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comprehension across different proficiency levels?
Q6: Is there any significant relationship between beginner EFL learners’ use of reading strategies and argumentative text comprehension?
Q7: Is there any significant relationship between intermediate EFL learners’ use of reading strategies and argumentative text comprehension?
Q8: Is there any significant relationship between advanced EFL learners’ use of reading strategies and argumentative text comprehension?
In case there is a significant relationship between EFL learners’ use of reading strategies and comprehension of expository text across different proficiency levels, the following questions are posed:
Q9: Is EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of expository text across different proficiency levels?
Q10: Is beginner EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of expository text?
Q11: Is intermediate EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of expository text?
Q12: Is advanced EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of expository text?
In case there is a significant relationship between EFL learners’ use of reading strategies and comprehension of argumentative text across different proficiency levels, the following questions are posed:
Q13: Is EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of argumentative text across different proficiency levels?
Q14: Is beginner EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of argumentative text?
Q15: Is intermediate EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of argumentative text?
Q16: Is advanced EFL learners’ use of reading strategies a significant predictor of their comprehension of argumentative text?
In this regard what follows is a detailed description about each step that the researcher took in conducting the research. First, there is an explanation of participants, research instruments, and administration procedures, and then there is a report on the design and statistical analyses which were applied in this investigation.
3.2 Participants
The participants of the present study were 120 female EFL learners aged within the range of 14 to 30 years. The sample was selected from one of the branches of ILI language school. As proficiency levels were considered as a variable in this study, each level namely beginner, and intermediate levels included 44 and 51 participants. Furthermore, advanced level included 25 participants. Students were assigned to each level through the ILI placement test. This placement test is designed to assess the approximate level of a student’s knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary. Generally the test is comprised of three stages. Each stage includes two parts, grammar and vocabulary. Each part contains twenty multiple-choices questions. It takes 70 minutes for students to complete 120 questions.
In addition to the main sample, 30 learners who had the same characteristics as the main sample participated in the pilot study.
3.3 Instrumentation
To fulfill the purpose of the study the following instruments were employed by the researcher in order to obtain measurable data.
3.3.1 Test of Reading Comprehension
The test booklet for each level namely beginners, intermediate, and advanced students included four passages, two expository and two argumentative texts. The passages were selected from www.englishforeveryone.org. After reading a passage, students were tested on their ability to draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details, and infer the meaning of useful vocabulary words. Each passage was followed by 5 multiple-choice questions and learners were supposed to complete the four passages including 20 items in 30 minutes.
The Flesch Reading Ease formula was used in this study in order to determine the readability of the passages; a higher score indicates easier reading. As a rule, scores of 90 – 100 are easily understood by beginners. Scores of 60 – 70 are understood by intermediates and finally scores of 0 – 30 are understood by advanced levels. A description of the features of the texts is presented in Tables 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 below.

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Table 3.1. Readability statistics of the texts selected for beginners
Text type
Passages

Flesch reading ease
AT
The cell phone
The dog
81.4

86.4
ET
Once in a blue moon
The owls
84.7
88.5
AT (Argumentative text), ET (Expository text)

Table 3.2. Readability statistics of the texts selected for intermediates
Text type
Passages

Flesch reading ease
AT
e-readers
divorce

67.4

65
ET
The piranha
A mosquito
62.2
69.3
AT (Argumentative text), ET (Expository text)

Table 3.3. Readability statistics of the texts selected for advanced
Text type
Passages

Flesch reading ease
AT
Reality television

Helmet law
25.4
45

ET
A desert
parks

53.9
50.6
AT (Argumentative text), ET (Expository text)

3.3.2 Reading strategies questionnaire
A reading strategies questionnaire based on Strategy Inventory of Learning Strategies, Oxford, (1990) was used in the study. The SILL is the most widely used instrument for identifying strategies and has been tested and translated in many countries (Brown, 2001). The 50 items in the questionnaire are grouped into six categories of strategies: memory strategies which are used to store and retrieve new information (9 items), cognitive strategies which are employed to comprehend and produce new language by many different means (14 items), compensation strategies which are used to compensate for shortage of a knowledge in a language (6 items), metacognitive strategies which are employed by learners to control their own cognition (9 items), affective strategies which are used to manage emotions, motivation, and attitudes (6 items) and finally social strategies which are used to ease interactions with others (6 items).
The fifty items of the SILL survey instrument (version 7.0) were translated into Persian by Tahmasebi (1999) in order to enable the participants to more easily understand and answer the questions. Tahmasebi founded Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.77 for Persian version of SILL. Each item offers 5-point Likert-type responses, ranging from 1 (“never or almost never true of me”) to 5 (“always or almost always true of me”).
According to Oxford and Burry-Stock (1995), SILL scores averaging 3.5 – 5.0 are called as high; 2.5 – 3.4 are designed medium strategy use; and scores ranging from 1.0 – 2.4 are often assigned as low strategy utilization. The time allocated to the questionnaire was 20 minutes.

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3.4 Procedure
Corresponding to the purpose of the study and in order to answer the research questions posed, the researcher went through the following procedure to test the null hypotheses of the research study.
As the first step the test booklet for each proficiency level, including two argumentative and two expository texts, was administered to 30 beginners, 30 intermediate, and 25 advanced students during the pilot study. Each of these students had characteristics similar to the target sample. The reliability of the tests was calculated and item analysis was conducted for both test batteries at each profi
ciency level to indicate any malfunctioning items and discard them. The reliability of the tests turned out to be .71 for beginner level, .69 for intermediate level, and .64 for advanced level. No malfunctioning items were found.
In the next step and after ensuring the tests’ reliability, 120 female learners at ILI language school sat the piloted tests as well as the SILL questionnaire. Students were previously divided into three levels of beginner, intermediate, and advanced according to ILI placement test.
The data was collected in two sessions. The first session, the reading strategies questionnaire was administered. It took 20 minutes for students to fill in the questionnaire. The researcher was present while participants were responding to the questionnaire to provide further explanations whenever required. The researcher tried to motivate participants to fill in the questionnaire attentively by promising to reveal the results to them later.
In the second session, the participants from each proficiency level took the designated reading tests. Each participant was assigned a test booklet which contained four reading passages (two expository and two argumentative passages). Each passage was followed by five multiple-choice questions and the learners completed the tests in fifteen minutes.
As the final step, the correlation between the use of reading strategies and comprehension of expository and argumentative texts were calculated in order to determine whether there is a significant relationship between the variables or not.

3.5 Design
This study was aimed to investigate the possible relationship between EFL learners’ use of reading strategies and comprehension of expository and argumentative texts across different proficiency levels.
The design of the present study was featured by having a descriptive or ex post facto design, because it aimed at finding meaningful relationships between the variables of the study and since there was no manipulation of the variables and no treatment.
In this research, reading strategies were considered as predictor and comprehension of expository and argumentative texts were considered as predicted variables. Moreover, proficiency

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