IMAT 2011 Q32 [Arguments | Medical Advice Reseach]

Recent research suggests that people are becoming less inclined to follow medical advice about how to prevent ill-health. They say that there is too much advice and it is often contradictory. However the general population is living longer and is healthier. This suggests that people are more aware of what is good for their own health and wellbeing than the medical profession is.

Which one of the following, if true, weakens this argument?

A. Advances in medicine have meant that doctors give advice on a wider range of issues.

B. People now have easy access to websites giving information on health.

C. People believe that they know better than doctors how to improve their own health and wellbeing.

D. The health improvements are in areas that exactly match the medical advice given by doctors.

E. Doctors prefer to give advice rather than medication.

Steps:

  1. Find the Argument

  2. Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.

  3. Eliminate easy options

  4. These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)

  5. Determine which answer strengthens or weakens the argument THE MOST

First step is to identify the argument, which in this case is that people seem to think they know what is better for their health than medical professionals do. This can be taken mostly from the last sentence, and the evidence is based on the research showing that people are less inclined to listen to their doctors, and that the general population is living longer.

Now that we have this, we can dive into the answer choices:

A This could strengthen the argument because it reinforces the fact that “there is too much advice and it is often contradictory”. If advances in medicine allow doctors to give advice on a wider range of issues, resulting in more answers and advice, it could confuse people and cause them to be less inclined to follow medical advice. Therefore this is not the correct answer.

B If this was true, it would not weaken the argument because it shows that there is less benefit and need for medical professionals. People could use the internet to research what is best for their own health instead of going to see a medical professional,and this can strengthen the argument. Therefore this is not the correct answer.

C This is more of a conclusion, and it does not weather the argument. If we compare this to the last sentence of the text, they are very similar. It does not matter if this is true or not because it will not have an impact on the argument, to have an impact on the argument we need to increase the credibility of doctors and lower that of the general public. Therefore this is not the correct answer.

D If this was true, it would mean that the doctors are in fact at least as aware of what is good for the patients health. It also means that the doctors do know how to best help the patient but they are just not being listened to. This weakens the argument because it means that the people are not more aware of what is good for their own health compared to medical professionals, and in the best case they know just as much (but they could also know less).

Therefore D is the correct answer.

E If this was true, it would not really have an impact on the argument. It could even strengthen the argument, because if doctors are just giving advice, it is not something exclusive to them. Medications often require prescriptions, so if this answer says that doctors prefer not to give medication, then it means they are not offering anything that a normal person cannot find on their own (they can find advice on their own but not prescriptions). Therefore this cannot be the right answer.