ACT Reading : Identifying and Analyzing Main Ideas in Social Science or History Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Reading

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Main Idea, Details, Opinions, And Arguments In Argumentative Social Science Passages

Adapted from "Federalist No. 46. The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared" by James Madison in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (1788)

I proceed to inquire whether the federal government or the state governments will have the advantage with regard to the predilection and support of the people. Notwithstanding the different modes in which they are appointed, we must consider both of them as substantially dependent on the great body of the citizens of the United States. I assume this position here as it respects the first, reserving the proofs for another place. The federal and state governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers, and designed for different purposes. The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject, and to have viewed these different establishments not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone, and that it will not depend merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expense of the other. Truth, no less than decency, requires that the event in every case should be supposed to depend on the sentiments and sanction of their common constituents.

What is the main idea of the passage?

Possible Answers:

The author discusses the relative unimportance of constituents in his country's current governmental system.

The author compares the federal and state governments, and in doing so, argues that the ultimate source of a government's authority is the people it governs.

The author describes the features of the Constitution and the effects they may have on federal- and state-level government.

The author points out flaws in his opponents' arguments in order to oppose the Constitution.

The author compares features of the federal and state governments and concludes that they are very different from one another.

Correct answer:

The author compares the federal and state governments, and in doing so, argues that the ultimate source of a government's authority is the people it governs.

Explanation:

While the passage begins with the author declaring his intention to "inquire whether the federal government or the state governments will have the advantage with regard to the predilection and support of the people," this is not the only idea that the selection focuses on. The author spends the rest of the passage discussing how governmental authority derives from the people, and how those who oppose the Constitution have forgotten about this in their arguments. The correct answer is thus, "The author compares the federal and state governments, and in doing so, argues that the ultimate source of a government's authority is with the people it governs."

Example Question #51 : Identifying And Analyzing Main Ideas In Social Science Or History Passages

Adapted from Harvard University Address by Booker T. Washington (1896)

Why you have called me from the Black Belt of the South, from among my humble people, to share in the honors of this occasion, is not for me to explain; and yet it may not be inappropriate for me to suggest that it seems to me that one of the most vital questions that touch our American life, is how to bring the strong, wealthy and learned into helpful touch with the poorest, most ignorant, and humble and at the same time, make the one appreciate the vitalizing, strengthening influence of the other.

How shall we make the mansions on Beacon street feel and see the need of the spirits in the lowliest cabin in the Alabama cotton fields or the Louisiana sugar bottoms? This problem Harvard University is solving, not by bringing itself down, but by bringing the masses up.

If through me, an humble representative, seven millions of my people in the South might be permitted to send a message to Harvard — Harvard that offered up on death's altar, young Shaw, and Russell, and Lowell and scores of others, that we might have a free and united country, that message would be: Tell them that the sacrifice was not in vain. Tell them that by the way of the shop, the field, the skilled hand, habits of thrift and economy, by way of industrial school and college, we are coming.

We are crawling up, working up, yea, bursting up. Often through oppression, unjust discrimination and prejudice, but through them all we are coming up, and with proper habits, intelligence and property, there is no power on earth that can permanently stay our progress.

How does the author believe that Harvard is helping to solve the problem of the differences between rich and poor?

Possible Answers:

By allowing black students to enroll at the college

By undermining the futile efforts of the United States government

By providing financial supplements to gifted, but impoverished, students

By eliminating religious studies from the curriculum

By assisting the growth of poor people

Correct answer:

By assisting the growth of poor people

Explanation:

The author of this passage states that “this problem Harvard University is solving, not by bringing itself down, but by bringing the masses up.” (Lines 7-8) This reveals that the author feels that Harvard University is aiding the growth of poor people by bringing the masses up to level of wealthy. All of the other answer choices focus on describing a more specific manner by which this could be achieved; however none of these are explicitly mentioned by the author. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer.

Example Question #512 : Sat Critical Reading

Adapted from The Crisis by Carrie Chapman Catt (1916)

The war will soon end and the armies will return to their native lands. To many a family, the men will never come back. The husband, who returns to many a wife, will eat no bread the rest of his life save of her earning. What then, will happen after the war? Will the widows left with families to support cheerfully leave their well-paid posts for those commanding lower wages? Not without protest! Will the wives who now must support crippled husbands give up their skilled work and take up the occupations which were open to them before the war? Will they resignedly say: "The woman who has a healthy husband who can earn for her, has a right to tea and raisin cake, but the woman who earns for herself and a husband who has given his all to his country, must be content with tasteless bread?" Not without protest! On the contrary, the economic axiom, denied and evaded for centuries, will be blazoned on every factory, counting house and shop: "Equal pay for equal work"; and common justice will slowly, but surely enforce that law. The European woman has risen. She may not realize it yet, but the woman "doormat" in every land has unconsciously become a "door-jamb." She will have become accustomed to her new dignity by the time the men come home. She will wonder how she ever could have been content lying across the threshold now that she discovers the upright jamb gives so much broader and more normal a vision of things. The men returning may find the new order a bit queer but everything else will be strangely unfamiliar too, and they will soon grow accustomed to all the changes together. The "jamb" will never descend into a "doormat" again.

