A paper which considers the advantages and disadvantages of two approaches to the study of groups, within the context of social psychology, and concludes that there are valid reasons for the employment of both methodologies. Bibliography lists two sources.
Name of Research Paper File: JL5_JLgroups.rtf
Unformatted Sample Text from the Research Paper:
In order to consider the different approaches which can be taken to the study of groups within the field of social psychology, it
is perhaps helpful to consider briefly the way in which the relationship between the individual and the group is defined in this discipline. One could assert, for example, that social
psychology deals with the study of the individual in the context of social groups: however, this could be interpreted in two ways. One could take it to indicate that one
should study the individual only in relation to social groups, or that such studies should take place only in group situations. The former perspective dictates that one cannot assess individual
behaviour without taking into account the individuals interaction with others, whilst the second maintains that such interaction can only be assessed in the group situation itself.
It is certainly the case that in modern
society, it is not possible to make judgments about individual behaviour in isolation: the influence of groups is constant, even if the individual themselves rejects overt social interaction. However, it
is also the case that such a social context can be implied, as well as explicit, in studies of individuals. It would be reasonable to suppose, therefore, that both an
experimental and a psychodynamic approach may be equally valid, depending on the purpose of the study.
As Cronbach (1957) notes, the experimental method has the advantage of allowing the researcher to exercise tight control over the variables within the study: