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



Who is an expert ? Expert is defined as a person who has ,over a period of time has proved his adeptness in completing a task or work. Experts are the most trusted persons in the workplace whenever a specialized task needs to be completed in time. I would not fully agree with the opinion that an expert is more likely to make important contributions. There are some categories of work which require newer ways of thinking. Generally a person has become an expert after thinking in a particular way. This repetitive exercise definitely takes a toll on his way of thinking.

There are some tasks which require newer ways of approaching a problem than same old way. For example, a researcher working in the technical field has come across a new problem. He has been used to thinking in a particular way , that he cannot move out of that circle. His ideas are circumscribed within a limit. This is the reason why researchers hire or take the help of research assistants. Research assistants are usually undergraduate or recently graduated students whose minds are fresh from a university. It is expected they think out of the box whenever a problem is given to them.

However whenever a task of commercial interest is concerned an expert is always consulted. Corporations cannot afford to loose time by hiring fresh minds to do critical jobs especially when time is limited. An expert is consulted, and solutions reached in a short time. Expert is given a discretionary power when it comes to approving a work or checking a work for correctness. A person proved to be adept is not expected to make any mistakes. However for contributions in emerging areas we never know what's right and what's wrong. An expert in one field may be a beginner in another. He might have the reputation of his dexterity in a particular field ,but when he goes outside his territory , he is vulnerable. Beginners have wider vision and are open to new ideas most of the time.

To conclude, it would be fair to say that beginners due to their out of box thinking have made bigger contributions , however it is due to their continuous hard work and determination beginners have become experts over a period of time. We must nor discern between an expert and a beginner in scientific research. Such distinctions are of concern only for profit making corporations.

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ESSAY REVIEW

The first paragraph should build up to a clear statement of the argument you wish to make in your essay. You clarify your position in the middle of the paragraph. You then give one possible reason for that position. Then you make a vague assertion about how one becomes an expert (I really can't think of a more vague way to put it than "a person becomes an expert after thinking in a particular way"). Then you mention the toll that some ill-defined "repetitive exercise" takes on the expert's way of thinking. These statements with which you conclude that paragraph are also possible reasons for the position you advance, although their status as such is unclear. You can help to clarify it by making the argument a little less elliptical. You could, for instance, say, "It can be difficult for experts to make important contributions to a field of enquiry because X," where X is a less vague version of your final two sentences.

Your essay as a whole would benefit from concrete examples. Your second paragraph offers a hypothetical scenario as a general example, but when both the scenario is hypothetical and the example is general, the example doesn't really exemplify anything. So choose a concrete example, or if you cannot think of one off the top of your head, at least an example that is slightly less general than a researcher in a technical field. But surely you can come up with some example from whatever subject you are interested in: Friedrich Nietsche, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Albert Einstein, Dennis Ritchie, Pablo Picasso, and so on. (Well, Picasso is probably not the best example here, since he painted like a classical master before overturning the tradition he had mastered).

One of the advantages of making a list like that is that you soon realise that while all of those figures made major contributions to their fields in their youth, they also made contributions as mature experts (Ramanujan died very young, but as I understand it he was an expert on exiting the womb). Another advantage of making a list like that is that, while one could extend it to include several other names, the list is really one of exceptional beings. And in an essay such as this, it is legitimate to make a distinction between the exceptional case and the general case. The key relevant phrase in the essay is "more likely," so the prompt is not asking you whether experts can ever make significant contributions; itís only asking where the next significant contribution is likely to come from. An expert came up with the general theory of relativity a decade after he introduced, as a novice, the special theory. The mature Nietzsche changed the shape of philosophical inquiry years after the young Nietzsche changed the shape of classical studies. It seems to me that while Einstein and Nietzsche were both exceptional thinkers, Einstein's achievement is more rare, and so, in general, more unlikely. In music, philosophy, and the arts, there are many who make significant contributions throughout their careers. It seems that a large number of mathematicians and physicists do their best work in their twenties, but it's hard to think of a poet whose best work did not come later in life. (One might cite John Keats, but only because he died in his twenties.)

I've been going on like this in order to emphasize the fact that once you start thinking about specific examples, it becomes clear that the issue is more complex than it appears at first blush. That's a good thing because once you are making complex arguments, you are probably writing a good essay.

Examples alone, however, only get you so far. You need also to explicate actual arguments. Your essay argues that older researchers are committed to a particular way of thinking. That's a reasonable argument, but it really needs to be more fully developed. Scientists are not committed to a particular way of thinking, for instance, out of obstinacy; they normally have to be committed to a particular way of thinking in order to make the ordinary, everyday advances needed to bring a science to maturity. If we tried to build science up from its foundations every time we wanted to investigate a phenomenon, science wouldn't exist (it would still be philosophy!). We need to keep the same foundations around for as long as possible. Heidegger once said that a mature science is that which is capable of a crisis in its foundations. For as long as a science is not capable of such a crisis (for as long as it is doing what Kuhn calls normal science) you will have a bunch of old hats working on getting better approximations for this or that constant, discovering the odd new standard-model particle, and saying things like "shut up and calculate" or, to choose a different field, inventing a new chemotherapeutic drug that keeps 27% of patients alive for an extra 4 months with only a slight increase in vomiting.

I seem to be suffering from verbal diarhea today; sorry about that. My point is that when you say something like a researcher's "ideas are circumscribed within a limit" you are making a valuable point, but that point should be considered the beginning of the argument, not the end. What's the nature of the limit? How does it get imposed? What purpose does it serve? And how does it get breached? Now implicitly you do ask this last question. Your answer is that young people have fresh minds and they are capable of thinking outside the box. I usually object strongly to the "thinking outside the box" cliche, since it is usually a meaningless phrase, but you have at least implicitly specified its meaning with your reference to the circumscribing limit within which experts tend to develop their ideas. As I say, I think you need to specify the nature of that limit further; but you also need to go farther in your explanation of why the young are able to breach the limit. Freshness might be part of the explanation, but presumably it is not the whole explanation.

Let's look at another example. Contributions to advanced mathematics require unusual mental acuity and an ability to engage in protracted bouts of the most intense concentration. It may be that those in their twenties are more capable of such effort than folks who have nothing to prove and who are older and fatter and tenured and a bit more socially engaged and burdened with students and research assistants and spouses and children who absolutely have to ask you the latest earth-shatteringly important question every five minutes of every single god damned day. Whereas all that stuff, which frustrates the efforts of the elder geek, is just so much grist for the poet's and the philosopher's and the artist's mill. It may be, then, that the other important word in the prompt (I should have mentioned above the importance of giving some thought to the meaning of the prompt) is the word "any." It may be, in other words, that things are very different from one field to another.

I really have to stop writing now. I've been avoiding addressing your point about corporations because it seems to me largely a distraction from the main point of the essay, and at best partially true. Somewhere in that long paragraph on corporations I think you forget about the prompt; you certainly don't come to any decisive conclusion. You do say that beginners have "wider vision" but that point is not clearly related to the ideas developed in paragraph, and you really leave it up to your reader to decide its relevance to your overall argument. Putting the fate of your argument in the hands of your reader is the religious approach to essay writing; itís an example of misplaced faith.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: sandesh87
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