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# AWA rating

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Intern
Joined: 03 Oct 2017
Posts: 1

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25 Dec 2017, 08:33
Looking for a quick feedback.

ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in a newspaper editorial during the holiday shopping season:
"Americans spend far too much of their time buying and consuming non-essential goods. Studies show that, on average Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping. As such, it is no secret why America is losing its competitive edge relative to other countries. Instead of spending their time productively, Americans are wasting time through frivolous consumption. In order to counteract this trend, Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development--by, for example, pursuing educational advancement or participating in volunteer opportunities."
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

RESPONSE:

The author of the newspaper editorial states the findings of a study that on an average Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping and consuming non-essential goods. Also, the author states that due to the above, America is losing its competitive edge relative to other countries. The author considers the time spent on shopping as frivolous. Further the author, suggests that the Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development - by pursuing educational advancement or participating in volunteer opportunities. The above argument of the author is flawed for several reasons.

Firstly, many research studies suggest that spending time on shopping increases the self-satisfaction, happiness and eventually the productivity of a person manifold times. This can be substantiated by the fact that many large Companies across the globe encourage their employees to take mandatory leaves each year.

Secondly, the author has no right to suggest anyone to pursue any educational advancement or to participate in volunteer opportunities against his or her will. Everyone has a liberty to spend his or her leisure time as per their convenience. Additionally, the author has not provided the authenticity of the findings of the study cited in the editorial. It may be possible that the sample size of the study was too small or the demographic factors were totally ignored in the study.

Thirdly, the author has casually linked one finding as the cause of the other. The author has failed to provide any evidence of America losing its competitive edge over other countries. It is a well-known fact that America is still the strongest and the largest economy of the world and contributes the largest business and trade for other countries, specially the third world country.

In conclusion, the author has arbitrarily linked certain finding of a study with the cause of a macroeconomic phenomenon. The author needs to provide additional evidence regarding the actual effects of reduce in productivity and loss of competitive edge due to spending time on shopping.

P.S - I know that my arguments are quite vague but I kind of choked.
examPAL Representative
Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 117

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05 Jan 2018, 02:24
First issue: your first paragraph is simply a summary of the prompt - but it is not clear what you identify as the argument. The opening paragraph must have a sentence of the structure: "the argument states that X causes Y/ because of X, we can conclude Y" or something like that. Your's doesn't - and thus it isn't clear what exactly you are critiquing.
The first critical paragraph presents a critique entirely based on external information - this is a mistake. You criticism need to be (and definitely can be) based on the argument itself, and its internal logical flaws.
The second critical paragraph ("Secondly") sets off an a promising direction (who says shopping is bad?), but then completely changes gears and starts discussing authenticity. Don't do this - paragraphs should have one subject only! In addition, this second critique is weak - if we are told a study says something, we should accept it, and not challenge what is presented as a fact.
The third critical paragraph identifies a key flaw - good job! But, it should have developed this much more, giving us possible alternative explanations for the cause of America losing its competitive edge. Instead, it tries to argue that America ISN'T losing its edge, on the basis of external information - this is a mistake. We can't argue with what is presented as a fact, and we shouldn't use external info.
The conclusion mentions the type of research needed to support the argument - good job. This should have gotten its own paragraph, and not been the conclusion.
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Re: AWA rating &nbs [#permalink] 05 Jan 2018, 02:24
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