Journalist: Newspapers generally report on only those scientific studies whose findings sound dramatic. Furthermore, ...

Jacob on November 6, 2017


Can you please explain the correct answer choice

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Mehran on November 13, 2017

Hi @JayDee8732, thanks for your post. This is an Errors in Reasoning question. Let's first assess the stimulus.

The journalist presents an argument. Her conclusion is "a small observational study must be more likely to have dramatic findings than a large randomized trial."

Why? The premises offered are:
P: Newspapers generally report on only those scientific studies whose findings sound dramatic.
P: Newspaper stories about small observational studies, which are somewhat unreliable, are more frequent than newspaper stories about large randomized trials, which generate stronger scientific evidence.

Why does the journalist reach this conclusion? Because newspapers more frequently report on small observational studies. The journalist concludes that this must be because such small studies have more dramatic findings - but perhaps they are more frequently reported upon because they are just more common than large randomized trials.

Answer choice (D) identifies this flaw in the reasoning. Hope this helps!

on January 9, 2022

Can you explain to me why you're treating the answer as a explanation for frequent use of small studies?

The conclusion of the argument doesnt seem to be trying to explain WHY frequent use of small studies, but instead is making a judgement based on the FACT of there being frequent use of small studies.

Im very confused.

Can you please explain this strategy and why the correct answer is D?

Thanks in adnvace

on January 12, 2022

please explain ^

Ravi on February 4, 2022

The problem with this argument is that it's assuming that there are either fewer or the same number of studies small observational studies conducted than large randomized ones. The problem with the argument is that it's not taking into account the fact that there might be 10,000 small observational studies, and maybe the newspaper discusses 100 of them (1%). However, there might only be 10 large randomized study, and the newspaper reports on only 1 of them (10%). In this example, there could be a larger percentage of large randomized studies that have dramatic results, yet because there are way more small observational studies conducted, there are actually more of them reported in the newspapers.

Ravi on February 4, 2022

D is correct because if there are lots of small observational studies, it could explain why there are more of them in newspapers. They may be reported on more often just because they're more common and not because they're more likely to be dramatic, so this is why D is correct.