Hi, here is one of my analysis and it would be great in case someone could give me their views on this. These are my first few attempts on these type of questions.

Thanks a lot

Analysis of an Argument Question 1

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 oneday
service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since
Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its twenty-fifth birthday, we can expect that our long
experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits."
Analysis
The annual report concludes that owing to its twenty five years of experience in food processing arena, Olympic Foods expects reduced processing costs and increased profits in future. However, this evaluation is incomplete due to the below mentioned reasons.
Firstly, the report uses experience as the only criterion for reduction in processing cost. It does not take into account other factors such as reduced price of raw materials, reduced labour cost or increased mechanization as factors that could contribute to reduced cost. Some other factors that could also contribute to reduced processing costs are reduction in fuel price, new technology developed etc. All factors that could possibly affect the production costs should be taken into account.
Secondly, the report draws similarity between film processing industry and food processing industry. However, no reasons, which might have helped in drawing this similarity, are provided. Logic determines that there must be evidence for two industries to be called similar and these must be provided.
Thirdly, the company’s production cost cannot suddenly plummet down after the twnetyfifth year. The report should also include the statistical trend of the processing costs in the past years. This trend if seen to show processing costs reducing over the past few years could logically help this conclusion.
Only if the above mentioned points are included will the argument hold.
Analysis of an Argument Question 2

The following appeared as part of the business plan of an investment and financial
consulting firm.

"Studies suggest that an average coffee drinker's consumption of coffee increases with
age, from age 10 through age 60. Even after age 60, coffee consumption remains high.
The average cola drinker's consumption of cola, however, declines with increasing age.
Both of these trends have remained stable for the past 40 years. Given that the number of
older adults will significantly increase as the population ages over the next 20 years, it
follows that the demand for coffee will increase and the demand for cola will decrease
during this period. We should, therefore, consider transferring our investments from Cola
Loca to Early Bird Coffee."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze
the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need
to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative
explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss
what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the
argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you
better evaluate its conclusion.
Analysis
This business plan suggests that the firm should move its investments from Cola Loca to Early Bord coffee on the premise that the demand for coffee will increase in the next 20 years while the demand for cola will decrease. The writer draws this conclusion on the fact that with increasing age from 10 through 60, average coffee drinkers consumption of coffee increases and remains high even after 60 while average cola drinkers consumption declines with age. This argument is flawed in the below mentioned ways.
Firstly, the argument does not mention the proportion of population that drinks coffee against the population that drinks cola. In case the percentage of population that drinks cola is significantly higher than that of coffee, this argument might not hold.
Secondly, the writer does not provide statistical trend of the percentage increase in consumption of coffee and the percentage decrease in consumption of cola over the past few years throughout the general population. A statistical analysis of this kind might help the writer confirm whether there has been an actual reduction in coffee consumption in the past few years.
Thirdly, the above argument does not take into account the population growth and the birth rate of newborns over time though it takes into account the aging population when considering the consumption of beverages in future. In the next twenty years, the below twenty years population will constitute a great part of Cola drinking population and thus, drawing their investments away from Cola might prove to be a loss.
Fourthly, the author does not take the financial standpoint into account. With increasing coffee prices, the number of people buying coffee might reduce in future. The market price of cola, as we see presently, is low and thus can be afforded by all and sundry.
In conclusion, the writers argument in flawed and might be improvised by including statistical data, the targeted markets and the population demographics of these markets etc.
Analysis of an Argument Question 3

The following appeared in an article in a photography magazine.

"When choosing whether to work in color or in black-and-white, the photographer who
wishes to be successful should keep in mind that because color photographs are more
true-to-life, magazines use more color photographs than black-and-white ones, and many
newspapers are also starting to use color photographs. The realism of color also accounts
for the fact that most portrait studios use more color film than black-and-white film.
Furthermore, there are more types of color film than black-and-white film available today.
Clearly, photographers who work in color have an advantage over those who work in
black-and-white."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze
the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need
to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative
explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss
what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the
argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you
better evaluate its conclusion.

