A professor of business placed a case–study assignment for her class on her university's computer network. She later ...

wli on January 29, 2019


why A is wrong?

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Katherine on January 30, 2019

Hi @wli, I’m happy to help.

The passage describes a professor who gave her students an assignment via computer. Rather than reading the material on their computers, 50 out of 70 students printed the material out to read it on paper. The passage concludes that it is not the case that books delivered via computer will make printed books obsolete.

The question stem asks you to pick the answer that would strengthen the argument.

The argument is making a broad conclusion about the future of all printed books by drawing on evidence of students' behavior in a single university class. Perhaps there were some reasons unique to that class that made the students want to print out the materials rather than read on their computers. You cannot make a conclusion about what will likely happen with all printed books from such a small and particular body of evidence. In order to strengthen the argument, look for an answer choice that would provide evidence that more people generally prefer reading printed materials rather than material on their computer. Answer B is correct because it says that studies consistently show computer users will print materials that are more than a few pages long rather than read on their computer screens. Note the word "consistently" tells you this is strong evidence. This is the kind of broad, generalized evidence about computer users in general that works to support the broad conclusion that was made.

You are wondering why Answer A is wrong. Let’s take a look at that choice. Like At first glance, Answer A seems to provide some additional evidence to support the claim. It says that "several colleagues" have found that “several of their students behaved similarly.” Note that this answer doesn’t even say all professors at the university have noticed this behavior from their students or even that a majority of those students behaved that way, only “several colleagues” and “several of their students.” This suggests that the majority of the students are reading their assignments on their computers screens, which may actually weaken the conclusion. Either way, Answer A is not strong enough evidence to support a claim about the future of all printed books. The question stem asks you to identify the answer that most strengthens the argument. Here, Answer B provides much stronger evidence to strengthen the argument and therefore is the correct choice.

I hope this is clear. Please reach out with any other questions!