Authors: Joseph E. McGrath and David A. Kravitz

Title: Group research.

Source: Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 195-230. 1982.

Reviews group research from social-psychological journals as well as from journals in other areas of psychology, the speech communications field, sociology, education, and administrative sciences. Three areas of group research are discussed: (1) general contributions, (2) groups as task performance systems, and (3) groups as systems for structuring social interactions. While there seems to have been some increase in the use of field settings for group research studies, this does not reflect so much an abandonment or rejection of the laboratory--still the most prominent research strategy of the field--but rather an increasing sophistication about methodology in general, especially about the importance of using multiple approaches in any given problem area. However, while the increased use of formal models will tip the field more toward a concern with theoretical matters, the field is still a long way from having a proper balance among theory, method, and data. It is concluded that without the guiding hand of theory, the field will continue to move from one fashionable topic to the next, with fashions determined more by availability of paradigms than by conceptual import of the issues.

back to publications