A commission has been formed to report on the nation's preparedness for a major natural disaster. The commission's re...

Urbano on February 5 at 03:41PM

explanation that helped me understand this question:

How do diagram to reach to correct answer choice.

1 Reply

Andrea on February 5 at 07:34PM

Hi @Ulino23,

Let’s break this one down. First, let’s take a deeper look at the question type to understand what that means for how you’re supposed to analyze the argument here.

“The conclusion of the argument follows logically if which one of the following is assumed”

This is a sufficient assumption question stem, which means that our goal is to spot the assumption that would make the conclusion true.

In LR, when you have a conclusion it helps to push back on it a little in your mind. Thinking to yourself, “That’s not necessarily true because what about circumstances X, Y, or Z...” puts your thought process in the right framework for analyzing the relationship between premise and conclusion.

On sufficient assumptions, when you analyze that relationship, you’ll realize that there’s missing information in the argument that you would need in order to guarantee the truth of the conclusion they offer you. Understanding what information could make the conclusion false can help you better see what information you could supply that would then make the conclusion true.

So in this case, we’re given a setup with some conditional language. It starts in the second sentence.

The commission’s report will not be effective UNLESS the commission speaks with a unified voice.

This means the argument is giving us a necessary condition to the commission’s report being effective. That condition is that if it is going to be effective, the commission must speak with a unified voice.

That statement and it’s contrapositive would be diagrammed like this.

/unified voice/ —> /effective/

Effective —> unified voice

Personally, I don’t think this is a great question to diagram. Rather, I would focus on how to use necessary conditions to quickly find an answer, which I’ll talk more about.

The conclusion goes on to say that since members of the commission have gone on to express their own opinions about disaster preparedness before the completion of the report, the report will not be effective.

Thinking back to our question type, this is a sufficient assumption. So our goal is to provide information that would guarantee that the report will not be effective.

We established above that having a unified voice is necessary to the report’s effectiveness. If you don’t meet that necessary condition, then the conclusion will be true. So, we want to look for an answer choice that shows that the necessary condition isn’t met.

Let’s take a closer look at answer choice C.

“The commission will be able to speak with a uniform voice only if individual members’ opinions about disaster preparedness are not made public before the report is completed.”

Answer choice C can be diagrammed as follows:

Uniform voice —> Individual members’ opinions are not made public before report completion
Individual opinions made public before report completion —> no uniform voice

We are given in the stimulus conclusion that “Since individual members of the commission have repeatedly expressed their own opinions about disaster preparedness in the news media well in advance of completion of the report, it will not be effective.”

Individual members expressing opinions in the news media well in advance of the completion of the report means that individual members’ opinions were made public before the completion of the report.

So, bingo! Just what we’re looking for. This answer choice establishes that the necessary condition to the necessary condition for effectiveness has not been, so with that, we can guarantee that the conclusion that the report is not effective is true. This is a good answer choice because it places a restrictive necessary condition on our argument’s necessary condition. LR questions will often do this, and getting the hang of how to identify unmet necessary conditions quickly will help you get better at the test.

In case that made your head spin a little, here’s another way of looking at it.

We know from the argument that individual members of the commission have repeatedly expressed their own opinions about disaster preparedness in the news media well in advance of completion of the report. If answer choice C is true, then that would mean that the commission will not be able to speak in a uniform voice (because answer choice C says not making individual opinions made public is necessary to a being able to speak in a uniform voice). We know from the stimulus that the commission’s report will not be effective UNLESS the commission speaks with a unified voice, making that unified voice a necessary condition to effectiveness. Because that necessary condition is not met as described above, we know then that the report will not be effective.

Effective —> unified voice
Answer choice C: opinions made public before report —> not unified voice
—————————————
Conclusion: opinions made public before report —> not effective

opinions made public before report —> no unified voice —> Report not effective

Hope this helped you understand this one better! Let us know if you have more follow up questions.