The following was written as a part of an application for a small-business loan by a group of developers in the city of Monroe.
"Jazz music is extremely popular in the city of Monroe: over 100,000 people attended Monroe's annual jazz festival last summer, and the highest-rated radio program in Monroe is 'Jazz Nightly,' which airs every weeknight. Also, a number of well-known jazz musicians own homes in Monroe. Nevertheless, the nearest jazz club is over an hour away. Given the popularity of jazz in Monroe and a recent nationwide study indicating that the typical jazz fan spends close to $1,000 per year on jazz entertainment, we predict that our new jazz music club in Monroe will be a tremendously profitable enterprise."
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.
In this application, the developers request that a jazz music club be built in Monroe. To support their conclusion, they point out that the nearest jazz club is 65 miles away. Moreover, they use a series of evidence to demonstrate the prevalence of jazz music in Monroe. In addition, a nationwide study is cited to prove that there are a great number of typical fans in Monroe who are inclined to spend money on jazz entertainment. Although the new jazz club may finally turn out to be lucrative, close scrutiny reveals that the conclusion lacks critical support and therefore we need more evidence to help evaluate the argument.
First of all, we need evidence to verify that a new jazz club in Monroe will have no difficulty attracting all of the local customers. While the author shows that the nearest jazz club is 65 miles away, no evidence serves to rule out the possibility that customers will continue to go out of town despite the new jazz club in Monroe. Thus, additional evidence gains great significance to determine whether the out-of-town jazz club has other advantages that outweigh the distance disadvantage, for example, a pleasant environment, comfortable service, and most importantly, appealing jazz music. If new evidence shows that the out-of-town jazz club is thus equipped, then it is reasonably safe to claim that people in Monroe will still choose to go there rather than the local jazz club, and therefore the author’s recommendation is weakened. However, if new evidence discloses an opposite situation, then the proposal in the argument is lent great support to.
In addition, we need more evidence to ascertain whether jazz music is extremely popular in Monroe. First, although the number of people attended Monroe’s annual jazz festival last summer is astonishing at first glance, exact local attendance figures will lend considerable support to the evaluation of the aforementioned statement. If attendance was dominated by non-locals, then the popularity of jazz in Monroe is in great doubt and the developers’ conclusion is thereby rendered unconvincing. Second, we need to know the reason why the jazz musicians chose to live in Monroe instead of elsewhere, and whether their residence benefits the vogue of local jazz music. If it turns out that they reside in Monroe simply for the agreeable environment or attractive housing prices, or that they chose Monroe as an ideal place to enjoy life after retirement, which may lead to their constant alienation from jazz, then we are unconvinced of the popularity of the local jazz music. Third, the evaluation of the statement concerning the prevalence of jazz music in Monroe also entails evidence about the competence of ‘Jazz Nightly’ not only during the weeknights, but also on weekends. If the developers can prove that this radio program has absolute popularity regardless of the time period and its opponents, then we are disposed to believe that jazz is popular in Monroe.
Finally, despite the presence of all the previous evidence, an accurate evaluation of the developers’ request requires additional information. Specific evidence is needed to show whether the result of the nationwide study also applies to the local situation in Monroe; that is to say, whether there exist a satisfactory number of typical fans in Monroe who are willing to spend money exclusively on jazz music clubs. If the answer is positive, then the reasoning of the argument is strengthened; however, if people give priority to and spend their money primarily on jazz CDs, concerts or other entertainments than they do to jazz clubs, we are reluctant to believe that the new jazz club will be tremendously profitable.
To sum up, the evidence cited by the developers does not provide enough conclusive information to make their request convincing. As a result, we need additional evidence to better evaluate the argument. (636 words)