The male and female anti-suffragists of all lands will puff and blow at the economic change which will come to the women of Europe. They will declare it to be contrary to Nature and to God's plan and that somebody ought to do something about it. Suffragists will accept the change as the inevitable outcome of an unprecedented world's cataclysm over which no human agency had any control and will trust in God to adjust the altered circumstances to the eternal evolution of human society. They will remember that in the long run, all things work together for good, for progress and for human weal.

The economic change is bound to bring political liberty. From every land, there comes the expressed belief that the war will be followed by a mighty, oncoming wave of democracy for it is now well known that the conflict has been one of governments, of kings and czars, kaisers and emperors — not of peoples. The nations involved have nearly all declared that they are fighting to make an end of wars. New and higher ideals of governments and of the rights of the people under them, have grown enormously during the past two years. Another tide of political liberty, similar to that of 1848, but of a thousand-fold greater momentum, is rising from battlefield and hospital, from camp and munitions factory, from home and church which, great men of many lands, tell us, is destined to sweep over the world. On the continent, the women say, "It is certain that the vote will come to men and women after the war, perhaps not immediately but soon. In Great Britain, which was the storm centre of the suffrage movement for some years before the war, hundreds of bitter, active opponents have confessed their conversion on account of the war services of women. Already, three great provinces of Canada, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, have given universal suffrage to their women in sheer generous appreciation of their war work.

Why does the author think some people will object to female suffrage?

Possible Answers:

They think women will take jobs away from men.

They think it will impede the ability of men to reintegrate into society.

They believe that women do not have the critical capacity to make wise decisions.

They think that women are to blame for the outbreak of World War One.

They believe it to be against the laws of God and nature.

Correct answer:

They believe it to be against the laws of God and nature.

Explanation:

The author introduces the second paragraph by claiming that male and female anti-suffragists will express their dismay at the changing nature of women’s role in society. To solve this question it is therefore necessary to read the information that succeeds this statement. The author states that “they will declare it to be contrary to Nature and to God's plan and that somebody ought to do something about it.”

Example Question #61 : Social Science / History Passages

Adapted from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792)

 In the middle rank of life, to continue the comparison, men, in their youth, are prepared for professions, and marriage is not considered as the grand feature in their lives; whilst women, on the contrary, have no other scheme to sharpen their faculties. It is not business, extensive plans, or any of the excursive flights of ambition, that engross their attention; no, their thoughts are not employed in rearing such noble structures. To rise in the world, and have the liberty of running from pleasure to pleasure, they must marry advantageously, and to this object their time is sacrificed, and their persons often legally prostituted. A man when he enters any profession has his eye steadily fixed on some future advantage (and the mind gains great strength by having all its efforts directed to one point) and, full of his business, pleasure is considered as mere relaxation; whilst women seek for pleasure as the main purpose of existence. In fact, from the education, which they receive from society, the love of pleasure may be said to govern them all; but does this prove that there is a sex in souls? It would be just as rational to declare that the courtiers in France, when a destructive system of despotism had formed their character, were not men, because liberty, virtue, and humanity, were sacrificed to pleasure and vanity.—Fatal passions, which have ever domineered over the whole race!

The same love of pleasure, fostered by the whole tendency of their education, gives a trifling turn to the conduct of women in most circumstances: for instance, they are ever anxious about secondary things; and on the watch for adventures, instead of being occupied by duties.

A man, when he undertakes a journey, has, in general, the end in view; a woman thinks more of the incidental occurrences, the strange things that may possibly occur on the road; the impression that she may make on her fellow travelers; and, above all, she is anxiously intent on the care of the finery that she carries with her, which is more than ever a part of herself, when going to figure on a new scene; when, to use an apt French turn of expression, she is going to produce a sensation.—Can dignity of mind exist with such trivial cares? This observation should not be confined to the fair sex; however, at present, I only mean to apply it to them.

What is the main idea of the underlined question, "Can dignity of mind exist with such trivial cares?"

Possible Answers:

The author is asking if women can retain their mental capabilities under the pressure of daily life.

The author is asking if seriousness, self-control, and respect can be gained if women are taken up with niggling details. 

All of these answers are correct.

The author is asking if women will be thought of as less intelligent than men by society.

