Beyond the Flaws – Introduction and Conclusion

by on January 15th, 2013

While many students preparing for the AWA Analysis of an Argument essay might assume that the flaw paragraphs (body) are the core for the grading of their essay, the introduction and conclusion paragraphs of the essay do play an important function and, therefore, have an effect on score. Without a well-written introduction and conclusion, your essay stands to lose a possible .5-1.5 points of the total 6 points which your essay can receive. Let’s take a closer look at these all-important components of the Analysis of an Argument essay.

Introduction

The introduction paragraph to your essay is not only one of the most important paragraphs, but it also introduces your logic of the argument presented, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A standard introduction paragraph consists of two to four sentences and it is a good idea for you to:

  1. Identify the conclusion made by the author
  2. Identify the premise upon which the author bases the conclusion. How does the author arrive at this conclusion?
  3. Convey that there are flaws in the argument.

Let’s analyze the following example Argument question, which has circulated widely on the web, e.g. here:

The following appeared as part of an article in a trade magazine for breweries:

Magic Hat Brewery recently released the results of a survey of visitors to its tasting room last year. Magic Hat reports that the majority of visitors asked to taste its low-calorie beers. To boost sales, other small breweries should brew low-calorie beers as well.

From this prompt, we can gather that the author’s conclusion is that the small breweries should brew low-calorie beer in order to increase sales.

The premise presented by the author is that according to a recent survey presented by Magic Hat Brewery, the bulk of visitors to its tasting room requested to taste sample low-calorie beer.

Now that we have identified the conclusion made by the author and the premise upon which the conclusion is based, it’s time to write our introduction paragraph. Importantly, you do not want to copy word-for-word from the question prompt. Instead, paraphrase the points of the prompt. Here is the introduction to our essay:

In the argument, the author concludes that small breweries should offer a low-calorie beer to help increase overall sales. This is based on the premise that in a recent survey, conducted by Magic Hat Brewery, a preponderance of visitors to its tasting room requested to sample its low-calorie beer. However, on deeper analysis, it becomes apparent that certain relevant aspects have not been taken into account, leading to a number of mistaken assumptions and logical flaws.

We begin our paragraph with the conclusion made by the author. Our second sentence identifies the premise upon which the author bases his argument. In our third sentence, we let our reader know that the argument is flawed (this allows for flow to our two to three flaw paragraphs that will follow).

Remember that it is also possible to play around with the order of the two sentences. The idea is to simply present (in your own words) the conclusion and premises in sentences 1 and 2 and that the argument is flawed in the last sentence of the introduction. Do make sure that you do not present your opinion, so no “I” or “we” please, as this is not what the scorers wish to see.

Conclusion

Unlike the introduction paragraph, our conclusion paragraph simply summarizes that the information presented by the author is flawed and that we have made attempts (offered in our flaw paragraphs) to show how the argument can be strengthened. Our conclusion paragraph can be short (two to three sentences) or, if time permits, we can reiterate the information which we have found to be flawed.

Once again, as in the intro, there should be no “I” (no opinion whatsoever) but there absolutely has to be a conclusion paragraph. Please be aware of the time and make sure you get to this paragraph. It is not a difficult paragraph at all so make sure you include it!

An example of a standard conclusion reads as follows:

After closer examination of the passage presented, it is apparent that the argument presented holds several logical flaws. The recommendations in the essay show how the argument may be strengthened and made more logically sound.

On the other hand, if time permits, it could help benefit your score to be a bit more specific with your findings. Here is a more detailed conclusion to our essay of the above-mentioned prompt:

In conclusion, the argument in the magazine article contains several logical flaws, as there is not enough data to correctly compare small breweries generally with Magic Hat Brewery, specifically. Moreover, the argument does not give enough information to show why low calorie beers would indeed increase sales when there may be a host of other manners which can do so. The author’s argumentation could certainly be strengthened by following the recommendations presented.

Now that we’ve identified the importance of your introduction and conclusion paragraphs in an Analysis of an Argument essay, applying the aforementioned key points should make for an essay that flows well, and garners you those additional points toward a perfect score of 6!

Web resource: MBA

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