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## Community activist: If Morganville wants to keep its central

tagged by: RBBmba@2014

This topic has 3 expert replies and 5 member replies
RBBmba@2014 Legendary Member
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#### Community activist: If Morganville wants to keep its central

Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:33 am
Community activist: If Morganville wants to keep its central shopping district healthy, it should prevent the opening of a huge SaveAll discount department store on the outskirts of Morganville. Records from other small towns show that whenever SaveAll has opened a store outside the central shopping district of a small town, within five years the town has experienced the bankruptcies of more than a quarter of the stores in the shopping district.

The answer to which of the following would be most useful for evaluating the community activistâ€™s reasoning?

A. Have community activists in other towns successfully campaigned against the opening of a SaveAll store on the outskirts of their towns?
B. Do a large percentage of the residents of Morganville currently do almost all of their shopping at stores in Morganville?
C. In towns with healthy central shopping districts, what proportion of the stores in those districts suffer bankruptcy during a typical five-year period?
D. What proportion of the employees at the SaveAll store on the outskirts of Morganville will be drawn form Morganville?
E. Do newly opened SaveAll stores ever lose money during their first five years of operation?

OA: C

P.S: @Verbal Experts(Dave/Mitch/ceilidh/others) - Could you please share your detail analysis on this CR ?
Also please shed some light how one should approach an EVALUATE Qs on GMAT and why EXACTLY option B is wrong here ?

RBBmba@2014 Legendary Member
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Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:52 am
GMATGuruNY wrote:
Rephrase each answer choice as an EXTREME case.

What percentage of students study math?
Rephrase:
A VERY HIGH percentage of students study math.
Or:
A VERY SMALL percentage of students study math.

If the rephrased answer choice strengthens or weakens the conclusion, then the answer choice is correct.
We do not need to consider how the opposite rephrase will affect the conclusion.
So, you meant here that for EVALUATE CR on GMAT, we need to consider ONLY ANY ONE of the above TWO rephrased statements (in RED) in order to EVALUATE the ARGUMENT/CONCLUSION. Right ?

GMATGuruNY wrote:
None of these options strengthens or weakens the assumption that SaveAll stores caused bankruptcies in the other small towns.
I think, an ASSUMPTION is a PREMISE/FACT and (as you mentioned earlier in the forum) a PREMISE/FACT can't be strengthened or weakened,so ASSUMPTION also can't be strengthened or weakened. Right ?

If yes then, I guess, we should consider that whether the Options strengthen or weaken the CONCLUSION rather than the ASSUMPTION. Correct me please if wrong!

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Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:02 am
RBBmba@2014 wrote:
GMATGuruNY wrote:
Rephrase each answer choice as an EXTREME case.

What percentage of students study math?
Rephrase:
A VERY HIGH percentage of students study math.
Or:
A VERY SMALL percentage of students study math.

If the rephrased answer choice strengthens or weakens the conclusion, then the answer choice is correct.
We do not need to consider how the opposite rephrase will affect the conclusion.
So, you meant here that for EVALUATE CR on GMAT, we need to consider ONLY ANY ONE of the above TWO rephrased statements (in RED) in order to EVALUATE the ARGUMENT/CONCLUSION. Right ?
Correct.

GMATGuruNY wrote:
None of these options strengthens or weakens the assumption that SaveAll stores caused bankruptcies in the other small towns.
Quote:
I think, an ASSUMPTION is a PREMISE/FACT and (as you mentioned earlier in the forum) a PREMISE/FACT can't be strengthened or weakened,so ASSUMPTION also can't be strengthened or weakened. Right ?

If yes then, I guess, we should consider that whether the Options strengthen or weaken the CONCLUSION rather than the ASSUMPTION. Correct me please if wrong!
An assumption is a statement that does not appear in the passage but that must be true for the conclusion to be valid.
Here, the passage does not state that SaveAll caused the bankruptcies in the other small towns.
But if SaveAll did NOT cause these bankruptcies, then the argument cannot conclude that Morganville should prevent SaveAll from opening.
Thus, for the argument to conclude that Morganville should prevent SaveAll from opening, it must be true that SaveAll caused the bankruptcies in the other small towns.

However, it is not a FACT that SaveAll caused these bankruptcies.
It is UNKNOWN whether SaveAll caused these bankruptcies.
The argument simply ASSUMES that SaveAll caused these bankruptcies.

Since an assumption is not a fact, it can be strengthened or weakened.
If an answer choice weakens an assumption, it also weakens the conclusion.
If an answer choice strengthens an assumption, it also strengthens the conclusion.
My post above shows how the OA can strengthen the assumption that SaveAll caused the bankruptcies in the other small towns, thereby also strengthening the conclusion that Morganville should prevent SaveAll from opening.

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Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:14 am
Job ONE. Find the conclusion. In order to evaluate the reasoning of an argument, you need to know what the conclusion of that argument is.

Conclusion: If Morganville wants to keep its central shopping district healthy, it should prevent the opening of a huge SaveAll.

Now, what is that conclusion based on?

