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This article titled ‘How to solve Conclusion based question in Critical reasoning?’ is written by Aditya Kumar and discusses What is Conclusion? How to approach them, tips on how to solve them, and practice questions based on the conclusion.
I. What is a Conclusion?
A conclusion is a statement in an argument that indicates what the arguer is trying to convince the reader. The conclusion of an argument is that statement or proposition for which the premises are intended to provide support. It is a claim that expresses what the arguer is trying to persuade us to accept, whether or not it actually is true.
II. How to Approach Conclusion based Questions?
- Read the argument and be clear on the evidence and the conclusion.
- Try to find the point. Determine which statement seems like the main prediction, value judgment, interpretation, or theory. What is the one thing the arguer is trying to convince us of?
- Some words are good indicators that the statements they introduce are part of a conclusion. The most common examples are thus and therefore, but, however, yet, although can also indicate conclusions too.
- If the main conclusion is ambiguous—for example, “but this is a mistake”—it’s a good idea to rephrase the main conclusion using other parts of the passage. What is “this”, and what does it mean that it’s a “mistake”?
- Find the choice that accurately paraphrases the main conclusion that you identified.
III. Tips to tackle Conclusion based questions
- Use conclusion and support indicator words to help identify the role of each claim in the overall argument.
- Differentiate the main conclusion from support, background information, and sub-conclusions.
- Paraphrase the overall idea or “point” of the stimulus in your own words
IV. Some common incorrect choices
- Wrong element: These incorrect choices include statements from the stimulus that act as support, background, and sub-conclusions. Sub-conclusions can be particularly hard to differentiate from the main conclusion because they’re often signalled by the same keywords (thus, therefore, hence, etc.).
- Valid inferences: Other incorrect choices may state something that can be inferred from statements in the argument but that isn’t the argument’s main conclusion.
- Not quite/too strong: Finally, some of the incorrect choices may be only slightly inaccurate misstatements of the main conclusion. For example, if the actual conclusion is that something is likely to be true, an incorrect choice may say that it is definitely true. This choice is incorrect because it’s stronger than the actual conclusion.
V. Practice questions based on Conclusion
- During each of the past five years, the total demand for a paper on the part of manufacturers who produce paper packaging for consumer products has declined. During the same time period, the cubic volume of freshly cut timber that is used to produce paper packaging has also declined. However, reliable reports from recycling facilities across the country indicate that the amount of paper-based packaging material that they provide to paper-packaging companies for reuse has been increasing steadily.
The information provided best supports which of the following conclusions with respect to the last five years.
- The amount of packaging using paper from freshly cut trees has decreased.
- The amount of paper-based packaging that has been recycled for the same uses has exceeded the amount that has not.
- Recycled paper-based packaging has been used only for new packaging.
- The total amount of packaging material made of non-paper materials has increased.
- Dairy farmers in the United States have been paying higher prices each year for essential components of production, such as feed for the cattle, fuel for farm equipment, and electricity for lights and machinery. At the same time, the amount the farmer receives for the milk while fluctuating at times is essentially the same as it was five years ago when the components of production were much less expensive. Many dairy farmers were just able to make a profit five years ago.
The statements above, if true, most strongly support which of the following conclusions?
- Unless they have found other ways to cut expenses, some dairy farmers are no longer making a profit.
- Consumption of milk, cheese, and other dairy products has dropped over the past five years.
- The price of feed for cattle has risen because of the increased cost of fuel used to power the equipment needed to grow the feed.
- International supplies of milk have increased, causing the price that U.S. dairy farmers are paid for their milk to stay low, despite increased costs of production.
- In experiments in which certain kinds of bacteria were placed in a generous supply of nutrients, the populations of bacteria grew rapidly, and genetic mutations occurred at random in the populations. These experiments show that all genetic mutation is random.
Which one of the following, if true, enables the conclusion to be properly drawn?
- Either all genetic mutations are random or none are random.
- The bacteria tested in the experiments were of extremely common forms.
- If all genetic mutations in bacteria are random, then all genetic mutations in every other life form are random also.
- The kind of environment in which genetic mutation takes place has no effect on the way genetic mutation occurs.
- OPTION A. According to the passage, the total paper demand for packaging has been decreasing, while the amount of paper packaging recycled for the same purpose has been increasing. These two facts, considered together, lend strong support to the conclusion that manufacturers have been substituting recycled paper packaging for “fresh” paper to meet their demand for paper packaging.
- OPTION A. The correct answer will be the inference or conclusion that is most supported by the stimulus. The incorrect answers will usually go beyond the scope of information provided in the stimulus. Choice A is the correct answer because it must be true that some dairy farmers will not make a profit, given the increased costs of production without corresponding increases in the price of milk, unless those farmers are able to cut costs elsewhere.
- OPTION A. The stem gives you information that the mutations occurred at random in the population. This statement is telling you that all genetic mutations either occur randomly, or none occur randomly. Putting two and two together gives us that since mutations occurred at random in the experiment, all mutations will always be random (which is the conclusion it wants us to arrive at).
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