Studying Interpersonal Interaction

Front Cover
Barbara M. Montgomery, Steve Duck
Guilford Press, Nov 1, 1993 - Psychology - 346 pages
This volume presents a comprehensive, critical examination of current research methods used to study human social behavior as it occurs in interpersonal settings such as families, acquaintanceships, friendships, and romantic partnerships. Multidisciplinary in approach, the book's chapters are written by leading figures in communication, social psychology, sociology, and family studies who explore the methodological choices a researcher must make in order to study interpersonal interaction.
To permit clear comparison, all chapters in this volume reference the same, common research problem to develop examples, illustrate controversial issues, and describe the potential of the particular method under discussion. Written in an accessible style, chapters openly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each method, consider underlying philosophy and assumptions, and note limitations as well as advantages. The result is an originally crafted work that offers readers a unique way to learn about, compare, and ultimately judge the many methods presently available to the researcher or student of interpersonal interaction.
Part I considers the assumptions researchers must make about the nature of a social interaction in order to study it. Chapters address issues related to formulating research problems, choosing a research paradigm, determining a viewpoint (participant, peer, or observer) from which to gather data, deciding on appropriate levels and units of analysis, incorporating time, and assessing the mutual adaptation that characterizes interpersonal communication.
Part II focuses on procedures for gathering data. These include using accounts and narratives, logs and diaries, retrospective self reports, discourse records, direct observation, and experimentation.
Part III highlights new and newly re-discovered methods for analyzing interaction data. Assuming that the reader is familiar with traditional regression and mean-differences approaches, chapters build on this knowledge base to discuss content analysis, tests of sequential association in categorical data, ways of dealing with interdependence in dyadic data, and longitudinal analytic techniques such as time-series analysis, phasic analysis, and meta-analysis. The book concludes with a chapter that both summarizes previous chapters and convincingly argues for methodological pluralism.
Encompassing the broad range of central concerns in designing research studies--from conceptualization, through assessment, to data analysis--this book is an ideal reference source for all those engaged in actual research projects. It is also highly valuable for advanced undergraduate and graduate methods courses.

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The Interdependence among Interaction Substance
Optional Metaphors for Studying Interaction
The Individual the Dyad
Incorporating Time
Mutual Adaptation and Relativity of Measurement
Accounts and Narratives
Diaries and Logs
Retrospective Selfreports
Behavioral Observation
Content Analysis
Analyzing Categorical Data
Analyzing Interdependence in Dyads
Reviewing Previous Research by Metaanalysis
Methodology and Open Dialogue
Author Index


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