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Headaches suffered by the residents of Mentia - GRE / Argument


strider10 1 / 2  
Nov 6, 2014   #1
A recently issued twenty-year study on headaches suffered by the residents of Mentia investigated the possible therapeutic effect of consuming salicylates. Based on these study results, some health experts predict that residents of Mentia will suffer even fewer headaches in the future.

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.

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The author of the argument concludes that the denizens of Mentia have suffered less headaches due to increasing use of Salicylates, which have a soothing impact on body, in the past twenty years and this condition seems to continue in the future as a result of an upward trend toward using Salicylates. However, this conclusion cannot be accepted as it because it is based on a number of premises for the support of which some vital questions are to be answered.

First of all, the writer refers to a study but there is no adequate information about the sample. We need to know how many people took part in the study reported. As you know, in research studies the greater the number of people in the sample the more reliable and valid the findings are. Maybe in this study only ten people participated; hence, the findings of such a study are neither reliable nor valid. Even if it is assumed that enough people took part in the study, the second question with the sample is whether it is representative of the concerned population in terms of age, sex, social class, culture and so forth. Maybe the people who participated in sample are young people whose bodies have more tolerance toward consuming medicine and this medicine could have adverse effects on older people. There is nothing in the passage to indicate these scenarios are impossible.

Second, the writer asserts that the plunge in the number of headaches was a result of increase in utilizing salicylates. We need to know whether people participating in the study have used another analgesics. Maybe people have used other medicines such as Valium or morphine alongside salicylates and the decrease in headaches is due to consuming that alternative medicines rather than salicylates. Let's suppose that the salicylates are the main reason for plunge in headaches. We need to know what it the chief cause of headaches and does it has remained constant during these twenty years. It goes without saying that air pollution could bring about headache; maybe in the past ten years, government has implemented measures which have led to gradual decline in the amount of air pollutant; consequently, the number of headaches and other disease has declined noticeably. There is nothing in the passage to indicate that these scenarios are not possible.

Last, the author states that the citizens of Mentia will experience even less headaches in future, if companies add more salicylates to foods as flavors. We need to know whether consuming high dosage of salicylates each day would have side effects on people. Maybe if people use a considerable amount of salicylates each day, it would have devastating effects on their body organs or maybe they would become addicted to salicylates after consuming salicylates on a daily basis.

In the final analysis, the writer's conclusion cannot be taken to be correct because, as it was shown in the body paragraphs, it depends on a number of assumptions each of which is questionable. The conclusion can only be accepted if the questions already referred to are all answered.

vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 6, 2014   #2
Kasra, we need to clean up the grammar of your essay. It is a strong argument but weakens because of your weak command of the English language. Please note my grammar corrections as follows:

The author of the argument concludes that the denizens of Mentia have suffered less headaches due to increasing use of Salicylates, which have a soothing impact on body, in the past twenty years and this condition seems to continue in the future as a result of an upward trend toward using Salicylates. However, this conclusion cannot be accepted as it because it is based on a number of premises for the support of which some vital questions are to be answered.

- The author has based his conclusion that the residents of Mentia will suffer less headaches in 20 years because of the expected decrease in the use of Salicylates. However, should the upward trend continue, then the continued use of the drug will result in an increased percentage of headaches for Mentians. I find it hard to accept his conclusion because a number of supporting evidences were lacking when he presented his report.

First of all, the writer refers to a study but there is no adequate information about the sample. We need to know how many people took part in the study reported. As you know, in research studies the greater the number of people in the sample the more reliable and valid the findings are. Maybe in this study only ten people participated; hence, the findings of such a study are neither reliable nor valid. Even if it is assumed that enough people took part in the study, the second question with the sample is whether it is representative of the concerned population in terms of age, sex, social class, culture and so forth. Maybe the people who participated in sample are young people whose bodies have more tolerance toward consuming medicine and this medicine could have adverse effects on older people. There is nothing in the passage to indicate these scenarios are impossible.

- One of the reasons that I cannot accept his assumptions is because he did not provide adequate information about the previous study done which produced the results he mentioned. Without a clear idea as to how many people participated in the program, and what the resulting ratio of users to non users was, it will be difficult to validate his results. There is no clear idea as to whether this refers to the population in general, is gender specific, or if it is based on a separate set of determinants which was not mentioned in the report. Therefore there is no clear understanding as to how the people of Mentia would truly respond to a decrease in Salicylate use.

