The following report appeared in the newsletter of the West Meria Public Health Council.
"An innovative treatment has come to our attention that promises to significantly reduce absenteeism in our schools and workplaces. A study reports that in nearby East Meria, where fish consumption is very high, people visit the doctor only once or twice per year for the treatment of colds. Clearly, eating a substantial amount of fish can prevent colds. Since colds represent the most frequently given reason for absences from school and work, we recommend the daily use of Ichthaid—a nutritional supplement derived from fish oil—as a good way to prevent colds and lower absenteeism."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The author in the argument attributes cold to be the most frequently given reason for absences from schools and work places of West Meria. She claims that an innovative treatment has emerged which has the potential to greatly reduce absenteeism in the schools and at work places. The author substantiates her support to the proposition by referring to a report which states that people in East Meria visit the doctor only once or twice per year for the treatment of colds. Another feature that the author throws light upon is the very high consumption of fish in East Meria. The author correlates the two inferences and hence recommends the daily use of Ichthaid- a nutritional supplement derived from fish oil, to prevent colds and henceforth lower absenteeism.
The first and foremost evidence required is for significant absenteeism in the schools and work places of West Meria which has been attributed to colds. The records that corroborate the above stated need to be scrutinized and their authenticity should be examined. There is an obvious requirement for inspecting that the reasons given by the absentees are true and can be taken at their face value. The probability of any manipulations by the absentees have to be negated else the argument doesn’t stand on strong grounds as then the core reason assumed for absenteeism appears to be untrue.
Secondly, medical evidence that reveal the beneficial effects of fish consumption leading to prevention of cold are definitely required. Any study carried out in the past monitoring the components of fish that inhibit cold can be a validation for this claim. If this proved, then the next step would be to substantiate that the suggested supplement has the same influence as does the fish itself. The nutrients in the fish that help in preventing colds are all incorporated in the supplement. More importantly the supplement should not have any counter effects on the health of the people. Clinical tests reporting no side effects of the supplement also need to be checked. Precautions (if any) to be taken while using the supplement also need to be known before hand. There are supplements which cannot be consumed simultaneously with certain medications, food items or by people having some specific ailments. All these factors should also be kept in mind while recommending the consumption of this supplement.
Other aspects to be considered are the inclination of the people of Meria towards consumption of supplements over natural fish and if the supplement is affordable by the mass population? Usually the bulk population has an average income and expensive supplements are not something fitting in everyone’s budget.
Next comes the indispensable need of evidence that relates the infrequency of cold among the residents of East Meria with their heavy fish consumption. No evident correlation between the two has been presented by the author and we can never assume a place to receive heavy rainfall just because all the residents have umbrellas. Concrete evidence is required to validate this proportionality mentioned by the author.
Another important validation required is to account for the physicians whose outlook has been quoted by the author. Facts to entail that these physicians are adept at their job and numbers to voice that the doctors from whom annals of patients with cold are obtained are the ones consulted by the mass population of East Meria are surely to be scanned. If these aren’t found to be convincing, then the argument presented by the author looses all its credibility.
Hence to ensure that the recommendation made by the author is dependable and should be implemented, the above stated evidences need to be examined. If the facts and figures don’t back the claims made or are insufficient to draw any relevant conclusions, then it is not suggestible to follow the argument.
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No. of Words: 636 350 (write the essay in half an hour)
Number of Paragraphs: 7 5
better to have 5 paragraphs:
para 1: introduction
para 2: argument 1
para 3: argument 2
para 4: argument 3
para 5: conclusion
Attribute Value Ideal
Score: 5.0 out of 6
Category: Very Good Excellent
No. of Grammatical Errors: 0 2
No. of Spelling Errors: 0 2
No. of Sentences: 28 15
No. of Words: 636 350
No. of Characters: 3190 1500
No. of Different Words: 292 200
Fourth Root of Number of Words: 5.022 4.7
Average Word Length: 5.016 4.6
Word Length SD: 2.864 2.4
No. of Words greater than 5 chars: 220 100
No. of Words greater than 6 chars: 170 80
No. of Words greater than 7 chars: 124 40
No. of Words greater than 8 chars: 96 20
Use of Passive Voice (%): 0 0
Avg. Sentence Length: 22.714 21.0
Sentence Length SD: 6.85 7.5
Use of Discourse Markers (%): 0.429 0.12
Sentence-Text Coherence: 0.284 0.35
Sentence-Para Coherence: 0.531 0.50
Sentence-Sentence Coherence: 0.114 0.07
Number of Paragraphs: 7 5