GRE Argument Essay 242
In a study of reading habits of Leeville citizens conducted by the University of Leeville, most respondents said they preferred literary classics as reading material. However, a follow-up study conducted by the same researchers found that the type of book most frequently checked out of each of the public libraries in Leeville was the mystery novel. Therefore, it can be concluded that the respondents in the first study had misrepresented their reading habits.
The given argument concludes that the respondents in a study related to the reading habits of Leeville citizens had misrepresented their actual reading habits. This conclusion is supported by the results of a second study conducted by the same team who had conducted the first study. These results show that mystery novels are borrowed the most from the public libraries in Leeville. However, the argument is plagued by numerous fallacies that make the conclusion sound highly unconvincing.
The arguer has not explicitly stated the cross-section of people who participated in the first study and those who borrow books from the public libraries. Unless the arguer provides data related to the respondents, it is difficult to be convinced that the results of the first study are an indication of the reading habits of all the citizens of Leeville. Moreover, there is a need to provide information related to the age and the professions of the respondents of the first survey. If the respondents were teachers and writers, then they would have an inclination to read literary classics and this would explain the results which were in favor of literary classics being preferred as the reading material. On the other hand, it is likely that the public libraries are frequented by college going students and young people who are more interested in reading mystery novels. The second study takes into account the trend being followed by the general Leeville population which borrows books from the public libraries. It is likely that the people who borrow books from the libraries are not the same ones who had participated in the first survey. Moreover, it is likely that the respondents of the first survey do not go to public libraries regularly and are avid collectors of literary classics who prefer to buy the books that they read.
The arguer should have ideally provided statistical data pertaining to the literary classics being borrowed from the public libraries. Although, mystery novels are borrowed the most, it is likely that the number of literary classics that are borrowed comes to a close second. Moreover, the argument makes no mention of the number of literary classics that are available in the libraries and are not being borrowed. It is likely that the libraries do not hold many copies of literary classics and so even if all of them have been borrowed, they will not qualify as the type of books that are borrowed the most. Therefore, the reader needs to know if the libraries are facing a shortage of literary classics in order to be convinced that people actually prefer mystery novels over literary classics.
There is no mention of the time lag that has occurred between the conduct of both the studies. It is likely that the gap between the studies is such that there has been a major change in the demographic make up of Leeville leading to an increase in the number of people who prefer to read mystery novels.
Therefore, unless the arguer clearly establishes a link between the respondents of the first survey and the people who borrow books from the public libraries, it would be difficult to assume that the respondents of the first survey misrepresented their reading habits. Moreover, there is a need to provide statistical data related to the books held by the public libraries that have been included in the second study. Hence, the arguer provides scant evidence in support of the conclusion made by him, thereby rendering the argument indefensible.