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Critical Reasoning: Investigation Questions

A newly-invented musical instrument has a digital output that allows a user to connect it to a computer. However, the software interface necessary to make such a system operational requires a large portion of the memory available to the average computer, resulting in frustratingly slow performance. For these reasons, it is not likely that the new instrument will be commercially successful in the long run.

Which of the following would it be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the argument?

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This factor would not make much of a difference with respect to the argument. Even if we assume that such a bundle is attractive to consumers, the system's frustratingly slow performance should still be a problem for average users. On the other hand, even if the instrument is sold separately, it requires to software to be operated, so it is necessarily affected by the software's performance.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice presents a comparison with an element (advanced graphics program) that is not discussed by the argument. Since we do not know whether, or how well, such graphics programs run on average computers, such a comparison cannot help us evaluate the conclusion.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

The argument focuses on a single flaw of the system - it does not run well on an average computer. It is true that the related software may have different advantages or disadvantages, which may affect the commercial success of the instrument. However, we have less information on this aspect so this answer choice is not as good as one which relates to the argument directly.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

The argument focuses on a single marketing problem - the instrument's related software does not run well on an average computer. It is true that competition may affect the commercial success of the instrument. However, even if there were similar products out there, they could all be failures. Also, we have less information on this aspect so this answer choice is not as good as one which relates to the argument directly.

Fantastic work!

[[snippet]]

This would help determine if the author's conclusion is correct. If the product is aimed at consumers that have average computers, then it is probable that the product's frustratingly slow performance will lead to its failure. However, if the product is aimed at people who own above-average computers, then the new instrument still has the potential for success.

Whether the instrument and the software interface will be marketed and sold together as a bundle
Whether the amount of memory needed for the instrument to operate properly is the same as the amount needed to run an advanced graphics program
Whether consumers in the market targeted by such a product own computers with above-average performance
Whether the graphic design of the software interface is user-friendly and attractive
Whether competitors of the company that invented the new instrument have invented similar products