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Critical Reasoning: Investigation Questions

During the Jenovian War, about 128,000 Karthusian civilians died in Karthusia, and about the same number of Karthusian soldiers died in battle. On the basis of these figures, it can be hypothesized that it was just as life-threatening to be a Karthusian civilian at that time as it was to be a Karthusian soldier.

Which of the following, if it could be carried out, would be most useful in an evaluation of the above hypothesis? 

You're right!


The above hypothesis relies on the assumption that the number of civilians and the number of soldiers was about the same. If the assumption is invalid - for example, if there had been at that time 200,000 Karthusian soldiers and 10,000,000 Karthusian civilians - then the similar number of deaths does not reflect a similar level of danger.

Comparing percentages rather than total numbers allows a valid comparison of two groups that are not the same size.    



This answer choice suggests a separation which would not shed any light on the comparison between the civilians and the soldiers. Even if all 128,000 civilians died of old age that would not change the fact that they died during the war. Since the conclusion is about danger to one's life at that time and not "because of the war", we cannot separate war and non-war causes of death.



Mixing deaths with injuries in this comparison, as suggested by this answer choice, will not help evaluate the conclusion as the conclusion revolves around the risk of death (life-threatening).



While it is possible that most Karthusian soldiers were men, comparing civilian men and soldiers would not helps us affirm or disprove the hypothesis that civilians of any kind - be it infant, child, man or woman - were under the same threat to their lives as were Karthusian soldiers during the war.



This answer choice does not provide a method of analyzing the hypothesis as it deals with deaths among civilians only. Instead of comparing Karthusian civilians with Karthusian soldiers, it compares Karthusian civilians with civilians in other countries.

Separating between civilian deaths directly related to the war and civilian deaths not related to the war such as deaths caused by old age or natural causes
Comparing the percentage of death rates in each group rather than comparing the total numbers of deaths   
Adding the number of war-related injuries in each group to the number of deaths
Comparing the number of deaths among male civilians with the number of deaths among Karthusian soldiers
Comparing the number of deaths among Karthusian civilians with the number of deaths among civilians in countries Karthusia was at war with during that time