CHAPTERThe preceding chapters on measurement and social cognition dealt with methods for
assessing characteristics and behaviors of individual persons. Properties of single persons
are known as monadic variables. A person's attitude toward abortion, for instance, may be
considered monadic because it refers only to the individual's own attitude. In many areas
of social science, however, social scientists may be interested in studying persons who are
interacting in dyads (pairs) or small groups. In this case, we are not assessing properties
of the individuals separately, but rather the nature of their relationship, or the structure or
process or outcomes of their interaction. A dyadic measurement refers to characteristics of
the relationship between two persons; group measures refer to characteristics of interacting
groups of three or more persons. This chapter considers how to assess variables that are
fundamentally dyadic or group level phenomena.Measures of behaviors or attitudes of interacting persons are a special case because
the assessments taken from each of the actors are interdependent. Consider the following
examples of measures that might result from a study of an interacting dyad:
METHODS FOR ASSESSING DYADS
|• ||How much Tom likes Peter.|
|• ||How much Dick smiles when interacting with Paul.|
|• ||How intelligent Harry thinks Mary is.|
In each of these three interactions, the person who produces the measure (the actor)
is an individual person, but the outcome of the measure is influenced not only by the
characteristics of the actor but by the particular partner as well. For instance, Tom's liking
of Peter is, in part, a consequence of something about Tom, but it is also influenced by
what Peter is like and by the nature of the relationship between the two of them. Thus, all
three of these cases are examples of dyadic measurements because there are two persons
(and their interaction) involved in each.
The terms partner and actor correspond to stimulus and responder in a dyadic situation.
The actor is the responder, and the partner the stimulus. With dyadic data the person can
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Principles and Methods of Social Research.
Contributors: William D. Crano - Author, Marilynn B. Brewer - Author.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ.
Publication year: 2002.
Page number: 311.
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