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  1. Topic 942 - The following is a memo from the superintendent of the Mylar school district. "A recent six-month study, in which breakfast was made available at school for 100 schoolchildren ages five to twelve, found that children on the breakfast plan were less likely than other children to be absent from or late for school. Clearly, eating breakfast before school plays a role in reducing student absenteeism and tardiness. It is also well known that children who regularly eat a healthful breakfast tend to perform better in school. Therefore, in order to reduce absenteeism and tardiness and to improve academic performance in all of Mylar's elementary and secondary schools, we should provide breakfasts for all students before each school day. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 854 - From a letter to the editor of a city newspaper. "One recent research study has indicated that many adolescents need more sleep than they are getting, and another study has shown that many high school students in our city are actually dissatisfied with their own academic performance. As a way of combating these problems, the high schools in our city should begin classes at 8:30 A.M. instead of 7:30 A.M., and end the school day an hour later. This arrangement will give students an extra hour of sleep in the morning, thereby making them more alert and more productive. Consequently, the students will perform better on tests and other assignments, and their academic skills will improve significantly. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 913 - The following appeared in a memo at the XYZ company. "When XYZ lays off employees, it pays Delany Personnel Firm to offer those employees assistance in creating resum? and developing interviewing skills, if they so desire. Laid-off employees have benefited greatly from Delany's services: last year those who used Delany found jobs much more quickly than did those who did not. Recently, it has been proposed that we use the less-expensive Walsh Personnel Firm in place of Delany. This would be a mistake because eight years ago, when XYZ was using Walsh, only half of the workers we laid off at that time found jobs within a year. Moreover, Delany is clearly superior, as evidenced by its bigger staff and larger number of branch offices. After all, last year Delany's clients took an average of six months to find jobs, whereas Walsh's clients took nine. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 810 - The following appeared in an editorial in the Mason City newspaper. "At present, Mason City residents seldom use the nearby Mason River for any kind of recreational activity, even though surveys of the region's residents consistently rank water sports (swimming, fishing, and boating) as a favorite form of recreation. Since there have been complaints about the quality of the water in the river, residents must be avoiding the river because they think that it is not clean enough. But that situation is about to change: the agency responsible for rivers in our region has announced plans to clean up Mason River. Therefore, recreational use of the river is likely to increase, so the Mason City council will need to increase its budget for improvements to the publicly owned lands along the Mason River. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 950 - The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist. "Twenty years ago Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This research proves that Dr. Field's conclusion about Tertian village culture is false, and thus that the observation-centered approach to studying cultures is invalid. Because they are using the interview-centered method, my team of graduate students working in Tertia will establish a much more accurate understanding of child-rearing traditions there and in other island cultures. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 898 - The following appeared as part of a memo from the manager of an automobile manufacturing company. "Because the demand for our automobiles is expected to increase dramatically, we need to open a new manufacturing plant as soon as possible in order to continue to thrive. Our marketing projections indicate that 80 million people will want to buy our automobiles, yet our existing plant can only produce 40 million automobiles. The new plant can be opened on a part-time basis, with workers from our existing site rotating responsibilities, until an operational staff can be trained. A major airplane manufacturer was extremely successful using this part-time rotating strategy when it opened its new plant five years ago. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 760 - The following appeared in a memo to managers of Christine's, a chain of craft stores. "Several major newspapers have recently run articles noting an increased interest in pottery. The number of potters in this country has risen by eighteen percent in the past five years, and pottery is particularly gaining popularity on college campuses. In order to take advantage of these trends, Christine's should immediately begin carrying a larger volume of pottery supplies. Since several of our stores have recently experienced a decrease in sales of painting supplies, all store managers should reallocate shelf space from the painting area for the display of pottery. Stores should display posters showing pottery that is designed to appeal to college-age individuals. These actions will undoubtedly increase our profits dramatically. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. 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
  9. Topic 872 - There is a general idea that waiters and waitresses are more likely to receive larger gratuities from large groups of people. A recent research study suggests this is not true. The researchers examined the relationship between the size of tips in restaurants and the number of meals charged on the bill. They found that, while most tips were around 15 percent, the minimum percentage considered appropriate, people dining alone tipped consistently more (19 percent) and those dining in groups of four or more tipped considerably less (13 percent) than this 15 percent standard. These results strongly suggest that people dining in a group are less likely to feel personally responsible for leaving an adequate or generous tip. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 931 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Walnut Grove town newspaper. "Walnut Grove's town council has advocated switching from EZ Disposal (which has had the contract for trash collection services in Walnut Grove for the past ten years) to ABC Waste, because EZ recently raised its monthly fee from $2,000 to $2,500 a month, whereas ABC's fee is still $2,000. But the town council is mistaken; we should continue using EZ. EZ collects trash twice a week, while ABC collects only once. Moreover, EZ ?which, like ABC, currently has a fleet of 20 trucks ?has ordered additional trucks. Finally, EZ provides exceptional service: 80 percent of respondents to last year's town survey agreed that they were 'satisfied' with EZ's performance. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 847 - The following recommendation was made by the president and administrative staff of Grove College, a private institution, to the college's governing committee. "We recommend that Grove College preserve its century-old tradition of all-female education rather than admit men into its programs. It is true that a majority of faculty members voted in favor of coeducation, arguing that it would encourage more students to apply to Grove. But eighty percent of the students responding to a survey conducted by the student government wanted the school to remain all female, and over half of the alumni who answered a separate survey also opposed coeducation. Keeping the college all-female, therefore, will improve morale among students and convince alumni to keep supporting the college financially. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 921 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Clearview newspaper. "In the next mayoral election, residents of Clearview should vote for Ann Green, who is a member of the Good Earth Coalition, rather than for Frank Braun, a member of the Clearview town council, because the current members are not protecting our environment. For example, during the past year the number of factories in Clearview has doubled, air pollution levels have increased, and the local hospital has treated 25 percent more patients with respiratory illnesses. If we elect Ann Green, the environmental problems in Clearview will certainly be solved. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write

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