Monday, October 9, 2006

How to approach Boldface Question in Critical Reasoning !

Firstly BF CR (Bold face Critical reasoning) questions lie in tough category -- so if you come across one - will imply that you are doing extremely well in GMAT

In BF CR argument question, one or two different statements in stimulus appear in BOLD. The question then asks you the way in which the two statements in bold are related?

Few basic terms that form the parts of an argument --

1). Argument

An argument is a conclusion supported by premises and assumptions. It has 3 parts: Conclusion, Premise and Assumption.

2). Conclusion

A conclusion is a claim, the main point of an argument. Certain words are used to introduce the conclusion of an argument, these words are termed as Conclusion Indicators e.g -- so, thus, therefore, as a result, consequently, accordingly, hence,imply, conclude that, follows that, means that, infer that

3). Premises

Premises are parts of argument that support the conclusion.They are the reasons that back up the claim made in the conclusion. Most of the time premises are facts, but they can also be assertions that are just given as evidence for the claim in the conclusion. A conclusion gets support:premises provide it. In simple words a premise is a stated reason, a piece of evidence that supports the conclusion. Premises are the argument's facts.They are the facts or evidence that support or lead to the conclusion.
Certain words are used to introduce the premises of an argument, these words are termed as Premise Indicators. e.g – because, since, for, as, if, assume, suppose, evidence, on the basis of, the reason is that, may be derived from, in that

4). Assumption

An assumption is an unstated premise that supports the conclusion. It is something that the author’s conclusion “depends on” or “relies on”.

5). Inference

We can infer many details from the arguments. Inferences are those details, which are known to be true from information presented. Sometimes there is no difference between a conclusion and an inference. When the conclusion to an argument is not explicitely stated, it is something you can infer. In other words, inferences have nothing to do with the main point of an argument. You can infer inferences from the facts that are stated as premises.

6). Background

Information or circumstances required to put the evidence into context but which, on standing alone as pieces of information, might not constitute an evidence that is necessary to arrive at a conclusion. It doesn't states anything directly, just provides the general information related to the topic...

7). Pre-evidence in almost same as background.. .

8). Evidence

Information indicating whether something is true or valid. It is something that supports the argument, or tries to prove it's validity .
Evidence may include facts, but an evidence is usually stronger than a fact. The evidence are the direct elements required for the conclusion to stand whereas facts are not necessary for the conclusion to stand.

9). Fact

Something that is definitely the case. It is the information used as evidence.

10). Consideration

Something which was taken into account or given careful thought before arriving to the conclusion or while making a decision.

11). Principle

Something that is broad and basic rule or truth / fundamental that is not put to question. A principle can be stronger than a fact because it is not specific to a limited number of cases but instead, apply to a broader range of scenarios(and often deeper in meaning).

12). Counter premise/Evidence

While an author always wants to present a strong case, he may concede minor points that weaken his argument to show that he is open-minded and that his ideas are well-considered.These points are termed as counter premises.
This technique also disarms potential arguments against his position.
Counter-evidence Indicators -- actually, despite, admittedly, except, even though, nonetheless, nevertheless, although, however, In spite of, do, may

How to approach Boldface Question -

1).Read carefully the set of statements on which the question is based.

2). Identify the conclusion. Be alert to clues in the text i.e Conclusion Indicators e.g -- so, thus, therefore, as a result, consequently, accordingly, hence,imply, conclude that, follows that, means that, infer that.

3). Pay attention to the evidence that the author uses to support/ argue against a position.

4). Look out for for various argument indicators to analyse and determine the relationship between evidence and conclusion. e.g Premise indicators, Counter premise indicators, Conclusion indicators etc.

NoteDo not mistake evidence for counter evidence.

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