Cross-cultural research is the scientific study of members of different cultures who have different experiences that lead to varying mental processes and behavior. In most cases cross-cultural studies are carried out in cultures that speak different languages. The process of carrying out cross-cultural research involves; establishing research questions, sample cultures, assess contract, choose the method, task and instructions, language and translation, experimenter, additional variables, data analysis, tentative conclusions and finally planning of the next study (Byrne & Vijver, 2010). The following essay focuses on the methodological, theoretical and ethical issues in cross-cultural research performed parental influence on the choice of a mate in different cultures.
For a long time now, parents have played a huge role in mate selection for their children. The amount of influence parents has on their children when choosing a mate varies from culture to culture. Mate selection is the act of choosing a preferred partner for marriage. The theoretical approach that is used in this study is that of collectivist and individualistic cultures. The study is carried out which involved, 197 Kurdistan young people, 371 Netherlands students and 102 Canadian students. The Kurdistan people were found to be most influenced by parents when it comes to mate selection whereas, in the Canadian sample, those participants with a European background showed less parental influence on mate selection and those from East Asian background showed greater parental influence on mate selection. The results show that in individualistic cultures there is less influence on mate selection from the parents. In collectivist cultures, parents largely influence mate selection. Other collectivist cultures where mate selection is greatly influenced by parents include the Indian Culture.
The theoretical approach used in the study is, Hofstede’s, individualism and collectivism. Individualistic cultures put emphasis on a person functioning independently. Collectivist cultures place emphasis on individuals to belong to a group. The reason this theoretical approach is used is because in cultures where individuals are raised to be independent, family ties, do not interfere with an individual’s personal life. On the contrary, in collectivist cultures, family ties are tight and lead to the involvement of parents when choosing a mate. Civilization has brought about increased individualization, but cultures take time to change their ways of functioning.
The methodological approach used is the comparative method. In the comparative method, different cultures are compared, and their differences on a certain trait analyzed. In order to understand the cultures, the three societies are studied and compared. Comparative methodology involves comparing different cultures together based on a specific trait in order to get the difference of how the trait is expressed in those cultures. Use of the comparative methodology enables one to determine cultural variances and test the hypothesis given about those differences. Comparative methodology employs the following items; researching design and scientific principles is used, statement of a hypothesis, the study is open to replication, reliable and valid measures, objective sampling procedure, appropriate statistical tests and display of results for authentication.
When carrying out cross-cultural research, various ethics are applied. In the research of parental influence on mate selection, the ethics applied include; confidentiality, informed consent, respect for people, fidelity and responsibility. Confidentiality ensures that the information of the participants is kept private. Informed consent means that the participants are told what they were getting involved and were not forced to participate (Byrne & Vijver, 2010). Respect means that the researchers treat the participants with no prejudice and do not discriminate people according to their religion or culture. The following ethics ensure the participants do not suffer for having taken part in the research.
Research is the doorway to many of the knowledge we possess today. Research enables people to test the hypothesis and draw conclusions from their results. For research to be successful it needs to be well planned, have a method of execution and ensure it follows the ethics involved in the research. It is through conducting research that the world will develop, and people will become even more knowledgeable.
Byrne, B. M., & Van de Vijver, J. R. (2010). Testing for measurement and structural equivalence
in large-scale cross-cultural studies: Addressing the issue of nonequivalence.
International Journal of Testing, 10(2), 107–132.