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This chapter explores the contemporary methods for conducting research on group phenomena and convinces the reader that investigating something as complex as individual behavior in groups can be stimulating and rewarding. Group processes and outcomes can be, and often have been, studied outside the laboratory using nonexperimental methods. The chapter provides only a basic overview of these methods as they have been applied to the study of group phenomena, primarily by citing some representative examples from the literature. Observational field methods have been divided into two principal types: nonparticipant observation and participant observation. The chapter examines a number of special techniques for analyzing group structure. It also examines a number of methodologies in which some guided form of group interaction has been held to provide a useful context and means for achieving some other goal, such as solving a problem, assessing opinion, generating ideas, and so on.
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