Premise: Following the opening of SaveAll stores outside of other towns, within five years those towns have experienced the bankruptcies of more than a quarter of the stores in their shopping districts.

You could seek to prethink the answer, but doing that is usually a waste of time. What may not be a waste of time is noticing that the argument is based on the following assumptions.

- The reason for the rates of bankruptcy in the towns mentioned is the opening of the SaveAll stores.

- The rate of bankruptcy cited indicates that the shopping districts of the towns mentioned are unhealthy.

In any case, even of you were not to notice that those are key assumptions, by pinpointing the conclusion and the premises of the argument, you have set yourself up to see which questions ask for information that would help in evaluating the reasoning of the argument.

(A) The argument is not about degree of difficulty of preventing the opening of the store. It is about the need to prevent to opening of the store in order to maintain the health of the shopping district. So this choice is irrelevant.

(B) This answer choice is tempting, but look at what it asks? Do a LARGE PERCENTAGE of the residents do ALL of their shopping at stores in Morganville? That question is very specific and does not really help with evaluating the argument.

Most Morganville residents could do all of their shopping in Morganville.

Some Morganville residents could do some, not all, of their shopping in Morganville.

People from other towns may be coming to Morganville to shop.

Whatever the case may be, the SaveAll store could draw customers away from Morganville's shopping district, making it unhealthy.

(C) The answer to this question is key to evaluating the reasoning of the argument. The entire argument is based on the fact that a quarter of the stores in towns with nearby SaveAlls experienced bankruptcy, and that statistic is used to show that SaveAll stores cause shopping districts to be unhealthy.

So what would help to connect that rate of bankruptcies to the conclusion that those shopping districts are unhealthy is the rate of bankruptcies experienced by healthy towns.

If healthy towns experience the bankruptcies of a quarter of the stores in their shopping districts, then the statistic used as a premise of the argument does not connect the opening of SaveAll stores with unhealthy shopping districts, and so the conclusion based on that statistic is unsupported.

(D) This is a trap answer. Notice that the question in this answer choice does not ask about the proportion of employees of Morganville stores who would be drawn away from those stores. Nor does it ask about what proportion of the customers of Morganville stores would be drawn away. So nothing that really would affect the Morganville central shopping district is discussed in this answer choice.

(E) This seems irrelevant. The argument is about the effects of SaveAll stores on central shopping districts, not about the profitability of the SaveAll stores themselves.

So the only answer choice that discusses something clearly relevant to evaluating the argument is answer choice C.

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fabiocafarelli Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:08 am
1. You ask about how to approach EVALUATE questions in Critical Reasoning. Well, further to the points that Marty makes about this particular question, I'd suggest the following:

2. Evaluation questions fall into two sub-types: evaluations of plans, and evaluations of arguments. If you have to evaluate a plan, you must identify the thing in the plan that is analogous to a conclusion: the OBJECTIVE of the plan. And if you have to evaluate an argument, as happens in this question, then Marty is spot on in what he says about making the identification of the CONCLUSION the first step. It is impossible to evaluate someone's reasoning if you are not clear about what that person's conclusion is.

3. In most EVALUATE questions, the options are in the interrogative form - either in the form of direct questions, as in the example you have submitted, or in the form of indirect questions made with WHETHER. My suggestion to you is that you should use this peculiarity of EVALUATE questions to your advantage, and answer them - though I would do this only after eliminating the obviously irrelevant answers, such as option E, as Marty has already pointed out.

4. Thus, you could answer option B, the one that you specifically mention: Do a large percentage of the residents of Morganville currently do almost all of their shopping at stores in Morganville? This is an open question, so you could answer YES or NO - either would do to help you to evaluate the argument. Let's say YES. A large percentage currently do almost all their shopping there. That means that they do some small proportion of it elsewhere, but most of it in Morganville.

But does this help us to evaluate that crucial conclusion of the argument - that Morganville should prevent the opening of Save All if it wants to keep its central shopping district healthy? In other words, is the arrival of Save All going to change that pattern and lure people away from Morganville? There is simply insufficient evidence in the passage to justify a response to this question, and option B does not provide it either - no matter how we answer the question that option B asks. The fact that (as we have decided) a large proportion currently do indeed do the bulk of their shopping in Morganville does not mean that they will - or that they will not - change to Save All if that store appears on the scene.

5. You therefore need a question whose answer will have a direct impact on the assessment of what people are likely to do once Save All opens. That is provided by option C. If you say in response A VERY HIGH PROPORTION, then the argument is weakened, because the culprit of those bankruptcies is therefore not Save All. And if you say in response A VERY LOW PROPORTION, then the argument is strengthened, because the possibility that Save All will cause such bankruptcies is left open. After all, the evidence on which the argument bases its conclusion is that the arrival of Save All causes the bankruptcy of more than a quarter of the stores in small towns. So this brings us to basically the same point that Marty made more succinctly about option C, and the argument is therefore evaluated.

