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Homework Assignment: Analyzing Inductive Arguments

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Quick Overview: Homework Assignment 1 requires you to answer a series of questions about two polls of your choosing, one of which you consider a well-conducted and reliable poll (strong), the other of which you consider a badly conducted or otherwise unreliable poll (weak). Answer all questions completely. You must answer the questions in essay form, providing an ARGUMENT for why your “strong” poll should be considered strong, and why your “weak” poll should be considered weak. The polls do NOT need to be about the same topic. Read the rest of the assignment instructions below for more information about this assignment.

 

Technicalities:

  • Your essay must be a minimum of 1000 words, not including your “Works Cited” section at the end of your essay.
  • Your essay should have an introduction and a conclusion.
  • Submit your essay using one of the following methods:
    • in the text box provided when you click on “submit assignment.”
    • as a file UPLOAD (not an attachment) by using the “upload” function in the homework submission space. ONLY the following file types can be uploaded: Microsoft Word Documents (.doc or .docx) and PDFs. NO GOOGLE DOCS OR MACDOCS!
  • Do not attach any files to your submission.
  • Your essay will be automatically checked through the “Turn It In” system, so make sure that you are responsibly citing your sources, including quotation marks around quoted material, and using your own words for any summarizing or paraphrasing.

To complete this assignment, you need to have read Module 4. The goal of this assignment is for the student to demonstrate an ability to distinguish a strong inductive argument from a weak inductive argument.

ASSIGNMENT in depth: Find two public opinion polls from 2014 or later, one of which offers weak support for its conclusion, the other of which offers strong support for its conclusion. The polls can be about any topic. They do not need to be about the same topic. Answer the following questions about each of the polls (do not choose to use a poll if you cannot answer the questions below):

  1. What is the property in question (what question is asked of the sample population)?
  2. What is the sample size, and is the sample size large enough to avoid hastiness?
  3. From where was the sample population taken (what types of people are included in the sample)?
  4. What was the methodology in selecting the sample? Was it randomly selected? If so, explain the precise method of random selection (Do not simply say “telephone survey.” Do not simply say “randomly selected telephone survey. Be specific! Do not say “the survey did not say how the sample was selected.” Choose a survey from a polling organization that does reveal the method of selecting the sample, or do research on the survey or polling organization by going to their web site.  You must have a precise and detailed answer to this question! See the sample assignment submission PDF for an example of how this question can be answered relatively successfully.) Or was the sample selected in some other way, i.e. self-selection?
  5. Were there any opportunities for bias (as defined in Module 4- “biased generalizations”) to creep into the sample? Explain.
  6. What is the target population?
  7. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being very weak, 10 being very strong), what numerical value would you assign to the poll? Briefly explain your answer.
  8. Provide a Works Cited area at the bottom of your essay, in MLA format, to indicate where you got the surveys, and any other information pertaining to the surveys. You must also cite your sources in the text of your essay, in MLA format.

Remember, your essay must be a minimum of 1000 words, and your answers to the above question must be in essay form, not in list form. That means you should have an introduction and a conclusion for your essay. Good luck!

 

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