annees and
appendices? What are they and how do they relate to and inform the 5uestions above?
Step 3: Develop and Evaluate Strategic ptions
6se the results of these analyses as a starting point for developing strategic options.
7ou will have begun to think of what the organisation might do during your analyses.
8ote these down.
,ut don+t 3ust rely on these. 9enerate more systematically other options by using
some of the frameworks in part III! in particular chapter :! of /ploring ;orporate
(trategy for eample a &$W( matri builds on a (W$& analysis that you have
carried out' and chapter : provides checklists of generic strategic options.
/valuate the options by asking the following 5uestions%
o Which are most suitable in terms of the strategic position of the organisation'
ie the strengths and weaknesses it has and the opportunities and threats it
o Would a strategy! if followed! achieve competitive advantage for the
organisation and provide bases for the sustainability of such advantage?
o Which are most likely to be acceptable in terms of the epectations of ma3or
o Which are feasible in terms of the likelihood of implementation% for eample in
terms of resourcing the strategy and managing change.
Step !: "usti#y your conclusions with re#erence to the case
<elate your analysis to the task or 5uestions you have been set. What elements of the
strategic analysis do you re5uire to answer the 5uestion? "nd what don+t you need ! or
are less significant )don+t try to 3ustify your arguments by using all the information you
have select what is most powerful to support your argument*? "nd is there further
information or analysis that you need?
"sk yourself whether you have really supported your conclusions and
recommendations with hard evidence )events and results* from the case study? Have
you allowed yourself to be swayed by the opinions of the organisation+s own
managers? #o the facts support their claims of success! or their ecuses for failure?
=ake sure you clearly state what your recommendations are. &here is no point
marshalling a list of fifteen possible reasons why the organisation should do this or
that without making it clear which one)s* is your preferred option. 6nless you clearly
state what is your recommendation! you could lose marks.
Step $: %resent a &alanced view
=ake sure you have considered the alternatives to your recommendations. &here is
hardly ever 3ust one single option available to an organisation in a given
=ake sure your have made it clear why the recommendation you have chosen is the
best of the available alternatives.
=ake sure you have eamined the downside of your options.