Medium Essay 3 Answer Explanations

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As sociologists Trimble and Medicine point out in a survey paper published in 1966, many of the studies dealing with the Native American (Indian) experience have tended to focus on negative aspects of Native American 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.

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Paragraph 1 Analysis

As sociologists Trimble and Medicine point out in a survey paper published in 1966, many of the studies dealing with the Native American (Indian) experience have tended to focus on negative aspects of Native American 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.

Studies about Native Americans have cast Native Americans in a negative light.

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?”

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Paragraph 2 Analysis

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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?”

The word “challenged” tells us that people felt the reports were inaccurate and wanted to do something about this.

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 resented as “predators merely using the Native American to further their own careers”.

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Paragraph 3 Analysis

(1) 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.

(1) Advisory boards are made up of Native Americans. The perception of social scientists in the Native American community must be negative if outsiders are not welcome in the advisory boards.

(2)In some of those communities, unfortunately, social scientists had come to be resented as “predators merely using the Native American to further their own careers.”

(2) “Predator” is a strong word. It tells us that social scientists have a very bad reputation among Native Americans.

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.

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Paragraph 4 Analysis

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.

We are learning more about the advisory board and its role. The researchers selected Native Americans as the interviewers. Again a contrast with the older studies, which were done entirely by outsiders. So now we know how the study was done: Native Americans from outside the community did the interview.

We are learning more about the advisory board and its role. The researchers selected Native Americans as the interviewers. Again a contrast with the older studies, which were done entirely by outsiders. So now we know how the study was done: Native Americans from outside the community did the interview.

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.

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Paragraph 5 Analysis

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.

We are learning how the study was designed and how it dealt with cultural sensitivity. If you’re short on time, this is the type of information to skim, as it is a few degrees removed from the main points of the passage. You can always come back.

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.

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Paragraph 6 Analysis

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.

We now know exactly who was part of the study . . .

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.

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Paragraph 7 Analysis

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

Don’t worry about the terminology. Look for the main point. Tucked away at the end of the paragraph is an important conclusion: the study found that Native Americans, old and young, male and female, have good self-esteem (this is in contrast to previous research we read about at beginning).

Play by Play

1. What is the passage type?

Explanation

Subject: Social science
Action: Describe

2. What is each paragraph about?

Explanation

P1: Studies of Native Americans focus on the negative and find low self-esteem.

P2: Native American question: if Native Americans did the study, would the conclusions be the same?

P3: A study run with Native Americans was started.

P4: Native American interviewers were used. To ensure privacy, interviewers were not directly involved in these groups.

P5: Compromises were made to keep the study on track and culturally sensitive at the same time.

P6: Numbers, numbers, numbers

P7: The new study’s result: good self-esteem is prevalent among Native Americans.

3. What is the organization?

Explanation

This passage is organized from general to specific. In the beginning, we hear about a study “by Native Americans, of Native Americans” and then we learn about this study and its results.

P1: Descriptive: Provides the setting: Studies find that Native Americans have low self-esteem “Prominent among [findings of studies] is . . . that Native Americans tend to have low self-esteem”.

P2: Descriptive: Introduces a question related to setting: what would a study by Native Americans find? “. . . a small group of Native American professionals challenged the accuracy of these negative reports.”

P3: Descriptive/Positive: Describes how question was answered: Native American advisory board guided study “In due course, an official research project was initiated.”

P4: Descriptive/Positive: Describes another function of advisory board: to choose interviewers who are “culturally sensitive nonresidents.”

P5: Descriptive/Positive: Describes yet another function of advisory board: help create survey “Another important function of the advisory board was assistance in identifying trained Native American interviewers for data collection.”

P6: Descriptive: Survey was administered to answer question” [The participants were]… administered a 309-page questionnaire.”

P7: Descriptive: Presents results of study to address question: a study by Native Americans finds high self esteem “at least 95 percent of the respondents have a moderate to strong sense of self-regard . . . “

Existing studies:

Hypothetical change:

Description of new situation: part 1

Description of new situation: part 2

Description of new situation: part 3

Description of new situation: part 4

Result

Focus on negative

Would Native Americans get the same results?

