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Please, rate my essay

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Please, rate my essay [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2013, 19:08
The common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues is false, or at least outdated: a recently published survey indicates that 79 percent of the nearly 1,200 workers who responded to survey indicates questionnaires expressed a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program



The author concludes that workers are concerned about management problems because the majority of respondents of the recent survey say that they pay much attention to the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program. However, the conclusion relies on the assumptions, for which the author doesn’t mention clear evidence.

First, the author assumes that the workers say truth answering the questions of the survey. Moreover, the author even doesn’t mention whether the answers were anonymous or not. In fact, the workers could lie because they wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to their company and supervisors.

Second, the author assumes that the workers are interested in management issues of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program. However, decisions on these topics may directly influence on workers. For example, restructuring of a company may lead changing in a worker’s position. Also, redesign of benefits program often results in a wages of workers of all levels. Therefore, workers may be interested not in management issues of these topics, but in their own problems and benefits that may appear after implementation of corporate restructuring or benefits program.

To strengthen the position, the author must provide some evidence to support his or her assumptions. First, the author should prove that the answers of the workers were honest. If the survey was extremely anonymous, there is high probability that the workers did not treat answering the questions. Second, the author has to show results of the survey that demonstrate in what aspects of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program the workers are interested.

In summary, the argument of the author is flawed, and it could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts about the survey.
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Re: Please, rate my essay [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2013, 18:28
I consider this prompt quite difficult. It is very short and there are only so many ideas one can come up with. However, I did my best to grade the paper fairly, taking this circumstance into account. My grade is 3.5.


What issues do we have here?
    1. It is unclear who participated in the survey. If the workers were all from the same company, then the results are already necessarily biased and not representative of workers in general.
    2. Even if the survey was administered at many different companies in many different parts of the country, it is still likely that the more enthusiastic workers chose to fill out the questionnaire. This would skew the results making it look as if there were more enthusiastic workers than there really are.
    3. The respondents may not have told the truth. It is definitely important whether the survey was anonymous or, more importantly, whether the workers believed that it was. On the other hand, if the survey was demonstrably anonymous, a lot of apathetic workers could have filled in random answers just to amuse themselves at this other stupid idea proposed by the management, or the government, or whoever conducted the survey. (This may or may not be likely depending on the culture of the country in question.) Also people may lie to themselves, thinking that they should be interested in management issues and answering in this way in the survey, while in fact they may not be interested at all.
    4. Workers' interest in the redesign of benefits is quite natural and, in the absence of other evidence, should not be interpreted as a general interest in management issues. Corporate restructuring could also affect workers in a more direct way than many other management issues, and thus would naturally receive a relatively high share of the workers' interest. This is perhaps the strongest objection.

As you can see, most of these ideas are straightforward. The only nontrivial thought that I was able to come up with is that apathetic workers may respond that they are interested precisely because they are apathetic, and thus don't care.




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3.5. Identifies and capably analyzes important features of the argument


The essay actually misses one important feature of the argument: the representativity of the sample of 1,200 workers. (How were they selected?) While the essay identifies some other important issues, there is no excuse not to identify all of them since the topic is so limited.

3.0. Is limited in the logical development and organization of ideas


The structure of the essay is very simple, though this is partially due to the nature of the prompt. The use of transitions is markedly imprecise.

Quote:
First, the author assumes that the workers say truth answering the questions of the survey. Moreover, the author even doesn’t mention whether the answers were anonymous or not.

The word "moreover" doesn't quite fit here. The first sentence says that the author is making an unwarranted assumption. The second sentence, however, deals with what the author says or mentions, not what the author assumes or believes. Those two sentences are, in my opinion, not similar enough to be connected with "moreover".

Quote:
In fact, the workers could lie because they wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to their company and supervisors.

This use of "in fact" is also confusing. The previous sentence was dealing with the issue of whether the answers were anonymous or not. If the following sentence starts with "in fact", I naturally expect some facts that would clarify the situation. For example, "...the author doesn't even mention whether the answers were anonymous or not. In fact, there is evidence that the survey was not anonymous at all." The observation that the workers could (have?) lied because (if/in case?) they wanted to demonstrate their loyalty can be considered a fact, but it does not support the previous statement. It would be better to
have the third sentence immediately follow the first one:
Quote:
First, the author assumes that the workers say truth answering the questions of the survey. ....... In fact, the workers could lie because they wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to their company and supervisors.


Quote:
Second, the author assumes that the workers are interested in management issues of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program. However, decisions on these topics may directly influence on workers.

