SMABS 2004 Jena University
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European Association of Methodology

Department of methodology and evaluation research

Jena University

Contributions: Abstract

New methods for the sequential analysis of group interaction processes

Matthias Kraus Patricia Simon
University of Regensburg

Observation is one of the most important methods for gathering data in psychology. After the 1950s boom of observational techniques based on the interaction process analysis (IPA) of Bales, the usage of observation systems decreased considerably in the 60s and 70s. This was largely due to the mere measurement of frequencies of individual categories, which did not allow to obtain adequate information about the dynamic processes in groups. These kinds of processes can only be portrayed using sequential analysis.

First, an overview of the classical analysis methods of observational data is given, such as profile analysis, the analysis of structural phases and Sackett's original sequential analysis technique. These were further developed by the authors regarding the cyclical structure of problem-solving and decision-making in groups. Data obtained from a comparison of effective and ineffective groups using these new methods are presented. To conclude, it is shown how these sequential methods can be used for the development of a simulation model of problem-solving processes in groups.