On what skill is comparative reasoning based?

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The skills upon which comparative reasoning are based depend primarily upon the purpose of one's inquiry. Comparative reasoning, by its most basic definition, is the attempt to evaluate a given topic by comparing to some kind of an acceptable standard value. Comparative reasoning is often used in the sciences when researchers working under laboratory conditions are trying to evaluate the ways in which certain natural phenomena under variously modified conditions measure up to those same phenomena under "normal" conditions.

For example, if I am interested in the understanding the way a certain new antibiotic affects the growth of a certain microorganism at various doses, I will set up my experiment so as to chart the growth of that microorganism over time. However, by just observing the growth of the microorganism under stressed conditions, in the presence of the new antibiotic, I will not be able to arrive at any useful conclusions....

(The entire section contains 460 words.)

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