Critical Thinking And Problem Solving

The most effective way to improve your problem-solving skills, to be an effective leader, is with practice! Let’s look at the following problem using the problem solving steps in your book: You are the new Human Resources Manager for a small manufacturing company in the Midwest. The Vice President of Operations has asked you to hire an engineer to replace an engineer who has recently retired. You ask for some details and learn that the candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from a good school, preferably with good grades (at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale). Other criteria include a minimum of three years of work experience, but the VP would prefer 5+ years. Though it will be difficult to find, she would prefer a candidate with experience working in the same industry as your company’s. Additional engineering certifications (such as PE licensure) would be a plus, but are not necessary. A master’s degree (either technical or managerial) would also be advantageous, but may price the recruit out of your budget. You both agree that the person must be legally able to work in the U.S., since visa costs and additional time required for immigration-related issues (up to 12 months) make the counterpart case problematic. Your company is small, with only fifty employees, which may appear as a drawback to some engineers coming from larger companies with deeper pockets, while others may see it as an opportunity to advance more quickly. (Consider how you will position the issue with candidates). The starting salary range you are able to offer is $50 – 55,000 per year, plus relocation expenses up to $10,000. This salary is about average in your location (approximately fifteen miles outside a medium-sized city in the Midwest), but it will be difficult to find a qualified engineer locally. The odds of finding candidates are better with a national search, but then the allowable salary is below the national average, and in some higher-cost areas (e.g. California, New England, New York) it would be far below competitive. There will also be hotel and flight costs for out of town recruits during the interview process. You can try to recruit an engineer locally to save relocation costs and other expenses, but you must think ahead if this effort fails. You cannot afford to lose time in a low-probability effort. The VP of Operations has made it clear that this hire is a priority and that she needs an engineer on board and able to go full speed, as of yesterday! More realistically, she would like this person on board and working within 90 days. This may sound like plenty of time, but by the time you advertise, screen resumes, interview candidates, make a decision, make an offer(s), and get results from the person’s references, background check, and drug test – you will barely make it. This will be especially true if you choose someone already employed (because of the need to give notice to the current employer), someone moving a good distance, someone with a family, someone buying/selling a house. Additionally, the VP of OPS wants to keep recruiting costs down as much as possible while still finding the person who is the best choice overall. The last engineer hired cost approximately $20,000 to bring on board, including research, ads, interviews, flights, hotels, and follow-up. The focus for this question is on your process: What are your first steps? Where and how will you search?

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Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving




Assignment 4


Compare and Contrast Two Argument Essays


(20%=Individual Written Report)



Purpose of Assignment


  • The purpose of this assignment is to help the students show their understanding of arguments by comparing and contrasting two arguments, identifying the reasons for and against an issue, and evaluating the strength and weakness of each reason supporting and opposing the issue.




  • The student will be able to identify arguments supporting and opposing an issue
  • The student will be able identify weak and strong arguments
  • The student will be able to compare and contrast arguments for and against an issue


Instructional Media: Tools and Resources


  • You will be provided with online articles, reports, and different resources that will assist you in understanding arguments and knowing how to compare and contrast two argumentative essays. You will be provided in-class time one week before the assignment is due in order to discuss in groups and search online for additional required resources.


Essay 1 – Arguments against Banning Smoking in Public Places

In recent years, there has been considerable legal and social debate on the topic of whether or not to ban smoking, cigarettes, cigars, and pipes in public places such as offices, restaurants, and libraries. Many people have used the health risks, both for smokers and non-smokers who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke, as one of the strongest arguments against allowing smoking in public places. As a smoker, I will admit that this article may seem to be biased. However, I feel that there are some very substantial reasons that smoking should not be banned in public places.

Many public places such as schools have set aside a portion of the grounds in which smokers may smoke. In many cases, these designated smoking areas are located far enough away from the building so that the cigarette smoke will not affect the nonsmokers. As implied by the sign on the smoking area, these areas are the Designated Smoking Areas, and those that do not smoke should generally avoid these areas. If non-smokers should wish to enter the smoking area, then they should not complain when their clothes smell of cigarette smoke

Employees who smoke often do so because of stressful situations. Situations at work can inevitably lead to stress, thus the need for a quick cigarette to calm nerves. If there is a no smoking policy, then the employee either will be less productive due to an inability to remain on task, or will “sneak off” to have a cigarette just as young teenagers sometimes do in Junior High and High School. Contrary to popular belief, smoking does not project an unprofessional image; it is the idea of smoker having to sneak off that project the unprofessional image.
Contrary to increasing popular belief, smokers do have rights. As long as smokers are following company policy regarding smoking, such as smoking in designated areas, and properly extinguishing and disposing of smoking materials, they are not harming anyone aside from themselves. Smokers fund their own healthcare through the high taxes they pay on tobacco. In any case, heavy smokers are unlikely to give up since they are addicted to nicotine.


Banning smoking in public will encourage people to smoke more at home. This will harm other people in their house, particularly children. This is important, since children are not old enough to choose freely to smoke passively. Also, people smoking at home may drink more alcohol than they would if they went to a bar. This is because they can buy it more cheaply at a supermarket or off-licence. Drinking more alcohol may lead to other health problems.


