Methods for Studying Culture

To study the impact of culture on child development, researchers adjust the methods just considered or tap procedures specially devised for cross-cultural and multicultural research. Which approach investigators choose depends on their research goals.


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Methods for Studying Culture
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Sometimes researchers are interested in characteristics that are believed to be universal but that vary in degree from one culture to the next: Are parents warmer or more directive in some cultures than in others? How strong are gender stereotypes in different nations? In each instance, several cultural groups will be compared, and all participants must be questioned or observed in the same way. Therefore, researchers draw on the observational and self-report procedures we have already considered, adapting them through translation so they can be understood in each cultural context. For example, to study cultural variation in parent–adolescent relationships, the same questionnaire, asking for ratings on such items as “I often start a conversation with my parents about what happens in school” or “My parents can tell when I’m upset about something,” is given to all participants. Still, investigators must be mindful of cultural differences in familiarity with self-report instruments that may bias their findings


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