Drafting an Argument

Example of When Methods are Combined

Claim of Paper: Decreasing the average work week to 32 hours would help support family values.

From Body of Paper: Although most of us know that working too much affects family time and thus family structure, we usually assume that this is the case only for people who work 40+ hours a week. Studies of how work-related stress influences family time, however, suggest that too much work, even within what is considered "normal," has detrimental effects on family time. [Topic sentence connects evidence (studies) to the point that 40 hour work weeks have negative affects on families.]

For example, in Smith's 1987 study of 15 average, middle-class families, he describes the undue pressure a 9-5 schedule puts on families. In particular, he notes that this time schedule translates to at least three forms of unnecessary family stress: (1) "rushed" mornings where parents desperately try sticking to a rigid time schedule that gets the children off to school and themselves to work between the hours of 7 and 9; (2) financial pressure of paying babysitters or day care facilities during school holidays and the 2 or 3 hours after school while parents are still at work; (3) overly frantic weekends where, since many businesses close at 5:00, all errands must be done before then. [Note how the author highlights only the parts of the study that influence family pressures.]

The stresses Smith documents are not in families where parents work 60-70 hours a week. The parents working 40 hours a week are secretaries, mechanics, bank employees, etc. The effects on them, he notes, clearly translate to less time spent with family members because of work demands as well as increased pressure when the family is together. [Warrant explaining why proof shows the problem is the 40-hour work week discussed in the initial point made]

Such pressures can't help but influence the quality of time the family spends together, influencing its ability to stay together or to have the type of time most conducive to instilling family values. [Topic sentences which ties point 1 to overall claim of paper] In fact, as psychological studies show, the type of time spent together has a great influence on family cohesiveness. [Transition connecting point 1--effect of 40 hour week on families--to point 2: the influence of time pressures on keeping family together]

Next Paragraph: Summaries of psychological studies to support the new claim of effect on cohesiveness.

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