Evaluate the use of supporting materials in the following speech excerpt. Be sure to deal with all the supporting materials in each paragraph, and be specific in your assessment. What types of...

Evaluate the use of supporting materials in the following speech excerpt. Be sure to deal with all the supporting materials in each paragraph, and be specific in your assessment. What types of supporting material are used?  Are these effective or not effective in terms of strengths and weaknesses?  Do they meet the criteria of supporting material? Why or Why not?

According to emergency medicine specialist Dr. Randall Sword, emergency rooms will handle more than 160 million cases this year alone. This means that one out of every 16 Americans will spend time in an emergency room this year. Unfortunately, the National Academy of Sciences states that “ emergency medical care is one of the weakest links in the delivery of health care in the nation.” In fact, medical researchers estimate that 5,000 deaths annually from poisoning, drowning, and drug overdoses, as well as 20 percent of all deaths from automobile accidents, would not have happened if the victims had received prompt and proper emergency room care.

One cause of this problem is that many doctors are not properly trained in emergency care. According to U.S. News and World Report, fewer than 50 percent of emergency room physicians have completed special emergency training courses. A survey by Frey and Mangold found that untrained emergency room physicians felt they were unsure how to diagnose or treat many of the extreme abdomen, chest, and cardiac disorders that often appear in hospital emergency rooms.

Another cause of the problem is that precious time is often wasted on useless paperwork before vital emergency treatment begins. Several years ago, a man driving by an elementary school in my hometown had a heart attack and crashed into a schoolyard. Seven children were taken to the emergency room three blocks away, but the real tragedy had not yet begun. Once in the emergency room, the children were denied treatment until their parents were contacted and the admitting forms were filled out. By the time the forms were completed, two of the children had died.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Overall, the speech excerpt features different types of supporting materials. The fundamental challenge that is present is in the lack of diversity in representing supporting materials.  There is a dependence on the expert testimony brand of supporting material in the speech.  This might appeal to a particular type of listener, but the ability to produce a transformative speech lies in the ability to generate different types of supporting material in a speech.

One of the strengths of the speech excerpt is that there is an abundance of expert testimony as supporting material.  The excerpt draws from people in the field whose voice would lend credence to what is being discussed in terms of emergency care and the implications it has on patients.  This is seen in several instances.  For example, Dr. Randall Sword, National Academy of Sciences, medical researchers, and Frey and Mangold  are all sourced in the speech as examples of experts in the field who can lend insight into the topic area.  The use of expert testimony as a supporting material is substantiated with statistics and analysis.  Its strength is that it enables the speech to come from a position of knowledge and insight on the issue of medical care.  The premise can be debated, but given the amount of expert testimony used as supporting material, it cannot be dismissed as frivolous or not significant.  

The use of expert testimony helps to deliver a source of strength in the speech. I think that a challenge is that the abundance of expert testimony helps to overwhelm the reader.  At some point, the excerpt overwhelms the reader with so much in way of expert testimony.  After a point, it seems like the speech is more of a laundry list of experts, a parade of sources who speak to the issue. There is little in way of story and narrative in the speech developed.  One of the fundamental differences between a speech and writing is that a speech has to have some type of story or narrative that brings everything together.  This is absent when there is so much of a reliance of expert testimony, as seen in the excerpt.  While the supporting material of expert testimony is valid, I think that it could be curtailed in terms of its amount in favor of a larger and more encompassing narrative into which the expert testimony could be placed.

Another example of supporting material used in the speech is the lengthy example.  The excerpt's closing example of the bus crashing into the schoolyard was a supporting detail that personalized an example in an intricate manner. It sought to make the topic area vibrant and alive for the reader.  It helped to put a personalized face onto the topic area.  It was a lengthy example because it delved into the accident, emergency care, and the challenges featured within it. While it is very strong, I tend to think that it might have more strength if it were featured in the beginning of the excerpt.  This might be the type of example that could be used to tie the entire excerpt together.  The lengthy example could be used to open the speech excerpt, with the expert testimony supporting detail could fit into it with an integration that makes it more recognizable to the reader.  I think that lengthy example could be more effective if it opened the speech excerpt, giving a more unifying structural narrative throughout.

rachellopez | Student

Common supporting materials used are

  • example
  • testimony
  • statistics/surveys
  • definition
  • narration
  • analogy
  • description/explanation
  • Audio/Visual aids

First things first, this speech has statistics. The first paragraph, which I'm assuming is the introduction, is mostly all statistics. Statistics are a good way to catch people's attention and make them want to continue reading, so in this case it is effective. This paragraph also included a testimony. A testimony is a direct quote from a reliable source. The quote about emergency medical care offers a nice support to the argument and is relevant to the other information given. However, I feel like this paragraph would be stronger if it had a clear argument or opinion of the author and also a transition to lead on into the rest of the speech. The second paragraph is also filled with statistics and surveys.

The third paragraph is really strong because it includes a story example. This story is personal to the author and gives support to their argument about emergency care. I find that stories, especially those that are the authors experiences, are a great addition to a speech and makes the speech interesting and shocking. Examples are a very effective support in speeches. 

Overall this speech is effective and uses many supports. However, I feel like the whole speech is facts. When writing you have to have a variety of support as well as giving your own opinions.

parama9000 | Student

There are case studies, examples, and statistics, which should make a good base for supporting material. But this facts are here to support your opinion, and there is no opinion in this piece. Also, there is no clear position that you have adopted. Good work, but the piece is a little too factual...