Analysis

The above argument concludes that photographers who work in color have a certain advantage over the photographers who work in black and white. The advantages mentioned include the preference of color photographs over those in black and white by magazines, the realism of color photographs and the diversity in types of color film available in market over those of black and white. However, the argument is flawed.
Firstly, the argument encourages photographers who wish to be successful to prefer color photographs over black and white without taking into account other factors which might contribute to this decision. Some factors like personal preference based on the quality of the outcome, perception of the photographer etc are not considered.
Secondly, the color photographs are mentioned as being more real when compared to black and white. However, it’s a clear difference in perception. Presently many black and white photographs are well acclaimed for being soul stirring or very natural. Photography involves both science and art and thus, the appeal of art is varying forms cannot be ignored.
Thirdly, the argument does not hold any statistical data mentioning the preference of color photographs by people or magazines over black and white. Magazines use color photograph in pages as color appeals to people but they also use black and white photograph. It might also be a case wherein magazines do not receive quality black and white photographs due to which they might be hesitant to use them on a wider basis.
Fourthly and most importantly, the writer suggests that in order to be successful, photographers need to take color pictures and not black and white. This argument does not hold. The number of photographers using color are more than those who use black and white and hence the conclusion. Photographers who use black and white films are fewer but considered masters of this art. Considering these points might help this argument hold.
Analysis of an Argument Question 4

The following appeared as part of a business plan recommended by the new manager of a
musical rock group called Zapped.

"To succeed financially, Zapped needs greater name recognition. It should therefore
diversify its commercial enterprises. The rock group Zonked plays the same type of
music that Zapped plays, but it is much better known than Zapped because in addition to
its concert tours and four albums, Zonked has a series of posters, a line of clothing and
accessories, and a contract with a major advertising agency to endorse a number of
different products."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze
the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need
to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative
explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss
what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the
argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you
better evaluate its conclusion.
Analysis
The manager has concluded that to succeed financially, Zapped needs name recognition. This is done by comparing Zapped to another group Zonked which is more recognized owing to its series of posters, line of clothing accessories and contact with major advertising agency to endorse quite a few products. This argument, though sound, is flawed as it does not take into account a few points.
Firstly, the manager considers that better advertising and name recognition is all that it takes to succeed but common sense and experience suggests otherwise. There are also some other factors like the quality of music, genre of music, the group of people that the music is directed at and the language and country from which the band originates that determine the success of a band.
Secondly, there is also a direct comparison drawn between Zapped and Zonked without suggesting the similarities that let the manager draw this comparison. Zapped could be a language specific band playing country music while Zonked could be an English band playing reggae and thus appealing to a wider audience. The manager should list these similarities to make this argument convincing. Also there is no information regarding the experience of the band or the individual band members. It also does not mention whether the band performs only stage gigs or establishes itself through mediums like CDs etc.
Thirdly, the manager, though comparing Zapped and Zonked, does not mentioned about financial success of Zonked. If Zonked being more popular does not gain financially more than Zapped, then the comparison is flawed and looses its foothold.
Conclusively the manager’s argument does not hold. He can render his argument more compelling by drawing a statistical relation between increase in popularity and advertising etc and financial gain for other bands who stood at par with Zapped in terms of experience and genre of music etc. Also, by stressing more on “Financial success” and stating case studies where band have benefited economically through endorsing products and advertising he could strengthen his argument further.

Analysis of an Argument Question 5

The following appeared in the editorial section of a daily newspaper.

"Although forecasts of presidential elections based on opinion polls measure current
voter preference, many voters keep changing their minds about whom they prefer until
the last few days before the balloting. Some do not even make a final decision until they
enter the voting booth. Forecasts based on opinion polls are therefore little better at
predicting election outcomes than a random guess would be."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze
the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need
to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative
explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss
what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the
argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you
better evaluate its conclusion.
Analysis

The article concludes that forecasts based on opinion polls are little beneficial over a random guess in predicting election outcomes. The author draws this conclusion on the premise of voters changing their minds even in the last few days of balloting and sometimes till they enter the voting booth. However, this argument is flawed.
Firstly, the argument does not consider the fact that the same indecisiveness of voters would play a role while taking the opinion poll with voters deciding who they think would win at the last moment and therefore, this unpredictability would account for the one in the actual voting. Also, this unpredictability might be considered higher than actual. Most of the people either through previous experience or all information sources decide on their choice earlier. This indecisiveness discussed about so expansively is owing to a meager population which would not disturb the opinion polls by much.
Secondly, the argument also fails to consider that many voters might be influenced by the opinion polls and thus, might rethink their earlier decision and vote for the expected winning candidate.
Thirdly, the article seems to consider that the only role of Opinion polls is predicting the electoral outcomes. In reality, the opinion poll also helps the voters get a complete picture of all the candidates and their stand, their background as well as their fundamental ideology and helps those who could not make a decision draw one using all the information provided about all the candidates in a sum.
Fourthly, the article also suggests that some people do not make up their mind till the last moment.. This is an assumption on the part of the writer as there are many voters who are strictly faithful to their parties. Drawing a statistical analysis between the number of people who stick with their candidate every year and the ones who don’t might give a better picture.
Hence conclusively, this argument is flawed. The article could be strengthened and made more compelling by including a statistical comparison wherein he could compare the years the electoral outcomes agreed with the opinion polls against those in which they did not.