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asamanta Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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Rate on 2 to 6 scale pleaee Post Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:35 am
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  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    In the garden of the art museum are several unique sculptures. To protect these pieces, the museum should install a security that includes infrared motion detectors and video surveillance cameras. A comprehensive security would virtually eliminate the danger that any of these pieces would be stolen.

    How persuasive do you find this argument? Explain your point of view by analyzing the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. Discuss also what if anything, would make the argument more persuasive or would help you better to evaluate its conclusion.

    11-16 - 11 46

    Installing a comprehensive security in the garden of art museum is a matter of debate. Although the museum contains several unique sculptures, whether these sculptures are worth spending such a lot of money on surveillance is not clear. Hence I do not find the above argument persuasive. I will present a cost benefit analysis that is lacking in the above argument. This information is necessary in making such a decision. I think that the museum should also consider surveillance systems which might be more effective than infrared motion detectors and video surveillance cameras.

    Firstly I would like to start by doing a cost-benefit analysis of installing infrared motion detectors and video surveillance cameras. It is necessary to know the monetary value, or atleast an estimate, of the sculptures in the musuem. Next, one needs to know how many of the sculptures are being stolen by people per month. Is this number a significant one? What would be the cost of installing infrared detectors and what would it cost to maintain video surveillance footage? Without this information it is not possible to make a decision whether to install such a surveillance system.

    Apart from a cost-benefit analysis, the museum should also consider other surveillance systems such as may be hiring a guard service? For the garden museum this could be more effective as compared to the monitoring video surveillance. The film, "Entrapment" and "Ocean's twelve" have shown how people could be trained escape infrared motion detectors. Once again, without considering these alternatives one can not reach a decision whether to install a comprehensive surveillance system.

    Thus in conclusion, I would like to reiterate that in order to make decision on improving the security system at the garden museum, we would need to know the cost versus benefit, which incorporates the cost of the system maintenance. Secondly one also needs to know other available alternatives of surveillance systems to make a decision as to which systems to employ.

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    lunarpower GMAT Instructor
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    Post Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:59 am
    some line-by-line comments follow.

    SIGNIFICANT OMISSION:
    the argument is fundamentally predicated upon a presumed 'danger that [the sculptures] would be stolen' - but the argument presents no evidence that such a danger exists in the first place.
    you should include the following criticism: the argument needs to furnish evidence that such a danger exists in the first place, and, moreover, that it is immediate enough to warrant the installation of any type of security service in the first place.
    a couple of considerations that you could raise in this regard:
    * these are garden sculptures. are they HUGE? could they conceivably be stolen without the assistance of heavy equipment and/or other extreme measures?
    * have thefts of similar items occurred elsewhere?
    * etc.

    asamanta wrote:
    Installing a comprehensive security in the garden of art museum is a matter of debate. Although the museum contains several unique sculptures, whether these sculptures are worth spending such a lot of money on surveillance is not clear. Hence I do not find the above argument persuasive. I will present a cost benefit analysis that is lacking in the above argument. This information is necessary in making such a decision. I think that the museum should also consider surveillance systems which might be more effective than infrared motion detectors and video surveillance cameras.
    * don't use the first person; doing so serves only to weaken the force of your argument.
    the use of the first person is demanded in polite conversation - we're less likely to step on others' proverbial toes if we preface our statements with 'i think'/'i believe'/etc. rather than simply making declarations - but not in writing. when you write an essay, especially an essay dedicated to shredding the credibility of an argument, you should never moderate your statements with first-person pleasantries.

    * you should learn to write introductions with a clearly articulated thesis that appears either directly at the beginning or directly at the end of the introductory paragraph. this is the 'grocery list effect': we tend to remember, and to be more affected by, items appearing at the beginning and at the end of things.
    your thesis statement - Hence I do not find the above argument persuasive. - is buried in the middle of your introduction, almost as if you're trying to sneak it past the reader without being detected! (worse yet, it's stated in the first person, in contravention of the principle above)


    asamanta wrote:
    Firstly I would like to start by doing a cost-benefit analysis of installing infrared motion detectors and video surveillance cameras.
    don't repeat catch phrases, such as 'cost-benefit analysis', verbatim. if you've already said that you're going to do a cost-benefit analysis, either (1) paraphrase heavily, or
    (2) just do the analysis.
    (2) is better.

    also, note the TREMENDOUS effect of killing the first person here:
    i would like to start by doing a cost-benefit analysis --> response: ok, go ahead, but why should we listen to your analysis? are you some sort of expert?
    a cost-benefit analysis is needed --> response: this is a strong point.

    asamanta wrote:
    It is necessary to know the monetary value, or atleast an estimate, of the sculptures in the musuem. Next, one needs to know how many of the sculptures are being stolen by people per month. Is this number a significant one? What would be the cost of installing infrared detectors and what would it cost to maintain video surveillance footage? Without this information it is not possible to make a decision whether to install such a surveillance system.
    ok, not bad. you get points for the specificity of some of the suggestions you're making here - these are good, solid ideas.