Study set up

Interviewers

More on interviewers

The Numbers

Findings are positive: good self-esteem.

 

4. What is the Big Idea?

Explanation

Native Americans conduct their own study of Native American self-image and come out with findings that are more positive than those of previous studies. This is a “politically correct” essay. Once you see that the essay mentions an ethnic group, you always know that the essay portrays the group positively.

5. What is the author’s purpose?

Explanation

The author wants you to know that Native Americans were empowered to do their own study and came to different conclusions than the outsiders who studied them in the past.

Explanations

Q1. 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.

Q1 Ex Type: Purpose of the passage
(B) is correct, because it covers the main topics of the passage. This question demands from you a complete understanding of the passage and the ability to summarize it in a sentence. The other choices address only parts of the purpose of the passage and introduce new assumptions that are not mentioned in the passage. (E) mentions the conducting of studies on Native Americans, so it seems like it could be a possibility, but (E) also focuses on the “subscales” which is a fairly insignificant detail in the passage, and therefore does not explain the main idea.

Q2. 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.

Q2 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(D) “According to the passage” tells us the answer is located directly inside the passage. The last sentence of the third paragraph shows how Native Americans resented social scientists as predators using Native Americans to further their own careers. Hence (D) is correct. This is a very straight-forward application of data from the passage.

Q3. 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

Q3 Ex Type: Tone
(E). The word “unfortunately” in the last sentence of the third paragraph indicates that the author regrets that some Native Americans view social scientists as predatory. The other choices play upon the rhetoric of the passage without addressing the right meaning. Check your answer by eliminating all of the other answer choices. This question tests the ability of the student to translate a word into the summarized meaning of the sentence and measure the author’s intended tone.

Q4. 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 lead directly to career advancement for any of them.

Q4 Ex Type: Inference
(D) In the fourth paragraph we are told that those designing the study rejected the idea of local residents as interviewers because the researchers were concerned community members might be afraid to answer truthfully, since personnel information might lead to gossip. Many of the other choices like (E), (A) and (B) might sound true because they address some other aspect of the passage but still they don’t encapsulate the central idea. This is a difficult question because of the slightly ambiguous choices. It measures the ability to qualitatively derive an answer.

Q5. 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.

Q5 ExType: Purpose of the passage
(C) The questionable assertion that Native Americans have low self-esteem, arrived at by studies dealing with the Native American experience, has been corrected by well-supported research, which led to results contrary to previous research done in this area. Hence choice (C) correctly summarizes the central idea as required. The choices here are very subtly different and one needs to eliminate each of them carefully in line with the central theme of the passage.

Q6. 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.

Q6 Ex Type: Inference
(A) The question asked at the end of the paragraph clearly implies that Native Americans have conducted no research on the self-image of Native Americans themselves. Hence choice (A) gives the best answer. This is a factual question but one that can be easily missed if the thread of the passage is not followed carefully. You must infer, from the question asked in the passage, that Native Americans had not yet done research on their own self-image.

Q7. 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

Q7 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(C) Sociologists Tremble and Medicine pointed out that research on Native Americans tended to focus on negative aspects. Native American professionals challenged the results of previous studies. However, it was the Native American advisory board that sought to dispel antagonism against social scientists, opted for selection of culturally sensitive nonresidents as interviewers, and shaped the survey questionnaire which was sensitive to the full diversity of the many distinct Native American tribes or groups. Hence choice (C). (A) can be eliminated as it was just a mention of Tremble and Medicine’s initial paper; (B) is something that the author refutes in the passage, (D) is a central theme and not the role in designing a study, and finally (E) is just a minor point being re-stated from the passage. All the choices appear in the passage but only one actually addresses the question. Hence, it makes it that much more important to hold onto the idea being asked in the question.

Q8 . 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.

Q8 Ex Type: Inference
(B) The passage suggests that when researchers do not belong to the ethnic and/or racial groups that they are studying the results may not always be accurate. The entire passage is the description of how a study conducted by Native Americans themselves on their own community corrected the negative assertions made by researchers who were not Native Americans. Hence choice (B) gives the best answer. Choice (A) sounds plausible but is not supported by the passage, and similarly choices (C), (D) and (E) are not factual. You are asked to look at the researcher’s values (evident in the make-up of the study they did on Native Americans). Then, based on their attitude in the passage, you are to make an educated guess as to what opinion they might have about how other studies of racial or ethnic groups should be done.

