IMAT 2017 Q14 [Argument | Forensic Scientists]

Over the last ten years there has been a huge increase in the number of television programmes involving the work of forensic scientists. This media attention has been matched by a massive increase in the number of courses and qualifications available in this field. Although this new attention has led to greater public awareness, it has not led to the creation of more jobs in this field. The work of forensics professionals has continued unchanged. Therefore, those who choose to study these courses will find that there is fierce competition for difficult and unpleasant work.

Which one of the following, if true, would most weaken the above argument?

A. Each year around 1500 graduates in forensic science compete for 200 jobs in the sector.

B. Many students of forensic science go on to pursue careers in other areas.

C. New technologies have brought about a decrease in the number of forensics staff required in laboratories.

D. The number of university courses in forensic science has grown at an unprecedented rate.

E. Salaries for forensic scientists compare well with those in other scientific fields.

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Steps:

  • Find the Argument
  • Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
  • Eliminate easy options
  • These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)
  • Determine which answer strengthens or weakens the argument THE MOST

This is a tricky question because we are given information that leads us to believe that there will be immense competition, as the author states, due to the high increase of students studying these programs and the same number of jobs. In order to weaken the argument, we need to select an answer that shows that, even though there is an increase in interest in these programs, there will not be as fierce of competition for work as the author says. Let’s take a look at the choices:

A. Each year around 1500 graduates in forensic science compete for 200 jobs in the sector.

If anything this strengthens the argument because it shows the demand greatly outnumbers the supply, showing the competitiveness of the sector. Therefore A is incorrect.

B. Many students of forensic science go on to pursue careers in other areas.

If this was true, it means that just because there is such a dramatic increase in the number of students studying these courses, it does not mean that there is fierce competition as mentioned by the author. Just because you study one specific field does not mean you have locked into work one job, so it would weaken the author’s argument if it was true that many who study these courses do not go on to use them. Therefore B is correct.

C. New technologies have brought about a decrease in the number of forensics staff required in laboratories.

This is decreasing the already limited amount of forensic jobs, which would make this sector even more competitive. This strengthens instead of weakens the argument, as a result, C is incorrect.

D. The number of university courses in forensic science has grown at an unprecedented rate.

This is another option that strengthens the argument because it shows that the supply is increasing at a high rate that is unlikely to be met by the unchanged demand for jobs. The rate of jobs stays the same but the amount of students jump to higher than ever, so many will be unable to get jobs. Therefore D is incorrect.

E. Salaries for forensic scientists compare well with those in other scientific fields.

This is either not relevant or strengthening but it certainly does not weaken the argument. Higher salary normally equals higher competition for this sector because money is always a strong motivator. Therefore E is incorrect as it does not weaken the argument.