The reasons for different survey results
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The reasons for different survey results

Zhengzhou : China | May 15, 2012 at 11:44 PM PDT
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The reasons for different survey results

An argument is based on two separate surveys of the citizens of Leeville, conducted by the University of Leeville. In the first survey, most respondents said that their preferred reading material was literary classics. A follow-up study by the same researchers found that mystery novels were the most frequently checked out books from each of the public libraries in Leeville. The arguer concludes that the respondents in the first study therefore misrepresented their own reading habits. This argument does not follow the facts and is therefore unconvincing due to several flaws in logic.

First of all, it is possible that none of the citizens who responded to the first survey were participants in the second survey. Statistically speaking, it is entirely possible that the first survey contained a greater majority of literary classics readers than are present in the general population of Leeville. The difference in the first study and the study of the books that were actually checked out from the library may purely be that the respondents had different interests in literature, therefore disallowing the arguer's conclusion that the first group misrepresented its preferred reading material.

Secondly, it is possible that the difference in the survey results could be attributed to the lack of availability of literary classics in the Leeville public libraries.just like a ball mill worker may not note his companie is also spcialized in jaw crushers Simply put, the library may have thousands of mystery novels available for checkout but very few literary classics in their collections. Leeville citizens may actually prefer to read literary classics - the public libraries simply may not have them for the citizens to check out and read. Another possibility is that the Leeville public libraries restrict the checkout of literary classics - perhaps treating the books as a type of "reference" material that must be read inside the library and cannot be checked out. Furthermore, it is possible that no matter how many literary classics the Leeville public libraries have, the citizens have read them all in the past, perhaps many times over, and they are therefore not checked out. These possibilities further weaken the argument that the first respondents misrepresented their reading habits.

Thirdly, literary classics are the type of book that people tend to buy for personal collections rather than checking them out of a library. It is a distinct possibility that the citizens of Leeville purchase literary classics to read and then keep in home libraries rather than checking them out of the library. Leeville citizens may prefer to read literary classics and therefore buy them for their own personal collections, thus checking other types of reading materials out of the library rather than buying them to own forever. The arguer's conclusion that the first set of respondents misrepresented their reading habits is critically weakened by this possibility.

Similarly, people who visit public libraries may be more predisposed to reading mystery novels than literary classics. Without knowing the relationship between those first surveyed and those who visit the public libraries, it is not possible to draw a proper conclusion about the accuracy of the first group's statements.

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nicole007py is based in Beijing, Beijing, China, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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