A ban on smoking in public places would drive many bars, pubs and clubs out of business. Smokers would not go to these places. These businesses would also earn less money from selling tobacco. In many places, pubs and Working Men’s Clubs are important social places for communities. They also provide jobs for people with few skills in places with little other work. It is therefore important that they survive.


It would be impossible to police this ban in many public places anyway. Small workplaces will often ignore the ban and are unlikely to be caught. Staff who do not smoke are unlikely to report smokers, in case their colleagues work out who told the authorities.

Essay 2 – Arguments for Banning Smoking in Public Places

There has been an ongoing debate for years about whether or not to ban smoking in public places. Both sides of the argument have done their best to deliver compelling facts to support their opinions. No one denies that a person should be allowed to smoke if they choose to, but the problem comes when a person’s smoking becomes an issue for those around them. The following are some arguments in favor of banning smoking in public places.

Secondhand smoke increases the risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease by about 30%. In studies smokers had less of a risk or problem with coronary heart disease than the people exposed to second hand smoke. Secondhand smoke also increases the risk of lung and other cancers as well as other respiratory problems and accounts for 53,000 deaths each year in the United States. 3,000 of these deaths alone are from lung cancer in non smokers and approximately 22,000 are from heart disease in nonsmokers.

Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous in children. It has been found that children who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from lung diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis and many others and have a higher risk of developing asthma. It is also shown that children who breathe secondhand smoke have more ear infections than children whose parents shield them from the dangers. There are approximately 150,000 – 300,000 cases each year of children under 18 months of age with infections from second hand smoke which results in around 7,500 -15,000 hospitalizations each year . It has also been found that one of the added reasons for sudden infant death syndrome is secondhand smoke or having a parent or guardian that regularly smokes. Secondhand smoke is also known to cause problems and issues in fetuses of mothers who are exposed to it.

The main reason that we should ban smoking in restaurants and other public areas is because the smoke does not remain solely in the smoking area. Having a smoking area and a nonsmoking area in a building is better than having everyone mixed together and I will admit to that however; if you drop food coloring in water doesn’t it spread? Smoke has the same effect and anyone who has ever paid attention to it will notice that fact. Smoke spreads from the smoking section all through the building in the air, therefore spreading the dangers with it. For this reason smoking should not be allowed in public buildings.


Smoking in public places also has several other negative effects. Everyone is aware of the unpleasant smell associated with smoking. Imagine being a non-smoker going out to dinner or some other event, only to find that when you get home, your clothes and even your body smell like cigarette smoke. This is highly offensive to people who are non-smokers.

Allowing smoking in public places puts everyone there in a potentially dangerous situation. Risk of injury by fire is greatly increased in places that allow smoking. The environment suffers as well, as no matter what provisions are put in place, cigarette butts always find their way to the ground or floor or whatever the case may be.
Smoking in public areas and weather or not to ban it is definitely a hot issue today. Smokers do have a right to their freedom; however the entirety of the United States has a right to be able to remain smoke free and have freedom from secondhand smoke. Whether a decision will ever be made that will be fair to both sides of the issue will be reached is unknown. The government continues to weigh the risks of secondhand smoke with the number of angry smokers. If the issue is truly looked into and the risks are truly weighed I do hope and believe that our government will decide it is better to look out for our health.




  1. The report must use your own language. Do not cut and paste sentences from the two essays and place them in your report. Reword sentences. If you do cut and paste a sentence you must use quotation marks and write the author, year, and page number in brackets in the text after the quotation (see examples of citing references under “Useful Resources”).


  1. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence that introduces the paragraph idea (see sample essays under “Useful Resources”).


  1. The report must:
  • have a cover page
  • use Times New Romans or Arial, font size: 12
  • have a space of 1.5 between lines,
  • be 2 full pages in length (not including the reference list)
  • start each paragraph with a topic sentence
  • be written in the third person (do not use “I” or “my” or “our” or “we”)
  • use full sentences (and no bullet points)


  1. The report must use the following headings:



Introduce the issue and its importance, state your initial overall opinion of both essay’s arguments, say what your report will cover


Arguments against Banning Smoking

For each of the 6 reasons identify – the reason, fallacies, argument type (by analogy or authority or example), assumptions, and counterexamples (alternative explanations which oppose the reason). Use a separate paragraph when analyzing each reason.


Arguments for Banning Smoking

For each of the 6 reasons identify – the reason, fallacies, argument type (by analogy or authority or example), assumptions, and counterexamples (alternative explanations which oppose the reason). Use a separate paragraph when analyzing each reason.


      Comparison Between the Two Essays

Compare the similarities of the argument types and the fallacies in the two essays. Other similarities? Justify your answer with examples.


      Contrast Between the Two Essays

Contrast the differences of the argument types and the fallacies in the two essays. Other differences? Justify your answer with examples.



Restate the issue, summarize the strength of the arguments in the essays, give your opinion about which essay is the strongest with supporting reasons.


  1. Examples of well written analyses of argument essays can be found in the BlackBoard under “Assignments”.
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