out in the real world, which meant that his ability to control the situation was quite low. But he did something clever. Instead of relying on only one research approach, he actually used two complementary approaches. First, LaPiere adopted the research approach known as observation (see Table 1.3). Observational research can be conducted in a variety of ways, but it generally involves an investigator carefully watching some social event take place. Simply put, during their trips, LaPiere planned to observe how his friends were received. Table 1.3 Some Research Approaches in Social Psychology Experimental approaches Laboratory-based experiments Some field-based experiments Some neuroscience experiments (e.g., fMRI) Nonexperimental approaches Observational research Correlational research Quasi-experiments Experience sampling methods Diary research Internet-based research Archival research Meta -analytic research Self-report-based approaches Surveys Questionnaires
10 Studying Social Psychology What about the second research approach? Remember that besides collecting observations, once the trips were over, LaPiere (1934) sent each establishment a questionnaire to find out whether Chinese guests were welcome. Similar to observational research, questionnaire research embraces a straightforward conclusion: If you want to know what people think or feel, why not ask them directly? You are used to answering questions all the time-some are verbal, but many are written. Like LaPiere, social psychologists use questionnaires to fin'd out people's opinions toward a wide variety of social issues. Such questionnaires usually contain a number of questions that focus on the same topic. A distinction should be drawn between survey research and questionnaire research (see Table 1.3). A survey is a questionnaire that is given to a carefully selected sample of people in order to estimate how the larger population from which they were drawn feels about a given social issue. LaPiere (1934) used a questionnaire to assess the attitudes toward Asians only at the places he and his friends visited-he did not attempt to measure the general attitudes of all the workers at the hotels and restaurants in the states they crossed, let alone the entire United States. Could LaPiere (1934) have adopted a different research approach? Of course. If he did so, LaPiere probably would have had to redesign the whole study because he took advantage of the fact that he was traveling repeatedly across the country with his friends. Table 1.3 contains other approaches that social psychologists use to explore social behavior. For example, he could have relied on another nonexperimental approach by using archival data (see the middle section of Table 1.3). By doing so, he could have read and categorized newspaper accounts of prejudiced or discriminatory behavior aimed at minority group members, especially those of Asian descent. Or, do you think that LaPiere chose well under the circumstances?
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