Analysis of an Argument: Scoring Guide Analysis of An Argument: Sample Topic

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The following appeared in the editorial section of a monthly business newsmagazine. “Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Therefore, it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

Sample Paper:
The argument that a safer workplace will save employers money in their payroll expenses is a thought provoking one, but one with limited credibility, given the assmptions made and gaps in information provided. In my analysis, I will explore the assuptions made and list some gaps in information. First, the author assumes that most companies agree that wages should increase for employees who face a greater risk of physical injury at their jobs. Is this true? Who are these companies? Statistics, if any are available, could support this assumption if they show that the "most" companies would support this idea. However, history and current forces in the job market would suggest otherwise. It is certainly not generally the case that jobs of higher physical risk are compensated at a higher rate. If that were the case, coal miners, who face considerable physical risk, would earn more than whitecollar executives, who face almost none compared to the average person. Second, the author assumes that the costs to ensure a safer workplace will be less than the costs of wages in a less safe workplace. This may not necessarily be the case. For example, a factory runs furnaces that emit somewhat dangerous gasses into the packing area. The operators who work in the packing area are exposed to these gasses and are thought to endure a greater risk than operators who work elsewhere in the plant. Raising the wages of packing area operators would surely cost the company less than rennovating their furnaces or even purchasing entirely new ones. Thus, the assumption that a safer workplace will decrease payroll expenses needs to be substantiated, because on the surface such an assumption is problematic. The author could have mentioned numerous financial reasons to make the workplace safer other than savings on payroll expenses. These financial reasons carry more weight than the reason cited. They include decreasing the risk of costly law suits, increased productivity due to less time off for workrelated illnesses or injuries and even loss of market share from competitors with safer workplaces. This last reason can be examplified by the cement business in Europe. European cement factories with newer, safer technology turn a greater profit than plants with older, dirtier equipment. Not only do these newer plants attract better workers, they also are seen to be more enviornmentally aware. Financial reasons for workplace safety are important. However, arguments for workplace safety should be carefully thought out and backed up with clear evidence.

compensated at a higher rate . . if any are available. if any are available. In this paragraph. could support this assumption if they show that the 'most' companies would support this idea. . the writer discusses two fallacious assumptions presented in the argument. well-articulated critique of the argument and demonstrates mastery of the elements of effective writing. In the second and third paragraphs. . cogent. The writer states. “Is this true? Who are these companies? Statistics. . Paragraph two provides a good example of this outstanding command of language. coal miners . could support this assumption if they show that the 'most' companies would support this idea. In terms of well-developed elaboration and explanation of ideas. The essay also demonstrates outstanding logical organization and arrangement of ideas: paragraph two analyzes the first sentence of the argument.” . It clearly identifies the most important features of the argument and its major flaws in reasoning. who face considerable physical risk . suggesting changes in the argument that would make it more logically sound: “The author could have mentioned numerous financial reasons to make the workplace safer other than savings on payroll expenses.” The second logical fallacy identified and discussed is that “costs to ensure a safer workplace will be less than the costs of wages in a less safe workplace. adding context and focus to the essay. sentence structure is varied (“Is this true? Who are these companies? Statistics. The essay also demonstrates a superior command of language. the writer calls into question the assumption that “most companies” would agree with the premise that employee wages should increase as on-the-job risks increase. If that were the case.” The writer follows this insight with several relevant possibilities and develops one of them with the appropriate example of the cement business in Europe. First. Additionally. and insightful analysis. would earn more than white-collar executives.” Rather than stop here. In each case the reader is provided with developed.”) and word choice is precise (“. this essay is outstanding. .”). . a brief introduction and conclusion nicely round out the paper. While the essay does have a few minor spelling errors. . they do not detract from the overall excellent quality of the essay.” This is followed by another specific example and accompanied by some insightful analysis. . the writer extends his or her argument with an excellent specific example: “It is certainly not generally the case that jobs of higher physical risk are compensated at a higher rate.Explanation of Score: OUTSTANDING (6) This paper presents a sophisticated. mechanics. paragraph three does the same for the second sentence of the argument. and sentence structure. “If that were true. The fourth paragraph takes a sophisticated analytical turn. and paragraph four suggests changes that might strengthen the argument. coal miners. .

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