# Evaluating Inductive Generalizations

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Evaluating Inductive Generalizations
Chapter 11 Evaluating Inductive Generalizations In this tutorial you will learn how to critically evaluate inductive generalizations.

This argument is an inductive generalization.
I know five or six truck drivers, and all of them are Democrats. So, probably most truck drivers are Democrats. This argument is an inductive generalization. An inductive generalization is an argument that uses evidence about a limited number of things of a certain type to make a claim about all or most things of that type. In the example above, a general conclusion about most truck drivers is supported by personal experience of a relatively small sample of only five or six truck drivers.

In evaluating inductive generalizations, there are three questions we should ask:
Are the premises true? Is the sample large enough? Is the sample representative or typical of the population as a whole? An inductive generalization is a good one only if we can answer "yes" to all three questions.

The last ten National League batting champs have been women
The last ten National League batting champs have been women. So, probably all National League batting champs have been women. Based on your study of this chapter, is this a good inductive generalization or not?

The last ten National League batting champs have been women
The last ten National League batting champs have been women. So, probably all National League batting champs have been women. This is a bad inductive generalization. The premise is false. Moreover, it is doubtful that the sample size is large enough to support the conclusion.

I've dated three men from Texas, and all of them wore cowboy boots
I've dated three men from Texas, and all of them wore cowboy boots. So, it's probably the case that all men from Texas wear cowboy boots. Assuming that the premise of this argument is true, is this a good inductive generalization or not?

This is a bad inductive generalization.
I've dated three men from Texas, and all of them wore cowboy boots. So, it's probably the case that all men from Texas wear cowboy boots. This is a bad inductive generalization. The sample size is much too small to justify the conclusion.

Which sport is more popular in the U. S. : moose hunting or golf
Which sport is more popular in the U.S.: moose hunting or golf? In a recent survey of more than 1,000 residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, more than 65% said they preferred moose hunting. Therefore, moose hunting probably is a more popular sport in the U.S. than golf. Assuming that the premise is true, is this a good inductive generalization or not?

Which sport is more popular in the U. S. : moose hunting or golf
Which sport is more popular in the U.S.: moose hunting or golf? In a recent survey of more than 1,000 residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, more than 65% said they preferred moose hunting. Therefore, moose hunting probably is a more popular sport in the U.S. than golf. This is a bad inductive generalization. Given that the survey was limited to residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, there is good reason to think that the sample is not representative of Americans as a whole. X [This is the end of the tutorial]