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Please review my AWA, need to improve

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Intern
Joined: 25 Feb 2015
Posts: 3

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12 Apr 2015, 05:16
1
Argument:
The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:

“In a recent citywide poll, 15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Analysis:
The author assumes in the argument that a poll conducted five years ago of people watching television programs of visual arts is a fact which is not true as a poll is an estimation of information collected. Furthermore, this fact has lead to increase in no. of people visiting art museums. The author is establishing a link between television and art museums and he suggests that some fund’s for arts should be used for public television. The author presents a poorly reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions, and based solely on the evidence that author offers, we cannot accept his argument as valid.

The primary issue in authors reasoning lies in his unsubstantiated premises. According to the author, people watching visual arts on the television, motivates them to visit the art museums which is not true. Also, 15 percent more residents do not provides complete information as for what is the total no. of residents. The author considers television to be responsible for increasing the no. of people visiting art museums. Moreover, the author relates to funding by corporate as the reason for people being not interested in visiting art museums anymore. The authors premise, the basis for his argument, lack any legitimate evidentiary support, and render his conclusion unacceptable.

In addition, the author makes several assumptions that remain unproven. Firstly, information from poll conducted 5 years ago will be different from current situation. Secondly, television plays a vital role in people visiting art museums. Thirdly, if the corporate funding stops for television then people will stop watching visual arts which will lead to decrease in number of people visiting art museum. Fourthly, by relocating funds which are used for art for television will again increase the number of people visiting musem. The author weakens his argument by failing to provide explication of links between people watching television and visiting the museums he assumes exists.

In sum, the reason provided by author for the television to be playing an important role for people to decide on visiting the museum is not valid. Also, corporate funding of arts to be used in television will not necessarily lead to increase in number of people visiting museums. If the author truly hopes to change his readers mind on the issue, he would have to largely restructure his argument, fix the flaws in his logic clearly explicate his assumptions, and provide evidentiary support. Without these things his poorly reasoned argument will likely convince few people.
Manager
Joined: 07 Jan 2015
Posts: 67
Location: India
Concentration: Operations
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V36

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13 Apr 2015, 13:36
1
Hi ... I just started my AWA practice and picked up your essay topic to begin with. Here is my version based on Chineseburned's template. Please rate it.

The argument states that some of the city’s funds should be reallocated to public television in order to support the visual arts.Stated in this way the argument fails to mention various facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation.The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions which have no clear evidence. Hence, the claim is weak and unconvincing and has several flaws.

First, the argument readily relies on assumption that as corporate funding to support public television will decrease, attendance at city’ss art museums will also start to decrease. This statement is a stretch as it is not necessary that the interest in art museums will decrease because of less television coverage. For instance, people who love to watch a soccer game will always go to the stadium on a game day even if there is no or less coverage of the sport on television. It could be that most of the residents who enjoy art programs on television don't visit art museums just because a virtual tour is regularly broadcasted by television channels. So , in that case, a dearth of television coverage can lead to an increased interest in visiting the museums.Clearly, less coverage of visual arts programs on television is not going to affect the museum visits.The argument would have been much more clearer if it explicitly stated that the visits in museums directly are correlated with visual arts programs.

Second, the argument claims that a similar percentage of people who visited city’s art museum is because of the percentage of residents who watch television programs about arts.This is again a very weak and unsupported claim that fails to demonstrate a correlation between percentage of people watching television and percentage of visitors for art museums .It could have been that more number of museum visits were outcome of the high school arts familiarization program in which most of the schools student groups were required to visit art museums frequently.If the argument had provided evidence that there is a correlation between number of viewers of visual arts programs and art museum visitors ,then it would have been a lot more convincing.

Finally, the argument fails to consider other sources of fundings for visual arts programs even if corporate funding is threatened . It is also unable to answer the question that even if more funds are allocated to television, will there be a sure increase in the viewership of visual arts programs.Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with an impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than a substantive evidence.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above mentioned point and is unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author mentioned all relevant facts. In order to asses merits of a decision, it is essential to have full knowledge of all the relevant factors, in this particular example it is essential to know if allocation of more funds to television will help the arts museums attendance.Without this information, the argument remains flawed and open to debate.
Manager
Joined: 06 Oct 2017
Posts: 50
Schools: Schulich "22 (A)
GPA: 3.6

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06 Mar 2019, 12:18
1
I'm currently practicing my AWA writing technique and thought I would post my response on this example. It took me about 23 minutes. Open to critique!

The author’s argument that some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television is flawed. In drawing this conclusion, the author fails to acknowledge the fundamental difference between percentage values, and real, numerical quantities. Furthermore, the author not only bases this conclusion on faulty assumptions, he/she maintains that a mere correlation is in fact a viable confirmation of causation. Lastly, it is also quite problematic that the author presupposes that the cutting of funds will have a linear impact on all tv programming that was mentioned.

In the argument, the author presents a conclusion that is based on a mere correlation without taking into account any other stimuli that may have accounted for the relationship between television programmes and museum attendance. The author maintains that due to the fact that 15% more residents watched visual art programmes on TV, and because a similar trend in art museum attendance was established, these two instances are related. One cannot assume such a relationship based merely on the events themselves. The author goes on to assume another problematic relationship whereby he/she maintains that the attendance rate at the city’s art museums will decrease as the visual art programs will be cut. This is not a definitive cause for concern. Since the author does not provide any support beyond this correlation, it is rather difficult to conclude that the city should fund public television in an attempt to save their art museums. If, for instance, the author mentioned that there were something that connected the two cohorts of people who watch arts shows and go to museums, then the conclusion would be more viable. It would however, have to be more concrete than mere coincidental percentages.

The author also uses vague language that weakens the conclusion of the passage. Discrepancies and inconsistencies in the author’s use of percentages vs. Numerical quantities is problematic. They use the fact that “15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago.” Then they go on to note that, “During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage.” These two examples are not quantifiable to the same degree and hence, add doubt to the viability of the conclusion.

Finally, the author mentions that public tv is, “…where most of the visual arts programs appear.” This is problematic in that it seems to be representing the main and only source of tv programming as it alone seems to account for the relationship in the conclusion. However, this is incorrect to assume. The word “most” leaves room to infer that there may be other visual art tv programs. Perhaps these programs are far more impactful? Perhaps these programs will not be impacted by the aforementioned cuts? The conclusion will not hold based on these possible outcomes.

In summary, the author presents a number of faulty assumptions that leave room for problematic potential scenarios that would destroy the argument’s conclusion. The author fails to differentiate between key factors such as numerical and percentage points, correlatory and causatory evidence, as well as mere coincidental events that lack solid proof. It is extremely difficult to take the conclusion as fact as the author has not presented enough true evidence to support the claim that people merely watching a tv show about art, will be compelled to go to art museums based on that fact alone. Due to these issues, this argument is indeed, quite flawed.
Re: Please review my AWA, need to improve   [#permalink] 06 Mar 2019, 12:18
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