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Argument 82: A Recent Study Of Dura-Sock - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt:"‘A recent study of Dura-Sock wearers suggests that our company is wasting the money it spends on its patented "Endure" manufacturing process, which ensures that our socks are strong enough to last for two years. Dura-Sock has always advertised its use of the "Endure" process, but the new study shows that the average Dura-Sock customer actually purchases new Dura-Socks every three months. Furthermore, Dura-Sock customers surveyed in our largest market, northeastern United States cities, say that they most value Dura-Sock's stylish appearance and availability in many colors. These findings suggest that Dura-Sock can increase its profits by discontinuing its use of the "Endure" manufacturing process.’ Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.”
Admittedly, the point that the Dura-sock’s company would increase its profits by discontinuing its use of the “endure” manufacturing process, seems at the first glance quite reasonable and convincing. However, I still have to point out some crucial drawbacks that impede this argument to become a persuasive one.
Firstly, I had to cast a great deal of doubt on the credibility of the new study, which shows that the average Dura-Sock customer actually purchases new Dura-Socks every three months. My doubts are primarily on three points. First, with lack of information available, I can hardly believe that this study is based on a critical, objective survey. Also I don't know anything about the samples size, the responder's distribution and so forth. Second, I do not think the term "average" could largely stand for every specific customer's characteristic. "Average" and "all" are obviously two disparate concepts. Third, even though this study is sound, the customers' three-month purchasing habits still are not sufficient to conclude that there are not be attracted as well by the Dura-Socks' durability. Perhaps the customers are primarily those who would like to buy more for storing or send them to their relatives.
Secondly, the arguer shows us another survey to substantiate the customers' purchasing acts are all because of Dura-Sock's stylish appearance and availability in many colors, rather than its durability. However, I find this reasoning as well dubious, for I see no reason why they are not also attracted by the Dura-Sock's other characteristics, for example whether it is strong enough. Perhaps the durability is just their second most valuable factor.
Thirdly, the survey given by the arguer is researched only in northeastern United States. Although as the argument says, this is the largest market, still it cannot convince me that this part of market could perfectly represent the situation in all the other parts, which perhaps have a lot in difference from the northeastern one and from each other.
Fourthly, the arguer concluded that by discontinuing the endure process could undoubtedly increase the profits of the company also proved to be unsound. There are many other factors that could also great influence the company's profits, for example its labor cost, raw material cost and so on. Without considering all the other possible factors, this conclusion seems unconvincing.
In sum, all these four mainly drawbacks inherent in this argument prevent it to become a convincing one. In order to be more persuasive, the arguer should provide more detailed information about the Dura-Sock's customer's purchasing habits, the overall situation of the market, as well as the other possible factors which could also influence the profits of the company.
The first paragraph is unnecessary (an important consideration for a timed examination) and the last sentence of the paragraph is untrue. You do not have to point out crucial drawbacks. You just need to do what the instructions say: discuss the questions that need to be answered in order to evaluate the recommendation and explain how answers to those questions would help you evaluate the recommendation. So, in the second paragraph, you don't need to "cast ... doubt on the credibility of the new study" you simple need to identify what questions ought to be asked in order to evaluate that credibility. To the extent that you do this at all, you do it implicitly. The first part of your second paragraph should actually look something like this:
"One question that needs to be asked in order to evaluate the argument is whether the new study is statistically relevant; i.e., whether the sample size was sufficiently large and whether those surveyed represented all classes of customer."
You would then need to explain how the answer to that question would help to evaluate the argument. Do this explicitly:
"If the survey is not statistically relevant, then it cannot be used to support the argument, and we must judge the argument weak. If the survey is statistically relevant, then we can trust the claim that the average Dura-Sock customer purchases new Dura-Socks every three months."
You need to proceed throughout in this manner. Since you are invited to "discuss" the questions that need to be asked, it is fine to explain the reason for asking the question by, for example, identifying assumptions in the original argument. But your primary task is not to identify those assumptions, but rather come up with a set of questions that would allow you to figure out if the argument and recommendation are sound (it is an assumption of this type of question that the argument and recommendation could in principle be sound as long as the questions receive the right answers).
So your second example from your second paragraph points out the difference between "average" and "all." But then you stop. You need to keep going here. Explain what question would need to be asked in order to test the reliability of using the habits of the average customer to make decisions about how the company should respond to customer behavior.
In your third example you identify another possible problem with the argument, but again don't specify what question should be asked to assess the validity of deducing that customers are not interested in durability from the fact that they purchase new socks every three months. (E.g., Do they continue wearing older socks despite the new purchases, or instead are older socks always just replaced with the new socks?)
I leave you to address the similar problems in the rest of the essay.