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Please Evaluate (Argument)

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Please Evaluate (Argument) [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2010, 14:29
Please evaluate the following argument. (I am not happy with the way it turned out, I felt I could not make a convincing argument here)

Over the past decade, the restaurant industry in the country of Spiessa has experienced unprecedented growth. This
surge can be expected to continue in the coming years, fueled by recent social changes: personal incomes are rising,
more leisure time is available, single-person households are more common, and people have a greater interest in
gourmet food, as evidenced by a proliferation of publications on the subject.”



The news paper claims that that the restaurant industry in the country of Siesta is thriving owing to many social changes like rising personal incomes, availability of leisure time, increase in single person households. And this trend is expected to continue in future. This argument needs a closer evaluation to validate the merits of it.

Firstly the article claims that the trend in growth is expected to continue because of the afore mentioned factors, before coming to a conclusion it would be interesting to know if the market for restaurants has the market already matured. Where exactly on the growth curve is the restaurant industry in? Who are the new customers for the projected growth?

Secondly the article also claims that the recent spurt of publications on this subject implies people are interested in gourmet food and hence a projected increase restaurant business. An increase in number of articles is by no means an indication of future growth of the sector as a whole. It would also be interesting to know if the restaurant industry is funding these publications as a form of proxy marketing.

Thirdly, assuming that the increase in articles is because of reader interest, one would want to know how much of the casual interest shown by readers on articles actually translates in to paying customers for the restaurant industry. Also the increase in publication can be indicative of people being more interested in cooking exotic food for themselves rather than paying for it.

Though the argument has its merits, it would be unwise to qualify the article without answering the questions raise above.
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Re: Please Evaluate (Argument) [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2010, 14:54
I particularly found this argument little hard, couldn't really spot solid gaps that easily.

Can any of you give me few more points here?
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Re: Please Evaluate (Argument) [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2010, 01:07
Can someone help me here with some more ammunition? :)
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Re: Please Evaluate (Argument) [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2010, 16:04
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Hey rockroars,

One of the keys to these is looking at the prompt, which points out that you can use:

Assumptions
Ways to weaken the argument
Ways to strengthen the argument

Typically those go hand-in-hand, so if you don't find any "assumptions" per se, just ask yourself if you can come up with hypotheticals that would weaken the argument. Here are a few that come to mind for me:

-could a greater interest in gourmet food mean that people are more likely to want to cook it for themselves as opposed to going out for it?
-could the number of single-person households actually mean that fewer people are going out to eat? Maybe families/couples eat out more than singles?
-Are rising personal incomes sustainable?
-Does "more leisure time" really correspond to more eating at restaurants? Couldn't that lead to more travel outside of Spiessa, or more people pursuing their own cooking/vegetable-gardening?

I find that a lot of times it's easier to propose weaknesses ("well, what if...?") and then retrofit the assumption. For example, that last point "people could want to cook or grow their own food more with more free time" points out the assumption that "more free time ---> more restaurant patronage"


I hope that helps...
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Brian

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Re: Please Evaluate (Argument) [#permalink] New post 21 Dec 2010, 07:17
Thanks Brian :)
Re: Please Evaluate (Argument)   [#permalink] 21 Dec 2010, 07:17
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