The use of "however" is, once again, confusing. Just because decisions on these topics may directly influence the workers does not mean that the workers cannot be interested in these issues. In fact, it is the other way round! The workers are likely to be interested in those issues precisely because these issues affect them the most! Thus, "however" should be replaced by something like "indeed" so we can indicate agreement rather than contrast.

Quote:
First, the author should prove that the answers of the workers were honest

This is practically impossible. What kind of proof did you have in mind?

Quote:
If the survey was extremely anonymous, there is high probability that the workers did not treat answering the questions.

It is unclear how this probability is to be measured. Besides, as I already pointed out, it depends on the culture - the corporate culture and the culture of the country. Seriously, imagine yourself working for some corporation. You are sitting there at your desk in the morning, sorting out your 50 new emails. You get a new link to some online survey which asks you to select how much you are interested in the following ten categories of management issues. (This is another nontrivial idea that I just came up with after writing the first half of my response). The workers may respond in a relative way: they may put "very interest" on the issues with benefits redesign and corporate restructuring and "not very interested" on the issues with other things. Can we say that they are being honest or dishonest?

I would say that this whole survey sounds like a huge waste of time - unless, of course, they had some other, more meaningful questions.


4.0. Supports the main points of the critique


The paper supports the claim that the workers may not be saying the truth: their may be lying out of loyalty to their supervisors.

The paper also supports the claim that the workers may only be interested in certain management issues: a redesign of benefit programs and/or a corporate restructuring may directly affect workers' wages and/or positions. Therefore, we may make the mistake of viewing workers' personal concerns as their genuine interest in management issues. (Should we be making such a distinction? Does it matter why they are interested in management issues?) The paper would be stronger if it gave examples of some other management issues that do not affect workers directly. Of course, every management issue may directly affect at least some of the workers. So the paper should have addressed this too: some workers may be directly affected by brand awareness issues because the shares will go down, and so will the workers' salaries... Also note how ambiguous is the term "workers": this word makes us think about a factory, yet those surveyed may not be factory workers.

The second recommendation made at the end of the paper is somewhat confusing.
Quote:
Second, the author has to show results of the survey that demonstrate in what aspects of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program the workers are interested.

Is it unclear why the author has to do that. The conclusion would be stronger if it explained how such results of the survey may strengthen or weaken the original argument.


3.0. Uses language imprecisely and/or lacks sentence variety



It was already explained that the use of transitions such as "however" and "in fact" is very imprecise.

Another example of imprecise use:
Quote:
First, the author assumes that the workers say truth answering the questions of the survey.
.......
Second, the author assumes that the workers are interested in management issues of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits program.

In fact, the second assumption is a direct consequence of the first one. If the workers replied truthfully, then they are truly interested in these issues -- at least 79 percent of them.

Quote:
To strengthen the position, the author must provide some evidence to support his or her assumptions.

I would take issue with this one. There are other ways to strengthen the author's position. For example, providing detailed information about the survey and the procedure used for sampling the 1,200 respondents may considerably strengthen (or weaken) the argument. Yet this information or evidence, while supporting the argument, may or may not support the assumptions of the author identified in the paper - viz. that the respondents were truthful and that they were truly interested in the management issues mentioned above.


3.0. Contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics


Quote:
However, the conclusion relies on the assumptions, for which the author doesn’t mention clear evidence.

"the assumptions" --> "assumptions"
"mention clear evidence" --> "present clear evidence" (it is better in this context)

Quote:
First, the author assumes that the workers say truth answering the questions of the survey.

"say truth" --> "tell the truth"
"...answering" --> "when/while answering"

Quote:
In fact, the workers could lie because they wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to their company and supervisors.

"could lie" --> "could have lied" (is this what was meant?)
Alternatively, "because they wanted" --> "when they want"

Quote:
...may directly influence on workers.

"may directly influence the workers" or "may have a direct influence on the workers"

Quote:
For example, restructuring of a company may lead changing in a worker’s position.

"restructuring" --> "the restructuring"
"lead changing" --> "to changes"

Quote:
Also, redesign of benefits program often results in a wages of workers of all levels.

Which meaning was intended? Results in a lowering of wages?

Quote:
Therefore, workers may be interested not in management issues of these topics,

"management issues of these topics" --> "not in these management issues per se"

Quote:
If the survey was extremely anonymous

completely anonymous
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Re: Please, rate my essay   [#permalink] 23 Jan 2013, 18:28
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