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Sample Arguments & Essays

Following is an example of an Analyze an Argument essay. Let’’s complete each of the five steps to illustrate the process.

Argument:

 

The following appeared in a memo from a human resources manager at Presto Products. “

“Over the past year, we have had 25 percent more on-the-job accidents than Mega Manufacturing, which is just down the street. Mega Manufacturing’’s employees begin work at 9:00 instead of 8:00, like Presto Products, and they end at 5:30 just like we do. This means that their employees work one hour less than our employees do. We should adopt the same working hours as Mega Manufacturing so our employees are more rested. This would decrease the number of on-the-job accidents since it would take away the fatigue factor.”

 

Step 1: Understanding the Argument

 

  • • Identify the conclusion. Presto has had more on-the-job accidents than Mega, and the HR manager feels this is caused by fatigue since Presto employees work one hour longer than Mega employees.
  • What premises does the author offer to support the conclusion? Mega employees begin work later and have fewer on-the-job accidents. •
  • What fallacies or flaws do you recognize in the argument? The author makes a hasty generalization, comparing the two companies as if they are identical. •
  • What assumptions are made in the argument? That fatigue is the main factor in accidents. Also that Presto’’s employees are suffering from fatigue just because of one extra hour of work. Also assumes that break times at both companies are the same.
  • What does the argument fail to address? What each company does. (Maybe one company’’s employees spend more time working with hazardous equipment.)
  • What necessary evidence is omitted from the argument? What each company does. Also, the size of each company –– size both of the actual building and of the number of employees (more people in a smaller space could lead to more accidents).

 

​​Step 2: Developing My Thesis

 

The argument that Presto’’s occurrences of on-the-job accidents would be less if the employees worked an hour less creates several problems because:

 

1) it assumes that fatigue is the main factor in on-the-job accidents and that breaks are the same at both companies

2) it fails to address what each company does

3) it omits the following important evidence: What the companies do and the size of the companies

 

 

Step 3: Organizing My Thoughts

 

ANALYZING AN ARGUMENT ESSAY FORMULA (formula 2):

 

I. Introduction

A. A memo recently went out to Presto employees regarding on-the-job accidents. It seems that Presto’’s rate of accidents is 25 percent higher than that of nearby Mega Manufacturing. The memo suggested that Presto employees’’ workdays should be shortened by one hour by starting work at 9:00 instead of 8:00.
B. The argument that Presto’’s occurrences of on-the-job accidents would be less if the employees worked an hour less creates several problems because it assumes fatigue is the main factor in the accidents, it fails to address what each company does, and it does not discuss the size of the companies.

 

II. The argument assumes that …… (thesis point #1) 
A. Fatigue is the main factor in on-the-job accidents 
B. Both companies give their employees the same time for breaks

 

III. The argument never addresses …… (thesis point #2)
A. What the companies do 
B. How the companies’’ industries differ

 

IV. The argument omits important evidence …… (thesis point #3)
A. What the companies do
B. The size of the companies, both in actual building size and number of employees

 

V. Conclusion 
A. Restate thesis

B. Presto should examine other elements in the location where the majority of the accidents occur. Such things as machinery, workspace and employee experience may be important factors to consider.

 

 

Step 4: Writing My Essay

 

On-the-job accidents are a major concern to companies. Every year, workplace injuries cost companies thousands of dollars in medical expenses and wages paid to recovering employees. Naturally, these companies look for ways to reduce risks and make the workplace safer. Recently, a memo went out to Presto Product employees regarding on-the-job accidents. It seems that Presto’’s rate of accidents is 25 percent higher than that of nearby Mega Manufacturing. The memo suggested that Presto employees’’ workdays should be shortened by one hour by starting work at 9:00 instead of 8:00. However, this argument has several flaws: Based on an assumption that Presto employees work more hours than Mega Manufacturing, it offers fatigue as the main factor in these accidents, and it does not discuss the size of the companies or describe what each company does.

 

By not taking into account what each company does, the Presto memo fails to accurately identify the cause of on-the-job accidents. For example, perhaps Presto Products uses forklifts and Mega Manufacturing does not. If this were the case, Presto could have a higher rate of accidents involving those workers who operate the heavy machinery. In addition, the type of work Presto employees do could be more of a contributing factor to fatigue than the number of hours worked. If workers at Presto Products spend a majority of the day on their feet, they would clearly be more affected by fatigue than a company whose employees spend much of their time at desks.

 

In addition to the misguided assumptions the Presto memo makes about fatigue, it also fails to consider break times during a workday. By law, companies are required to give their employees a certain number of timed breaks. The number of breaks required is dependent upon the number of hours an employee is required to work. Therefore, it is possible that at Mega Manufacturing employees get fewer breaks thanPresto employees do. Moreover, perhaps lunch time at Mega Manufacturing is shorter than at Presto. Over the course of a day, then, Presto employees may work the same number of hours as the workers at Mega Manufacturing.

 

Besides failing to consider break times during the workday, the Presto memo also omits important information. The memo should address various concrete factors such as the size of the Presto’’s building and the number of employees working there. By comparing this information to the same type of information from Mega Manufacturing, it may be possible to draw an accurate comparison. For example, perhaps Presto’’s staff has outgrown their facility while Mega Manufacturing’’s small staff enjoys the luxury of private offices and a large spacious warehouse. For Presto, a crowded building could become a hazard.

 

There are many potential hazards at the workplace. A company like Presto cannot validly assume that fatigue is the main cause of on-the-job accidents without supplying solid evidence to support such a finding. If they wish to prove that fatigue is the primary cause of on-the-job accidents, they must rule out other potential causes. Discussing other potentially hazardous factors with their employees would also go a long way toward finding a solution.

 

 

Step 5: Revising My Essay

 

Just like in Present Your Perspective on an Issue, here is your chance to revise an essay. Answer the following questions regarding the essay above.

 

  • Is the introduction captivating? Why or why not? Do you recognize a certain method the author employs to make the introduction interesting?
  • Is the thesis statement concise? Does it clearly show the purpose of the essay?
  • Do the body paragraphs clearly support each point made in the thesis? If not, where does the essay lack necessary support?
  • Are there logical transitions that make the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs? Underline each word, phrase or sentence that acts as a transition.
  • •Is the tone and diction consistent throughout the essay? If not, point out the places where consistency breaks down.
  • Is the use of person consistent? If not, point out the places where consistency is not maintained.
  • Is there a word, or are there words, which have been used too often in the essay? List these words. Also list the words that have been used to provide variety in the essay.
  • Do the sentences vary in length and structure?




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