The author is asking if men think women's opinions are valid, with reference to their habits.

Correct answer:

The author is asking if seriousness, self-control, and respect can be gained if women are taken up with niggling details. 

Explanation:

We can interpret “dignity of mind” to be a seriousness or self-control of the mind which gains respect. Then if we look at the end of the question “with such trivial cares” we can see that “niggling details” is synonymous with “trivial cares” The author is not concerned, when asking the question, about society's view of women. The use of the rhetorical question is an imploring for women to attempt to retain their “dignity of mind.”  

Example Question #4 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Reading Comprehension

Adapted from The Man with the Muck-Rake by Theodore Roosevelt (1906)

There are in the body politic, economic and social, many and grave evils, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil man, whether politician or business man, every evil practice, whether in politics, business, or social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform or in a book, magazine, or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful.

The liar is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity takes the form of slander he may be worse than most thieves. It puts a premium upon knavery untruthfully to attack an honest man, or even with hysterical exaggeration to assail a bad man with untruth. An epidemic of indiscriminate assault upon character does no good, but very great harm. The soul of every scoundrel is gladdened whenever an honest man is assailed, or even when a scoundrel is untruthfully assailed.

The primary purpose of this passage is to __________.

Possible Answers:

urge truthful criticism of political immorality

encourage the use of slander to bring about political change

discuss the art of lying

discourage the common man from political participation

highlight the corruption in contemporary political practice

Correct answer:

urge truthful criticism of political immorality

Explanation:

The second paragraph focuses on emphasizing the importance of truthful criticism, as opposite to slanderous assailment. The first paragraph discusses the need to regulate and relentless expose the immorality of political and economic society. The correct answer then is that the primary purpose of this passage is to urge truthful criticism of political immorality. Of the four incorrect answer choices the only other possible answer could be: “to highlight the corruption in contemporary political practice.” But, this answer choice is too limited in scope and only references one aspect of the passage. Always choose the most comprehensive answer choice.

Example Question #2 : Analyzing Main Idea, Theme, And Purpose In Social Science / History Passages

Adapted from Emancipation of the Working Class by Eugene Debs (1918)

To speak for labor; to plead the cause of the men and women and children who toil; to serve the working class, has always been to me a high privilege; a duty of love.

 I have just returned from a visit over yonder, where three of our most loyal comrades are paying the penalty for their devotion to the cause of the working class. They have come to realize, as many of us have, that it is extremely dangerous to exercise the constitutional right of free speech in a country fighting to make democracy safe in the world.

 I realize that, in speaking to you this afternoon, there are certain limitations placed upon the right of free speech. I must be exceedingly careful, prudent, as to what I say, and even more careful and prudent as to how I say it. I may not be able to say all I think; but I am not going to say anything that I do not think. I would rather a thousand times be a free soul in jail than to be a sycophant and coward in the streets. They may put those boys in jail—and some of the rest of us in jail—but they cannot put the Socialist movement in jail. Those prison bars separate their bodies from ours, but their souls are here this afternoon. They are simply paying the penalty that all men have paid in all the ages of history for standing erect, and for seeking to pave the way to better conditions for mankind. If it had not been for the men and women who, in the past, have had the moral courage to go to jail, we would still be in the jungles.

Which of the following best captures the attitude of the author towards the Socialist movement?

Possible Answers:

Approving 

Reproaching

Condemning 

Admonishing

Apathetic 

Correct answer:

Approving 

Explanation:

The author explicitly mentions the Socialist movement in the third paragraph. In order to tackle this question you need to read-in-context to determine the author’s attitude. In the sentence that discusses the Socialist movement the author discusses how “they” (the antagonists) have been putting “those boys” (protagonists) in jail. “Those boys” are the members of the Socialist movement and the author groups himself with these boys using the phrase “some of the rest of us in jail.” The fact that the author includes himself with the group and speaks favorably about the other members of the movement suggests he would have an approving attitude towards it. Some of you might have been able to solve this question by understanding the purpose of the passage as a whole, to defend the Socialist movement. Sometimes questions about tone and attitude can be most easily solved by considering the whole of the passage. If this works best for you, go ahead.

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Main Idea, Theme, And Purpose In Social Science / History Passages

Adapted from The Fundamental Principle of a Republic by Anna Howard Shaw (1915)

Never in the history of the world did it dawn upon the human mind as it dawned upon your ancestors, what it would mean for men to be free. They got the vision of a government in which the people would be the supreme power, and so inspired by this vision men wrote such documents as were went from the Massachusetts legislature, from the New York legislature and from the Pennsylvania group over to the Parliament of Great Britain, which rang with the profoundest measures of freedom and justice. They did not equivocate in a single word when they wrote the Declaration of Independence; no one can dream that these men had not got the most sublime ideal of democracy which had ever dawned upon the souls of men. But as soon as the war was over and our government was formed, instead of asking the question, who shall be the governing force in this great new Republic, they began to eliminate instead of include the men who should be the great governing forces, and they said, who shall have the voice in this great new Republic, and you would have supposed that such men as fought the Revolutionary War would have been able to answer that every man who has fought, everyone who has given up all he has and all he has been able to accumulate shall be free; but it never entered their minds.

