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  1. Topic 926 - The following appeared in a memo from a vice president of Alta Manufacturing. "During the past year, Alta Manufacturing had thirty percent more on-the-job accidents than nearby Panoply Industries, where the work shifts are one hour shorter than ours. Experts believe that a significant contributing factor in many on-the-job accidents is fatigue and sleep deprivation among workers. Therefore, to reduce the number of on-the-job accidents at Alta and thereby increase productivity, we should shorten each of our three work shifts by one hour so that our employees will get adequate amounts of sleep. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 894 - The following article appeared in a recent issue of a college newspaper. "Among all students who graduated from Hooper University over the past five years, more physical science majors than social science majors found permanent jobs within a year of graduation. In a survey of recent Hooper University graduates, most physical science majors said they believed that the prestige of Hooper University's physical science programs helped them significantly in finding a job. In contrast, social science majors who found permanent employment attributed their success to their own personal initiative. Therefore, to ensure that social science majors find permanent jobs, Hooper University should offer additional social science courses and hire several new faculty members who already have national reputations in the social sciences. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 925 - The following appeared in a memo from the mayor of the town of West Egg. "Two years ago, our consultants predicted that West Egg's landfill, which is used for garbage disposal, would be completely filled within five years. During the past two years, however, town residents have been recycling twice as much aluminum and paper as they did in previous years. Next month the amount of material recycled should further increase, since charges for garbage pickup will double. Furthermore, over ninety percent of the respondents to a recent survey said that they would do more recycling in the future. Because of our residents' strong commitment to recycling, the available space in our landfill should last for considerably longer than predicted. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 896 - The following appeared in a corporate planning memo at ABC Cereal Company, the makers of Better Bran cereal. "Sales of Better Bran have declined in recent years, for reasons that management has now identified. First, Better Bran is a cereal with high sugar content, and recent research studies have found that most consumers say they are concerned about the amount of sugar added to their breakfast cereal. Second, the price of Better Bran has increased by 5 percent in each of the last three years. Therefore, to increase our company's profits we need to reduce the amount of sugar in Better Bran and lower Better Bran's price. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 919 - The following appeared in the business section of a newspaper. "Given that the number of people in our country with some form of arthritis is expected to rise from 40 million to 60 million over the next twenty years, pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs for the treatment of arthritis should be very profitable. Many analysts believe that in ten years Becton Pharmaceuticals, which makes Xenon, the best-selling drug treatment for arthritis, will be the most profitable pharmaceutical company. But the patent on Xenon expires in three years, and other companies will then be able to produce a cheaper version of the drug. Thus, it is more likely that in ten years the most profitable pharmaceutical company will be Perkins Pharmaceuticals, maker of a new drug called Xylan, which clinical studies show is preferred over Xenon by seven out of ten patients suffering from the most extreme cases of arthritis. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 906 - The following appeared in a newspaper feature story. "There is now evidence that the relaxed manner of living in small towns promotes better health and greater longevity than does the hectic pace of life in big cities. Businesses in the small town of Leeville report fewer days of sick leave taken by individual workers than do businesses in the nearby large city of Mason City. Furthermore, Leeville has only one physician for its one thousand residents, but in Mason City the proportion of physicians to residents is five times as high. And the average age of Leeville residents is significantly higher than that of Mason City residents. These findings suggest that people seeking longer and healthier lives should consider moving to small communities. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 828 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. "Too much emphasis is placed on the development of reading skills in elementary school. Many students who are discouraged by the lonely activity of reading turn away from schoolwork merely because they are poor readers. But books recorded on audiocassette tape provide an important alternative for students at this crucial stage in their education, one the school board should not reject merely because of the expense involved. After all, many studies attest to the value of allowing students to hear books read aloud; there is even evidence that students whose parents read to them are even more likely to become able readers. Thus, hearing books on tape can only make students more eager to read and to learn. Therefore, the school board should encourage schools to buy books on tape and to use them in elementary education. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 908 - The following appeared as a letter to the editor of a local Solano newspaper. "The Solano school district should do away with its music education programs. After all, music programs are not especially popular in our schools: Only 20 percent of our high school students participated in music programs last year. Furthermore, very few of the Solano district's college-bound students are interested in majoring in music at the university level. Also, when the school district of our neighboring town of Rutherford eliminated its music programs two years ago, the overall grade point average in the high school increased by 10 percent the next year. Surely the money spent on Solano music programs could be better used to improve the quality of traditional academic courses. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 821 - The following appeared in the editorial section of Monroetown's local newspaper. "Mayor Brown was recently re-elected by a clear majority of 52 percent of Monroetown's voters. Her re-election, however, does not show that most people in our town favored Mayor Brown's proposal for tax reduction over that of her opponent, Mr. Greene, who proposed raising taxes to improve education. It has been shown that voters nationwide tend to re-elect people already in office, regardless of candidates' proposals. In fact, a local survey after the election showed most people in Monroetown disagreed with Mayor Brown's proposal. Clearly most people in Monroetown favor improving education and therefore approve of Mr. Greene's proposal despite the fact that they did not vote for him. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 755 - The following appeared in a letter to an editor. "In many countries, wood is the primary fuel used for heating and cooking, but wood smoke can cause respiratory and eye problems, and extensive use of wood causes deforestation, a major environmental problem. In contrast, charcoal, made by partially burning wood in a controlled process, is a fuel that creates less smoke than wood does. Moreover, although charcoal costs slightly more than wood, less charcoal is needed to produce the same amount of heat. Therefore, people who use wood as their primary fuel can, without experiencing economic hardship, switch to charcoal and can thereby improve their health and preserve the environment. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 746 - The following appeared in a newsletter about education policy.'The average annual earnings of high school dropouts are significantly less than the average annual earnings of high school graduates. To address this problem, the state governor has proposed that the state should establish free vocational training programs for high school dropouts. But the availability of such programs would probably encourage some students who would otherwise have graduated to drop out in order to pursue vocational training. Hence the proposed programs would lower, not raise, the average earning potential of young people. Therefore, the state should not establish the vocational training programs but should instead focus on improving academic programs in our high schools.' Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 969 - The following appeared in a Letter to the Editor of the Shady Village newspaper. "Commuters are complaining that the rush hour traffic on Blue Highway between Shady Village and Bright City has doubled their commuting time. Some commuters have asked that an additional traffic lane be built, but the recent creation of such a lane on nearby Green Highway apparently attracted more commuters, judging from the fact that rush-hour traffic jams actually increased there this past winter. To reduce rush-hour traffic on Blue Highway, a bicycle lane should be added instead of a traffic lane. This approach will succeed because many citizens of Shady Village are avid bicyclists; 75 percent of respondents to a recent questionnaire distributed there said they would like to bicycle more hours per week than they currently do. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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