Second, the writer asserts that the plunge in the number of headaches was a result of increase in utilizing salicylates. We need to know whether people participating in the study have used another analgesics. Maybe people have used other medicines such as Valium or morphine alongside salicylates and the decrease in headaches is due to consuming that alternative medicines rather than salicylates. Let's suppose that the salicylates are the main reason for plunge in headaches. We need to know what it the chief cause of headaches and does it has remained constant during these twenty years. It goes without saying that air pollution could bring about headache; maybe in the past ten years, government has implemented measures which have led to gradual decline in the amount of air pollutant; consequently, the number of headaches and other disease has declined noticeably. There is nothing in the passage to indicate that these scenarios are not possible.

- Another reason, is that the writer zeroes in on salicylates as the main cause of the headaches when the people may also be taking other medications that have a calming effect on the body and thus, cannot attribute the decrease in headaches to Salicylates use alone. Once we know what the main cause of the headaches are, what alternative medicines are being used, and how the effects of the environment, such as air pollution, contribute to the headaches of the people, we will be able to better determine the effectiveness of the drug in treating headaches.

Last, the author states that the citizens of Mentia will experience even less headaches in future, if companies add more salicylates to foods as flavors. We need to know whether consuming high dosage of salicylates each day would have side effects on people. Maybe if people use a considerable amount of salicylates each day, it would have devastating effects on their body organs or maybe they would become addicted to salicylates after consuming salicylates on a daily basis.

- The suggestion that Salicylates be added to the food manufacturing process is also questionable. No studies were presented with results pertaining to such a claim, neither has a statement from the Food and Drug administration been sought in order to give credence to such assumptions on the part of the writer.

In the final analysis, the writer's conclusion cannot be taken to be correct because, as it was shown in the body paragraphs, it depends on a number of assumptions each of which is questionable. The conclusion can only be accepted if the questions already referred to are all answered.

- Due to the lack of supporting evidence, as indicated by my questions pertaining to the results of the study, one can conclude that the study in its current form, should not be accepted as factual and be made a basis for any medical decision regarding the headaches that the people of Mentia are suffering from now, or in the future.
OP strider10 1 / 2  
Nov 7, 2014   #3
Dear Louisa,
I appreciate your help, I am aware that I'm not good at all in writing; However, I have an exam in 10 days, so I am working to provide a proper template for essays to make things easier during the exam.

In you view, should I use the transition words such as first,second,in conclusion etc at the beginning of each paragraph ?
Do I have any chance to improve my writing in such a limited time ?
Thanks again for your contribution
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 7, 2014   #4
Kasra, in my opinion, an essay flows smoother when you do not use a number count of any sort when writing it. The flow and smoothness of an essay is not dictated by the numbering of your paragraphs. Rather, it is determined by the content and method by which you write the essay. It is alright to use the word "conclusion" in the final paragraph to indicate its end but as long as the paragraph contains the restated prompt, summary of facts, and your emphasized conclusion, it is not really necessary in my opinion. The way you write the essay though is up to you. If you prefer to use the number count per paragraph then do so. Each person writes in a specific way that he or she is most comfortable with. I would not want to influence you into doing something that does not come naturally to you unless you want to try it yourself :-)

10 days to the test? That does not offer much time to prepare for a major English test. Are you taking the TOOEFL or IELTS? Developing your English writing skills to the level of a native speaker will not be possible within 10 days. However, it is possible to become familiar with the written language in that period of time. You will need to dedicate hours of essay practice test writing per day in order to develop that familiarity and, as I often mention to the test takers here, you can never go wrong by reading as many English materials as you can in order to get an idea of the various methods by which essays can be written in English. Writing a response paper after reading other English materials will also help you develop your analytical skills in English thinking and writing.

You won't be an English expert overnight or within 10 days but it is possible to gain a type of familiarity with the language that will allow you to develop a sense of confidence when writing in English, even if those are only simple English words being used in an essay :-) The key is to constantly practice essay writing as you near the test date. I hope my advice helps you out. Good luck! :-)
OP strider10 1 / 2  
Nov 8, 2014   #5
Dear Louisa,

Thanks for the time that you have given for me to advice about English writing. I have a GRE exam on next Sunday, but since I am an engineering student, I think my writing score would not be too important for the universities. However, as you advised, I am working hard on daily basis to improve my writing as much as possible.

Thanks again


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