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Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:30 am
RBBmba@2014 wrote:
Community activist: If Morganville wants to keep its central shopping district healthy, it should prevent the opening of a huge SaveAll discount department store on the outskirts of Morganville. Records from other small towns show that whenever SaveAll has opened a store outside the central shopping district of a small town, within five years the town has experienced the bankruptcies of more than a quarter of the stores in the shopping district.

The answer to which of the following would be most useful for evaluating the community activistâ€™s reasoning?

A. Have community activists in other towns successfully campaigned against the opening of a SaveAll store on the outskirts of their towns?
B. Do a large percentage of the residents of Morganville currently do almost all of their shopping at stores in Morganville?
C. In towns with healthy central shopping districts, what proportion of the stores in those districts suffer bankruptcy during a typical five-year period?
D. What proportion of the employees at the SaveAll store on the outskirts of Morganville will be drawn from Morganville?
E. Do newly opened SaveAll stores ever lose money during their first five years of operation?

At its core, this is a CAUSAL CR.

Premise:
Whenever SaveAll has opened a store outside the central shopping district of a small town, within five years the town has experienced the bankruptcies of more than a quarter of the stores in the shopping district.
Conclusion:
Morganville should prevent the opening of a huge SaveAll discount department store.

The assumption is that SaveAll stores CAUSED bankruptcies in these other small towns.
Rephrase the answer choices as STRONG STATEMENTS.
The correct rephrase will either STRENGTHEN or WEAKEN the assumption that SaveAll stores CAUSED bankruptcies in these other small towns.

C, rephrased as a strong statement:
In towns with healthy central shopping districts, a very small proportion of the stores in those districts suffer bankruptcy during a typical five-year period.
Here, store bankruptcies are very uncommon, STRENGTHENING the assumption that the bankruptcies in the other small towns were caused by SaveAll.

Other options, rephrased as strong statements:
Community activists in other towns have successfully campaigned against the opening of a SaveAll store on the outskirts of their town.
A large percentage of the residents of Morganville currently do almost all of their shopping at stores in Morganville.
A high proportion of the employees at the SaveAll store on the outskirts of Morganville will be drawn from Morganville.
Newly opened SaveAll stores frequently lose money during their first five years of operation
.

None of these options strengthens or weakens the assumption that SaveAll stores caused bankruptcies in the other small towns.

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RBBmba@2014 Legendary Member
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Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:52 am
Hi Mitch,
When the CONCLUSION would be STRENGTHENED, that is already clarified by you. I just would like to know the following:

As for the OA, if we consider that "In towns with healthy central shopping districts, a very LARGE (or slightly LARGE) proportion of the stores in those districts suffer bankruptcy during a typical five-year period", then the conclusion is WEAKENED.

Am I correct ?

And couple of quick questions related to this --

1. What EXACTLY you meant by "Rephrase the answer choices as STRONG STATEMENTS" ? Did you mean ASSERTIVE STATEMENT by saying STRONG STATEMENTS ?

2. For EVALUATE CR on GMAT, do we need to consider BOTH the STRENGTHENING and WEAKENING aspects of the answer choices ?

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Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:39 pm
RBBmba@2014 wrote:
Hi Mitch,
When the CONCLUSION would be STRENGTHENED, that is already clarified by you. I just would like to know the following:

As for the OA, if we consider that "In towns with healthy central shopping districts, a very LARGE (or slightly LARGE) proportion of the stores in those districts suffer bankruptcy during a typical five-year period", then the conclusion is WEAKENED.

Am I correct ?
Yes.
If a very high proportion of stores typically declare bankruptcy, then the conclusion that Save-All has a negative effect is weakened, since only around 25% of stores near Save-Alls have declared bankruptcy.

Quote:
And couple of quick questions related to this --

1. What EXACTLY you meant by "Rephrase the answer choices as STRONG STATEMENTS" ? Did you mean ASSERTIVE STATEMENT by saying STRONG STATEMENTS ?
Rephrase each answer choice as an EXTREME case.

What percentage of students study math?
Rephrase:
A VERY HIGH percentage of students study math.
Or:
A VERY SMALL percentage of students study math.

How often do people shop at department stores?
Rephrase:
People shop at department stores VERY OFTEN.
Or:
People ALMOST NEVER shop at department stores.

Quote:
2. For EVALUATE CR on GMAT, do we need to consider BOTH the STRENGTHENING and WEAKENING aspects of the answer choices ?
If the rephrased answer choice strengthens or weakens the conclusion, then the answer choice is correct.
We do not need to consider how the opposite rephrase will affect the conclusion.

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RBBmba@2014 Legendary Member
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Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:57 pm
Hi Mitch,
Thanks for clarifying.

Actually I got confused here because ,I guess (though, I might be wrong to interpret!), in some of your earlier posts it was mentioned that an ASSUMPTION is a PREMISE/FACT and a PREMISE/FACT can't be strengthened or weakened,therefore an ASSUMPTION also can't be strengthened or weakened.

So,from now on I take your above post as the STANDARD RULE to follow!

Please comment, ONLY if you think otherwise.

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