    * this paragraph is starting to turn into a total free-for-all in terms of pronouns. you started with the first person; then you went into the third person (it is necessary to...); then you went to 'one' in the following sentence.
    be consistent.


    asamanta wrote:
    Apart from a cost-benefit analysis, the museum should also consider other surveillance systems such as may be hiring a guard service?
    this isn't a question, so, don't puncuate it as if it were.

    DO NOT write words like 'maybe' (which is one word, btw). the message of such words is, basically, that you don't believe a word of what you're writing.
    do not be afraid to make declarations about what should and should not be done.
    try to write in such a way that, if you were to speak in the same way, would cause you to be regarded as a self-important, pompous know-it-all. remember, this is not spoken language.

    also, make sure your statements are accurate: this is not 'apart from' a cost-benefit analysis. since you're analyzing the costs of the different security options, this consideration is PART of a cost-benefit analysis.

    asamanta wrote:
    For the garden museum this could be more effective as compared to the monitoring video surveillance.
    if you ever find yourself using 'this' as a pronoun, you can most likely combine the sentence containing 'this' with the preceding sentence.
    here:
    additionally, the museum should consider the costs and benefits of alternative forms of security, such as live guard services, which could prove to be a better investment than video surveillance.

    asamanta wrote:
    The film, "Entrapment" and "Ocean's twelve" have shown how people could be trained escape infrared motion detectors.
    this is pushing it a bit, but, if you can't think of anything else, i suppose it's at least within the scope of the argument.

    you must capitalize 'twelve'.
    'could be' should be 'can be', unless they can't be trained anymore.

    Once again, without considering these alternatives one can not reach a decision whether to install a comprehensive surveillance system.

    asamanta wrote:
    Thus in conclusion, I would like to reiterate that in order to make decision on improving the security system at the garden museum, we would need to know the cost versus benefit, which incorporates the cost of the system maintenance.
    mechanical issues here:
    * watch it with the 1st person
    * who's 'we'?
    * 'versus' is inappropriate as used here; you can just say 'and'
    * 'which' must refer to the immediately preceding noun, which happens to be 'benefit'. thus you are inadvertently saying that the benefit includes the cost of system maintenance.

    semantic issues:
    * don't say 'improving' security; the passage doesn't give any reason to believe that there is currently any security in place.
    * what is 'the garden museum'? this sounds as though you're talking about another museum altogether.


    asamanta wrote:
    Secondly one also needs to know other available alternatives of surveillance systems to make a decision as to which systems to employ.
    wordy!

    overall, i'd say 3.

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    rah_pandey Really wants to Beat The GMAT! Default Avatar
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    Post Wed May 27, 2009 10:50 pm
    Dear Lunar Power,
    can you please give a similar feedback on my argument analysis.

    The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen
    foods:
    "Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become
    more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day
    service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And
    since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to
    minimize costs and thus maximize profits."
    Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

    The annual report of the Olympic foods is trying to drive home a very critical point to its share holders by giving a very weak argument. The argument is not well though off and should have been presented in a more forceful manner. By using a weak argument Olympic Foods is sending a wrong signal to its share holders. It is also true that if a company which has survived 25 years, can do so only on basis of advancement it has made in fields of its core business.

    The analogy that has been used where the annual report talks about how the cost in film processing industry has come down is weak and should have been substantiated more by a strong argument. The age of the company is not a good indicator if the company has succeeded in bringing down the cost of of its operation. The reduction of cost is dependent on factors like how effectively the company has streamlined its processes and what level of investment it has made in terms of time and money on developing and adopting new technologies. The annual report would have been better off giving details of the cost minimisation in terms of percentage the company has achieved in last 25 years.

    The annual report also does not talk about the learnings made by them in last 25 years of their existence. How efficiently is the company running vis a vis some 10 years ago would have really strenghtened the claim of the company.

    Had the annual report been on the lines as discussed it would have boosted the confidence of the stakeholders.

    antest07 Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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    Post Wed May 27, 2009 11:40 pm
    I did not take the gmat yet. If you want me to score the essay, I will give it a 3.5.

    Although you are a little bit out of track, your grammar is commendable. Practise more to improve your writing.

    You have a clear stance on whether you agree with the author of the topic (Just like what you did in CR. Try to strengthen or weaken his argument).

