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    Reading Comprehension
  I: Introduction  
  II: The Challenge  
  III: The Five Steps  
  IV: Question Types  
  V: Tips  
  VI: Sample Essays  
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VI. Reading Comprehension Sample Questions- Medium Essay 3  
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Sample Essays



8 questions/ 12 minutes

As sociologists Trimble and Medicine point out in a survey paper published in 1966, many of the studies dealing with the Native American (Indian) experiences have tended to focus on negative aspects of Native Americans life and have characterized the Native American in a negative vein. Prominent among these negative characterizations is the contention that Native Americans tend to have low self-esteem.

In 1973 a small group of Native American professionals challenged the accuracy of these negative reports. Their experiences suggested to them that most Native Americans viewed themselves positively. After a series of discussions they formulated a research task – specifically: “What would the self-image of the Native American be if it were researched by Native Americans?”

In due course, an official research project was initiated. A crucial feature of the project was the formation of a Native American advisory board, consisting of community representatives from different regions of the country. One of the purposes of the advisory board was to help dispel any antagonism that there might be against the presence of social scientists in Native American communities. In some of those communities, unfortunately, social scientists had come to be recognized as “predators merely using the Native American to further their own careers.”

Another important function of the advisory board was to assist in identifying trained Native American interviewers for data collection. The idea of using local residents as interviewers was rejected early on since it was felt that respondents might be concerned, however needlessly, that personal information might eventually turn into community gossip. The board opted for selection of culturally sensitive nonresidents as interviewers.

The board also had a hand in shaping the survey questionnaire to be used. Since time constraints made it impossible to devise a questionnaire that would have been sensitive to the full diversity of the many distinct Native American groups or tribes, a compromise solution had to be settled on that would tap commonalities particular to Native Americans.

Finally, a total of 792 Native Americans ranging in age from 17 to over 80 and representing more than 150 tribal and Alaska Native groups were administered a 309-page questionnaire.

One hundred and nine respondents also completed open-ended interviews. Questionnaire items clustered around 38 subscales that yielded indices of self-regard, values, philosophy of human nature, locus of control, and satisfaction with life. Items contained in the interviews served to validate questionnaire responses and supplement the questionnaire data with situation-specific information. Findings included the following: (a) at least 95 percent of the respondents have a moderate to strong sense of self-regard that is stable and enduring; (b) there is a high degree of consistency of positive self-regard irrespective of sex, tribe, and age; and (c) persons with a strong sense of self-regard also tend to have a strong sense of personal values.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to:

(A)  present a piece of research on Native Americans as a model for other researchers to emulate.
(B)  describe some of the background, methods, and results of a study of Native Americans' self-regard.
(C)  analyze the efficacy of advisory boards in social science research.
(D)  contrast the questionnaire method in social science with the method of open-ended interviews.
(E)  discuss the conceptual difficulties in investigating self-regard through groups of questions clustering around subscales.

2. According to the passage, hostility toward social scientists in some Native American communities resulted from the communities' perception that:

(A)  many of the social scientists focused unduly on negative aspects of community life.
(B)  none of the social scientists employed local residents as interviewers.
(C)  none of the social scientists used questionnaires sufficiently sensitive to those Communities' distinctive cultural backgrounds.
(D)  the social scientists carried out their studies for their own professional benefit only.
(E)  Native American advisory boards; where used, were not truly representative of the diversity of Native American tribes.

3. The author of the passage views the fact that some Native American communities perceived social scientists as "predatory" with:

(A)  alarm
(B)  suspicion
(C)  contrition
(D)  empathy
(E)  regret

4. It can be inferred from the passage that those designing the study wished to ensure that:

(A)  The identity of those completing open-ended interviews was made publicly known in advance.
(B)  No respondents were selected from communities known to have been hostile to social scientists.
(C)  Data collection was carried out by interviewers thoroughly versed in sociological theory.
(D)  The confidentiality of any information gained would be protected to the respondents' satisfaction.
(E)  Any success the study might have would not directly lead to career advancement for any of them.

5. The author's purpose in the passage is most probably to make more accessible to the public:

(A)  certain innovative ideas of a group of Native American professionals.
(B)  a fundamental critique of all of social science research.
(C)  a well-supported corrective to a body of questionable assertions.
(D)  the optimistic projections made by the Native American advisory board.
(E)  a number of intuitively appealing but largely speculative notions.

6. The wording of the research task formulated by the group of Native American professionals as quoted in the last sentence of the second paragraph suggests that:

(A)  there had been no previous research on the self-image of Native Americans conducted by Native Americans.
(B)  reports about the self-image of Native Americans had been difficult to reconcile with one another.
(C)  the group of Native American professionals had commissioned the survey paper by Trimble and Medicine.
(D)  research into the self-image of Native Americans was intended to be preliminary to a larger research program.
(E)  informal polls had led the group of Native American professionals to question existing characterizations of Native American self-esteem.

7. The author of the passage ascribes to which of the following a particularly important role in the design of the study?

(A)  sociologists Trimble and Medicine
(B)  local residents serving as interviewers
(C)  the Native American advisory board
(D)  the group of Native American professionals challenging the previous studies
(E)  the communities that were resentful of social scientists

8. The passage suggests that the researchers conducting the study would most likely agree with which of the following principles?

(A)  Social science research should carefully balance studies of negative aspects of society with studies of positive aspects.
(B)  Social science research on ethnic and/or racial groups should be carried out by researchers who themselves belong to the groups studied.
(C)  Social scientists should adopt a general policy of reimbursing their respondents for the time spent on questionnaires and/or interviews.
(D)  Social scientists should make their research results available in a form readily accessible to the group or groups they have studied.
(E)  Social scientists should concentrate on studies that promise results that can be utilized for purposes of practical policy making.


Medium Essay 2

Medium Essay 4