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Critical Reasoning: Investigation Questions

A woman has complained to the authorities about the health standards of a certain restaurant. The woman was hospitalized shortly after leaving the restaurant where she had eaten a meat dish, followed by a dessert dish. When questioned, no one else that had eaten at the restaurant that day reported illness of any kind. This data clearly suggests that the woman is accusing the restaurant falsely.

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



By answering this question we would not be able to strengthen or weaken the author's conclusion. The fact that the woman may have complained in the past does not make her current complaint or previous complaints valid or invalid.



This factor does not influence the author's conclusion. Both chicken and beef can, and should, be fresh and meet the necessary health standards, so knowing which one was used would not help us find out whether the woman's accusation was false.



This answer choice deals with an issue that is out of the scope of the argument. The author makes a conclusion about the woman's accusation against the restaurant. The consequences of that accusation are irrelevant.



Whether or not the public is interested in this case does not help us discover whether or not the woman's accusation was false. It doesn't matter what the public thinks or whether an investigation will be launched - this is our investigation, and we need to locate the key factor in it.

That's right!


The question in this answer choice would help us evaluate the author's conclusion. If none of the diners had eaten either of the dishes that the woman had eaten, then her accusation may be truthful since maybe only the specific meat or dessert dish she ordered was problematic. If some of the other diners had eaten the same dishes, then the accusations are weakened since we are left asking ourselves "why didn't they get sick too?".

Whether any of the diners to the restaurant that day had eaten either one of the dishes the woman had ordered 
Whether the woman has complained about a company's service, or product, in the past
Whether the meat used by the restaurant was chicken or beef
Whether the woman can be held responsible for any negative publicity caused by the accusations
Whether there is enough public interest for the authorities to launch an in-depth investigation into the case