question 1

Passage 23

At the end of the nineteenth century, a rising interest
in Native American customs and an increasing desire to
understand Native American culture prompted ethnolo-
gists to begin recording the life stories of Native Amer-
(5) ican. Ethnologists had a distinct reason for wanting to
hear the stories: they were after linguistic or anthropo-
logical data that would supplement their own field
observations, and they believed that the personal
stories, even of a single individual, could increase their
(10) understanding of the cultures that they had been
observing from without. In addition many ethnologists
at the turn of the century believed that Native Amer-
ican manners and customs were rapidly disappearing,
and that it was important to preserve for posterity as
(15) much information as could be adequately recorded
before the cultures disappeared forever.
There were, however, arguments against this method
as a way of acquiring accurate and complete informa-
tion. Franz Boas, for example, described autobiogra-
(20) phies as being "of limited value, and useful chiefly for
the study of the perversion of truth by memory," while
Paul Radin contended that investigators rarely spent
enough time with the tribes they were observing, and
inevitably derived results too tinged by the investi-
(25) gator's own emotional tone to be reliable.
Even more importantly, as these life stories moved
from the traditional oral mode to recorded written
form, much was inevitably lost. Editors often decided
what elements were significant to the field research on a
(30) given tribe. Native Americans recognized that the
essence of their lives could not be communicated in
English and that events that they thought significant
were often deemed unimportant by their interviewers.
Indeed, the very act of telling their stories could force
(35) Native American narrators to distort their cultures, as
taboos had to be broken to speak the names of dead
relatives crucial to their family stories.
Despite all of this, autobiography remains a useful
tool for ethnological research: such personal reminis-
(40) cences and impressions, incomplete as they may be, are
likely to throw more light on the working of the mind
and emotions than any amount of speculation from an
ethnologist or ethnological theorist from another

1. Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

A The historical backgrounds of two currently used research methods are chronicled.
B The validity of the data collected by using two different research methods is compared.
C The usefulness of a research method is questioned and then a new method is proposed.
D The use of a research method is described and the limitations of the results obtained are discussed.
E A research method is evaluated and the changes necessary for its adaptation to other subject areas are discussed.