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Reading habits of Leeville citizens - Analyse An Argument. Rate on a scale of 6


designingsally 4 / 7  
Sep 26, 2009   #1
Arugment
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.

My Response
The argument states that the Leevile citizens prefer literary classics as reading material. However, a follow-up study conducted by the same researchers found that most frequently checked out book in the public libraries was a mystery novel. Therefore, the respondents in the first study have misrepresented their reading habits. This argument is flawed and also unconvincing.

The argument does not provide any information about the age group that was considered for the study conducted by the University of Leeville. It is possible that older generation of Leevile citizens prefer classics while, the current generation prefer the genre mystery. It is also unfair to generalize the reading habits of respondents without choosing the target age group. Thereby, it is completely illogical to conclude that the respondents in the first study have misrepresented their reading habits.

The second flaw that caught my eye was that the University of Leeville has considered only public libraries to find what genre of books has been checked out. The argument provide any information if private libraries exist in Leeville. Further, the argument also does not mention if public libraries present in Leeville have good quantity of classics. What if public libraries of Leeville do not have good amount of classics and hence citizens tend to pick books of other genres.

The third glaring flaw I observed in the argument is that, the argument does not mention when the study was conducted. What if there is a huge time gap between first study and its subsequent follow-up study? There is a chance of a new mystery novel released in the market when the second follow-up was conducted. In that case, it is quite natural that book lovers of Leeville will prefer to read the latest book available in the library. Hence, it is obvious that most frequently checked out book in the public library would be the mystery novel. Therefore, it is unfair to say that the respondents in the first study have misrepresented their reading habits.

The argument is constructed on lot of assumptions and thereby weakening the argument. The argument does not have minor details like the age group of the respondents. In addition, it also does not mention if Leeville has private libraries. It is these minor details which weakens the argument and also drive the argument in an illogical direction.

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 26, 2009   #2
The argument states that the Leevile citizens prefer literary classics as reading material.

No, the argument does not state this. One study found that Leeville citizens reported this. In light of their actual behavior, the argument is that Leeville citizens misrepresent their reading habits, claiming to prefer literary classics while actually preferring mystery novels.

Thereby, it is completely illogical to conclude that the respondents in the first study have misrepresented their reading habits.

It's you who are leaping to wild conclusions. What evidence do you have that university researchers surveyed only older citizens and that, furthermore, those older citizens are not users of the public libraries? In fact, I believe that research indicates that older adults are more likely than younger adults to use public libraries.

Here's what I'm trying to say: The findings of the study depend on whether the researchers used standard research procedures. Standard research procedures would be, when studying the reading preferences of a population, to ensure that a random sample of the population is surveyed, with care taken to make sure that there is not a skew in terms of age, income, etc. The chances are high that a university research team took such precautions. Therefore, one may raise the question of whether such precautions were taken, but relying for one's argument on the slim possibility that university researchers did not follow even the most basic research guidelines seems ill-advised. Certainly, your adamant tone is ill-considered.

What, then, might be the flaw in the argument? Assuming that the first study was well designed and therefore did accurately reflect what Leeville citizens say they prefer to read, the question becomes whether public library borrowing habits reflect the preferences of the entire population. Probably not. Public library users tend to be less affluent, and also heavily weighted age-wise, with older adults and children/adolescents using the libraries more than young and middle aged adults.

Therefore, to get a true sense of what citizens really read, bookstore sales would also have to be taken into account. But here there is another problem, as more and more citizens -- particularly young, tech-savvy citizens -- buy online rather than shopping locally.

Nonetheless, the conclusion is probably true, unless Leeville is very different from the rest of the country, housing a concentration of literature lovers. Nationally, mystery novels out-sell literary classics many times over, and the likelihood is that a study of Leeville buying habits would not differ from that.


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