    Below are the guidelines to make your argument:
    Causal Oversimplification The author commits a fallacy of causal oversimplification. The line of the reasoning is that because A occurred before B, the former event is responsible for the latter. (The author uses the positive correlation between A and B to establish causality. However, the fact that A coincides with B does not necessarily prove that A caused B.) But this is fallacious reasoning unless other possible causal explanations have been considered and ruled out. For example, perhaps C is the cause of these events or perhaps B is caused by D.
    Insufficient-sample The evidence the author provides is insufficient to support the conclusion drawn from it. One example is logically unsounded to establish a general conclusion (The statistics from only a few recent years are not necessarily a good indicator of future trends), unless it can be shown that A1 is representative of all A. It is possible that.... In fact, in face of such limited evidence, the conclusion that B is completely unwarranted.
    based on a false analogy The argument rests on the assumption that A is analogous to B in all respects. This assumption is weak, since although there are points of comparison between A and B, there is much dissimilarity as well. For example, A..., however, B.... Thus, it is likely much more difficult for B to do....
    All Things Are Equal The author commits the fallacy of "all things are equal". The fact that happened two years ago is not a sound evidence to draw a conclusion that.... The author assumes without justification that the background conditions have remained the same at different times or at different locations. However, it is not clear in this argument whether the current conditions at AA are the same as they used to be two years ago. Thus it is impossible to conclude that....
    Either-Or choice The author assumes that AA and BB are mutually exclusive alternatives and there is no room for a middle ground. However, the author provides no reason for imposing an either-or choice. Common sense tells us that adjusting both AA and BB might produce better results.
    Survey is Doubtful The poll cited by the author is too vague to be informative. The claim does not indicate who conducted the poll, who responded, or when, where and how the poll was conducted. (Lacking information about the number of people surveyed and the number of respondents, it is impossible to access the validity of the results. For example, if 200 persons were surveyed but only 2 responded, the conclusion that...would be highly suspect. Because the argument offers no evidence that would rule out this kind of interpretations,) Until these questions are answered, the results of the survey are worthless as evidence for the conclusion.
    Gratuitous Assumption The author falsely depends on gratuitous assumption that.... However, no evidence is stated in the argument to support this assumption. In fact, this is not necessarily the case. For example, it is more likely that.... Therefore, this argument is unwarranted without ruling out such possibility

    antest07 Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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    Post Thu May 28, 2009 12:03 am
    rah_pandey wrote:
    Dear Lunar Power,
    can you please give a similar feedback on my argument analysis.

    The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen
    foods:
    "Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become
    more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day
    service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And
    since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to
    minimize costs and thus maximize profits."
    Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

    The annual report of the Olympic foods is trying to drive home a very critical point to its share holders by giving a very weak argument. The argument is not well though off and should have been presented in a more forceful manner. By using a weak argument Olympic Foods is sending a wrong signal to its share holders. It is also true that if a company which has survived 25 years, can do so only on basis of advancement it has made in fields of its core business.

    The analogy that has been used where the annual report talks about how the cost in film processing industry has come down is weak and should have been substantiated more by a strong argument. The age of the company is not a good indicator if the company has succeeded in bringing down the cost of of its operation. The reduction of cost is dependent on factors like how effectively the company has streamlined its processes and what level of investment it has made in terms of time and money on developing and adopting new technologies. The annual report would have been better off giving details of the cost minimisation in terms of percentage the company has achieved in last 25 years.

    The annual report also does not talk about the learnings made by them in last 25 years of their existence. How efficiently is the company running vis a vis some 10 years ago would have really strenghtened the claim of the company.

    Had the annual report been on the lines as discussed it would have boosted the confidence of the stakeholders.
    Your essay expressed a clear stance on the issue. A score of 5 is possible but you should beware of the following:
    1. Give more argument to your essay rather than focus on a few points, this shows you are strong in making arguments for/against the author's point of view

    2. Similar to 1, write more to express yourself. You should target on roughly 300 words in 25mins (Outline your ideas within 5 mins)

    Frankly speaking, I am not a native English speaker. You have the advantage in expressing yourself fluently in your essays.

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    Post Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:48 am
    here is some feedback.

    the biggest problem with this essay is in its organization. you have a couple of sentences that seem to be wrongly placed, and there are also plenty of points on which you should have included more details.

    --

    rah_pandey wrote:
    The annual report of the Olympic foods is trying to drive home a very critical point to its share holders by giving a very weak argument. The argument is not well though off and should have been presented in a more forceful manner.
    "well off" is an idiomatic expression meaning "affluent" or "wealthy". you don't want to use that.
    instead, you should just say exactly what you mean, such as "the argument is illogical"; "the argument commits several logical fallacies"; "the logic in the argument is invalid"; etc.

    Quote:
    By using a weak argument Olympic Foods is sending a wrong signal to its share holders. It is also true that if a company which has survived 25 years, can do so only on basis of advancement it has made in fields of its core business.
    i don't understand how this sentence is related either (a) to the other sentences in this paragraph or (b) to your essay as a whole.

    also, did you mean to write the "if" in the second sentence? that sentence makes sense if you omit the "if", but not if it's there.

