Final Polish Workshop

Effective Use of Statistics

The paragraph does not explain the value of the statistics before revealing them, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. 

In grades 6 through 12 one in every five students reports being bullied according to the National Center for Educational Statistics taken in 2016. Out of the students who reported being bullied 33% said they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the year. Statistic of the students that have been subjected to bullying reported that 13% were made fun of, 12% were subjected to rumors, 5% were physically abused, and the last 5% were deliberately left out of activities. The percentage of students who admitted to being bullied is much higher than the percentage of students who report being bullied to someone within the school. Due to this huge gap in the percentages the bullying problem within schools is worse than we thought.

We will make some assumptions about the supposed value of the statistics.

  • Reports of student bullying are troublingly high
  • Many cases of bullying go unreported
  • The real statistics are worse than we thought

And we’ll need a plan to draw those conclusions for our readers.

  1. Tell them the numbers are startlingly high
  2. Emphasize that the incidences are not “one-off” isolated cases
  3. Suggest why the numbers skew higher than expected
  4. Be sure readers know just how many kids we’re talking about

Anecdotal evidence has always indicated that many students are bullied by their classmates, but a 2016 study by the National Center for Educational Statistics shows the problem is much worse than we thought. In grades 6 through 12, a full 20% of students reports having been bullied, and not just once. A third of bullied students were mistreated “at least once or twice a month.” Perhaps students worry about retaliation if they report bullying to their schools; the number who felt safe enough to claim abuse on the anonymous NCES survey was radically higher than the schools predicted. Although only 5% reported being physically abused, that’s 1.75 million schoolkids being assaulted by classmates according to the US Census of 2010. We can no longer call these isolated instances.


Nailing Down Cause and Effect

The paragraph satisfies itself with innuendo and vague claims of “influence,” when what it means is that social media get cops and civilians killed.

The media has a lot more influence than a lot of people think; everyone believes what they read on the internet and other news outlets. Social media acts as a driving factor of the crime between the public and law enforcement by not getting the right message across to its viewers which in turn can cause major controversy. In the article, “Retaliatory violence between police and citizens is primed by social media,” it unfolds the results of a new study that was published in the scientific journal in January of 2018 named PLOS ONE. This study was conducted to understand the ties between police officers that were killed in the line of duty, situations where fatal use of force was used, and all the buzz on social media regarding the Black Lives Movement. Veronica Pozo, who works at Utah State University and helped publish this study, stated that, “Black Lives Matter-related tweets were associated with increases in both the numbers of minorities and law enforcement officers killed. This implies that that social media can rapidly spread a negative message and act as a contagion.”

We will make some assumptions about what the Author wants to prove.

  • Social media fan the flames of racial tension between cops and minorities
  • Spreading rumors of violence actually causes more violence
  • Cops and civilians die in confrontations caused by social media

And we’ll need a plan to draw those conclusions for our readers.

  1. Spell out the cause-and-effect sequence in certain terms
  2. Let readers know early what conclusion they should draw
  3. Guide them through the causal steps
  4. Make promises and deliver results at every step

Social media have blood on their hands. When they fan the flames of racial antagonism, the fear they stoke gets cops and minority civilians killed. An article in the January 2018 issue of PLOS ONE reports that “retaliatory violence between police and citizens is primed by social media.” Of course, social media is not a person, so leveling blame at individuals is difficult, but deliberately inflammatory tweets and posts can be traced to accounts that incite hatred. In particular, the PLOS ONE study investigated what percentage of police killed in the line of duty were preceded by incendiary social media posts. Investigator Veronica Pozo of Utah State University drew the obvious conclusion: “Black Lives Matter-related tweets were associated with increases in both the numbers of minorities and law enforcement officers killed. This implies that that social media can rapidly spread a negative message and act as a contagion.”


Capitalize on every Anecdote

The paragraph wastes available rhetorical points.

One incident that proves detectors are not “fire proof” was in 2011 when fire services in England were doing annual smoke detector fittings for houses for a fire prevention campaign. The Fire Angel ST 620 detector was supplied to fire and rescue services for this campaign, but is now on alert after one caught fire in a home after installation. Despite the high quality and reliability of the detector, this fired occurred after the low battery chirp sounded, then igniting into flames. Mrs Gray, the homeowner, said the fire started near a chair and would almost certainly have spread if her daughter Victoria had not been in the house by chance.

We will make some assumptions about what the Author wants to prove.

  • Smoke detectors can actually cause fires
  • High-quality detectors, even when installed well, aren’t always reliable
  • Odds are even higher that cheap or poorly-installed detectors will start a fire

And we’ll need a plan to draw those conclusions for our readers.

  1. Carefully build evidence that the detector should function well
  2. Draw clear distinctions between the actual case and the “worst case”
  3. Draw the conclusion that even the best case will sometimes result in tragedy
  4. Emphasize the higher likelihood of tragedy under less ideal conditions

One terrifying event will demonstrate the perils presented by even the best fire detection plan. The national fire service of England in 2011 conducted a nationwide fire prevention campaign to reduce home fires. Of all competing candidates, the service selected the Fire Angel ST 620 detector for its quality and reliability. Qualified fire safety personnel selected the ideal locations for detectors and installed them professionally in residences. Despite these ideal conditions, the detector in Mrs. Gray’s home chirped its low-battery warning, then burst into flames. Had her daughter Victoria not been at home to quell the flames, or worse, had she been sleeping in the house, a much worse tragedy might have occurred. The installation campaign has been suspended, which is no comfort to the fire professionals, who know full well how precarious are the homes they haven’t served, with their cheaper, less reliable detectors, poorly located, amateurishly installed by inexperienced homeowners.

 

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