Format of Essay in “Analysis of an Argument”


analysis2Format of Essay in “Analysis of an Argument”

In a 30 minute time for writing an essay the most important skill that is tested is the way you manage your time and present your opinions precisely to the examiner. So pacing and time management is crucial.  Here’s what to do in each phase:

  1. 5 minutes of Planning :  “Planning is very important before you do anything. In the same way before you start writing an essay thoroughly take apart the presented argument, structure your own thesis or flaw points backed by strong examples to support your flaws. Give yourself a clear “road map” before you start writing.
  2. 20 minutes of Writing: If you have planned your essay properly within 20 minutes you will be able to structure a strong essay and easily pen down your arguments backed by supportive examples.
  3. 5 minutes of Revision. You can spend your 5 minutes to check your essay in the same way as we do it as per the instructions of our teacher during our normal exams.

Sample –

The following was a part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:

“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

This argument says that people at Olympic Foods will be soon celebrating its 25th birthday, and therefore they hope that 25 years of experience will enable them to cut down costs of processing and consequently that will increase their profits. To support this statement, the speaker quotes the example of color film processing industry as an analogy, in which the cost of film processing has gone down by a wide margin over a period of 14 years. The argument is supported by meager evidences and is full of deficiencies and dubious assumptions.  Neither are the premises convincing nor is the conclusion compelling. The argument is very evidently the upshot of an impetuous generalization.

To start with, the comparison between a Color Film processing industry and a Food Processing industry is not at all convincing because each of these industries are all together different from each other. So, it would be  naive to assume, especially owing to lack of concrete data, that what proved to be successful in one industry might be relevant for the other also. Also this becomes more important in the light of the fact that there is no strong reason given to make us believe that what and how Color Film Processing industry’s costs came down. Was it because of improvements in modus operandi, or owing to factors as tax-rebate, availability of cheap labor, or reduction in cost of raw materials?

Secondly, the speaker while mentioning that Olympic Foods will become a 25 year old organization shortly, has not provided any concrete evidence to support his statement  regarding the increase in efficiency of operations in the company, or improvements in the way things are done there. As a result, it’s hard to believe that efficiency and cost-reduction will be in concurrence of age in Olympic Foods.

Thirdly, even if it were true that there have been improvement and efficiency in the ways things are done in Olympic Foods, there is no specific mention about several other factors like consequences if lead to increase in operational costs, or may cause a substantial loss and decrease profits. For example, consequences if the cost of raw food materials might increase, or the supply of specialized labor might shrink, taxes might increase, leading to erosion of profits.

To support this argument well, the speaker would do well to provide a comparative data showing how Olympic Foods has fared well in increasing its efficiency and reducing it’s costs and how those factors in turn have influenced the bottom-line of the company. In addition to this, the speaker should also mention the contingency measures that are planned to mitigate the risky factors that might impact the profits.

In summary, the argument is hugely the result of baseless statements and speculative data with dubious assumptions and a lot of unsubstantiated evidence. But whatever has been presented here indeed fails to provide a holistic picture to the superfluous claims being made.