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GRE Argument Essay: Twenty Years Ago, Dr. Field, A Noted Anthropologist, Visited The Island Of Tertia. - With A Free Essay Review

"Twenty years ago, Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia. Using an observation-centered approach to studying Tertian culture, he concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village rather than by their own biological parents. Recently another anthropologist, Dr. Karp, visited the group of islands that includes Tertia and used the interview-centered method to study child-rearing practices. In the interviews that Dr. Karp conducted with children living in this group of islands, the children spent much more time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. Dr. Karp decided that Dr. Field's conclusion about Tertian village culture must be invalid. Some anthropologists recommend that to obtain accurate information on Tertian child-rearing practices, future research on the subject should be conducted via the interview-centered method." Instruction: "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."

In the statement, some anthropologists recommend that future research on the subject of Tertian child-rearing practices should be conducted through the interview-oriented method because this means of studying is more accurate. To substantiate this recommendation, the author points out that outcomes of the study conducted 20 years ago which used the observation-centered method conflict with the result of the more current research. At first glance, the recommendation advocated by some anthropologists seems to be compelling. Actually it, however, is rife with flaws that should be addressed by answering some important questions.

First, the author claims that the different outcomes of the two researches result from the invalidation of the former study based on one assumption: that during the 20 years the Tertian culture did not change. In other words, Tertian child-rearing has been consistent all the time. This assumption, however, is not supported by any evidence in the argument. So to strengthen the statement, the author should answer the question whether Tertian culture changed during the 20 years by using factual evidence. If there are changes in the child-rearing culture, the claim that Dr. Field’s research is invalid seems untenable, because it is very possible that children were reared by the entire village 20 years ago. What conflict are the facts of different times, not the study results.

Second, Dr. Karp asserts that Dr. Field’s research is inaccurate and invalid based on the confidence that his research must be accurate and scientific. However, there is no solid evidence in the argument support this confidence. To enhance the argument, the author should answer some questions, such as whether Dr. Karp selected his interviewees randomly, whether the number of interviewees is large enough, and whether the content of the interview is objective and neutral without any guiding information biasing the results. If each answers is “yes," the conclusion that A can belie B is more persuasive.

Third, when Dr. Karp gets conclusion from his interview material, he assumes that a correlation exists between child-rearing culture and relationship of children and parents. In other words, he assume that a close relation between children and parents can prove parents foster children by their own strength, and estranged relations certify the conclusion that entire village raise children together. This assumption stands on untenable ground. The author should answer whether there is one possibility that children cultivated by entire village will still have closer emotional relation with parents. If children exactly have intimate relation with parents no matter who rear these kids, then the Dr. Karp’s will be wrong.

If any flaws discussed above are not resolved, the recommendation that to obtain accurate information on Tertian child-rearing practices, future research on the subject should be conducted via the interview-centered method will be irrational.


Essay Review

Your first two arguments here are reasonable, although I think you miss some of the relevant questions that need to be answered, such as whether children from the island of Tertia were actually among the group of island children interviewed (since there may be differences in child-rearing practices in different islands). Your third argument raises a valuable point, but it is poorly articulated and here you don't identify a reasonable or specific question. If you think it is possible that children raised by a village rather than parents would still talk more about their parents, what specific questions would, if answered, help you decide the matter? In this specific case, for instance, we might want to know what the children actually said about their parents and about other adults in the village, and might also want to know what specific questions were asked of them (whether the questions asked were, for instance, leading in any way or gave sufficient scope to respondents to discuss their lives freely).

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: yahoochao

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