These excellent ancestors of yours had not been away from the old world long enough to realize that man is of more value than his purse, so they said every man who has an estate in the government shall have a voice; and they said what shall that estate be? And they answered that a man who had property valued at two hundred and fifty dollars will be able to cast a vote, and so they sang "The land of the free and the home of the brave." And they wrote into their Constitution, "All males who pay taxes on $250 shall cast a vote," and they called themselves a Republic, and we call ourselves a Republic, and they were not quite so much of a Republic that we should be called a Republic yet. Now what did we do? Before the word "male" in the local compacts, they wrote the word "Church-members"; and they wrote in the word "taxpayer." Then there arose a great Democrat, Thomas Jefferson, who looked down into the day when you and I are living and saw that the rapidly accumulated wealth in the hands of a few men would endanger the liberties of the people, and he knew what you and I know, that no power under heaven or among men is known in a Republic by which men can defend their liberties except by the power of the ballot, and so the Democratic party took another step in the evolution of the Republic out of a monarchy and they rubbed out the word "taxpayer" and wrote in the word "white", and then the Democrats thought the millennium had come, and they sang " The land of the free and the home of the brave" as lustily as the Republicans had sung it before them and spoke of the divine right of motherhood with the same thrill in their voices and at the same time they were selling mother's babies by the pound on the auction block-and mothers apart from their babies. Another arose who said a man is not a good citizen because he is white, he is a good citizen because he is a man, and the Republican party took out that progressive evolutionary eraser and rubbed out the word "white" from before the word "male' and could not think of another word to put in there- they were all in, black and white, rich and poor, wise and otherwise, drunk and sober; not a man left out to be put in, and so the Republicans could not write anything before the word "male", and they had to let the little word, "male" stay alone by itself.

The passage as a whole suggests that a Republic __________.

Possible Answers:

will never exist, in its truest form, in the United States of America

infringes on the rights of its citizens more than it protects them

can function with only a small percentage of the population included

cannot allow women to participate politically

must include all citizens in the political process; regardless of race, gender or income

Correct answer:

must include all citizens in the political process; regardless of race, gender or income

Explanation:

The passage as a whole describes the inclusion of more and more types of men in the political process and it is clear from the author’s language and attitude that she supports each extension of political participation. However, it is also clear that the author feels that each progression of inclusiveness does not go far enough. The author seems to believe that a Republic must include all citizens in the political process; regardless of race, gender or income. Gender does seem to be the author’s primary focus, but it is clear she supports the inclusion of all citizens.

Example Question #61 : Social Studies

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

Laws produced by legislative bodies are best described as which of the following terms?

Possible Answers:

Folkways

Mores

Formal social sanctions

Goals

Informal social sanctions

Correct answer:

Formal social sanctions

Explanation:

Laws are best described as formal social sanctions because they are produced by official government bodies. This is supported by information presented in the first paragraph of the passage: "A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority such as state and federal legislatures. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by a official body or organization such as police departments and court houses."

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Details In Social Science Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

Which of the following sociologists claim that deviance is necessary for the organization of society?

Possible Answers:

Becker

Merton

None of the other answers

Durkheim

Goffman

Correct answer:

Durkheim

Explanation:

In the second paragraph of the passage, it is stated that Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is important for the organization of society. This is because deviance performs the following functions: "it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution."

Example Question #1 : Content Of Social Science / History Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

Which of the following statements correctly describes structural-functionist theory as it is presented in the passage?

Possible Answers:

Structural-function theory theorizes about society by building structural models meant to demonstrate the social function of various behaviors.

Structural-functionist theory explores society through the observation of social conflicts.

Structural-functionist theory explores society by observing societal structures and their functions within the organization and propogation of societal culture and norms.

None of the other answers

Structural-functionist theory explores society through observing the symbolic interaction of cultural norms and individual definitions of societal phenomena.

Correct answer:

Structural-functionist theory explores society by observing societal structures and their functions within the organization and propogation of societal culture and norms.

Explanation:

Structural-functionist theory explores society by observing societal structures and their function within the organization and propogation of societal culture and norms. The second paragraph of the passage states that "structural-functionalist theory outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society." This answer is very straightforward. A theory is structural-functionalist if it observes structures and their function within society.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors