56. The following appeared as part of an article in a health club trade publication.
After experiencing a decline in usage by its members, Healthy Heart fitness centre built an indoor pool. Since usage did not increase significantly, it appears that health club managers should adopt another approach - lowering membership fees rather than installing expensive new features.
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.
Because Healthy Heart fitness centres experienced no significant increase in member usage as a result of building a new indoor pool, the author cautions other health club managers against installing new features as a means of increasing member usage. Instead, they are advised to lower membership fees.
This argument is flawed in two critical respects.
First, the conclusion that installing new features at fitness centres will not increase member usage is based on too small a sample to be reliable. The only evidence offered in support of this conclusion is the fact that Healthy Heart fitness centre did not experience an increase. Unless it can be shown that Healthy Heart is typical of all fitness centres, the fact that it experienced no increase in member usage is not grounds for concluding that all fitness centres will experience similar results.
Second, the author fails to consider other possible reasons why building an indoor pool failed to increase Healthy Heart's member usage. Perhaps Healthy Heart's members are primarily interested in body-building rather than cardiovascular exercise or perhaps they prefer racquetball or perhaps they just don't like swimming. Reasons such as these would help to explain why the addition of a new indoor pool failed to increase member usage. The author's failure to investigate or even consider other possible explanations for Healthy Heart's poor results renders the conclusion based upon them highly suspect.
In conclusion, the author's argument is not convincing. To strengthen the argument it would be necessary to show that Healthy Heart fitness centre is typical of all fitness centres. Additionally, the author will have to show that other possible reasons for the lack of increase in member usage could be eliminated.