Q1. 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.

Q1 Ex Type: Purpose of the passage
(B) is correct, because it covers the main topics of the passage. This question demands from you a complete understanding of the passage and the ability to summarize it in a sentence. The other choices address only parts of the purpose of the passage and introduce new assumptions that are not mentioned in the passage. (E) mentions the conducting of studies on Native Americans, so it seems like it could be a possibility, but (E) also focuses on the “subscales” which is a fairly insignificant detail in the passage, and therefore does not explain the main idea.

Q2. 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.

Q2 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(D) “According to the passage” tells us the answer is located directly inside the passage. The last sentence of the third paragraph shows how Native Americans resented social scientists as predators using Native Americans to further their own careers. Hence (D) is correct. This is a very straight-forward application of data from the passage.

Q3. 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

Q3 Ex Type: Tone
(E). The word “unfortunately” in the last sentence of the third paragraph indicates that the author regrets that some Native Americans view social scientists as predatory. The other choices play upon the rhetoric of the passage without addressing the right meaning. Check your answer by eliminating all of the other answer choices. This question tests the ability of the student to translate a word into the summarized meaning of the sentence and measure the author’s intended tone.

Q4. 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 lead directly to career advancement for any of them.

Q4 Ex Type: Inference
(D) In the fourth paragraph we are told that those designing the study rejected the idea of local residents as interviewers because the researchers were concerned community members might be afraid to answer truthfully, since personnel information might lead to gossip. Many of the other choices like (E), (A) and (B) might sound true because they address some other aspect of the passage but still they don’t encapsulate the central idea. This is a difficult question because of the slightly ambiguous choices. It measures the ability to qualitatively derive an answer.

Q5. 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.

Q5 ExType: Purpose of the passage
(C) The questionable assertion that Native Americans have low self-esteem, arrived at by studies dealing with the Native American experience, has been corrected by well-supported research, which led to results contrary to previous research done in this area. Hence choice (C) correctly summarizes the central idea as required. The choices here are very subtly different and one needs to eliminate each of them carefully in line with the central theme of the passage.

Q6. 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.

Q6 Ex Type: Inference
(A) The question asked at the end of the paragraph clearly implies that Native Americans have conducted no research on the self-image of Native Americans themselves. Hence choice (A) gives the best answer. This is a factual question but one that can be easily missed if the thread of the passage is not followed carefully. You must infer, from the question asked in the passage, that Native Americans had not yet done research on their own self-image.

Q7. 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

Q7 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(C) Sociologists Tremble and Medicine pointed out that research on Native Americans tended to focus on negative aspects. Native American professionals challenged the results of previous studies. However, it was the Native American advisory board that sought to dispel antagonism against social scientists, opted for selection of culturally sensitive nonresidents as interviewers, and shaped the survey questionnaire which was sensitive to the full diversity of the many distinct Native American tribes or groups. Hence choice (C). (A) can be eliminated as it was just a mention of Tremble and Medicine’s initial paper; (B) is something that the author refutes in the passage, (D) is a central theme and not the role in designing a study, and finally (E) is just a minor point being re-stated from the passage. All the choices appear in the passage but only one actually addresses the question. Hence, it makes it that much more important to hold onto the idea being asked in the question.

Q8 . 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.

Q8 Ex Type: Inference
(B) The passage suggests that when researchers do not belong to the ethnic and/or racial groups that they are studying the results may not always be accurate. The entire passage is the description of how a study conducted by Native Americans themselves on their own community corrected the negative assertions made by researchers who were not Native Americans. Hence choice (B) gives the best answer. Choice (A) sounds plausible but is not supported by the passage, and similarly choices (C), (D) and (E) are not factual. You are asked to look at the researcher’s values (evident in the make-up of the study they did on Native Americans). Then, based on their attitude in the passage, you are to make an educated guess as to what opinion they might have about how other studies of racial or ethnic groups should be done.

Next LSAT: March 30th