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Example of "The shell"

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:30 pm
by gintriag
Hi guys,

Could you please give an example of "The shell" in "Incorrect answers in must be true questions" from Chapter 5: The Questions and Answers. I quite get it but with an example would be better to understand. Thanks.

Re: Example of "The shell"

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:45 am
by Adam Tyson
Good question, gintriag! First thing I would say is not to worry too much about the different categories of incorrect answers, as long as you can recognize when an answer is incorrect (or more importantly, when another answer is better than that answer). Don't make it a goal to categorize the incorrect answers, especially because some just won't fit all that neatly into categories.

When we talk about a "shell game" answer, we are talking about one that provides information that is similar to something in the stimulus, but which is different enough to make it a bad choice. For example, the stimulus might give you sufficient information to conclude that multi-party democracies are more productive when they have fewer parties. A shell game answer might say something like "among non-democracies, the legislatures with the fewest parties are the most productive." The problem there is that we know nothing about non-democracies, only about multi-party democracies. The answer looks attractive because it so strongly resembles what we are looking for, but it has been changed just enough to be unsupported. That's a shell game.

Again, don't worry too much about how to categorize an incorrect answer. Instead, focus on what makes one answer better than another. In a Must Be True question, be sure to rely on the facts given in the stimulus and on no outside information. Read carefully, and those shell games will be easy to reject.

Good luck, and keep up the good work!