Reading Reflection #9: Rival Causes and Statistics (due 4/13)

To complete this reading reflection assignment, (1) Go to your personal blog, (2) Click on New -> Post, (3) Title the post Reading Reflection #9: Rival Causes and Statistics, (4) Select the Category box for Reading Reflection Assignments, and (5) Add a few descriptive tags. Remember to respond to all prompts below.

A. Based on your reading of ARQ chapter 9, “Are There Rival Causes?,” respond to the following prompts:

  1. What are rival causes and when how should you look for them (what questions should you use to find them)?
  2. Explain the difference between causation and association/correlation. Which is more difficult to demonstrate and why?
  3. Identify the conclusion and reason (cause) for the conclusion in the following passage. Name two potential rival causes (other possible causes) for the conclusion other than the one given.

Increased amounts of germs and bacteria on college campuses cause higher rates of illness in college students. College students are less likely to sanitize living areas and common areas on campus, which in turn creates excessive germs on surfaces and in the air leading to more sickness in students.

      • Conclusion:
      • Reason/cause:
      • Rival (other possible) causes:
      • Evaluation (How strong is the original argument? What’s missing?):

B. Based on your reading of ARQ chapter 10, “Are Any Statistics Deceptive?”, summarize how the following types of statistics can be deceptive. What are some strategies you can use to determine how reliable each type is?

    • Unknowable and biased statistics
    • Confusing averages
    • Measurement errors
    • Concluding one thing, proving another
    • Deceiving by omitting information

C. Read the following passage. Identify the conclusion, and reasons, and evaluate the evidence (in this case the statistics) used to support the writer’s argument.

The home is becoming a more dangerous place to spend time. The number of home-related injuries is on the rise. In 2005, approximately 2300 children aged 14 and under died from accidents in the home. Also, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. To make matters worse, even television, a relatively safe household appliance, is becoming dangerous. In fact, 42,000 people are injured by televisions and television stands each year. With so many accidents in the home, perhaps people need to start spending more time outdoors.

    • Conclusion:
    • Reasons/causes:
    • Evaluate the evidence (the statistics):

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