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GRE Issue 27: In Any Field Of Inquiry, The Beginner Is More Likely Than The Expert To Make Important Contributions - With A Free Essay Review

Prompt: In any field of inquiry, the beginner is more likely than the expert to make important contributions. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The statement simply claims that in any field of inquiry, the beginner is more likely than the expert to make great contributions. From my perspective, in some fields, the likelihood that the beginner can make contributions is greater than that of the expert. However, experts may have more chances than the beginner to make achievements in other fields. Apart from that, in certain fields, they share almost equal opportunities to make contributions.

In some fields, the beginner is more likely to make important contributions than the expert. On the one hand, most beginners are not fettered by thinking set. With creative thought, beginners are likely to get rid of stereotypes and establish a groundbreaking theory. On the other hand, experts who made numerous contributions at an early age and received reputation from society might become arrogant and lose enthusiasm for their research. Due to their apathy, they could hardly make significant contributions. Newton is an excellent example of this point. Newton made a large number of contributions in the earlier part of life, establishing his theory of gravitation as well as the three laws of motion, which caused a profound revolution in physics. However, as his reputation increased, he spent much time on political affairs and alchemy rather than physics. The lack of interest in his previous research hindered him from making other contributions to science. Contrary to that, when he was young, Newton preoccupied himself with doing experiments and calculation for a long time. Therefore, in some cases and fields, the beginner is more likely to succeed in making great contributions than the expert.

By contrast, in other fields, experts rather than beginners are more likely to make contributions since they are more experienced and have a better understanding of this subject. Take computer science for example. Although computer technology develops more and more rapidly and it seems that experts may not be able to catch up with trend compared to beginners, a lot of insightful books are written by experts. For instance, Donald Knuth, an eminent computer scientist, made great contributions when he became an expert including the great work “The Art of Computer Programming” and typesetting system “Tex”. He was regarded as the father of the analysis of algorithms because he invented some techniques for it. The reasons why Knuth made contributions after being expert are listed as follows. On the one hand, unlike physics filled with experiments, computer science, especially algorithms, is very theoretical and abstruse, which are too abstract for most beginners to understand thoroughly. On the other hand, unlike beginners, experts have already accumulated plenty of knowledge and done numerous researches on some topics. Hence, despite the fact that computer technology develops fast, the theoretical parts are more suitable for experts to study.

In addition, in some cases, such as philosophy, both beginners and experts share almost the same likelihood of making contributions. It is because beginners have chances to pose a new idea while experts are likely to perfect their theories established.

In conclusion, under different circumstances, the answers to whether the statement is true or not are distinct because experts and beginners both have their own advantages and weaknesses.



The basic arguments that you make here are fine, but perhaps can be further elaborated or clarified in places. You say that beginners "are not fettered by [a] thinking set," which is a bit unclear. Presumably you mean that they are not as committed as established experts to current theories and methodologies. It's also, in this context, not entirely clear what you mean by "creative thought" and it's not clear why you think beginners have more of it than experts. "Stereotypes" is probably also the wrong word. Sometimes vagueness and imprecision can be compensated for with a good example (you don't offer any here) but aim to be as specific as possible. And elaborate your argument where possible. If you think experts tend to be committed to current theories, then you should not only say that explicitly, but also explain why. It's unclear to me, for instance, whether you would say that the young are more inclined to take risks or whether, instead, they have less skin in the game and so have less to risk by being adventurous or creative.

Your next argument mentions the possible arrogance of experts, but you don't clarify why arrogance is a relevant issue; the claim about losing enthusiasm is also not explained, but in that case the point happens to be a bit more obvious. It may well be that it is hard for some to maintain strong enthusiasm for a subject for very many years. There are of course all kinds of other reasons (social, familial, physical) that established experts might spend less time on their work.

You then turn to fields in which you think experts are the more likely to make contributions. By implication, you are arguing that there are certain fields that by their nature prevent beginners from making important contributions; that expert, wide-ranging knowledge is required before contributions can be made. That argument needs to be made explicitly.

Obviously, your penultimate paragraph is underdeveloped and vague. It is not clear why you think that in philosophy, unlike computer science, it is possible for beginners to pose new ideas that are important contributions. And it's also not clear why think (if you think) that philosophers are not as inclined as physicists to become apathetic. (I'm not convinced overall by the division according to discipline in your essay.)

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: hahaxiao66

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