#### Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

# Explain Reasoning Structure

Monthly Member
284 karma

Reasoning structure currently seems like an abstract idea when it comes to reading comprehension. My goal is to make it more of a practical understanding, kind of like how I understand diagramming in logic games.

I am starting to think of looking at reasoning structure for a reading comprehension passage similar to how I look at a method of reasoning question on logical reasoning. This seems to help, but need to practice this more with passages.

Any insight on I can transition my understanding of reasoning structure from something abstract to more of a practical understanding?

Show Related Discussions

• #### Flaw in Reasoning mistaking a sufficient for being necessary and vice verca.What does this flaw look like? Can someone point me to a certain PT or example?

• Monthly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
27599 karma

TBH, I've never found reading for structure to be even the slightest bit helpful. It's one of those things that sounds intuitive when people say to do it, but when I've pushed back on it, it's just never actually made sense or worked in practice.

What is it supposed to do for us?
If it's supposed to do anything, is that thing actually important?
If so, does RFS actually help us to do whatever that important thing is effectively?
And even if so, is there no alternative which is more effective?

I don't know the answer to any of these questions, and if even one of these doesn't have a good answer, then the whole approach is majorly flawed.

I suspect this might be controversial, so I'm curious to see what others will have to say. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what RFS even means, but as I understand it, it's misguided and seriously flawed. Structure is not what we should be reading for.

• Monthly Member
edited January 26 284 karma

@"Cant Get Right" I appreciate your comment. It is always good to have strategies challenged because the worst things we can do when using a strategy is either use a strategy that we did not know is flawed or use a strategy we truly do not believe in. Challenging the strategy can help alleviate both those pitfalls because we are forced to look inwards.

For about 3 months I studied reasoning structure and this is what I gathered.

The theoretical basis of RFS is that everything in a reading comprehension passage is meant to support the purpose of the passage. The different components in the passage that fulfill this purpose are the following:

-Background Information
-Opinions
-Main Point(s)
-Reasons for and against those main points

RFS is identifying these components of the passages and understand how they play off each other. The purpose for doing this is that the vast majority of RC questions test this skill, specifically, the broad questions that ask about purpose or organization and the inference questions concerned about the authors beliefs because they require a understanding of the purpose of the passage that comes from RFS. Low resolution summaries are effectively a branch of the RFS tree.

Here is the thing: I practiced this beyond belief for 3 months. NOTHING. I noticed that the time to finish passages increased exponentially, I became more confused because I focused on RFS and the actual content, and my confidence/score on RC never got to the level I was expecting from the input of practicing RFS.

However, I am coming back around to this idea, and now it is starting to come together. Reading for reasoning structure is not the "X marks the spot." Rather, it is the road map to get you to the "X marks the spot." RFS is the visual image you build in your head as you read. Once you understand the structure of the passage (how the various components of the passage play off each other to satisfy the purpose) the questions don't seem so daunting. RFS is the antithesis of reading to visualize the actual content of the passage.

For example, I am going to take your example that you beautifully wrote in response to another post of mine.

Although Einstein was an unambiguously brilliant scientist, modern understanding of quantum mechanics reveal that he was wrong in dismissing the phenomenon of quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” Einstein advocated for an alternative explanation known as ‘hidden variables.’ However, John Stewart Bell disproved the existence of these ‘hidden variables,’ and confirmed the theory of entanglement.

Rather than picturing -- Einstein himself dismissing the phenomenon, and how the author thinks it was wrong, then another person Bell comes in to show Einstein was wrong to dismiss.

These are 3 different images that are relevant to the actual subject material, but picturing these 3 different images can easily take the readers focus on understanding the purpose of the passage.

RFS would look like this --Although Einstein was an unambiguously brilliant scientist, (CTXT/Background info of Einstein) modern understanding of quantum mechanics reveal that he was wrong in dismissing the phenomenon of quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” (Main Point) Einstein advocated for an alternative explanation known as ‘hidden variables.’ However, John Stewart Bell disproved the existence of these ‘hidden variables,’ and confirmed the theory of entanglement. (Support for Main Point)

Now my understanding of the paragraph is ---
CTXT: Einstein was brilliant
MP: Einstein was wrong
Support: Bell

This is a condense version of what RFS is. Similar to low res summaries, it is the road map to answering the questions effectively and efficiently.

• Monthly Member
284 karma

@"Cant Get Right" Thank you for your initial response.

You challenging the idea of RFS made me think of it in a more practical manner.

You helped me answer my own question, this is the better than any advice!

• Monthly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
27599 karma

@"Preston Bigley" said:
@"Cant Get Right" Thank you for your initial response.

You challenging the idea of RFS made me think of it in a more practical manner.

You helped me answer my own question, this is the better than any advice!

Happy to help, and I think you've written a great response. And I do think RFS, as you've defined it, is a very helpful way to study passages. Though maybe a good exercise, I stick to my assertion that it's not the best strategy when it comes to actually executing. Labeling things is always going to disrupt and break flow. If you can label it, you don't need to. If you can't, you either (1) don't understand it, in which case the label is not the problem anyway, or else (2) you do understand it in which case a label only fits very awkwardly or else you don't have all the information you need yet to label it successfully.

RC is a little different for everyone though, so find what works for you. I'm a little concerned if you tried this for months already without any results, haha, but some things take time and refinement, so maybe it'll go better this time around. Let us know how it goes!

• Monthly Member
284 karma

@"Cant Get Right"

Your assertion "that it's not the best strategy when it comes to actually executing..."
I completely agree. RFS has to become intuitive, I think part of my pitfall that came from using RFS was actually looking at it as a strategy, a way to tackle the means to an end; rather, it is starting to help me to look at it as a process when reading, a fluid plan of attack.