    Quote:
    The analogy that has been used where the annual report talks about how the cost in film processing industry has come down is weak and should have been substantiated more by a strong argument.
    this is good.

    you could have written more, though.

    you should EXPLICITLY WRITE that film processing is completely different from food processing ("false analogy", as written in the excellent post above with all the boldface headings), and that the analogy is at best questionable and at worst useless or misleading.


    Quote:
    The age of the company is not a good indicator if the company has succeeded in bringing down the cost of of its operation. The reduction of cost is dependent on factors like how effectively the company has streamlined its processes and what level of investment it has made in terms of time and money on developing and adopting new technologies.
    this is a good start.

    you can CONNECT this to the above point about the bad analogy: you could point out that these technologies and processes will differ COMPLETELY from film processing to food processing, a consideration that is fatal to the analogy.

    Quote:
    The annual report would have been better off giving details of the cost minimisation in terms of percentage the company has achieved in last 25 years.
    YES.

    you should definitely elaborate on this point!

    specifically:
    THE 25 YEARS IS ALREADY OVER.

    the company should already have some drastic cost cuts to SHOW after this much time.

    the structure of the argument is "we should be able to cut costs". that may be appropriate if we're about to begin a 25-year period, but it doesn't make any sense to be still making predictions after those 25 years have actually passed.

    as you have stated, we should have some hard numbers to show after that much time.

    Quote:
    The annual report also does not talk about the learnings made by them in last 25 years of their existence. How efficiently is the company running vis a vis some 10 years ago would have really strenghtened the claim of the company.

    Had the annual report been on the lines as discussed it would have boosted the confidence of the stakeholders.
    yes.

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    Post Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:51 am
    antest07 wrote:
    I did not take the gmat yet. If you want me to score the essay, I will give it a 3.5.

    Although you are a little bit out of track, your grammar is commendable. Practise more to improve your writing.

    You have a clear stance on whether you agree with the author of the topic (Just like what you did in CR. Try to strengthen or weaken his argument).

    Below are the guidelines to make your argument:
    Causal Oversimplification The author commits a fallacy of causal oversimplification. The line of the reasoning is that because A occurred before B, the former event is responsible for the latter. (The author uses the positive correlation between A and B to establish causality. However, the fact that A coincides with B does not necessarily prove that A caused B.) But this is fallacious reasoning unless other possible causal explanations have been considered and ruled out. For example, perhaps C is the cause of these events or perhaps B is caused by D.
    Insufficient-sample The evidence the author provides is insufficient to support the conclusion drawn from it. One example is logically unsounded to establish a general conclusion (The statistics from only a few recent years are not necessarily a good indicator of future trends), unless it can be shown that A1 is representative of all A. It is possible that.... In fact, in face of such limited evidence, the conclusion that B is completely unwarranted.
    based on a false analogy The argument rests on the assumption that A is analogous to B in all respects. This assumption is weak, since although there are points of comparison between A and B, there is much dissimilarity as well. For example, A..., however, B.... Thus, it is likely much more difficult for B to do....
    All Things Are Equal The author commits the fallacy of "all things are equal". The fact that happened two years ago is not a sound evidence to draw a conclusion that.... The author assumes without justification that the background conditions have remained the same at different times or at different locations. However, it is not clear in this argument whether the current conditions at AA are the same as they used to be two years ago. Thus it is impossible to conclude that....
    Either-Or choice The author assumes that AA and BB are mutually exclusive alternatives and there is no room for a middle ground. However, the author provides no reason for imposing an either-or choice. Common sense tells us that adjusting both AA and BB might produce better results.
    Survey is Doubtful The poll cited by the author is too vague to be informative. The claim does not indicate who conducted the poll, who responded, or when, where and how the poll was conducted. (Lacking information about the number of people surveyed and the number of respondents, it is impossible to access the validity of the results. For example, if 200 persons were surveyed but only 2 responded, the conclusion that...would be highly suspect. Because the argument offers no evidence that would rule out this kind of interpretations,) Until these questions are answered, the results of the survey are worthless as evidence for the conclusion.
    Gratuitous Assumption The author falsely depends on gratuitous assumption that.... However, no evidence is stated in the argument to support this assumption. In fact, this is not necessarily the case. For example, it is more likely that.... Therefore, this argument is unwarranted without ruling out such possibility
    there's also a major fallacy of equivocation here.

    in the film-processing statistic cited, "cost cuts" is used to refer to the GRADUAL DROP in costs over 25 years.

    regarding olympic foods itself, "cost cuts" doesn't seem to mean this, since the article is talking about the company's ability to do this in the present. instead, at this point, "cost cuts" now means running current operations most efficiently, a theme that has nothing to do with the gradual cost decreases seen in the film example.

    _________________
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