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#5 - Advertisement: Northwoods Maple Syrup, made the

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Complete Question Explanation

Weaken-CE. The correct answer choice is (D)

Any time we see a stimulus which presents an advertisement, we should know to beware, and be skeptical, just as we would when seeing any ad in everyday life. The same goes when we see surveys, so this question has two warning signs. The correct answer choice to this Weaken question will somehow cause us to question the reliability of the survey as the sole premise offered in support of the broad conclusion presented in the first sentence of the ad.

Answer choice (A): If the proportion of those with no particular preference was small, then that means that the portion with a preference was relatively big. This actually strengthens the ad's conclusion, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): The assertion that Northwoods is made the old fashioned way is not presented as an exclusive claim, and the support for the ad's conclusion comes from the survey results, not from the method of production.

Answer choice (C): A "sizeable minority" is a rather vague description, allowing for the possibility of 49%, for example. Imagine the reliability of a survey that was distributed to almost one out of every two people! This answer choice provides no reason to question the reliability of the survey in the ad, because surveys often get distributed to small, representative samples of the population.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. The central claim of the ad is that Northwoods is "simply tops for taste." If, as this answer provides, the preference may be based on something other than taste, then the ad's claim is questionable—even if the survey can be proved completely accurate.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice has nothing to do with the claim in the ad, so this should be a fairly clear loser.
netherlands
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Hi there PS,

I'm still a little confused as to how a "sizable minority" is not considered to be unrepresentative. Although looking back I realized they said that "no market survey covers more than a sizable population" which maybe should have told me that this was the industry "standard" so to speak - in which case this answer choice could have been considered to have no effect at all on the stimulus.
Steve Stein
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Hi Netherlands,

That incorrect answer choice discusses all market surveys, but as you said, this doesn't really weaken the author's argument (that the positive results reflect Northwoods to be the best tasting syrup).

I hope that's helpful! Let me know--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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netherlands
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OK yes, that is helpful! Sorry about having so many questions! Just trying to make sure and apply and understand concepts that we're learning. When I looked at this question the first thing that my attention was drawn to was the fact that there was :

1) A survey - which I immediately thought of "attack the survey" as a possible weakening technique
2) And the word "taste" - after which I immediately thought "find an alternative cause"

That immediately knocked out three of the answer choices ... I guess I just forgot the third point which should have been...

3) Actually think about each and find the differences between the two.

Guess I let me Process of Elimination techniques do the easy work for me and forgot that I also need to have my brain look through the details. :ras:

- Those details being that "No market survey covers more than a sizable minority" means All Market surveys :arrow: Do not cover more than a sizable minority... in which case, as you said. It's irrelevant.

Thank you!
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Hi everyone,

I don't understand, why is the question stem a Weaken and not a Flaw?

Thank you!
Nikki Siclunov
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Hi,

Because the correct answer choice, if true, would provide a reason why the ad is misleading, i.e. it would weaken the argument. If people like Northwoods because of its low price (answer choice [D]), that would weaken the argument that people prefer Northwoods for its taste.

A Flaw stem would sound a bit different. For instance, it might sound like this:

The advertisement is vulnerable to which one of the following criticisms?

(D) The author overlooks the possibility that the preference for the Northwoods brand might be based on such factors as...


It could also sound like this:

The author ignores the possibility that...

(D) the preference for the Northwoods brand might be based on...


Obviously, there is a lot of overlap between these two question types. Both require critical reasoning. In Weaken questions, you're attacking the conclusion directly; in Flaw questions, you're describing what the author missed/overlooked/assumed, etc.

Hope this makes sense!
Nikki Siclunov
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prep88
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This is very helpful, Thanks!
T.B.Justin
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I'd like to get some feed back on this. The words in black represent the initial summary/confidence, and red the comparison.

Confidence Scale: 0 = No Confidence 1 = Slight Confidence 2 = Moderate Confidence 3 = High Confidence

PT 9, Section 2, Question #5

5) Stimulus Summary: This maple syrup is made the old-fashioned way it tastes the best. Why is it the best!? This survey shows that 7 of every 10 shoppers that showed an interest in maple syrup said that our maple syrup is the only one they would pick.

i) Confidence level: 3 (over-confidence) Actual confidence level was 1, because I had it down to three contenders; (b) which I had more confidence in, (c) which I had less confidence in, and (d) which made the most sense, thus (b) and (c) were more gut feeling than confidence, and I wasn’t confident in understanding the causality in the stimulus, which showed in my internal conflict over those answer choices.

ii) Question stem summary: Show that the data can be incorrect. Weaken, what would make it less likely to be true that the shoppers’ reason for preferring Northwoods maple syrup was due to taste?

iii) Pre-phrase: That they preferred the maple syrup due to cost (alt cause), that they admit Northwoods does taste the best, yet they didn’t prefer that maple syrup over other brands 7 out of every 10 times (cause, no effect), that they preferred Northwoods maple syrup, yet not due to taste (effect no cause), that they tried Northwoods maple syrup in the past which helped them determined it tasted the best (reverse cause effect), that the data is incorrect (problem w/ data)

iv) Answer choice summaries:

(a) The rate of shoppers that didn’t show preferential interest could have been very small. No, this is about the data of shoppers that did show an interest even if the rate of shoppers that didn’t show a preference it wouldn’t be misleading that 7 of 10 shoppers prefer their maple syrup.

(b) Other brands of syrup might also be made the old-fashioned way. So, other brands of syrup are made old-fashioned too but still people prefer their maple syrup. I have more confidence in this answer choice. (over-confidence and incorrect answer) Is this a no cause no effect example?

(c) No survey covers more than a sizable minority of the population. We don’t know the size of this survey, so this can be cause for concern, however I have less confidence in this answer choice. (This doesn’t show a problem with the data, as a sizable portion of the population can be a fair representation of a population.)

(d) The preference for the syrup could have been for low price, so it wasn’t for the claim it’s old-fashioned. It’s not the best because its old fashioned it is the best because of low price, thus this answer choice makes the most sense (alt. cause)

(e) Shoppers who buy syrup only buy maple syrup. No, this is incorrect.
Robert Carroll
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T,

Your analysis looks good. The conclusion states that this syrup was the best with respect to taste, while the evidence only talks about consumer preference. That evidence may be weak on its own; even if 100% solid, though (in other words, even if the survey is reliable in every way), that still establishes nothing about people's reasons for preferring the syrup. Since the conclusion is about a specific reason for the preference, not the general fact of a preference, this is a severe problem with the argument. Answer choice (D) is pinpointing that problem.

Robert Carroll