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Complete Question Explanation

Main Point—FIB, SN. The correct answer choice is (C)

This stimulus contains an argument whose conclusion is missing, replaced by a blank line. The student tells us that there is a quote that he wants to include in his research paper, but that he is unable to find the book containing the quote. If he cannot find the book, he tells us, he cannot prepare an accurate citation. And without an accurate citation, he cannot include the quotation in his paper. Based on this evidence, and the claim that the research paper would be significantly better with the quotation than without it, the student reaches a conclusion that is not contained in the stimulus.

This is a Main Point—Fill in the Blank question. Our prephrase is that the correct answer choice will provide the student’s conclusion. The argument was conditional, and can be diagrammed as:
  • Sufficient ..... ..... ..... Necessary/Sufficient ..... ..... Necessary/Sufficient ..... ..... Necessary

    find book ..... :arrow: ..... accurate citation ..... :arrow: ..... include quotation ..... :arrow: ..... paper worse

The student’s conclusion is likely to be a restatement of the conditional chain described above, dropping out the common, middle terms. In other words, our prephrase is that the student concludes that if he does not find the book, then the paper would be worse, in that it does not include the quotation (find book :arrow: paper worse).

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect because we do not know whether the student will find the book. Also, even assuming the student cannot find the book, this answer choice would still be incorrect because the student told us that he cannot include an incorrect citation in his paper.

Answer choice (B): As with answer choice (A), this answer choice is incorrect because we do not know whether the student will ultimately be able to find the book. All we know is that if the student does not find the book, then the student cannot include the citation.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice because it properly describes a conclusion that flows from the student’s evidence. The student’s paper will suffer because he will not be able to include the quotation in it, since we know that the paper would be better with the quotation than without it.

Answer choice (D): As with answer choice (A), this answer choice is inconsistent with the stimulus, which told us that the student cannot include an inaccurate citation in the paper.

Answer choice (E): The student did not say that he cannot finish the paper without the citation, merely that his paper will not be as good without the citation as it would be with it.
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Could someone please diagram the answer choices to show how they do or do not logically completed the argument? I got this question correct, but I made an educated guess. I'm having trouble making sense of why C is actually correct and the others are wrong.
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Hi Leela,

I managed to diagram this correctly and get the question right so I'll take a crack at answering your question.

I initially diagrammed the problem like this:

"Without the book, I will be unable to write an accurate citation, and without an accurate citation, I will be unable to include the quotation."


IQ (include quote) :arrow: WAC (write accurate citation) :arrow: B (have the book)

Remember that "without" is the same as "unless" so you negate the sufficient condition and leave the necessary condition unchanged. From here, I took the contrapositive of the whole thing just to be safe, but when I started looking through the answers, none of them made sense or connected from anything I had written out, so I went back to the stimulus to read, and the secret was in the last sentence:

"Hence, since the completed paper will be much better with the quotation than without,"


BP (better paper) :arrow: IQ (include quotation)

This is the missing piece in the question that I'm assuming throws everyone off. If you take the contrapositive of this, you get:

NOT B :arrow: NOT WAC :arrow: NOT IQ :arrow: NOT BP (worse paper)

Answer choice C follows this reasoning, since it gives you:

NOT B :arrow: NOT BP
If I do not find the book, my research paper will suffer

Answer Choices -
A: NOT WAC (inaccurate citation)
B: Being unable to complete the research paper is not entirely relevant to the chain of reasoning we have
C: Correct

D: Doesn't make sense since if you include the quote, then you must have an accurate citation,
this answer choice states: IQ :arrow: NOT AC which is not correct

E: Again, completing the research paper is not relevant

I know I am not an instructor, but I hope I was able to help clarify this question for you. I suppose I did this mainly to check and see if I understood the question myself haha.

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